Tom Schmidt

PhD StudentSchmidtT

Bio21, Building 404, Room G21  tschmidt@student.unimelb.edu.au

Biography:

I joined PEARG at the beginning of 2014, and am currently pursuing a PhD as a student of Dr Gordana Rašić and Prof Ary Hoffmann. My research employs molecular tools and statistical modelling to explore fine-scale processes of gene flow and dispersal in the dengue vectors Aedes aegypti and Ae. albopictus. This knowledge can be applied to better understand the curious patterns of spatial spread exhibited by dengue-suppressing Wolbachia through Aedes populations in Cairns and elsewhere.

In 2008, I obtained a BSc (Hons) from the University of Western Australia. My honours thesis examined the phylogeography of trapdoor spiders throughout WA, which determined that a phenotypically homogeneous sample of these arthropods was actually a species complex with deeply divergent lineages, driven apart by habitat fragmentation. This project sparked my interest in geographical patterns in biology, and how changes in geography that might appear trivial when looked at anthropocentrically could have profound ecological effects for many species. Current molecular tools now allow for similar analyses at increasingly finer scales, which I am only too happy to use in my studies of mosquitoes in urban environments.

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