About

Professor Crayn’s career has involved studies of the origins, evolution and classification of plants and deals broadly with the questions: how many plant species exist, where do they occur, how are they related and how have they evolved?

These objectives have taken him to a broad range of biomes and countries including the Republic of Panama, Venezuela, Papua New Guinea, New Caledonia, Malaysia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom.

Since March 2008, Darren has been the inaugural Director of the Australian Tropical Herbarium, a joint venture between James Cook University, CSIRO and the Queensland Government.

Teaching
  • BZ3620: Tropical Flora of Australia (Level 3; CNS)
  • BZ5620: Tropical Flora of Australia (Level 5; CNS)
  • BZ5650: Australian Land Plants: Recognition, Evolution and Diversity (Level 5; TSV)
Interests
Research
  • discovering, naming and classifying new plant species and determining the evolutionary relationships among them
  • mapping the distribution of ecosystems, species and genetic variation within species across the landscape,
  • developing DNA-based tools and ‘matrix keys’ for species identification and rapid biodiversity inventory
  • uncovering the deep-time origins and ancient migration pathways of plants that are found in tropical Australia today
Research Disciplines
Socio-Economic Objectives
Honours
Fellowships
  • 1998 to 2000 - Andrew W. Mellon Fellow, Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute
Memberships
  • 2014 - Centre for Tropical Biodiversity and Climate Change Management Committee
  • 2013 - Australian Orchid Foundation Research Committee
  • 2012 - Australian Barcode of Life Network Steering Committee
  • 2011 - Wet Tropics Management Authority Scientific Advisory Committee
  • 2011 - Tropical Indigenous Ethnobotany Centre - Coordinating Committee member
  • 2010 - Council of Heads of Australasian Herbaria
  • 2009 - Daintree Rainforest Observatory Scientific Committee
  • 2011 to 2014 - National Environmental Research Program, Tropical Ecosystems Hub Rainforest Working Group
  • 2009 to 2014 - Australian Biological Resources Study Advisory Committee
  • 2009 - Herbarium NE International Review Panel
  • 1997 - National Biodiversity Council
Other
  • 2012 to 2014 - Chair, Australian Biological Resources Study Research Subcommittee, Advisory Committee
  • 2005 to 2008 - Australian Systematic Botany Society - Vice President
  • 2003 to 2005 - Australian Systematic Botany Society - Councillor
Publications

These are the most recent publications associated with this author. To see a detailed profile of all publications stored at JCU, visit ResearchOnline@JCU. Hover over Altmetrics badges to see social impact.

Journal Articles
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ResearchOnline@JCU stores 106+ research outputs authored by Prof Darren Crayn from 2001 onwards.

Current Funding

Current and recent Research Funding to JCU is shown by funding source and project.

National Environmental Science Program (NESP) Resilient Landscapes Hub - Research Project

Assessing the impacts of myrtle rust on forest dynamics and function

Indicative Funding
$203,400 over 2 years
Summary
This project investigates the consequences for environmental health of myrtle rust ? an exotic fungal pathogen - infection on kanuka box (Tristaniopsis exiliflora). Kanuka box is a tree that grows along fast-flowing, rocky watercourses of northeast Queensland and is important for stabilising banks and preventing erosion within catchments of the Great Barrier Reef. Myrtle rust can kill kanuka box and is therefore a serious ecosystem-level threat that urgently needs to be better understood to assist in conservation management.
Investigators
Darren Crayn, Matt Barrett, Jennifer Firn and Gerald Turpin in collaboration with Geoff Pegg and Stuart Worboys (Australian Tropical Herbarium, Queensland University of Technology, QLD Department of Agriculture and Fisheries and College of Science & Engineering)
Keywords
Tristaniopsis exiliflora (Myrtaceae); Myrtle rust; Riparian ecosystems

Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water - National Taxonomy Grant

