About

I am a molecular systematist and evolutionary biologist with a research focus on tropical plant biodiversity. My research interests lie in understanding the diversification of species-rich tropical plant groups in time and space, and the underlying factors that shaped today’s diversity. I am using molecular tools such as high throughput DNA sequencing to reconstruct evolutionary relationships and historical biogeography, investigate differences in speciation and extinction rates between lineages and examine correlations with other factors, such as past climatic change, the development of putative key innovations or other significant morphological/physiological traits.

Since 2010 I worked at the Australian Tropical Herbarium where I lead the orchid research program. My current phylogenomic research projects employ genomic approaches to reconstruct phylogenetic relationships and the spatio-temporal evolution of Australia’s major orchid lineages, in particular the highly diverse orchid tribe Diurideae (the Donkey, Spider, Leek orchids and Co.), the subtribe Pterostylidinae (the Greenhood orchid alliance), and the two epiphytic plant mega genera Dendrobium and Bulbophyllum. A greater understanding of these orchid groups is key for the establishment of a more stable and widely accepted taxonomic classification for Australasian orchids. My conservation genomic research projects examine taxonomic limitation and genetic diversity in species complexes, in particular of threatened Australian orchid species.

Students with research interests in plant phylogenomics, historical biogeography, diversification rates analyses and conservation genomics, please feel free to contact me to enquire about opportunities within my research group.

Interests
Research
  • Orchid phylogenomics: Phylogeny, evolution and systematics of Australasian orchids
  • Conservation genomics for Australian threatened orchid species
Experience
  • 2016 to present - CSIRO Research Scientist, Australian Tropical Herbarium (Cairns)
  • 2013 to present - Research Associate, Centre for Tropical Environmental and Sustainability Studies (Cairns, Australia)
  • 2012 to present - Research Associate, Center for Tropical Biodiversity and Climate Change, JCU (Townsville, Australia)
  • 2010 to present - Program leader, Orchid Research, Australian Tropical Herbarium (Cairns, Australia)
  • 2015 to 2016 - Acting Director (12/15-01/16), Australian Tropical Herbarium (Cairns, Australia)
  • 2010 to 2016 - CSIRO/JCU Postdoctoral Fellow, Australian Tropical Herbarium (Cairns, Australia)
  • 2014 - Acting Director (09/2014), Australian Tropical Herbarium (Cairns, Australia)
  • 2013 - Acting Director (08/2013), Australian Tropical Herbarium (Cairns, Australia)
  • 2008 to 2011 - Principal Investigator. Project area A: Evolution and Climate. Project group: Cenozoic diversification and climate change, Biodiversity and Climate Center (Frankfurt/Main, Germany)
  • 2008 to 2010 - Project leader (S1 laboratory), Grunelius Möllgaard laboratory, Research Institute Senckenberg (Frankfurt/Main, Germany)
  • 2007 to 2010 - Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Dept. Botany and Molecular Evolution, Research Institute Senckenberg and Goethe University (Frankfurt/Main, Germany)
  • 2001 to 2007 - Research Assistant, Dept. Systematics and Taxonomy of Higher Plants, Goethe University and Research Institute Senckenberg (Frankfurt/Main, Germany)
Research Disciplines
Socio-Economic Objectives
Honours
Awards
  • 2017 - Women in Science Award, Digital National Facilities and Collections, CSIRO
Fellowships
  • 2006 - Marga and Kurt Möllgaard Research Fellow at the Jodrell Laboratory, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, United Kingdom
Memberships
  • 2017 - Decadal Plan for Biosystematics and Taxonomy in Australasia Working, Australian Academy of Science Group, Australian Academy of Sciences
  • 2016 - Committee member, CSIRO Vacation Scholarship Program
  • 2016 - Research Committee member, Australasian Systematic Botany Society
  • 2013 - Chapter convener, Australasian Systematic Botany Society
  • 2010 - Member, Australasian Systematic Botany Society
  • 2003 - Member, Deutsche Bromeliengesellschaft e.V.
  • 2014 to 2017 - Coordinator, Decadal Plan for Biosystematics and Taxonomy in Australasia
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 20+ research outputs authored by Dr Katharina Nargar from 2010 onwards.

