UC SPARK - University of Canterbury - New Zealand

Associate Professor Tammy Steeves

Biological Sciences

Fields of Research

  • Conservation genetics/Conservation genomics
  • Evolutionary genetics/Evolutionary genomics
  • Population genetics, phylogeography, phylogenetics

Researcher Summary

My main research interests focus on the ecological and evolutionary processes that contribute to the formation and maintenance of species boundaries, particularly in threatened shorebirds and seabirds. The novelty of my research stems from my application of population genetic, phylogeographic and phylogenetic methods to ancient and modern DNA to: (1) test explicit hypotheses regarding the evolutionary histories of natural populations and (2) develop conservation genetic management strategies for species at risk.

Subject Area: Disciplines

Research Groups


Research/Scholarly/Creative Works

Journal Articles
  • Bartlett MJ., Steeves TE., Gemmell NJ. and Rosengrave PC. (2017) Sperm competition risk drives rapid ejaculate adjustments mediated by seminal fluid. eLife 6 http://dx.doi.org/10.7554/eLife.28811.
  • Bennett JR., Maloney RF., Steeves TE., Brazill-Boast J., Possingham HP. and Seddon PJ. (2017) Spending limited resources on de-extinction could lead to net biodiversity loss. Nature Ecology and Evolution 1(4): 0053-0053. http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41559-016-0053.
  • Overbeek AL., Hauber ME., Brown E., Cleland S., Maloney RF. and Steeves TE. (2017) Evidence for brood parasitism in a critically endangered Charadriiform with implications for conservation. Journal of Ornithology 158(1): 333-337. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10336-016-1375-x.
  • Steeves TE., Johnson JA. and Hale ME. (2017) Maximising evolutionary potential in functional proxies for extinct species: a conservation genetic perspective on de-extinction. Functional Ecology http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1365-2435.12843.
  • Galla SJ., Buckley TR., Elshire R., Hale ML., Knapp M., Mccallum J., Moraga R., Santure AW., Wilcox P. and Steeves TE. (2016) Building strong relationships between conservation genetics and primary industry leads to mutually beneficial genomic advances. Molecular Ecology http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/mec.13837.
  • Gardner PP., Fasold M., Burge SW., Ninova M., Hertel J., Kehr S., Steeves TE., Griffiths-Jones S. and Stadler PF. (2015) Conservation and losses of non-coding RNAs in avian genomes. PLOS ONE 10(3) e0121797 http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0121797.
  • Kearvell JC. and Steeves TE. (2015) Evidence for assortative mating in sympatric populations of orange-fronted (Cyanoramphus malherbi) and yellow-crowned (C. auriceps) kakariki. Notornis 62(2): 71-75.
  • Schmid M., Smith J., Burt DW., Aken BL., Antin PB., Archibald AL., Ashwell C., Blackshear PJ., Boschiero C. and Brown CT. (2015) Third Report on Chicken Genes and Chromosomes 2015. Cytogenetic and Genome Research 145(2): 78-179. http://dx.doi.org/10.1159/000430927.
  • Zhang G., Li C., Li Q., Li B., Larkin DM., Lee C., Storz JF., Antunes A., Greenwold MJ. and Meredith RW. (2014) Comparative genomics reveals insights into avian genome evolution and adaptation. The Scientific monthly 346(6215): 1311-1320. http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/science.1251385.
  • Andrews BJ., Hale ML. and Steeves TE. (2013) Characterisation of microsatellite loci in the critically endangered orange-fronted kākāriki (Cyanoramphus malherbi) isolated using genomic next generation sequencing. Conservation Genetics Resources 5(1): 235-237. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s12686-012-9777-4.
  • Hale ML., Burg TM. and Steeves TE. (2012) Sampling for microsatellite-based population genetic studies: 25 to 30 individuals per population is enough to accurately estimate allele frequencies. PLoS ONE 7(9) e45170 http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0045170.
  • Massaro M., Ortiz-Catedral L., Julian L., Galbraith JA., Kurenbach B., Kearvell J., Kemp K., van Hal J., Elkington E. and Taylor G. (2012) Molecular characterisation of beak and feather disease virus (BFDV) in New Zealand and its implications for managing an infectious disease. Archives of Virology 157(9): 1651-1663. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00705-012-1336-5.
  • Hagen EN., Hale ML., Maloney RF. and Steeves TE. (2011) Conservation genetic management of a critically endangered New Zealand endemic bird: minimizing inbreeding in the Black Stilt Himantopus novaezelandiae. Ibis 153(3): 556-561. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1474-919X.2011.01137.x.
  • Rayner MJ., Hauber ME., Steeves TE., Lawrence HA., Thompson DR., Sagar PM., Bury SJ., Landers TJ., Phillips RA. and Ranjard L. (2011) Contemporary and historical separation of transequatorial migration between genetically distinct seabird populations. Nature Communications 2: 332. http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/ncomms1330.
  • Morris-Pocock JA., Steeves TE., Estela FA., Anderson DJ. and Friesen VL. (2010) Comparative phylogeography of brown (Sula leucogaster) and red-footed boobies (S. sula): The influence of physical barriers and habitat preference on gene flow in pelagic seabirds. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 54(3): 883-896. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ympev.2009.11.013.
  • Steeves TE., Holdaway RN., Hale ML., McLay E., McAllan IAW., Christian M., Hauber ME. and Bunce M. (2010) Merging ancient and modern DNA: Extinct seabird taxon rediscovered in the North Tasman Sea. Biology Letters 6(1): 94-97. http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rsbl.2009.0478.
  • Steeves TE., Maloney RF., Hale ML., Tylianakis JM. and Gemmell NJ. (2010) Genetic analyses reveal hybridization but no hybrid swarm in one of the world's rarest birds. Molecular Ecology 19(23): 5090-5100. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-294X.2010.04895.x.
  • Steeves TE., Hale ML. and Gemmell NJ. (2008) Development of polymorphic microsatellite markers for the New Zealand black stilt (Himantopus novaezelandiae) and cross-amplification in the pied stilt (Himantopus himantopus leucocephalus). Molecular Ecology Resources 8: 1105-1107. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1755-0998.2008.02170.x.
  • Robertson BC., Steeves TE., McBride KP., Goldstien SJ., Williams M. and Gemmell NJ. (2007) Phylogeography of the New Zealand blue duck (Hymenolaimus malacorhynchos): implications for translocation and species recovery. Conservation Genetics 8(6): 1431-1440. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10592-007-9294-2.
  • Steeves TE., Anderson DJ. and Friesen VL. (2005) A role for nonphysical barriers to gene flow in the diversification of a highly vagile seabird, the masked booby (Sula dactylatra). Molecular Ecology 14(12): 3877-3887. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-294X.2005.02713.x.
  • Steeves TE., Anderson DJ. and Friesen VL. (2005) The Isthmus of Panama: a major physical barrier to gene flow in a highly mobile tropical seabird. Journal of Evolutionary Biology 18(4): 1000-1008. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1420-9101.2005.00906.x.
  • Steeves TE., Anderson DJ., McNally H., Kim MH. and Friesen VL. (2003) Phylogeography of Sula: the role of physical barriers to gene flow in the diversification of tropical seabirds. Journal of Avian Biology 34(2): 217-223. http://dx.doi.org/10.1034/j.1600-048X.2003.03086.x.
  • Steeves TE., Darling JD., Rosel PE., Schaeff CM. and Fleischer RC. (2001) Preliminary analysis of mitochondrial DNA variation in a southern feeding group of eastern North Pacific gray whales. Conservation Genetics 2(4): 379-384. http://dx.doi.org/10.1023/A:1012590315579.