A taxonomic and conservation assessment of threatened orchid species complexes

Indicative Funding
$300,000 over 3 years
Summary
This project will use conservation genomic approaches to provide a taxonomic and conservation assessment of threatened orchid species complexes where species delimitation and conservation status is poorly understood. Comprehensive sampling and genomic sequencing will be used to generate genomic datasets to infer evolutionary relationships, genetic diversity, and population connectivity; assess species delimitation, taxonomy, and conservation status; and determine appropriate conservation management recommendations. Publications of taxonomic concepts including conservation status and recommendations will provide managers with an improved understanding of conservation priorities and appropriate actions, enabling effective conservation management.
Investigators
Lalita Simpson, Darren Crayn, Katharina Nargar, Mark Clements and Heidi Zimmer (Australian Tropical Herbarium, College of Science & Engineering and Commonwealth Scientific & Industrial Research Organisation)
Keywords
Orchidaceae; Taxonomy; Conservation genomics

Great Barrier Reef Foundation - Reef Trust Partnership

Island Habitat Monitoring - Vegetation

Indicative Funding
$119,790 over 3 years (administered by QLD Department of Environment and Science)
Summary
Islands, particularly the remote or less-accessible ones, have very poor inventories of species and ecosystems, their condition and potential threats. This base level data is required to identify which values should be prioritised for management and monitoring. A process to identify and prioritise information gaps and fill them is needed to address this issue. The Australian Tropical Herbarium proposes to address these knowledge gaps through provision of technical expertise that can include (a) field survey, (b) provision of plant identification services, (c) training and (d) data management.
Investigators
Darren Crayn, Stuart Worboys, Eda Addicott, Mark Newton and Matt Barrett (Australian Tropical Herbarium)
Keywords
Great Barrier Reef; vegetation; biodiversity; islands; flora; training

Queensland Parks & Wildlife Service - Contract Research

Island Arks GBR Regional Ecosystem mapping

Indicative Funding
$330,000 over 1 year
Summary
The Queensland Government has committed to expand Queensland?s protected area estate on islands in the GBR. To deliver this commitment, the Great Barrier Reef Island Arks Acquisition Project has been established. This project will contribute information on regional ecosystems of selected islands targeted for acquisition, providing improved conservation outcomes, opportunities to work with Traditional Owners to co-manage key ecological and cultural sites, and promote new ecotourism offerings.
Investigators
Darren Crayn, Stuart Worboys and Eda Addicott (Australian Tropical Herbarium and Australian Tropical Herbarium)
Keywords
Great Barrier Reef; vegetation; biodiversity; islands; flora

Australian Government Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment - National Taxonomy Research Grant Program

Progressing a Flora of Australia treatment of Ericaceae subfamily Epacridoideae

Indicative Funding
$185,692 over 3 years
Summary
Generic boundaries in the predominantly Australian Ericaceae subfamily Epacridoideae (c. 580 Australian taxa) have recently been resolved following many years of phylogenetic research, paving the way for the description of undescribed species and a Flora of Australia treatment. We have completed the first part of such a treatment: species profiles and a LucID key of all 152 species of the capsular fruited taxa (tribes Archerieae, Cosmelieae, Epacrideae, Prionoteae, and Richeeae). The proposed project will complete the second part by describing 10 new species and completing species profiles and keys for 180 species of the remaining two tribes: Oligarrheneae and Styphelieae. This research will aid conservation efforts, particularly in south-western Australia, where there is a high level of diversity, with many species subject to multiple threats.
Investigators
Darren Crayn in collaboration with Fanie Venter and David Albrecht (Australian Tropical Herbarium and Centre for Australian National Biodiversity)
Keywords
Ericaceae; Taxonomy; Systematics; Classification; Conservation

