Briar Smith

Doctor of Philosophy, (Zoology)
Study Completed: 2015
College of Sciences


Thesis Title
Evolution of diversity: Analysis of species and speciation in Hemiandrus ground weta

Read article at Massey Research Online: MRO icon

Taxonomic knowledge of New Zealand invertebrates has significant gaps. Furthermore, although centres of endemism are a conservation priority, current patterns of endemism worldwide are poorly understood. Spatial patterns of biodiversity and endemism in New Zealand invertebrates were explored, with a special focus on the New Zealand ground weta genus, Hemiandrus. The ground weta group was formerly thought to comprise only nine named species but dozens of alleged species. Ms Smith used morphological, genetic and geographic data to assess the true diversity of Hemiandrus and explored the evolutionary mechanisms underlying this. She found that New Zealand invertebrate diversity includes many range restricted species and a pronounced pattern of regional variation in endemism levels associated with prehistoric land availability. 

Professor Steven Trewick
Professor Mary Morgan-Richards