Dr David Yeates

Group Leader and Director of ANIC


David Yeates obtained his PhD from the University of Queensland in 1988. From 1989-1992 he was the Roosevelt Postdoctoral Fellow at the American Museum of Natural History, New York. He was an Associate Professor at the University of Queensland from 1994-2000, before joining CSIRO in 2001. Dr Yeates is currently the Schlinger Curator of Diptera and Director of ANIC, and Adjunct Professor in the School of Biological Sciences at the Australian National University.

Dr Yeates main research interests are in the systematics and evolution of insects, particularly Diptera (Flies). He has current research projects funded by the US National Science Foundation and the Australian Biological Resources Study. In November 2014 he was part of the international consortium "1000 Insect Transcriptome Evolution" that published a new genomic evolutionary tree for insects in the journal Science.

Dr Yeates' research group is currently studying the taxonomy and relationships of Diptera, also known as flies. He is particularly interested in exploring the evolution of Australian insect fauna. At present, this research focuses on the impact of widespread aridification in Australia, during the late Tertiary geological period (20–1.8 million years ago), on insect faunas. Evidence suggests that many insect groups responded by diversifying extensively, either through allopatric speciation mechanisms or in major co-radiations with Australia's dominant plant groups. This has produced a number of very diverse Australian insect groups that we see today.

He is currently working with postdocs, PhD students and colleagues on initiatives to assemble phylogenomic datasets to establish the relationships of the the Diptera. His other projects include the systematics of Australian march flies (Tabanidae), soldier flies (Stratiomyidae), asiloid flies, and the evolution of the Australian gall flies, Fergusoninidae. He is also collaborating with Dr Simon Ferrier and others to model biological diversity at continental scale.

Science and Professional Areas

  • Zoological Systematics
  • Phylogenetic Reconstruction
  • Biogeography

Fields of Research

  • Animal Systematics and Taxonomy (060301)
  • Biogeography and Phylogeography (060302)
  • Phylogeny and Comparative Analysis (060309)
  • Molecular Evolution (060409)

Academic Qualifications

  • Bachelor of Science (Honours) University of Queensland1982
  • PhDUniversity of Queensland1988

Professional Experiences

  • Roosevelt Postdoctoral FellowAmerican Museum of Natural History1989 - 1992
  • ANIC Postdoctoral FellowCSIRO1992 - 1993
  • Senior LecturerThe University of Queensland1994 - 2000

Achievements and Awards

  • Mackerras MedalAustralian Entomological Society2008

Other Career Highlights

  • Vice President, Australian Entomological Society2008 - 2013
  • President, Australian Entomological Society2013 - 2015

Contact information


  • +61 2 6246 4282
  • +61 402 592 845 (Mobile)
  • +61 2 6246 4264 (Fax)

Postal address:

GPO BOX 1700