My name is Russell Dinnage and I am a biologist working in evolutionary community ecology. I am currently doing a post-doc with Australian National University (ANU) in Canberra, Australia. I got my PhD at the University of Toronto, Canada. All opinions expressed on this website are my own.
My research is focused on understanding the formation, maintenance, and properties of component ecological communities, particularly with reference to the evolutionary history of the organisms that live in and make up those communities. I mainly work with plant and insect communities (preferably both at the same time), but also frequently digital organisms of my own devising which inhabitat my ecosystem of computers.
Here at ANU my work is focused on incorporating phylogeny, species interactions, and sampling bias due to habitat loss into modelling and predicting the distributions of Proteaceae species across Australia. Focusing on Banksia and Hakea, two charismatic plant genera that are extremely diverse in the Western Australian biodiversity hotspot, this work aims to answer the questions: Why are they are so diverse in the west? and What might happen to these species with changing climates and human habitat alterations?
My work here at work during my last postdoc at CSIRO (and ongoing) was focused on developing new tools to facilitate rapid biodiversity assessment using next generation sequencing technology, specifically whole genome metagenomics. I am working on analyzing samples of insects collected from a survey in the biologically little known Kimberley region of North-west Australia. Besides rapid biodiversity assessment, I am exploring how this metagenomics data can be used to answer ecological questions, by extracting information about evolutionary relationships and combining that with distribution data to model metacommunity dynamics.
Other scientific interests include Bayesian statistics, machine learning and its application to ecology, and scientific visualization.