Key Info

  • Position Title
    Principal Research Scientist
  • Branch
    Australian Museum Research Institute

Email Dr Don Colgan

My research is mostly focussed on gastropod and bivalve Mollusca. I am interested in their deep phylogenetic history, particularly the genetic and physiological bases underlying their major transitions in habitat or morphology, and I am interested in how their populations are responding to the environmental challenges now confronting them.

Current projects

  • Habitat transitions and invasive genotypes in the mussel genus Xenostrobus
  • The genomics of habitat transitions in gastropods
  • Intra-species phylogeography of the mussel Austromytilus rostratus in the rocky intertidal in southeastern Australia
  • The systematics of the charopid genus Gyrocochlea


  • B.Sc. (Hons) A.N.U. 1976
  • B.Ec. A.N.U. 1986
  • Ph.D. Melb. 1980


  • 1998 - date: Principal Research Scientist, Australian Museum.
  • 1988 – 2004: Head, Evolutionary Biology Unit, Australian Museum.
  • 1982 - 1985: Postdoctoral Fellow, Research School of Biological Sciences, A.N.U.
  • 1980 - 1982: Postdoctoral Research Associate, Biological Sciences, University of Sydney.
  • 1976 - 1977: Demonstrator, School of Biological Sciences, University of Newcastle.

Current Society Membership

Publications Since 2006


  • Arques, M., Colgan, D.J. and Castro, L.R. 2014. Sequence and comparison of mitochondrial genomes in the genus Nerita (Gastropoda: Neritimorpha: Neritidae) and phylogenetic considerations among gastropods. Marine Genomics 15, 45-54.
  • Hobbs, M., Pavasovic, A., King, A.G., Prentis, P.J., Eldridge, M.D.B., Chen, Z., Colgan, D.J., Polkinghorne, A., Wilkins, M.R., Flanagan, C., Gillett, A., Hanger, J., Johnson, R.N. and Timms, P. 2014. A transcriptome resource for the koala (Phascolarctos cinereus): insights into koala retrovirus transcription and sequence diversity. BMC Genomics 2014, 15:786 doi:10.1186/1471-2164-15-786


  • Colgan, D.J., and Da Costa, P. 2013. Invasive and non-invasive lineages in Xenostrobus (Bivalvia: Mytilidae). Molluscan Research 33 (4). An E-print is available as a pdf.
  • Colgan, D.J., and Da Costa, P. 2013. Recent evolutionary dynamism in three pulmonate gastropods from south-eastern Australia. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science 128, 1-8. Abstract
  • Colgan, D.J., and Da Costa, P., 2013. Possible drivers of biodiversity generation in the Siphonaria of southeastern Australia. Marine Biodiversity 43, 73–85. Preview
  • Hallan A., Colgan D.J., Anderson L.C., García A., and Chivas A.R. (2013) A single origin for the limnetic–euryhaline taxa in the Corbulidae (Bivalvia). Zoologica Scripta 42, 278–287. Article


  • Shea, M., Colgan, D.J., and Stanisic, J. 2012. Systematics of the landsnail genus Gyrocochlea and relatives (Mollusca: Charopidae). Zootaxa 3585: 1–109. Preview


  • Golding, R.E., Colgan,D.J., Nelmes. G. and Reutelshöfer, T. 2011. Sympatry and allopatry in the deeply divergent mitochondrial DNA clades of the estuarine pulmonate gastropod genus Phallomedusa (Mollusca, Gastropoda) Marine Biology 158, 159-169. Preview
  • Strong, E.E., Colgan, D.J., Healy, J.M., Lydeard, C., Ponder, W.F., and M. Glaubrecht. 2011. Phylogeny of the gastropod superfamily Cerithioidea using morphology and molecules. Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society 162, 43–89. Abstract
  • Colgan, D.J., and P.M. Middelfart. 2011. Mytilus mitochondrial DNA haplotypes in southeastern Australia. Aquatic Biology 12, 47-53. Abstract
  • Colgan, D.J., and S. Schreiter. 2011. Extrinsic and intrinsic influences on the phylogeography of the Austrocochlea constricta species group. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 397 44–51. Abstract


  • Holznagel, W.E., Colgan, D.J., and Lydeard, C. 2010. Pulmonate phylogeny based on 28S rRNA gene sequences: A framework for discussing habitat transitions and character transformation. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 57, 1017-1025. Abstract
  • Castro, L.R., and Colgan, D.J. 2010. The phylogenetic position of Neritimorpha based on the mitochondrial genome of Nerita melanotragus (Mollusca: Gastropoda). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 57, 918-923. Abstract
  • Phayuhasena, S., Colgan, D., Kuvangkadilok, C., Pramual, P., and Baimai., V. 2010. Phylogenetic relationships among the black fly species (Diptera: Simuliidae) of Thailand based on multiple gene sequences. Genetica 138, 633–648. Abstract


