John Conran

Dr John Conran

Senior Lecturer

School of Biological Sciences

Faculty of Sciences, Engineering and Technology


Research skills:
Molecular and morphological evolution and palaeobotany, reproductive biology and community ecology of Australasian seed plants, especially petaloid monocots, southern conifers, carnivorous plants and weeds.

My research involves studies of character evolution, palaeobotany and biogeography in Australasian plants, especially the Lilianae (petaloid monocotyledons), Commelinaceae (Spiderworts), carnivorous plants (especially Byblidaceae, Cephalotaceae, Droseraceae and Lentibulariaceae), Malvaceae (Mallows) and Podocarpaceae (southern conifers), in response to changes in climate throughout their evolution.

This work involves the use of both classical and molecular approaches and involves families that, although of worldwide distribution, have both major centres of diversity in Australia, and endemic, primitive members mainly confined to the rainforests of E Australia. The research explores the relationships of these often highly isolated ancient groups, and the ecological processes which led to their diversification with the spread of arid and nutrient-poor regions.

I am currently involved in a major collaborative study with the University of Otago (NZ) on the fossil floras of southern Otago (Sth Is. NZ) ranging from the Late Cretaceous through to the Miocene, and in particular the extremely rich fossil flora of the Foulden Hills Diatomite (a 23 MYO fossilised lake), which appears to be one of the richest fossil monocot sites yet discovered. I am also involved in studies with the Xishuangabana Tropical Botanic Gardens (Yunnan, China) on the evolution of various Old World tropical plant families, particularly the cinnamon family (Lauraceae) as well as Chinese Liliaceae sens. lat. and Commeliniaceae.

  • Current Higher Degree by Research Supervision (University of Adelaide)

    Date Role Research Topic Program Degree Type Student Load Student Name
    2024 Co-Supervisor An examination of the morphological and physiological response to drought of the Australian genus Acacia Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Sumit .
    2019 Co-Supervisor Evolution in Carnivorous Plants (Droseraceae) Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Part Time Mr Luis Tomas Williamson
  • Past Higher Degree by Research Supervision (University of Adelaide)

    Date Role Research Topic Program Degree Type Student Load Student Name
    2022 - 2023 Co-Supervisor Adaptation and Ecological Significance of the Dioecious Plant Pimelea microcephala subsp. microcephala in the Arid Zone. Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Miss Jenna Draper
    2018 - 2023 Co-Supervisor Wild Nicotiana: Profiling the Alkaloids of Australian Species Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Ms Samantha Dama
    2013 - 2018 Co-Supervisor Clonal Integration in Ochtochloa Compressa under Extreme Environmental Conditions Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Mobarak Sahal M Al Mosallam
    2011 - 2015 Co-Supervisor Regrowth and recruitment of the rare shrub Logania saxatilis in response to fire Master of Philosophy Master Full Time Ms Ute Susanne Grehn
    2009 - 2012 Principal Supervisor Phylogeny of the SE Australian clade of Hibbertia subg. Hemistemma (Dilleniaceae) Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Ihsan Abdl Azez Abdul Raheem
    2008 - 2013 Co-Supervisor Tracking Phenological Shifts and Evolutionary Impacts Related to Climate Change Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mrs Phyllis MacGillivray
    2006 - 2010 Principal Supervisor Systematic Studies on Thysanotus R.Br. (Asparagales: Laxmanniaceae) Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Ms Udani Sirisena
    2004 - 2009 Principal Supervisor Molecular Systematics of the Lomandra Labill. Complex (Asparagales: Laxmanniaceae) Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Part Time Mr Matthew Donnon
    1999 - 2001 Principal Supervisor INVESTIGATION ON THE POPULATION VARIATION OF Drosera indica L. COMPLEX USING COMBINED MORPHOLOGICAL AND MOLECULAR TECHNIQUES Master of Science Master Full Time Ms Ratna Susandarini
    1996 - 2002 Co-Supervisor A Comparison of the Effects Of Grazing and Mining on Vegetation of selected Parts of Northern South Australia Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Part Time Mr Francis John Badman
  • Position: Senior Lecturer
  • Phone: 83135684
  • Email: john.conran@adelaide.edu.au
  • Fax: 83136222
  • Campus: North Terrace
  • Building: Benham, floor First Floor
  • Room: 109
  • Org Unit: Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

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