Planned JCU system outage 23 to 27 May 2024 impacting student and application portals.

Prof. Darren Crayn

Prof. Darren Crayn

Professor and Director, Australian Tropical Herbarium

BSc (Hons), University of New South Wales 1994

PhD, University of New South Wales 1998


E2.118J, Sir Robert Norman Building (E2), James Cook University, PO Box 6811, Cairns QLD 4870


+61 (0)7 4232 1859



Mine and my group’s research is in the field of plant systematics and evolution and deals broadly with the questions: how many plant species are there in tropical Australia and the region, how are they related and how have they evolved? We use a range of traditional and cutting edge techniques, ranging from field surveys and herbarium taxonomy to scanning electron microscopy, DNA-barcoding and genomics. Our studies are:

  • discovering, naming and classifying new plant species

  • determining the evolutionary relationships among them

  • mapping the distribution of ecosystems, species and genetic variation within species across the landscape

  • developing DNA-based tools for species identification and rapid biodiversity inventory

  • uncovering the deep-time origins and ancient migration pathways of plant groups that are found in tropical Australia today

Selected Publications

Baba Y, Rossetto M, Crayn D (2020) Identifying evolutionary lineages in the Elaeocarpus obovatus complex: population genetics and morphometric analyses support a new subspecies, Elaeocarpus obovatus subsp. umbratilis, from northern Queensland, Australia. Australian Systematic Botany, 33 (4), 346-379.

Crayn D, Hislop M, Puente-Lelièvre C (2020) A phylogenetic recircumscription of Styphelia (Ericaceae, Epacridoideae, Styphelieae). Australian Systematic Botany, 33 (2), 137-168.

Joyce E, Thiele K, Slik F, Crayn D (2020) Checklist of the vascular flora of the Sunda-Sahul Convergence Zone. Biodiversity Data Journal, 8, e51094.

Crayn DM (2019) Plant systematics and biogeography in the Australasian tropics, Part 2. Australian Systematic Botany 32, i-iii.

Cooper WE, Crayn DM, Zich FA, Miller RE, Harrison M, Nauheimer L (2019) A review of Austrocallerya and Pongamia (Leguminosae subfamily Papilionoideae) in Australia, and the description of a new monotypic genus, Ibatiria. Australian Systematic Botany 32, 363-384.

Osborne OG, Ciezarek A, Wilson T, Crayn D, Hutton I, Baker WJ, Turnbull CGN, Savolainen V (2019) Speciation in Howea palms occurred in sympatry, was preceded by ancestral admixture, and was associated with edaphic and phenological adaptation. Molecular Biology and Evolution, 12, 2682–2697.

Crayn, DM, Puente-Lelièvre, C, Jensen, R (2019) Unusual new species of Styphelia (Ericaceae, Epacridoideae, Styphelieae) from north-eastern Australia. Australian Systematic Botany 32, 216-227.

Kooyman RM, Morley RJ, Crayn DM, Joyce EM, Rossetto M, Slik JWF, Strijk JS, Su T, Yap J-YS, Wilf P (2019) Origins and Assembly of Malesian Rainforests. Annual Review of Ecology, Evolution, and Systematics 50, 119-143.

Nauheimer, L, Cui, L, Clarke, C, Crayn, DM, Bourke, G, Nargar, K (accepted) Genome skimming provides well-resolved plastid and nuclear phylogenies revealing patterns of deep reticulate evolution in the tropical carnivorous plant genus Nepenthes (Caryophyllales). Australian Systematic Botany 32, 243–254.

Reside, AE, Critchell, K, Crayn, DM, Goosem, M, Goosem, S, Hoskin, CJ, Sydes, T, Vanderduys, EP, Pressey, RL (2019) Beyond the model: expert knowledge improves predictions of species’ fates under climate change. Ecological Applications 29, e01824.

Appelhans, MS, Wen, J, Duretto, M, Crayn, D, Wagner, WL (2018) Historical biogeography of Melicope (Rutaceae) and its close relatives with a special emphasis on Pacific dispersals. Journal of Systematics and Evolution 56, 576-599.

