Dr David Yeates: understanding the diversity and evolution of Australian insects
Dr David Yeates is the Director of the Australian National Insect Collection (ANIC). His research focus is on the taxonomy, systematics and ecology of Australian Diptera and other insect groups, providing information for their sustainable management.
4 February 2010 | Updated 7 May 2013
Dr David Yeates is the Director of the Australian National Insect Collection.
Dr Yeates' research group is currently studying the taxonomy and relationships of Diptera, also known as flies. He is particularly interested in exploring the evolution of Australian insect fauna.
At present, this research focuses on the impact of widespread aridification in Australia, during the late Tertiary geological period (20–1.8 million years ago), on insect faunas.
Evidence suggests that many insect groups responded by diversifying extensively, either through allopatric speciation mechanisms or in major co-radiations with Australia's dominant plant groups.
This has produced a number of very diverse Australian insect groups that we see today.
His other projects include the systematics of Australian march flies (Tabanidae), asiloid flies, and the evolution of Fergusoninidae.
He is also collaborating with Dr Simon Ferrier and others to model biological diversity at continental scale.
"Our focus is on Australian insect diversity - what it is, where it occurs and how it came to be."
Dr David Yeates, CSIRO Ecosystem Sciences
Dr Yeates collaborates extensively with other scientists both in Australia and internationally.
He is engaged in a number of research programs funded by the National Science Foundation of the USA, particularly the Assembling the Tree of Life initiative.
He is currently working with colleagues on initiatives to assemble phylogenomic datasets to establish the relationships of the insect orders, and the Diptera.
Joining CSIRO at the end of 2000, Dr Yeates has extensive research experience in the taxonomy and systematics of Diptera and other groups of insects both in Australia and overseas.
He also has extensive experience developing innovative software solutions for taxonomic identification, and education.
Dr Yeates also supervises students who study the systematics and ecology of Australian insects.
Dr Yeates has been awarded a:
Bachelor of Science, with First Class Honours from the University of Queensland, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
Doctorate, also from the University of Queensland.
Dr Yeates was Roosevelt Postdoctoral Fellow at the American Museum of Natural History, New York City, NY, USA.
He was also Senior Lecturer at the University of Queensland and he is now a Schlinger Foundation Fellow in CSIRO Entomology.
Dr Yeates has just finished editing a book The Evolutionary Biology of Flies, Columbia University Press: New York, USA, with Dr Brian Wiegmann.
He also leads a consortium of scientists in the development of an interactive key to the Australian fly families, to be published by the Australian Biological Resources Study.
The CD – On the Fly: The Interactive Atlas and Key to Australian Fly Families, has been awarded a Whitley Award commendation from the Royal Zoological Society of New South Wales.
Dr David Yeates has been awarded the Australian Entomological Society's 2008 Mackerras Medal.
Dr Yeates' professional memberships include:
- Vice President of the Australian Entomological Society
- Chair of the International Congresses of Dipterology (2002-2010)
- Member of the Advisory Committee of the Australian Biological Resources Study (ABRS).
With Dr David Rowell (Australian National University) he also coordinates the teaching of the undergraduate subject Invertebrate Zoology (BIOL2113).
Find out more about the Australian National Insect Collection.