November 18, 2010
Wayne Maddison is an internationally renowned expert in phylogeny and biodiversity, with a particular emphasis on spiders. In addition to establishing widely accepted standard techniques for quantitative analysis of phylogeny, he has developed innovative software tools to implement these techniques. These tools for analysis and visualization have been used by thousands of biologists, influencing research worldwide. His work also extends to the general public via the Tree of Life Web project, which he co-developed in partnership with its creator, Dr. David Maddison. This virtual natural history museum of diversity and its evolutionary descent has already proven invaluable to a wide range of people, from primary school students to researchers.
The key objectives of Dr. Maddison’s research are to establish a world-class laboratory in which to develop additional computational methods for the evolutionary analysis of data on biological diversity, and to discover and interpret invertebrate biodiversity. His four key research concentrations include expanding phylogenetic theory; developing more effective analytical tools for evolutionary bioinformatics; creating a comprehensive phylogenetic tree for a family of spiders known as salticids; and finally, applying the phylogeny derived for salticids to understand the processes of their diversification, with special focus on their behavioural and chromosomal evolution.