Australian Research Council - Linkage - Projects

Integrating climate adaptation into rainforest restoration plantings

Indicative Funding
$410,237 over 3 years, in partnership with Australian Genome Research Facility ($15,000)
Summary
This project aims to investigate the impact of within species adaptation to climate on reforestation success in the Australian Wet Tropics. For a suite of six species of tropical tree frequently employed in rainforest restoration plantings in northeast Queensland, we will test the hypothesis that collecting seed from populations in similar ecoclimatic settings to the planting site will result in superior seedling growth and survival. The results of the study will allow us to provide practical advice to reforestation practitioners about the importance of matching the provenance of seed source to planting sites, and opportunities for selecting provenances pre-adapted to predicted future climatic conditions at planting sites.
Investigators
Lucas Cernusak, Martin Breed, Susan Laurance and Darren Crayn in collaboration with Alexander Cheesman, Maurizio Rossetto, Christopher Noune and Kenneth Chan (College of Science & Engineering, Flinders University, University of Exeter, Royal Botanic Gardens & Domain Trust and Australian Genome Research Facility)
Keywords
Restoration; Microbiome; Ecophysiology; Common garden; Adaptation; Rainforest

HLB Mann Judd Australasian Association - Donation

Mountain plant conservation

Indicative Funding
$3,000 over 5 years
Summary
This project will enable us to secure the future of Australia's climate-threatened tropical mountaintop plants. We will do this by building a multi-strategy ex-situ conservation reserve to 'backup' at-risk wild populations and support research, display and education. Our novel research on seed banking strategies, genetic diversity and plant tolerance of extreme climates will ensure that the reserve collections, distributed across multiple Botanic Gardens and Seed Banks along Australia's east coast, incorporate high redundancy, are genetically and physiologically diverse, and climatically matched to wild habitat.
Investigators
Darren Crayn (Australian Tropical Herbarium)
Keywords
plant conservation; Extinction; Climate Change; Genetics

National Health & Medical Research Council - Ideas Grants

Discovering novel drug lead molecules for inflammatory bowel disease from Australian Aboriginal tropical medicinal plants

Indicative Funding
$1,209,524 over 5 years
Summary
Inflammatory Bowel Disease is a debilitating disease, which has no cure. It costs the Australian Health System billions of dollars in hospitalisation, management and lost productivity, thereby precipitating the need for novel drugs. Building on my extensive preliminary data, we aim to discover novel drug leads from Aboriginal medicinal plants, which are currently used for treating inflammatory conditions by the Mbabaram community of the Atherton Tablelands.
Investigators
Phurpa Wangchuk, Roland Ruscher, Joanne Jamie, Stephen Pyne, Darren Crayn and Gerald Turpin (Australian Institute of Tropical Health & Medicine, Macquarie University, University of Wollongong, College of Science & Engineering and Australian Tropical Herbarium)
Keywords
Aboriginal medicinal plants; Anti-inflammatory activities; Inflammatory Bowel Disease; Biologically active molecules; New drug leads; Metabolomics

Bio-Gene Technology Ltd - Contract Research

Micropropagation of Eucalyptus cloeziana chemovar.

Indicative Funding
$188,000 over 5 years
Summary
This project will establish a methodology to produce clonal plants of a eucalypt that is being trialled as a natural source of a new insecticide.
Investigators
Darren Crayn in collaboration with Usana Nantawan and Melissa Harrison (Australian Tropical Herbarium)
Keywords
Eucalyptus cloeziana; Myrtaceae; micropropagation; Horticulture; insecticide; Tree Improvement

Ian Potter Foundation - Science

Securing the future of Australia?s threatened tropical mountain flora for science and society

