Research scientist with a focus on plant ecology, biodiversity, and evolution. A broad and multidisciplinary skill set including data analysis and statistics (R/SPSS/Excel), grant writing, analysis of genetic data, field ecology, scientific/technical report writing, writing for the public, experimental design, research and literature review, presenting public and specialist seminars, conservation biology, plant identification.
Specialist skills in biological science include: population genetic analysis, camera-trapping, mark-recapture methodologies, phylogenetic analysis of DNA sequence data, analysis of colour and vision modelling, plant and fungal culture, and microbiological techniques.
Work experience includes applications in:
– Fundamental research in plant biodiversity and ecology
– Threatened plant species ecology
– Extensive work in population genetic analysis for plants and animals
– Modeling and simulation for impact assessment on arboreal mammals
– Mark-recapture of insect pollinators
– Motion-capture survey of floral visitors
– Mycorrhizal biology
– Meta-analysis and literature review
– DNA sequence data analysis
July 19th 2013: PhD Australian National University (ANU).
2000 – 2004: BSc (Hons 1st class) Biological Science University of New South Wales (UNSW).
Population genetic structure and evolutionary dynamics of Elaeocarpus reticulatus in New South Wales. Supervisors: Bill Sherwin (UNSW), Maurizio Rossetto & Darren Crayn (Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney)
Research and teaching appointments
Jun 2019 – Dec 2019: Postdoctoral Research Fellow: Success and failure in plant translocations for conservation. University of Queensland.
May 2016 – May 2019: McKenzie Postdoctoral Research Fellow: Pollination and adaptation in the Australian flora. University of Melbourne.
Mar 2016 – Aug 2016: Endeavour Postdoctoral Fellowship: Global plant-mating systems meta-analysis. University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, USA.
Sept 2015 – Dec 2015: Casual lecturer: Field Studies in Functional Ecology (BIOL2203), The Australian National University.
Apr 2013 – Jan 2016: Postdoctoral Research Fellow: Above and below ground interactions in Caladenia spider orchids. The Australian National University / Kings Park Botanic Garden
Nov 2012 – Mar 2014: Postdoctoral Scholar: Floral community colour and pollination in the South African orchid flora. University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
Aug 2007– Dec 2007: Research Assistant: Invasion genetics of European Starlings. University of New South Wales
Mar 2007 – Jun 2007: Research Assistant: DNA barcoding of Australian flora. Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney
Mar 2005 – Feb 2007: Research Assistant: Empirical tests of population genetics theory, and technician; Molecular Ecology and Evolution Facility. University of New South Wales
Research grants awarded
2017: Hermon Slade Foundation Research Grant ($53 994 AUD)
MR Whitehead: Plant biodiversity and adaptation in a changing world: the effects of animal pollinators
2016: McKenzie Postdoctoral Research Fellowship ($286 000 AUD)
2016: Endeavour Postdoctoral Research Fellowship ($20 000 AUD)
2014: Australian Orchid Foundation ($10 000 AUD)
MR Whitehead, Rod Peakall, Kingsley Dixon, Celeste Linde: Below ground diversity in an orchid biodiversity hotspot.
2012: Percy Sladen Memorial Fund grant (£750 GBP)
MR Whitehead: Are pollinators of rewardless flowers betrayed by learning or instinct?
2008 – 2010: Australian Pacific Science Foundation Research Grant ($30 000 AUD)
MR Whitehead and R Peakall: Gene flow in Australian sexually deceptive orchids.