Crayn, DM (2018) Plant systematics and biogeography in the Australasian tropics. Australian Systematic Botany 31(5-6), i-iii.

Gagul, J, Simpson, L, Crayn, DM (2018) Elaeocarpus carbinensis J.Gagul & Crayn (Elaeocarpaceae), a new species endemic to the Mt Carbine Tableland of northeast Queensland, Australia. Austrobaileya 10, 247-259.

Gagul, JN, Tng, DYP, Crayn, DM (2018) Fruit developmental biology and endosperm rumination in Elaeocarpus ruminatus (Elaeocarpaceae), and its taxonomic significance. Australian Systematic Botany 31, 409-419.

Joyce, EM, Crayn, DM, Lam, VKY, Gerelle, WK, Graham, SW, Nauheimer, L (2018) Evolution of Geosiris (Iridaceae): historical biogeography and plastid-genome evolution in a genus of non-photosynthetic tropical rainforest herbs disjunct across the Indian Ocean. Australian Systematic Botany 31, 504-522.

Moner, AM, Furtado, A, Chivers, I, Fox, G, Crayn, D, Henry, RJ (2018) Diversity and evolution of rice progenitors in Australia. Ecology and Evolution 8, 4360-4366.

Simpson, L, Clements, MA, Crayn, DM, Nargar, K (2018) Evolution in Australia’s mesic biome under past and future climates: Insights from a phylogenetic study of the Australian Rock Orchids (Dendrobium speciosum complex, Orchidaceae). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 118, 32-46.

Yap, JYS, Rossetto, M, Costion, C, Crayn, D, Kooyman, RM, Richardson, JE, Henry, R (2018) Filters of floristic exchange: How traits and climate shape the rain forest invasion of Sahul from Sunda. Journal of Biogeography 45, 838-847.

Badry, MO, Crayn, DM, Tate, JA (2017) Hibiscus diversifolius subsp. rivularis (Bremek. & Oberm.) Exell (Malvaceae) in Australia. Austrobaileya 10, 113-120.

Brozynska, M, Copetti, D, Furtado, A, Wing, RA, Crayn, D, Fox, G, Ishikawa, R, Henry, RJ (2017) Sequencing of Australian wild rice genomes reveals ancestral relationships with domesticated rice. Plant Biotechnology Journal 15, 765-774.

van der Merwe, M, Crayn, DM, Ford, AJ, Weston, PH, Rossetto, M (2016) Evolution of Australian Cryptocarya (Lauraceae) based on nuclear and plastid phylogenetic trees: evidence of recent landscape-level disjunctions. Australian Systematic Botany 29: 157-166.

Tng, DYP, Apgaua, DMG, Campbell, M, Cox, C, Crayn, DM, Ishida, F, Liddell, MJ, Seager, M, Laurance, S (2016) Vegetation and floristics of a lowland tropical rainforest in northeast Australia. Biodiversity Data Journal 4, e7599.

Thornhill, AH, Mishler, BD, Knerr, NJ, González-Orozco, CE, Costion, CM, Crayn, DM, Laffan, SW, Miller, JT (2016) Continental-scale spatial phylogenetics of Australian angiosperms provides insights into ecology, evolution and conservation. Journal of Biogeography 43: 2085-2098.

Murphy, DJ, Crayn, DM (2016) Australian Comparative Phytogeography: A Review. Chapter 7 In 'Handbook of Australasian Biogeography.' (Ed. MC Ebach.) pp. 129-154. (CRC Press: Boca Raton, FL, USA)

Huang, J-F, Li, L, van der Werff, H, Li, H-W, Rohwer, JG, Crayn, DM, Meng, H-H, van der Merwe, M, Conran, JG, Li, J (2016) Origins and evolution of cinnamon and camphor: A phylogenetic and historical biogeographical analysis of the Cinnamomum group (Lauraceae). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 96: 33-44.