Indicative Funding
$500,000 over 5 years, in partnership with the Wet Tropics Management Authority ($50,000)
Summary
This project will enable us to secure the future of Australia?s climate-threatened tropical mountaintop plants. We will do this by building a multi-strategy ex-situ conservation reserve to `backup? at-risk wild populations and support research, display and education. Our novel research on seed banking strategies, genetic diversity and plant tolerance of extreme climates will ensure that the reserve collections, distributed across multiple Botanic Gardens and Seed Banks along Australia?s east coast, incorporate high redundancy, are genetically and physiologically diverse, and climatically matched to wild habitat.
Investigators
Darren Crayn in collaboration with Stuart Worboys, Lucas Cernusak, Alex Cheesman, Arun Singh Ramesh, Lydia Guja, David Taylor, Karen Sommerville, Cathy Offord, Maurizio Rossetto, Warren Worboys, David Warmington, Russell Joshua, Jason Halford and Andrew Rouse (Australian Tropical Herbarium, College of Science & Engineering, Australian National Botanic Gardens, The Royal Botanic Garden Sydney, The Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria, Cairns Botanic Gardens, Mossman Botanic Gardens, Brisbane Botanic Gardens and Australian Rhododendron Society)
Keywords
plant conservation; plant physiology; botanic gardens; genetics; climate change; extinction

Department of the Environment and Energy - National Taxonomy Research Grant program

Integrating phylogenomics and taxonomy ? resolving the complex evolution of the Donkey Orchids (Diuris) for the Flora of Australia

Indicative Funding
$270,000 over 6 years
Summary
This study aims to unravel the complex relationships in the Australian orchid genus Diuris for a well-founded treatment in the Flora of Australia. Evolutionary relationships of Diuris will be reconstructed at subgeneric, sectional and interspecific levels based on data set from the plastid and nuclear genomes. Population genomic analysis of two species complexes will allow for clarifying species delimitations and re-assessing the conservation status of threatened Diuris species. The taxonomic utility of morphological characters will be evaluated and improved identification keys and revised taxonomic concepts for Diuris generated for a revised treatment of the genus in the Flora of Australia.
Investigators
Lars Nauheimer, Darren Crayn, Mark Clements and Katharina Nargar (Australian Tropical Herbarium, College of Science & Engineering and Commonwealth Scientific & Industrial Research Organisation)
Keywords
Diuris (Orchidaceae); Next generation sequencing; Hybridization; Phylogenetics; Species delimitation; Target capture
Supervision

Advisory Accreditation: I can be on your Advisory Panel as a Primary or Secondary Advisor.

These Higher Degree Research projects are either current or by students who have completed their studies within the past 5 years at JCU. Linked titles show theses available within ResearchOnline@JCU.

Current
  • Patterns of diversification and trait evolution in Australian Orchids (PhD , Secondary Advisor/AM)
  • Phylogenomic studies into the origins, diversification and evolution of Mycoheterotrophic Orchids in Australasia (PhD , Secondary Advisor/AM)
  • Functional variation of plants along elevation gradients in tropical forest communities of Papua New Guinea (PhD , Secondary Advisor)
  • Integrating Climate Adaptation into Rainforest Restoration Plantings (PhD , Secondary Advisor)
  • Biodiversity and Phylogeography of Mountain-top fungi (PhD , Primary Advisor/AM/Adv)
  • An Assessment of Monotypic Genus Septogarcinia Kosterm., Australian Garcinia, Hybridization, Biogeography and Evolution in Garcinia (Clusiaceae) (PhD , Primary Advisor/AM/Adv)
  • Fruit development in Theobroma cacao: understanding the limitations to optimized cacao production (PhD , Advisor Mentor)
  • Ethnobotany and the biological activities of Iningai and Mbabaram Medicinal Plants (Masters , Advisor Mentor)
  • Metabolomics studies of selected Wet Tropic plants threatened by climate change (Masters , Secondary Advisor/AM)
Completed
Data

These are the most recent metadata records associated with this researcher. To see a detailed description of all dataset records, visit Research Data Australia.

Collaboration

The map shows research collaborations by institution from the past 7 years.
Note: Map points are indicative of the countries or states that institutions are associated with.

  • 5+ collaborations
  • 4 collaborations
  • 3 collaborations
  • 2 collaborations
  • 1 collaboration
  • Indicates the Tropics (Torrid Zone)

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Email
Phone
Location
  • E2.118J, Sir Robert Norman Building (Cairns campus)
Advisory Accreditation
Advisor Mentor
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