Dr Melissa Carew

CarewMARC Research Associate
Bio 21
Room 264
+613 8344 2314
University of Melbourne – Find an Expert


My research has largely focused on applying DNA approaches to understand life histories, population structure and for species identification of various invertebrate (and some vertebrate) groups. I began my research career in 1995 working with Ross Crozier at La Trobe University and used DNA approaches to understand population structure in social insects (ants, bees and wasps). I then joined Ary’s group in 2000 and began working on applying DNA approaches to understand various invertebrate groups. Among these groups, I have developed DNA markers for species identification and determining population structure of eriophyoid mites and investigated endemic Drosophila species. My PhD focused on investigating an important group of freshwater flies, the Chironomidae, well known as bioindicator in freshwater environment. This work involved developing DNA approaches for species identification of chironomids and linking this to field-based responses to pollution. After completing my PhD at the University of Melbourne, I received an ARC linkage grant (in conjunction with Melbourne Water and EPA Victoria) to develop a rapid means of identify macroinvertebrate using high throughput DNA technologies for aquatic monitoring. I have been involved in many different freshwater projects through my involvement with PEARG and currently, CAPIM.

My current research involves DNA barcoding of aquatic invertebrates, particularly Chironomidae and developing NGS for identifying aquatic invertebrates in environmental samples

Current Project:

ARC linkage project: Molecular biosignatures for isolating pollution problems in aquatic ecosystems using macroinvertebrate bioindicators (LP0989324)

Awards / Achievements:

B Sc (Hon) La Trobe University 1996
PhD – The University of Melbourne 2006

Recent Publications (2010 – 2014):

Carew, M.E., V.J. Pettigrove, L. Metzeling & A.A. Hoffmann, 2013. Environmental monitoring using next generation sequencing: rapid identification of macroinvertebrate bioindicator species. Frontiers in Zoology 10:45

Proulx, I., J. Martin, M. Carew & L. Hare, 2013. Using various lines of evidence to identify Chironomus species. (Diptera: Chironomidae) in eastern Canadian lakes.  Zootaxa 3741: 401-458

Carew, M., B. Gagliardi & A. Hoffmann, 2013. Mitochondrial DNA suggests a single maternal origin for the widespread triploid parthenogenetic pest species, Paratanytarsus grimmii, but microsatellite variation shows local endemism. Insect Science 20:345-357

Qian, Z.-Q., F. Sara Ceccarelli, M. E. Carew, H. Schlüns, B. C. Schlick-Steiner & F. M. Steiner, 2011. Characterization of polymorphic microsatellites in the giant bulldog ant, Myrmecia brevinoda and the jumper ant, M. pilosula. Journal of Insect Science 11:1-8.

Carew, M. E., S. E. Marshall & A. A. Hoffmann, 2011. A combination of molecular and morphological approaches resolves species in the taxonomically difficult genus Procladius Skuse (Diptera: Chironomidae) despite high intra-specific morphological variation. Bulletin of Entomological Research:1-15.

Carew, M., A. Miller & A. Hoffmann, 2011. Phylogenetic signals and ecotoxicological responses: Potential implications for aquatic biomonitoring. Ecotoxicology:1-12.

O’Brien, M. L., V. Pettigrove, M. E. Carew & A. A. Hoffmann, 2010. Combining rapid bioassessment and field-based microcosms for identifying impacts in an urban river. Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry 29:1773-1780.

Marshall, S., V. Pettigrove, M. Carew & A. Hoffmann, 2010. Isolating the impact of sediment toxicity in urban streams. Environmental Pollution 158:1716-1725.

Coleman, R., V. Pettigrove, T. Raadik, A. Hoffmann, A. Miller & M. Carew, 2010. Microsatellite markers and mtDNA data indicate two distinct groups in dwarf galaxias, Galaxiella pusilla; (Mack) (Pisces: Galaxiidae), a threatened freshwater fish from south-eastern Australia. Conservation Genetics 11:1911-1928.

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