Claire Brandenburger
Claire Brandenburger
PhD Candidate
Field of Research: 
Evolution, Introduced plants, Plant Traits
Contact details:
+61 400 313 852

Level 4 East
Biological Sciences North (D26)
UNSW, Kensington 2052

To what extent is evolution in introduced plant species generating unique biological entities? A study using two Australian weeds.

When European colonists introduced plants to their new homelands, they inadvertently followed a near-perfect recipe for encouraging rapid evolution. Using glasshouse experiments for two Australian weeds, the aim of this project will be to find out whether differences between source and introduced populations are heritable, and to assess the degree of reproductive isolation between source and introduced populations. This will allow us to quantify the extent to which evolution in introduced species is generating unique biological entities. One intriguing possibility is that introduced populations might eventually diverge so far from their source populations that they could be classified as new Australian natives.

For further details about my work, outreach activities or CV please have a look at my website:

Here is a link to a podcast I gave about delivering a winning 3-minute thesis:

Supervisor: Professor Angela Moles

Secondary Supervisors: Associate Professor Stephen Bonser and Professor William Sherwin



(maiden name Volchansky)

Rollins, L.A., Moles, A.T., Lam, S., Buitenwerf, R., Buswell, J.M., Brandenburger, C.R., Flores‐Moreno, H., Nielsen, K.B., Couchman, E., Brown, G.S. and Thomson, F.J. 2013. High genetic diversity is not essential for successful introduction. Ecology and Evolution 3: 4501-4517.

Volchansky, C.R., Hoffmann, J.H. & Zimmerman, H.G. 1999. Host-plant affinities of two biotypes of Dactylopius opuntiae (Homoptera: Dactylopiidae): Enhanced prospects for biological control of Opuntia stricta (Cactaceae) in South Africa. Journal of Applied Ecology 36: 85-91.

Hoffmann, J.H., Impson, F.A.C. & Volchansky, C.R. 2002. Biological control of cactus weeds: implications of hybridization between control agent biotypes. Journal of Applied Ecology 39: 900-908.