Holtum, JAM, Hancock, LP, Edwards, EJ, Crisp, MD, Crayn, DM, Sage, R, Winter, K (2016) Australia lacks stem succulents but is it depauperate in plants with crassulacean acid metabolism (CAM)? Current Opinion in Plant Biology 31: 109-117.

Costion, CM, Kress, WJ, Crayn, DM (2016) DNA barcodes confirm the taxonomic and conservation status of a species of tree on the brink of extinction in the Pacific. PloS One 11: e0155118.

Costion, C, Lowe, A, Rossetto, M, Kooyman, R, Breed, M, Ford, A, Crayn, D (2016) Building a plant DNA barcode reference library for a diverse tropical flora: an example from Queensland, Australia. Diversity 8, 5.

Brozynska, M, Copetti, D, Furtado, A, Wing, RA, Crayn, D, Fox, G, Ishikawa, R, Henry, RJ (2016) Sequencing of Australian wild rice genomes reveals ancestral relationships with domesticated rice. Plant Biotechnology Journal published online 23 January 2017, DOI: 10.1111/pbi.12674.

Quinn, CJ, Crowden, RK, Brown, EA, Southam, MJ, Thornhill, AH, Crayn, DM (2015) A reappraisal of the generic concepts of Epacris, Rupicola and Budawangia (Ericaceae, Epacridoideae, Epacrideae) based on phylogenetic analysis of morphological and molecular data. Australian Systematic Botany 28: 63-77.

Puente-Lelièvre, C, Hislop, M, Harrington, M, Brown, EA, Kuzmina, M, Crayn, DM (2015) A five-marker molecular phylogeny of the Styphelieae (Epacridoideae, Ericaceae) supports a broad concept of Styphelia. Australian Systematic Botany 28: 368-387.

Laity, T, Laffan, SW, González-Orozco, CE, Faith, DP, Rosauer, DF, Byrne, M, Miller, JT, Crayn, D, Costion, C, Moritz, CC, Newport, K (2015) Phylodiversity to inform conservation policy: An Australian example. Science of the Total Environment 534: 131-143.

Holzmeyer, L, Duretto, M, Crayn, D, Hörandl, E, Heslewood, M, Jayanthan, J, Appelhans, MS (2015) Phylogeny of Acronychia (Rutaceae) and first insights into its historical biogeography and the evolution of fruit characters. PloS One: 10, e0136296.

Crayn, DM, Winter, K, Schulte, K, Smith, JAC (2015) Photosynthetic pathways in Bromeliaceae: the phylogenetic and ecological significance of CAM and C3 based on carbon-isotope ratios for 1875 species. Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society 178: 169-221.

Costion, CM, Simpson, L, Pert, P, Crayn, DM (2015) Will tropical mountaintop plant species survive climate change? Identifying key knowledge gaps using species distribution modelling in Australia. Biological Conservation 191: 322-330.

Cooper, T, Furtado, A, Henry, RJ, Crayn, D (2015) Analysis of the chloroplast genome of a coffee relative from northern Australia. Acta Horticulture 1101: 177-182.

Costion CM, Edwards W, Ford AJ, Metcalfe DJ, Cross HB, Harrington MG, Richardson JE, Hilbert DW, Lowe AJ, Crayn DM (2015) Using phylogenetic diversity to identify ancient rain forest refugia and diversification zones in a biodiversity hotspot. Diversity and Distributions 21: 279-289

Crayn DM, Costion C, Harrington MG (2015) The Sahul-Sunda floristic exchange: dated molecular phylogenies document Cenozoic intercontinental dispersal dynamics. Journal of Biogeography 42: 11-24.

Kooyman RM, Wilf P, Barreda, VD, Carpenter, RJ, Jordan, GJ, Sniderman JMK, Allen A, Brodribb TJ, Crayn, DM, Feild, TS, Laffan, SW, Lusk, CH, Rossetto, M, Weston, PH (2015) Paleao-Antarctic rainforest into the modern old world tropics: The rich past and the threatened future of the “southern wet forest survivors”. American Journal of Botany 101: 2121-2135.

