Facilities & Software

The Molecular Ecology Lab at Flinders University (MELFU) has become a focus for research in molecular ecology and ecological genomics in South Australia, providing links to colleagues and stakeholders working on conservation and evolution of aquatic biodiversity.

Our research group owns or has access to extensive facilities for both lab and field-based research in aquatic genomics. That includes a lab with state-of-art PCR and RT-PCR machines, a robot for high-throughput automated pipetting (our friend ‘Roberto’) and equipment for ddRAD and RNA-seq library development (e.g. Pippin Prep, Bioanalyzer, etc), a new and fully-equipped 6.8m boat for research in inshore and offshore waters, biospsy rifles and biopsy poles for marine mammal sampling, field vehicles, photographic instruments and a range of other equipment. We have recently refurbished several rooms and outdoor areas at both the Flinders Animal House and the Flinders Aquaculture facility for common-garden experiments. These include temperature-controlled rooms, each fitted with 36 tanks (100L) or 50 tanks (30L), and an undercover outdoor area with 24 fully-equipped tanks (10,000L and 2,000L) for larger scale fish breeding and rearing.

The lab collaborates with leading labs and bioinformatic groups elsewhere to address technical and computational challenges pertinent to ecological genomic projects. These include the labs of collaborators Prof Louis Bernatchez (Canadian Research Chair in in Genomics and Conservation of Aquatic Resoruces, Universite Laval) and Prof Paul Sunnucks (Monash University).


SWINGER: a workbench to select breeders for conservation breeding programs without pedigree information. It implements an algorithm to determine the best possible combination of groups to maximise the preservation of genetic variation and minimize inbreeding.  Swinger uses molecular-based estimates of relatedness and user-determined thresholds of individual internal relatedness, pairwise relatedness and average relatedness in groups. You can download Swinger code and its manual here.

Interested in Joining the Lab?

PhD students: We are usually looking for bright, enthusiastic, and hard-working postgraduate students to join our lab. The typical MELFU member has a strong background in evolution, population genetics and ecology and a passion for natural history and exploratory research. Another desirable criterion is religious attendance of our lab happy hours and BBQ parties. Is that you? If yes, email one of us (details below, note difference in taxon preference!) and visit this Flinders website for more information about postgraduate study applications. Importantly, if you are not an Australian or New Zealand citizen or permanent resident there will be only a handful of highly competitive PhD scholarships offered annually by the University – in that case potential applicants should also look for alternative sources of scholarship funding. 

Postdoctoral researchers: We offer possibilities for molecular ecologists to develop their own research in collaborative and multidisciplinary projects using high-impact biological systems. We will encourage and assist researchers with competitive track records to submit fellowship applications to both Australian (e.g. ARC’s DECRA and Future Fellowships) and foreign funding agencies to come and work in our lab. When available, postdoctoral opportunities funded from Beheregaray’s or Möller’s research grants are announced in Evoldir, GSA, and other similar lists – no such positions are currently available.

Contact Details

Professor Luciano Beheregaray (Head of the Lab, various taxa except marine mammals)
Flinders University, Adelaide SA 5001, Australia
Telephone/Fax: (08) 8201 5243 / 8201 3015
E-mail: luciano.beheregaray at flinders.edu.au

Associate Professor Luciana Möller (Deputy-Head of the Lab, marine mammal projects)
Flinders University, Adelaide SA 5001, Australia
Telephone/Fax: (08) 8201 3684 / 8201 3015
E-mail: luciana.moller at flinders.edu.a