Dr. Lars Nauheimer

Dr. Lars Nauheimer

Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Australian Tropical Herbarium

PhD, Ludwig Maximilians University, Munich, Germany

Diploma in Biology, Johannes Gutenberg University, Mainz, Germany


Australian Tropical Herbarium,

James Cook University Cairns Campus

Building E2, Room 210A,

PO Box 6811, Cairns QLD 4870


+61 (0)7 423 22044





My research focuses on the evolution and biodiversity of plants. In particular I am interested in resolving phylogenetic relationships to reconstruct divergence and dispersal in time and space. I use methods ranging from traditional taxonomy to molecular phylogenetics and phylogenomics. Recently, I have begun applying high-throughput sequencing technologies to unravel evolutionary events that have not been able to be resolved using other methods.

Current research projects:

I mainly work on native Australian orchids, with a special focus on Thelymitra (sun orchids) and Diuris (donkey orchids). Both genera are relatively species-rich and are considered taxonomically challenging. Many species are difficult to distinguish due to  high variability within species and low barriers to reproduction between species leading to frequent natural hybridisation events. Both genera contain a high proportion of species with small ranges that are listed as endangered. Resolving the current taxonomy will help improve our knowledge of the current biodiversity of those iconic genera and help to protect endangered species and populations. To produce highly resolved genus phylogenies, we analyse large numbers of nuclear genes obtained using target capture methods. To further understand species delimitation in selected species complexes, we undertaken population structure analyses of RAD sequence data. Results will be used to dynamically update the online Flora of Australia treatments of these genera.

Previous research projects:

  • Phylogenomics of Nymphaeales (Borsch lab, University of Berlin, Germany)

  • Genome variability in Pyrus (Borsch lab, University of Berlin, Germany)

  • Divergence dating of Sapindales (Müllner-Riehl lab, University of Leipzig, Germany)

  • Biogeographical reconstruction of Carapa, Meliaceae (Müllner-Riehl lab, University of Leipzig, Germany)

  • Historical biogeography of Araceae (Renner lab, University of Munich, Germany)

  • Phylogenetics and biogeography of Alocasia, Araceae (Renner lab, University of Munich, Germany)

  • Biodiversity assessment of epiphyte diversity in Changuinola, Panama (STRI, Panama)

Selected Publications

Nauheimer L, Schley R, Clements M, Michenau C, Nargar K (2018) Australasian orchid biogeography at continental scale: Molecular phylogenetic insights from the Sun Orchids (Thelymitra, Orchidaceae). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 127: 304–319. website

DiVincenzo V, Gruensteudl M, Nauheimer L, Wondafrash M, Kamau P, Demissew S, Borsch T (2018) Evolutionary diversification of the African Achyranthoid clade (Amaranthaceae) in the context of sterile flower evolution and epizoochory. Annals of Botany 1: 69–85. website

Nauheimer L*, Gruenstaeudl M*, Borsch T (2017) Plastid genome structure and phylogenomics of Nymphaeales: conserved gene order and new insights into relationships. Plant Systematics and Evolution 303: 1251–1270. website

Muellner-Riehl AN, Weeks A, Clayton JW, Buerki S, Nauheimer L, Chiang YC, Cody S, Pell SK (2016) Molecular phylogenetics and molecular clock dating of Sapindales based on plastid rbcL, atpB and trnL-trnF DNA sequences. Taxon 65(5): 1019–1036. website

Nauheimer L*, Korotkova N*, Ter-Voskanyan H, Allgaier M, Borsch T (2014) Variability among the most rapidly evolving plastid genomic regions is lineage-specific: implications of pairwise genome comparisons in Pyrus (Rosaceae) and other angiosperms for marker choice. PLoS ONE 9(11): e112998. website

Nauheimer L, Metzler D, Renner SS (2012) Global history of the ancient monocot family Araceae inferred with models accounting for past continental positions and previous ranges based on fossils. New Phytologist 195: 938–950. website

Nauheimer L, Boyce PC, Renner SS (2012) Giant taro and its relatives: A phylogeny of the large genus Alocasia (Araceae) sheds light on Miocene floristic exchange in the Malesian region. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 63: 43–51. website

* equal contribution