  • Colgan, D.J., O’Meally, D., and Sadlier, R.A. 2009. Phylogeographic patterns in reptiles on the New England Tablelands at the southwestern boundary of the McPherson Macleay Overlap. Australian Journal of Zoology 57, 317–328. PDF
  • Colgan, D.J., and da Costa, P. 2009. The mitochondrial DNA haplotypes of snails of the estuarine hydrobiid genus Tatea cross species and biogeographic boundaries. Marine and Freshwater Research 60, 861-872. PDF
  • Wilson, G.D.F., Humphrey, C.L, Colgan, D.J., Gray, K.-A., and Johnson, R. 2009. Monsoon-influenced speciation patterns in a species flock of Eophreatoicus Nicholls (Isopoda; Crustacea). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 51, 349 – 364. Abstract
  • Colgan, D.J., Middelfart, P., Golding, R., and Criscione, F. 2009. Monitoring the response of NSW bivalves to climate change. Final report by the Australian Museum to the Environmental Trust for Grant 2008/RD/0071. 85 pp. (Not refereed)  Available here


  • Colgan, D.J., Hutchings, P.A., and Beacham, E. 2008. Multi-gene analyses of phylogenetic relationships between Mollusca, Annelida and Arthropoda. Zoological Studies 47, 338-351. PDF and Data at Treebase Study 1970
  • Colgan D.J., and Soheili, S. 2008. Evolutionary lineages in Emballonura and Mosia bats (Mammalia: Microchiroptera) from the southwestern Pacific. Pacific Science 62, 219-231. Abstract
  • Ponder, W.F., Colgan, D.J., Healy, J.M., Nützel, A., Simone, L.R.L., and Strong, E.E. 2008. Caenogastropoda. In Ponder, W.F., and Lindberg, D.L. (eds.) Molluscan Phylogeny and Evolution. University of California Press, Berkeley. pp 331-383. 


  • Ahyong, S.T, Lai, J.C.Y., Sharkey, D., Colgan, D.J., and Ng, P.K.L. 2007. Phylogenetics of the brachyuran crabs (Crustacea: Decapoda): The status of Podotremata based on small subunit nuclear ribosomal RNA. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 42, 576 – 586. PDF and Data at Treebase Study 1784
  • Colgan, D.J., Ponder, W.F., Beacham, E., and Macaranas, J. 2007. Molecular phylogenetics of Caenogastropoda (Gastropoda: Mollusca). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 42, 717-737. Abstract and Data at Treebase Study 1698
  • Pulvers, J.N., and Colgan, D.J. 2007. Molecular phylogeography of Melonycteris in northern Melanesia. Journal of Biogeography 34, 713-723. Abstract
  • Edgecombe, G.D., Colgan, D.J., Sharkey, D. 2007. Phylogeny and biogeography of the Australasian centipede Henicops (Chilopoda: Lithobiomorpha): a combined morphological and molecular approach. Insect Systematics and Evolution 37, 241-256. Abstract


  • Colgan, D.J., and O'Meally, D. 2006. Molecular systematics: implications for phylogeny, biogeography and conservation. Pp. 851 - 871. In Merrick, J. R., Archer, M., Hickey, G.M., and Lee, M.S.Y. (eds). Evolution and Biogeography of Australasian Vertebrates. Auscipub Pty Ltd., Sydney. 942 pp.
  • Major, R.E., Gowing, G., Christie, F., Gray, M.R., and Colgan, D.J. 2006. Variation in wolf spider (Araneae: Lycosidae) distribution and abundance in response to the size and shape of woodland fragments. Biological Conservation 132, 98-108. Abstract
  • Colgan, D.J., Hutchings, P. A., and Braune, M. 2006. A multigene framework for polychaete phylogenetic studies. Organisms, Diversity and Evolution 6, 220-235. Abstract and Data at Treebase Study 1600
  • Colgan, D.J., Ponder. W. F., and Da Costa, P. 2006. Mitochondrial DNA variation in an endemic aquatic snail genus, Caldicochlea (Hydrobiidae; Caenogastropoda) in Dalhousie Springs, an Australian arid-zone spring complex. Molluscan Research 26, 8-18. Abstract  and Data at Treebase Study 1589
  • Colgan, D., Muir, G., Shea, G., and Cogger, H. The levels of intraspecific genetic differentiation among island populations of the gekkonid lizard Christinus guentheri in the Norfolk Island Complex Report 3. A survey of the terrestrial reptiles of Norfolk Island:March 2005. (For the Department of the Environment and Heritage). (Not refereed) Available here