Brozynska, M, Omar, ES, Furtado, A, Crayn, DM, Simon, B, Ishikawa, R, Henry, RJ (2014) Chloroplast genome of novel rice germplasm identified in northern Australia. Tropical Plant Biology 7: 111-120.

Heslewood MM, Lowe A, Crayn DM, Rossetto M (2014) Contrasting levels of connectivity and localised persistence characterise the latitudinal distribution of a wind-dispersed rainforest canopy tree. Genetica 142: 251-264.

Givnish TJ, Barfuss, MHJ Van Ee B, Riina R, Schulte K, Horres R, Gonsiska PA, Jabaily RS, Crayn DM,  Smith JAC, Winter K, Brown GK, Evans TM, Luther H, Till W, Zizka G, Berry PE, Sytsma KJ (2014) Adaptive radiation, correlated and contingent evolution, and net species diversification in Bromeliaceae. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 71: 55-78.

Puente-Lièvre, C, Harrington MG, Brown EA, Kuzmina M, Crayn DM (2013) Cenozoic extinction and recolonization in the New Zealand flora: the case of the fleshy-fruited epacrids (Styphelieae, Styphelioideae, Ericaceae). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 66: 203-214.

Sotowa M, Ootsuka K, Kobayashi Y, Hao Y, Tanaka K, Ichitani K, Flowers J, Purugganan M, Nakamura I, Sato Y-I, Sato T, Crayn DM, Simon B, Waters D, Henry R, Ishikawa R. (2013) Molecular relationships between Australian annual wild rice, Oryza meridionalis, and two related perennial forms. Rice 6: 26.

Baba Y, Crayn DM (2012) Elaeocarpus hylobroma (Elaeocarpaceae): a new species endemic to mountain tops in northeast Queensland, Australia. Kew Bulletin 67: 1-8.

Hislop M, Puente-Lelievre C, Crayn DM (2012) Leucopogon extremus (Styphelieae, Styphelioideae, Ericaceae), a remarkable new species that expands the morphological circumscription of Leucopogon sens. str. Australian Systematic Botany: 25, 202-209

Byrne M, Steane D, Joseph L, Yeates D, Jordan GJ, Crayn DM, Aplin K, Cantrill D, Cook LG, Crisp, MD, Keogh JS, Melville J, Moritz C, Porch N, Sniderman JMK, Sunnucks P, Weston PH (2011) Decline of a biome: evolution, contraction, fragmentation, extinction and invasion of the Australian mesic zone biota. Journal of Biogeography 38: 1635–1656.

Costion C, Ford A, Cross H, Crayn DM, Harrington M, Lowe A (2011) Plant DNA Barcodes can accurately estimate species richness in poorly known floras. PloS One 6: e268.

Givnish, TJ, Barfuss, MHJ, Van Ee, B, Riina, R, Schulte, K, Horres, R, Gonsiska, PA, Jabaily, RS, Crayn, DM, Smith, JAC, Winter, K, Brown, GK, Evans, TM, Holst, BK, Luther, H, Till, W, Zizka, G, Berry, PE, Sytsma, KJ (2011) Phylogeny, adaptive radiation, and historical biogeography in Bromeliaceae: insights from an eight-locus plastid phylogeny. American Journal of Botany 98(5): 872-895.

Hill R, Turpin G, Canendo W, Standley P, Crayn DM, Warne E, Keith K, Addicott E, Zich F (2011) Indigenous-driven tropical ethnobotany. Australian Plant Conservation 19(4): 24-25.

Papadopulos AST, Baker WJ, Crayn DM, Butlin RK, Kynast RG, Hutton I, Savolainen V (2011) Speciation with gene flow on Lord Howe Island. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA 108(32): 13188–13193.

Wilson GW, Venter F, Wilson RF and Crayn DM (2011) Chasing Nepenthes on Cape York, Queensland. Carnivorous Plant Newsletter 40(4): 122–128.

Henry RJ, Rice N, Waters DLE, Kasem S, Ishikawa R, Hao Y, Dillon S, Crayn DM, Wing R, Vaughan D (2010) Australian Oryza: utility and conservation. Rice 3: 235-241.

