Dr Leanne Faulks

PhD supervisors: Prof L Beheregaray & Dr D Gilligan (DPI NSW)

My passion for the natural world no doubt started with family camping holidays around Australia, David Attenborough documentaires and childhood dreams of being a park ranger or marine biologist. Although time may have altered my ’dream job’, my interest in all things biological has remained with me. Whilst studying biology at Macquarie University I was fortunate to spend a summer working for what was then NSW Fisheries and was struck by the uniqueness of Australia’s freshwater systems and also became acutely aware of their less than pristine state. This experience gave me something to focus my passion towards and since then I have been interested in a range of research projects seeking to understand freshwater ecosystems. In particular I have been interested in exploring how the environment has shaped the evolution of freshwater fish and applying this knowldege to conservation management issues.

I did both my Honours and PhD research in the Mol Ecol Lab and I am currently a postdoctoral fellow at Uppsala University, Sweden.

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Research Experience

– What mechanisms drive abundance-occupancy relationships in Swedish freshwater fishes? 

– Evolutionary history and riverscape genetics of golden and Macquarie Perch 

– Phylogeography and conservation of the endemic fishes of Edgbaston Springs

 – Phylogeography and conservation of the southern purple spotted gudgeon 

– Preliminary investigations into an Achilles Heel for Eurasian Perch control

– How much data is enough? Benchmarking the fish assemblages of the Williams River

For more information



– Faulks LK, Gilligan DM, Beheregaray LB (2011) The role of natural vs. anthropogenic in-stream structures in determining the genetic diversity of an endangered freshwater fish, Macquarie perch (Macquaria australasica). Evolutionary Applications 19, 4723-4737.

– Faulks LK, Gilligan DM, Beheregaray LB (2010) Islands of water in a sea of dry land: hydrological regime predicts genetic diversity and dispersal in a widespread fish from Australia’s arid zone, the golden perch Macquaria ambigua. Molecular Ecology 19: 4723-37.

– Faulks LK, Gilligan DM, Beheregaray LB (2010) Evolution and maintenance of divergent lineages in an endangered freshwater fish, Macquaria australasicaConservation Genetics 11: 921-934.

– Faulks LK, Gilligan DM, Beheregaray LB (2010) Clarifying an ambiguous evolutionary history: range-wide phylogeography of an Australian freshwater fish, Golden Perch (Macquaria ambigua). Journal of Biogeography 37: 1329-1340.

– Faulks LK, Gilligan DM, Beheregaray LB (2008) Phylogeography of a threatened freshwater fish (Mogurnda adspersa) in eastern Australia: conservation implications. Marine and Freshwater Research  59: 89-96.