Dr. Matt Barrett

Dr. Matthew Barrett

Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Office: E2.203, Sir Robert Normal Building (E2), James Cook University, PO Box 6811, Cairns, QLD 4870

Phone: +61 (07) 4232 1817

Email: [email protected]


I have broad interests in the evolution and specialisation of plants and fungi, including systematics, reproductive ecology, biogeographic patterns, and the adaptation of traits that contribute to rarity or weediness.

A particular area of interest is the adaptive consequences of polyploidy (whole genome duplication), that are inferred to have occurred numerous times during the evolution of vascular plants, and contributed significantly to their evolutionary success. The consequences of intraspecific polyploidy are poorly understood for broad-scale restoration, conservation of small populations, and weed invasion, and are especially understudied in tropical systems. Investigations of Australian graminoids have shown extremely strong segregation by ploidy type, on scales of tens of meters to tens of kilometres, indicating that strong exclusion mechanisms are operating. Empirical studies demonstrate that polyploidy influences key life traits at the seed, establishment and reproductive stages, and theoretical modelling predicts a strong selective influence on fecundity and population trajectories. Polyploidy has been a strong driver of intra-specific diversity in many plant species, and has likely contributed significantly to both their adaptation to the Australian environment, and speciation over evolutionary timescales.

I also conduct research into the systematics and ecology of fungi. The tectonic isolation of Australia and subsequent biotic exchange with south-east Asia is moderately well documented for plants and animals, but few fungi have been investigated to date. This is in part due to the appalling state of taxonomic knowledge of Australian tropical fungi, an area of primary importance in immigration and emigration. Decades of molecular systematics research have identified numerous novel species and genus-level fungal lineages from the Australian Monsoon Tropics, suggesting that it represents a unique fungal biome, with links to both southern Australia and south-east Asia. Several divergent eucalypt wood-rotting specialists have potential biotechnology applications.