Wagstaff, S, Dawson, M, Venter, S, Munzinger, J., Crayn, DM, Steane, D, Lemson, K. (2010) Origin, diversification and classification of the Australasian genus Dracophyllum (Richeeae, Ericaceae). Annals of the Missouri Botanical Garden 97: 235-258.

Rossetto, M, Crayn, DM, Ford, A, Mellick, R, Sommerville, K (2009) The influence of environment and life-history traits on the distribution of genes and individuals: a comparative study on rainforest trees. Molecular Ecology 18(7): 1422-1438.

Maynard D, Crayn D, Rossetto M, Kooyman R and Coode M (2008) Elaeocarpus sedentarius sp. nov. (Elaeocarpaceae) – morphometric analysis of a new, rare species from eastern Australia. Australian Systematic Botany 21:192-200.

McPherson H, Porter C, Rymer PD, Crayn DM, Rossetto M (2008) Isolation and characterization of polymorphic microsatellite loci from Tetratheca ericifolia (Elaeocarpaceae). Molecular Ecology Resources 8:867-869.

Rossetto M, Crayn DM, Jackes BR, Porter C (2007) An updated estimate of inter-generic phylogenetic relationships in the Australian Vitaceae. Canadian Journal of Botany 85(8): 722-730.

Jordan GJ, Bromfield KE, Sniderman JMK, and Crayn DM (2007) Diverse fossil epacrids (Styphelioideae, Ericaceae) from early Pleistocene sediments at Stony Creek Basin, Victoria, Australia. International Journal of Plant Sciences 168(9):1359-1376.

Rossetto M, Crayn DM, Ford A, Ridgeway P, Rymer P (2007) The comparative study of range-wide genetic structure across related, co-distributed rainforest trees reveals contrasting evolutionary histories. Australian Journal of Botany 55: 416-424.

Butcher R, Byrne M, and Crayn DM (2007) Evidence for convergent evolution among phylogenetically distant rare species of Tetratheca (Elaeocarpaceae, formerly Tremandraceae) from Western Australia. Australian Systematic Botany 20: 126-138.

Burns EL, Eldridge MDB, Crayn DM, Houlden BA (2007) Low phylogeographic structure in a wide spread endangered Australian frog Litoria aurea (Anura: Hylidae). Conservation Genetics 8(1) 17-32.

Crayn DM, Rossetto M, Maynard DJ (2006) Molecular phylogeny and dating reveals an Oligo-Miocene radiation of dry-adapted shrubs (Tremandraceae) from rainforest tree progenitors (Elaeocarpaceae) in Australia. American Journal of Botany 93: 1328-1342.

Rossetto M, Jackes B, Crayn DM (2006) Chapter 10: Vitaceae – molecular evolution with a focus on the Australian radiation. In A. K. Sharma and A. Sharma (eds), Plant genome: Biodiversity and evolution. Vol. 1C: Phanerogams (Angiosperm-Dicotyledons). (New Delhi: Oxford and IBH). pp. 269-292.

Burns EL, Crayn DM (2006) Phylogenetics and evolution of bell frogs (Litoria aurea species-group, Anura: Hylidae) based on mitochondrial ND4 sequences. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 39: 573-579.

Crayn DM, Hislop M, Heslewood MM (2005) Additions to Lissanthe (Styphelioideae: Ericaceae) in Western Australia: L. synandra sp. nov. and L. pleurandroides comb. nov. Australian Systematic Botany 18: 1-7.

Quinn CJ, Brown EA, Heslewood MM, Crayn DM (2005) Generic concepts in Styphelieae (Ericaceae): the Cyathodes group. Australian Systematic Botany 18: 439-454.

Horton BM, Crayn DM, Clarke S W, and Washington H (2004) Leionema scopulinum, a new species from Wollemi National Park. Telopea 10: 815-822.