Current Funding

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

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 3 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 (Division of Tropical Environments & Societies, College of Science & Engineering and Commonwealth Scientific & Industrial Research Organisation)
Keywords
Diuris (Orchidaceae); Next generation sequencing; Hybridization; Phylogenetics; Species delimitation; Target capture

Australasian Systematic Botany Society - Marlies Eichler Postdoctoral Fellowship

Phylogenomics and Taxonomy of the Donkey Orchids (Diuris, Orchidaceae)

Indicative Funding
$19,424 over 2 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 sections 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, Katharina Nargar and Mark Clements (Division of Tropical Environments & Societies and Commonwealth Scientific & Industrial Research Organisation)
Keywords
Diuris (Orchidaceae); Next generation sequencing; Hybridization; Phylogenetics; Species delimitation; Target capture

Department of the Environment and Energy - National Taxonomy Research Grant Programme - Student Travel Grant

Resolving complex evolutionary relationships in the carnivorous plant genus nepenthes: A phylogenomic approach

Indicative Funding
$1,500
Summary
International travel to Taxonomy for Plant Conservation to be conducted in Wellington, New Zealand 24-28th November, 2019.
Investigators
Katharina Nargar (Division of Tropical Environments & Societies)
Keywords
Nepenthes; Flora; Nepenthaceae; Evolution; Systematics; Genetics

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

Next-generation tassel-fern systematics: species delimitation in the Phlegmariurus phlegmaria complex (Lycopaiaceae)

Indicative Funding
$30,000 over 3 years
Summary
Tassel-ferns (Lycopaiaceae genus Phlegmariurus) are a highly threatened group of rainforest epiphyte (all EVNT) that are prized in horticulture and are the source of an anti-Alzheimer's drug. Phylogenetic investigation has resolved their deeper worldwide radiation but has discovered that previous interpretations of species diversity are inadequate. This project will use Next-Generation Sequencing to resolve their species diversity and determine if there is one common tassel-fern species (Phlegmariurus phlegmaria) ranging from Madagascar to Tahiti or if there are many localised and vulnerable or critically endangered endemics.
Investigators
Ashley Field and Katharina Schulte in collaboration with Sabine Hennequin, Weston Testo and Melissa Harrison (Division of Tropical Environments & Societies, Universite Pierre et Marie Curie, University of Vermont and Australian Tropical Herbarium)
Keywords
Lycopodiaceae, Phlegmariurus, Huperzia; Endangered, vulnerable, threatened; Phylogeny, Systematics, Taxonomy; Wet Tropics, Rainforest, Daintree; Evolution, Bioiversity, speciation; DNA, next generation, RAD sequencing

Department of the Environment and Energy - Australian Biological Resources Study - Postdoctoral Fellowship

Next-generation systematics for Australia's challenging taxa: Unravelling phylogeny, evolution and species delimitation in the sun orchids (Thelymitra Orchidaceae)

Indicative Funding
$270,000 over 3 years
Summary
Standard molecular markers provide only limited insights into phylogenetic relationships in cases where plant groups i) underwent a recent and rapid diversification, ii) are subject to reticulate evolution, and/or iii) include polyploids. Next-generation sequencing technologies now offer the unprecedented opportunity to investigate the evolution of such challenging plant groups. In this project, we aim to apply Next-Generation sequencing approaches in the sun orchids (Thelymitra, Orchidaceae) to a) unravel infrageneric relationships; b) assess the taxonomic value of key morphological characters; c) improve our understanding of interspecific relationships and species delimitation in three significant species complexes through population-level molecular analysis.
Investigators
Katharina Schulte in collaboration with Darren Crayn, Mark Clements and Kingsley Dixon (Division of Tropical Environments & Societies, Centre for Plant Biodiversity Research and Botanic Gardens and Parks Authority)
Keywords
Sun Orchids (Thelymitra Orchidaceae); Molecular Phylogeny; Systematics and Taxonomy; Evolution; Next Generation Sequencing; Hybridisation
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
  • Origins of the Northern Australian Flora: Role of the Sunda-Sahul Floristic Exchange (PhD , External Advisor)
  • Spatio-temporal evolution of the Australasian Bulbophyllum (Orchidaceae) (PhD , Primary Advisor)
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)

Connect with me
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jcu.me/katharina.nargar

Email
Location
  • E2.203, Sir Robert Norman Building (Cairns campus)
Advisory Accreditation
Primary Advisor (P)
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