ARC Research Associate
School of Biological Sciences
Faculty of Sciences
I am a post doctoral research associate in the lab of Professor Andy Lowe, working on plant evolutionary and ecological genomics. My main interests lie in understanding the evolutionary processes that enable species to adapt to environmental change.
I am currently employed on an ARC-funded Discovery project, with the aim of developing our understanding of adaptation in Eucalypt trees to improve conservation and restoration efforts. We are using a number of genomic techniques, including targeted sequencing and gene expression analysis, to investigate the effect of range size on the adaptive capacity of several Euclaypt species, distributed along environmental gradients both here in SA and in WA.
I was awarded my PhD in June 2016. For my post-graduate research I investigated micro-evoultionary patterns and processes in the hopbush, Dodonaea viscosa, with an emphasis on phylogenetics, population genomics and adaptation genomics. In order to address questions of evolutionary history and genomic signatures of selection, I developed a number of genomic tools for the species including a published transcriptome, reduced representation genomic libraries, and hybrid capture target enrichment libraries.
My research focuses on investigating evolutionary processes that lead to adaptation to environment (particularly climate) in plant species. This has involved developing genomic resources and techniques to enable us to address questions regarding population history, signatures of selection and local adaptation, and adpative potential.
Date Position Institution name 2015 ARC Research Associate University of Adelaide
Date Institution name Country Title 2012 - 2016 University of Adelaide Australia PhD 2003 - 2006 The University of Bristol United Kingdom BSc. Hons. Biology
Date Title Institution name Country 2008 Post Graduate Certificate in Education, Secondary Science Kings College United Kingdom
Date Citation 2017 Christmas,M, Biffin,E, Breed,M, Lowe,A, 2017, Targeted capture to assess neutral genomic variation in the narrow-leaf hopbush across a continental biodiversity refugium, Scientific Reports, 7, 41367-1-41367-10 10.1038/srep41367 2016 Baruch,Z, Christmas,M, Breed,MF, Guerin,G, Caddy-Retalic,S, McDonald,J, Jardine,D, Leitch,E, Gellie,N, Hill,K et al, 2016, Leaf trait associations with environmental variation in the wide-ranging shrub Dodonaea viscosa subsp. angustissima (Sapindaceae), Austral Ecology: a journal of ecology in the Southern Hemisphere, OnlinePubl, 1-9 10.1111/aec.12474 2016 Christmas,MJ, Breed,MF, Lowe,AJ, 2016, Constraints to and conservation implications for climate change adaptation in plants, Conservation Genetics, 17, 2, 305-320 10.1007/s10592-015-0782-5 2016 Christmas,M, Biffin,E, Breed,M, Lowe,A, 2016, Finding needles in a genomic haystack: targeted capture identifies clear signatures of selection in a non-model plant species, Molecular Ecology, 25, 17, 4216-4233 10.1111/mec.13750 2015 Christmas,M, Biffin,E, Lowe,A, 2015, Transcriptome sequencing, annotation and polymorphism detection in the hop bush, Dodonaea viscosa, BMC Genomics, 16, 1, 803-803 10.1186/s12864-015-1987-1 2014 Guerin,GR, Martín-Forés,I, Biffin,E, Baruch,Z, Breed,MF, Christmas,MJ, Cross,HB, Lowe,AJ, 2014, Global change community ecology beyond species-sorting: a quantitative framework based on mediterranean-biome examples, Global Ecology and Biogeography, 23, 10, 1062-1072 10.1111/geb.12184 2014 Breed,M, Christmas,M, Lowe,A, 2014, Higher levels of multiple paternities increase seedling survival in the long-lived tree eucalyptus gracilis, PLoS One, 9, 2, e90478-1-e90478-9 10.1371/journal.pone.0090478 2008 Aleksiev,AS, Longdon,B, Christmas,MJ, Sendova-Franks,AB, Franks,NR, 2008, Individual and collective choice: parallel prospecting and mining in ants, Naturwissenschaften, 95, 4, 301-305 10.1007/s00114-007-0329-9 2007 Aleksiev,AS, Longdon,B, Christmas,MJ, Sendova-Franks,AB, Franks,NR, 2007, Individual choice of building material for nest construction by worker ants and the collective outcome for their colony, Animal Behaviour, 74, 3, 559-566 10.1016/j.anbehav.2006.12.019
Date Citation 2016 Lowe,AJ, Breed,M, Gellie,N, Guerin,GR, Mills,J, Christmas,M, 2016, Restoring South Australia's native vegetation, ''Botany 2016 – Past, Present and Future' Symposium. South Australian NRM Science Conference., The University of Adelaide 2016 Guerin,GR, Caddy-Retalic,S, Christmas,M, Lowe,AJ, 2016, Projected climate change implications for the South Australian flora, 'Botany 2016 – Past, Present and Future' Symposium. South Australian NRM Science Conference., The University of Adelaide 2015 Lowe,AJ, Guerin,GR, caddy-retalic,, Christmas,, 2015, Species and gene turnover along environmental gradients - windows into the future, Interconnectedness. Ecological Society of Australia Annual Conference 2015, The Hilton Hotel, Adelaide
Date Citation 2016 Baruch,Z, Christmas,M, Breed,MF, Guerin,GR, Caddy-Retalic,S, McDonald,J, Jardine,DI, Leitch,EJ, Gellie,NJC, Hill,K et al; 2016; Leaf trait associations with environmental variation in the wide-ranging shrub Dodonaea viscosa subsp. angustissima (Sapindaceae) Part 1: Latitude 2016 Baruch,Z, Christmas,M, Breed,MF, Guerin,GR, Caddy-Retalic,S, McDonald,JT, Jardine,DI, Leitch,EJ, Gellie,NJC, Hill,K et al; 2016; Leaf trait associations with environmental variation in the wide-ranging shrub Dodonaea viscosa subsp. angustissima (Sapindaceae) Part 2: Elevation
Society for Molecular Biology and Evolution (SMBE) 2016 annual conference registration award $550
Australian Wildlife Society Student Award $1000
Field Naturalist Society of South Australia Lirabenda Endowment Fund $2,325
Although I am yet to gain much experience in teaching at a Tertiary level, I am a certified Secondary Science teacher and spent 4 years prior to commencing my PhD as a Biology/Science teacher in a Secondary Grammar school in the UK. I am therefore well trained and experienced in delivering effective science education pedagogy.
During my time as a post-graduate student I worked for Wirltu Yarlu at the University of Adelaide as a tutor in the Indigenous Tutorial Assistance Scheme (ITAS), providing tutorial assistance to life sciences undergraduate students.
Connect With Me