David Ayre

Professor David Ayre

B.Sc. (Hons) University of Western Australia
PhD University of Western Australia.

Lab Phone:        +61 2 4221 4266
Lab:                         B35.G03
Office Phone:    +61 2 4221 3440
Office:                    B35.G05


  • Senior Professor   

Research Interests

  • Evolutionary consequences of variation in the mating systems of terrestrial plants
  • Population genetics and marine ecology of invertebrates and fish
  • Behavioural Ecology - especially pollinator behaviour and behaviour of marine invertebrates

Representative Publications

Ayre, D. J and R. J. Whelan. (1989) Factors controlling fruit set in hermaphroditic plants: studies with the Australian Proteaceae. Trends in Ecology and Evolution 4: 267-272.

Ayre, D.J. and Grosberg, R.K. (1995) Aggression, habituation, and clonal coexistence in the sea anemone Anthopleura elegantissima. American Naturalist 146: 427-453.

Ayre D.J. and T.P. Hughes (2000) Genotypic diversity and gene flow in brooding and spawning corals along the Great Barrier Reef, Australia. Evolution 54: 1590-1605.

Ayre D.J. and T.P. Hughes (2004) Climate change, genotypic diversity and gene flow in reef-building corals. Ecology Letters 7: 273-278.

Roberts, D.R., D.J. Ayre and R.J. Whelan (2007) Are Urban Plants Genetic Reservoirs or threats to the Integrity of bushland plant populations. Conservation Biology 21: 842-852.

K.J. Miller and D.J. Ayre (2008). Protection of genetic diversity and maintenance of connectivity among marine protected areas. Conservation Biology 22: 1245-1254.

Sherman C.D.H. and D.J. Ayre (2008) Fine-scale adaptation in a clonal sea anemone. Evolution 62: 1373-1380.

Ayre D.J., T.E. Minchinton and C. Perrin (2009) 'Does life history predict past and current connectivity for rocky intertidal invertebrates across a marine biogeographic barrier? Molecular Ecology 18: 1887-1903.

Ayre, D.J., K. Ottewell, S.L Krauss and R.J. Whelan (2009) Genetic structure of seedling cohorts following repeated wildfires in the fire-sensitive shrub Persoonia mollis ssp. nectens Journal of Ecology 97: 752-760.

Ayre D.J., E. O’Brien, K. Ottewell and R.J. Whelan (2010) The accumulation of genetic diversity within a canopy stored seed bank. Molecular Ecology 19: 2640-2650.

Roberts, D. G., Gray, C. A., West, R. J. & Ayre, D. J. (2010). Marine genetic swamping: hybrids replace an obligately estuarine fish.  Molecular Ecology, 19: 508-520.

Field, D. L., Ayre, D. J., Whelan, R. J. & Young, A. G. (2011). The importance of pre-mating barriers and the local demographic context for contemporary mating patterns in hybrid zones of Eucalyptus aggregata and Eucalyptus rubida.  Molecular Ecology, 20: 2367-2379.

Clarke, L. J., Robinson, S. A., Hua, Q., Ayre, D. J. & Fink, D. (2012). Radiocarbon bomb spike reveals biological effects of Antarctic climate change. Global Change Biology, 18: 301-310.

Roberts D.G., K.M. Ottewell, R.J. Whelan, D.J. Ayre (2014) Is the post-disturbance composition of a plant population determined by selection for outcrossed seedlings or by the composition of the seedbank?  Heredity 112: 409-414.  

Aguilar L.A. , D.G. Roberts, T.E. Minchinton, D.J. Ayre (2015) Genetic differentiation in the barnacle Catomerus polymerus despite migration across a biogeographic barrier.  Marine Ecology Progress Series 524: 213-224.  

Lathlean, J., R.A. McWilliam, D.J. Ayre and T.E. Minchinton (2015)  Biogeographical patterns of rocky shore community structure in south‐east Australia: effects of oceanographic conditions and heat stress.  Journal of Biogeography  DOI: 10.1111/jbi.12511

Searchable publications

Current Students

PHD Students

  • Mr Cairo Forrest - Genetics and Pollination Biology of Arid Zone Acacia
  • Ms Lucia Aguilar - Gene flow among invertebrates in Marine Parks
  • Mr Russ McWilliam – Genetic Tests of the connectivity of fish populations in Marine Parks.
  • Ms Amy Gilpin – Competitive interaction among native plants: the effects of major sources of pollen and nectar on pollinator services.
  • Ms Alice Hudson - The relative importance of genetic diversity and phenotypic plasticity as determinants of germination in the face of climate change.
  • Ms Ganesha Sanjeewani Liyanage Borala Liyanage - Environmental control of seed dormancy

Honours Students

  • Ms Alison Haynes – Persoonia Conservation Genetics 
  • Ms Kwan Li – Squid Taxonomy 
  • Mr Luke Mcaulay – Deer Demography
  • Ms Naomi Pacquette – Intertidal Litter 

Postdoctoral Fellows


Dr Mark Ooi Predicting climate change impacts on biodiversity: testing and applying new approaches.