Crayn DM, Winter K, Smith JAC (2004) Multiple origins of Crassulacean acid metabolism and the epiphytic habit in the Neotropical family Bromeliaceae. Proceedings of the National Academy of  Sciences, USA 101: 3703-3708.

Crayn DM, Brown EA, Powell JM (2003) A revision of Lissanthe (Styphelioideae: Ericaceae). Australian Systematic Botany 16: 595-619.

Quinn CJ, Crayn DM, Heslewood MM, Brown EA, Gadek PA (2003) A molecular estimate of the phylogeny of Styphelieae (Ericaceae). Australian Systematic Botany 16: 581-594.

Crayn DM (2003) Vouchering: how and why. In C.L. Brown, F. Hall and J. Mill (eds), Plant conservation - approaches and techniques from an Australian perspective. (Canberra: Australian Network for Plant Conservation).

Crayn DM, Murray LJ (2003) The role of herbaria. In C. L. Brown, F. Hall and J. Mill (eds), Plant conservation - approaches and techniques from an Australian perspective. (Canberra: Australian Network for Plant Conservation).

Kron KA, Judd WS, Stevens PF, Crayn DM, Anderberg AA, Gadek PA, Quinn CJ, Luteyn JL (2002) A phylogenetic classification of Ericaceae: Molecular and morphological evidence. Botanical Review 68(3): 335-423.

Crayn DM, Winter K, Smith JAC (2001). Carbon-isotope ratios and photosynthetic pathways in the Neotropical family Rapateaceae. Plant Biology 3: 569-576.

Taaffe G, Brown EA, Crayn DM, Gadek PA, Quinn CJ (2001) Generic concepts in Styphelieae: resolving the limits of Leucopogon. Australian Journal of Botany 49: 107-120.

Crayn DM, Quinn CJ (2000). The evolution of the atpB-rbcL intergenic spacer in the epacrids (Ericales) and the systematic and evolutionary implications. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 16: 238-252.

Crayn DM, Terry RG, Smith JAC, Winter K (2000). Molecular systematic investigations in Pitcairnioideae (Bromeliaceae) as a basis for understanding the evolution of crassulacean acid metabolism (CAM). In K. Wilson and D. Morrison (eds), Monocots: systematics and evolution. (Melbourne: CSIRO). pp. 569-579.

Kron KA, Fuller R, Crayn DM, Gadek PA, Quinn CJ (1999). Phylogenetic relationships of epacrids and vaccinioids (Ericaceae s. l.) based on matK sequence data. Plant Systematics & Evolution 218(1-2): 55-65.

Kron KA, Judd WS, Crayn DM (1999). Phylogenetic analyses of Andromedeae (Ericaceae subfam. Vaccinioideae). American Journal of Botany 86: 1290-1300.

Crayn D M, Kron K A, Gadek P A, Quinn C J (1998). Phylogenetics and evolution of Epacridaceae: a molecular analysis using the chloroplast gene rbcL with a reappraisal of the position of Lebetanthus. Australian Journal of Botany 46: 187-200.

Crayn DM, Quinn CJ (1998). Archerieae: a new tribe in Epacridaceae. Australian Systematic Botany 11: 23-24.

Powell JM, Morrison DA, Gadek PA, Crayn DM, Quinn CJ (1997). Relationships and generic concepts within Styphelieae (Epacridaceae). Australian Journal of Botany 10: 15-29.

Crayn DM, Kron KA, Gadek PA, Quinn CJ (1996). Delimitation of Epacridaceae: preliminary molecular evidence. Annals of Botany 77: 317-321.

Powell JM, Crayn DM, Gadek PA, Quinn CJ, Morrison DA, Chapman AR (1996). A reassessment of relationships within Epacridaceae. Annals of Botany 77: 305-315.

Crayn DM, Fernando ES, Gadek PA, Quinn CJ (1995). A reassessment of the familial affinity of the Mexican genus Recchia Moçiño & Sessé ex DC. Brittonia 47: 397-402.

Fernando ES, Gadek PA, Crayn DM, Quinn CJ (1993). Rosid affinities of Surianaceae: molecular evidence. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 2: 344-350.