Curriculum vitae

Michael Whitehead, PhD

McKenzie Postdoctoral Fellow
University of Melbourne


2012 – PhD dissertation “The Evolutionary Biology of Pollination: Studies in a Genus of Australian Sexually Deceptive Orchids”, The Australian National University

2004 – BSc (Hons) Biological Science, University of New South Wales

Positions Held

March 2016 – August 2016: Endeavour Postdoctoral Fellow. University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, USA.

May 2012 – Jan 2016: Research Fellow; Above and below ground interactions in Caladenia spider orchids. The Australian National University / Kings Park Botanic Garden

Nov 2012 – April 2014: Postdoctoral Scholar; Pollinator sensory ecology. University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.

Aug – Dec 2007: Research Assistant; Invasion genetics of European Starlings, University of New South Wales

Mar – Jun 2007: Laboratory Technician; DNA Bar-coding of Australian flora, Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney

Mar 2005 – Feb 2007: Research Assistant; Empirical tests of population genetics theory, and technician; Molecular Ecology and Evolution Facility, University of New South Wales

Nov 2003 – Oct 2004: Technician; DNA sequencing and genotyping service, Ramaciotti Centre for Gene Function Analysis, University of New South Wales

Grants awarded

2017 – Hermon Slade Foundation research grant $55 000
2016 – Endeavour Postdoctoral Fellowship $20 000
2014 – Australian Orchid Foundation research grant $9 860
2012 – Percy Sladen Memorial Fund grant £750
2011 – Vice Chancellor’s conference travel grant: $1 500
2009 – Vice Chancellor’s travel grant: $2 000
2008 – Australian Pacific Science Foundation Research Grant: $30 000
2007 – Vice Chancellor’s field work grant: $1 500


Guest lecturer: 1st year biology, University of Melbourne

Course development and lecturer: 2nd year “Field Studies for Functional Ecology”, ANU.
Guest lecturer and course development: 2nd year Introductory Genetics, ANU.

Presenter for Southern Africa international workshop “Genetic Analysis for Population Studies”, University of Capetown and University of KwaZulu-Natal South Africa

Teaching assistant for national workshop: “Genetic Analysis for Population Studies”. University of New South Wales

2007 – 2011:
Demonstrator for 1st year biology, 2nd year Introductory Genetics, 2nd year Australian Plant Diversity and 3rd year Population Genetics, Australian National University

Teaching assistant for national graduate workshop: “Genetic Analysis for Population Studies”. Australian National University

2008 – 2009:
Lab demonstrator for masters level Molecular Techniques course, Australian National University

Demonstrator 2nd year Genetics, University of New South Wales


School seminar, School of BioSciences, University of Melbourne, “The artifice of flowers: Linking pollinator behaviour and floral evolution” Whitehead MR

Public seminar, University of Melbourne Botany Foundation: “Sex, lies and pollination: Deception and mimicry in Australian orchids.”

Department colloquium, Department of Biology, University of Missouri, St. Louis, “The artifice of flowers: Linking pollinator behaviour and floral evolution” Whitehead MR

Department colloquium, Department of Entomology, University of Wisconsin-Madison, “The artifice of flowers: Linking pollinator behaviour and floral evolution” Whitehead MR

Department colloquium, Department of Biological Sciences, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, “The artifice of flowers: Linking pollinator behaviour and floral evolution” Whitehead MR

Department seminar, Centre for Integrative Ecology, Deakin University, “The artifice of flowers: Linking pollinator behaviour and floral evolution” Whitehead MR

Seminar, Naturalis Biodiversity Centre, The Netherlands, “Linking pollinator behaviour and floral evolution” Whitehead MR

Department seminar, Australian National University, “Plant-pollinator interactions in the South African flora”. Whitehead MR, Johnson SD.

Oral presentation, International Congress on Orchid Conservation, Réunion Island “Reproductive isolation in morphologically cryptic, sympatric taxa of Australian orchids.” Whitehead MR, Peakall R.

Public seminar, QUESTACON National Science Centre, Canberra “Confessions of a Science Photographer”.

Public seminar, Australian National Botanic Gardens, Canberra “The Empty Promises & False Advertisements of Orchid Pollination”.

Oral presentation, South African Association of Botanists conference, Drakensville, South Africa “Sexual mimicry in sympatric orchid species promotes outcrossing, multiple paternity and reproductive isolation.” Whitehead MR, Peakall R.

Department seminar, Australian National University (September), University of Western Australia (November), Macquarie University (November), “Wasp love got to do with it? The evolutionary implications of sexual mimicry on orchids.” 

Oral presentation, European Society for Evolutionary Biology conference, Tubingen, Germany “The mating habits of Australian sexually deceptive orchids” Whitehead MR, Peakall R.

Oral presentation, Workshop: New Research Tools for Illuminating the Ecology and Evolution of Orchids, Melbourne, Australia “Multidisciplinary measurements of pollen flow in sexually deceptive orchids” Whitehead MR, Linde CC, Peakall R.

Oral presentation, Genetics Society of Australia annual conference, Canberra, Australia: “Gene flow within and between sympatric sexually deceptive orchid taxa” Whitehead MR, Peakall R.

Oral presentation, Evolution 09 Biennial meeting of the Australasian Evolution Society,
Canberra, Australia: “Novel methods for mating system analysis in sexually deceptive orchids.” Whitehead MR, Hayes C, Peakall R.

Oral presentation, Evolution – The Experience, Melbourne, Australia: “Gene flow in Australian sexually-deceptive orchids.” Whitehead MR, Peakall R.

Awards and Honours

2009 – Best student talk prize, Evolution 09: Biennial meeting of the Australasian Evolution Society
2009 – Student talk prize, ANU Botany and Zoology postgraduate research forum
2007 – Australian National University College of Science PhD Scholarship

Professional service and affiliations:

Peer reviewer for Evolution, Functional Ecology, Annals of Botany, BMC Evolutionary Biology, Journal of Ecology, Behavioural Ecology, Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society, Plant Species Biology, Australian Journal of Botany, Current Zoology

2010-2011 postgraduate student representative for division of Evolution, Ecology and Genetics, ANU.

Organising committee on conferences; 2010 Research School Biology Annual Postgraduate Conference, 2010 Genetics Society of Australia Annual Meeting, 2009 Australasian Evolution Society Conference.

I have also contributed book reviews to the newsletters for the Australian Systematic Botanists Society and The Systematics Association.


2011 – Senior First Aid
2008 – “Communicating Science to Peers and Public”. Workshop, Centre for Public Awareness of Science, Australian National University.