Recent Members of my Research Group


Dr Karen Miller – Population genetics of tropical and temperate corals.

Dr Jeff Wright - Population growth, genetic variation and adaptation in two Caulerpa species in southeastern Australia.,

Dr Kym Ottewell – Ecological Genetics of Proteaceae.

Dr Cecile Perrin – Phylogeography of Marine Invertebrates.

Dr Eleanor O’Brien - Grevillea mating systems.

Dr David Roberts  Genetic Rescue of Arid Zone Plants.

Recent PhD students

Dr Tanya Llorens (2004)
Effects of habitat fragmentation on rare and threatened Grevilleas

Dr Paul Rymer (2006)
Explanations for rarity in Persoonia.

Dr Samantha Lloyd (2006)  The pollination ecology and reproductive success of the Grevillea macleayana.

Dr David McKenna (2007)
Demographic consequences of fire-sensitivity in Persoonia

Ms Eszter Hidas (2007)
Processes determining species distributions on the south east coast of Australia

Dr Craig Sherman (2006)
Fine scale environmental heterogeneity as a determinant of diversity and adaptation.

Dr David Field (2008)
Effects of habitat fragmentation on hybridization in Eucalypts

Dr James Bower (2008)
Concerted evolution of the rDNA ITS1 in Anopheles punctulatus.

Dr Laurence Clarke (2008)
Effects of increased UV radiation on somatic mutation in Antarctic Moss.

Dr David Roberts  (2010) - Genetic swamping of estuarine Bream.

Ms Annette Usher  (2012) -Hybridization in Banksia

Mr Justin Lathlean (2012) - Factors influencing range limits of Marine Invertebrates. 

Mr Tyge Dahl Hermansen (2014) – Effects of fragmentation on the genetic structure and reproductive ecology of mangroves. 

Future Topics for Students

I would be happy to support research student projects across the range of my research interests i.e.

  • Effects of life-history variation on gene flow and population structure in Marine or Freshwater Invertebrates
  • Fisheries genetics
  • Behavioural Ecology e.g. competitive interactions between sea anemone clones (see picture)
  • Plant/pollinator interactions and their genetic and ecological consequences

See Also the Honours Topics Page

Abbreviated CV

Academic Degrees

B.Sc. (Hons) 1977, Department of Zoology, University of Western Australia.
Ph.D. 1983, Department of Zoology, University of Western Australia.

Academic and Research Appointments:

1978-79 Research Officer, Department of Microbiology, University of W.A.
1980-83 Ph.D. student, Department of Zoology, University of W. A..
1983-85 Postdoctoral Fellow, Australian Institute of Marine Science.
1985-88 Lecturer, Department of Biology, University of Wollongong.
1989-94 Senior Lecturer, Department of Biology, University of Wollongong.
1990, 1993 Visiting Research Zoologist, Center for Population Biology, University of California, Davis. 
1994-5 Co-ordinator of Australian Flora and Fauna Research Centre (AFFRC), University of Wollongong.
1995-2002 Associate Professor, Department of Biological Sciences, University of Wollongong.
2002 -  Professor, Department of Biological Sciences. 
2002-2004 and 2007 - 2011 Director Institute for Conservation Biology, University of Wollongong.
2015 -  Senior Professor, School of Biological Sciences, University of Wollongong.

Current and Recent Externally Funded Research Projects:

Genetic Rescue of Arid Zone plants.
(A collaboration with Mr Andrew Denham, NSW DECC.  Funded by ARC linkage)
Predicting climate change impacts on biodiversity: testing and applying new approaches.
(A collaboration with Dr Mark Ooi UOW, Drs David Keith and Tony Auld NSW DECCW and Professor Rob Freckleton University of Sheffield. Funded by ARC linkage)
Biotic Connectivity of Marine Parks.
(A collaboration with  Professors Graham Edgar, University of Tasmania,
David Booth UTS and Dr Jon Waters, University  of Otago and others.  Funded by ARC linkage)

Last reviewed: 15 August, 2017