Selected publications

  • Rye BL, Barrett MD (2020) A new species that's worth its salt: Verticordia elizabethiae (Myrtaceae: Chamelaucieae), a salt-tolerant rarity from semi-arid Western Australia.  Nuytsia 31, 259-263.
  • Bougher NL, Barrett MD (2020) Fungi and slime moulds recorded in surveys at Kings Park and Bold Park - urban bushlands Perth, Western Australia. The West Australian Naturalist 31, 191-251.
  • Barrett MD (2019) Triodia veniciae (Poaceae), a new species from the Pilbara region, Western Australia. Nuytsia, 30: 221-228.
  • Elliott CP, Lewandrowski W, Miller BP, Barrett MD and Turner SR (2019) Identifying germination opportunities for threatened plant species in episodic ecosystems by linking germination profiles with historic rainfall events. Australian Journal of Botany, 67(3), 256-67.
  • Byrne M, Krauss SL, Millar MA, Elliott CP, Coates DJ, Yates C, Binks R, Nevill P, Nistelberger H, Wardell-Johnson G, Robinson T, Butcher R, Barrett MD, Gibson N (2018) Persistence and stochasticity are key determinants of genetic diversity in plants associated with banded iron formation inselbergs. Biological Reviews 94(3): 753-772. https://doi.org/10.1111/brv.12477
  • Cross AT, Barrett MD, Turner SR, Dixon KD, Merritt D. (2018) Seed dormancy depth is partitioned more strongly among habitats than among species in tropical ephemerals. Australian Journal of Botany 66: 230-242.
  • Wallace MW, Barrett MD, Krauss SL. (2018). Complex genetic relationships within and among cytotypes in the Lepidosperma costale species complex (Cyperaceae) in Western Australia. Australian Journal of Botany 67(3) 205-217. https://doi.org/10.1071/BT18103.
  • Barrett MD, Trudgen ME (2018) Triodia pisoliticola (Poaceae),a new species from the Pilbara region, Western Australia, and a description for T. sp. Mt Ella (M.E. Trudgen 12739). Nuytsia 29: 271-281.
  • Jobson RW, Baleeiro PC, Barrett MD (2018). Six new species of Utricularia (Lentibulariaceae) from northern Australia. Telopea 21: 57-77.
  • Lebel T, Pennycook S, Barrett MD (2018) Two new species of Pisolithus (Sclerodermataceae) from Australasia, and an assessment of the confused nomenclature of P. tinctorius. Phytotaxa 348 (3): 163–186. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.11646/phytotaxa.348.3.1
  • Saarela JM, Burke SV, Wysocki WP, Barrett MD, Clark LG, Craine JM, Peterson PM, Soreng RJ, Maria Vorontsova S, Duvall MR. (2018) A 250 plastome phylogeny of the grass family (Poaceae): topological support under different data partitions. PeerJ 6: e4299. https://peerj.com/articles/4299
  • Anderson BM, Thiele KR, Barrett MD (2017) A revision of the Triodia basedowii species complex and close relatives (Poaceae: Chloridoideae). Australian Systematic Botany 30: 197-229.
  • Wallace, MJ, Barrett, MD, Guja, L.K., Orvain, M.A., Heel, K.A., Anthony, J.M. & Barrett, R.L. (2017) DNA ploidy variation and distribution in the Lepidosperma costale species complex (Cyperaceae) in the Western Australian biodiversity hotspot. Australian Journal of Botany 65: 120-127.
  • Anderson BM, Thiele KR, Krauss SL, Barrett MD (2017) Genotyping-by-Sequencing in a Species Complex of Australian Hummock Grasses (Triodia): Methodological Insights and Phylogenetic Resolution. PLOS OneDOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0171053.
  • Chen JJ, Cui B, He S-H, Cooper JA, Barrett MB, Chen J-L, Jie S, Dai YC. (2016). Molecular phylogeny and global diversity of the remarkable genus Bondarzewia (Basidiomycota, Russulales). Mycologia 108: 697-708. doi:10.3852/14-216.
  • Anderson BM, Barrett MD, Krauss SK, Thiele KR. (2016). Untangling a species complex of arid zone grasses (Triodia) reveals patterns congruent with co-occurring animals. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 101: 142-62. doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2016.05.014.
  • Phillips RD, Barrett MD, Dalziell E, Dixon KD, Swarts ND. (2016). Geographic range and host breadth of Sebacina orchid mycorrhizal fungi in south-western Australia. Bot. J. Linn. Soc. 186: 140-151.
  • Barrett RL, Barrett MD (2015) Twenty-seven new species of vascular plants from Western Australia. Nuytsia 26: 21-87.
  • Barrett RL, Hopper SD, Macfarlane TD, Barrett MD (2015) Seven new species of Haemodorum (Haemodoraceae) from the Kimberley region of Western Australia. Nuytsia 26: 111-125.
  • Barrett RL, Barrett MD & Duretto MF (2015) Four new species of Boronia (Rutaceae) from the Kimberley region of Western Australia. Nuytsia 26: 81-109.
  • Barrett RL, Barrett MD, Keneally KF, Lowrie A (2015) Four New Species of Stylidiaceae from Western Australia. Nuytsia 26: 127-141.
  • Sokoloff DD, Remizowa MV, Barrett MD, Conran JG, Rudall PJ. (2015). Morphological diversity and evolution of Centrolepidaceae (Poales), a species-poor clade with diverse body plans and developmental patterns. American Journal of Botany 102:1219-49. doi:10.3732/ajb.1400434.
  • Barrett RL, Barrett MD (2015) Four new species of Goodeniaceae from Western Australia, including the smallest species in the family, a putative seed-article elaiosome and possible floral mimicry in Lechenaultia. Australian Systematic Botany 27, 469–482.
  • Iles WJD, Lee C, Sokoloff, DD, Remizowa, MV, Yadav, SR, Barrett, MD, Barrett, RL, Macfarlane, TD, Rudall, PJ, Graham, SW (2014) Reconstructing the age and historical biogeography of the ancient flowering-plant family Hydatellaceae (Nymphaeales). BMC Evolutionary Biology 14: 102.
  • Maslin BR, Barrett, MD, Barrett RL (2013). A baker’s dozen of new wattles highlights significant Acacia (Fabaceae: Mimosoideae) diversity and endemism in the north-west Kimberley region of Western Australia. Nuytsia 23: 543-87.
  • Vanky K, Shivas RG, Barrett, MD, Lutz M (2013) Eriocortex eriocauli, gen. et sp. nov. (Ustilaginomycetes) from Australia. Mycobiota 1: 9-16.
  • Harrington, MG, Jackes, BR, Barrett, MD, Craven, LA & Barrett, RL (2012). Phylogenetic revision of tribe Backhousieae (Myrtaceae): Neogene divergence, a revised circumscription of Backhousia and two new species. Australian Systematic Botany 25: 404–417.
  • Barrett MD, Wallace MJ & Anthony JM (2012). Characterisation and cross application of ten novel microsatellite markers for a rare sword sedge, Lepidosperma gibsonii (Cyperaceae). American Journal of Botany 99: e14-e16.
  • Thornhill A, Wilson P, Drudge J, Barrett MD, Hope G, Craven L, Crisp M (2012) Pollen Morphology of the Myrtaceae Part 3. Tribes Chamelaucieae, Leptospermeae and Lindsayomyrteae. Australian Journal of Botany 60: 165-199.
  • Barrett RL, Barrett MD (2011). Two new species of Triodia (Poaceae: Triodieae) from the Kimberley region of Western Australia. Telopea 13: 57-67.
  • Phillips RD, Barrett MD, Dixon KW, Hopper SD (2011) Do mycorrhizal symbioses cause rarity in orchids? Journal of Ecology 99: 858-869. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2745.2011.01797.x
  • Shivas RG, Barrett MD, Barrett RL, Vanky K (2011). Two new species of Moreaua (Ustilaginomycetes) from Actinoschoenus and Chrysitrix, from Western Australia. Mycologia Balanica 8: 137-140.
  • Wallace MJ, Barrett, MD, Barrett RL (2011) Novel chloroplast markers for the study of intraspecific variation and hybridisation in the Lepidosperma costale species complex (Cyperaceae). Conservation Genetics Resources 3: 355-360.
  • Cusimano N, Barrett MD, Hetterscheid WLA & Renner SS (2010) A phylogeny of the Areae (Araceae) implies that Typhonium, Sauromatum, and the Australian species of Typhonium are distinct clades. Taxon 59: 439-47.
  • George AS, Barrett MD (2010) Two new taxa of Verticordia (Myrtaceae: Chamelaucieae) from south-western Australia. Nuytsia 20: 309-318.
  • Barrett MD, Barrett RL, Shivas RG, & McTaggart AR (2009) Tilletia micrairae. Fungal Planet 33. Persoonia 22, 170–171.