Professor Luciano Beheregaray

Matthew Flinders Professor

College of Science and Engineering

place Biological Sciences (019)
GPO Box 2100, Adelaide 5001, South Australia

My main research and teaching interests are in evolution, genomics and conservation biology. My work often uses fish populations as indicators of environmental and water quality, adaptive resilience, management practices and ecosystem health.

I was born and raised in Uruguaiana, a town in the Pampas grassland in Brazil. In 1986, I moved to the coast to study Biological Oceanography (BSc and Msc), ichthyology and population genetics at University of Rio Grande. In 1996, I moved to Sydney for a PhD in fish evolutionary genetics, awarded by Macquarie University in 2001.

I was then a Gaylord Donnelley Environmental Research Fellow at Yale University (2001-2003) working in projects in Amazonia and the Galápagos, before returning to Australia for a tenure position at Macquarie. I worked at Macquarie until 2009 as Associate Professor and head of the Molecular Ecology Lab and the Molecular Ecology Group for Marine Research (MEGMAR).

In 2009, I moved to Adelaide to establish the Molecular Ecology Lab at Flinders University (MELFU). To date, we have graduated 25 PhDs, 31 Honours students, and produced >250 refereed publications.

I aim to offer an intellectually rich and friendly environment to my lab members; this includes an annual 3-day lab retreat in a remote coastal beach.

My lab's alumni have secured academic and research positions in the six inhabited continents, including Australia, USA, Japan, Austria, South Africa and Brazil.

I held an ARC (Australian Research Council) Future Fellowship between 2014 and 2018, a research-only position to establish a long-term program on ecological genomics of fishes.

Between 2020 and 2023, I was the Research Section Lead of Ecology, Evolution and Environment, an interdisciplinary world-leading research communitiy of ~180 academics, postdocs and research students.

In March 2022, I was awarded a Matthew Flinders Professorship for my contributions to research performance and leadership.


Higher Academic Qualifications

  • PhD in Evolutionary Genetics, 2001. Macquarie University, Australia
  • MSc in Biological Oceanography, 1995. University of Rio Grande, Brazil
  • BSc in Biological Oceanography, 1991. University of Rio Grande, Brazil

Sabbatical and Postdoctoral Experience

  • Sabbatical, Lab of Prof Louis Bernatchez, Universite' Laval, 2008. Quebec City, Canada
  • Postdoctoral Fellow, Dept of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Yale University, 2001-2003. New Haven, USA
  • Sabbatical, Lab of Dr Alex Wilson, University of Miami, 2011. Miami, USA
  • Sabbatical, Lab of Assoc Prof Maren Wellenreuther, Plant & Food Research, 2022. Nelson, New Zealand
Honours, awards and grants
  • Matthew Flinders Professorship. Flinders University, 2022.
  • World’s Top 2% Scientist, 2020. List by Stanford University based on standardized citation metrics across all scientists and disciplines.
  • ARC Future Fellow, Ecological Genomics. Australian Research Council, 2013.
  • DG Catcheside Prize. Best PhD thesis in Genetics. Genetics Society of Australasia, 2001.
  • Gaylord Donnelley Environmental Research Fellow. Yale University, 2001.
  • Vice-Chancellor's Inaugural Award for Early-Career Researcher. Flinders University, 2010.
  • Vice-Chancellor's Inaugural Award for Excellence in PhD Supervision. Flinders University, 2017.

Select Research Funding
> $10.3M as chief investigator (CI), includes 12 ARCs (9 as lead CI).

  • FRDC 2023-2026 "Towards healthy and sustainable freshwater fish populations" $794K (Duncan, Beheregaray et al.)
  • ARC Discovery. 2019-2021 "The Evolutionary Potential of Fragmented and Declining Populations" $318K (Beheregaray & Bernatchez)
  • ARC Linkage. 2022-2025 "Designing successful genetic-rescue approaches for threatened species" $1.3M including industry contrib. (Bradshaw, Beheregaray et al.)
  • ARC Linkage. 2019-2022 "Fisheries Genomics of snapper in Australia and New Zealand" $552K including industry contrib.(Beheregaray et al.)
  • ARC Future Fellowship. 2013-2018 "Evolution, adaptation and resilience of Australian freshwater fishes" $872K + $200K Univ contrib. (Beheregaray)
  • ARC Discovery. 2015-2017 "Comparative Evolutionary Genomics of Australian Rainbowfishes" $466K (Beheregaray & Bernatchez)
  • ARC Discovery. 2011-2013 "The Genomics of Adaptation to Environmental Change in an Aquatic Organism" $310K (Beheregaray & Bernatchez)
  • ARC Discovery. 2011-2013 "History, transport, or temperature: solving the riddle of Australia's temperate marine biodiversity" $225K (Beheregaray et al.)
  • ARC Linkage. 2010-2013 "Restoration Genetics of Five Endangered Fish Species from the Murray-Darling Basin" $555K (Beheregaray et al.)
  • ARC Linkage. 2011-2014 "Genomics for Persistence of Australian Freshwater Fish" $805K (Sunnucks et al.)
  • ARC Discovery. 2005-2007 "Comparative Phylogeography and Diversification of Amazonian Fishes" $260K (Beheregaray)
  • ARC Linkage. 2006-2008 "Conservation Genetics and Stocking Management of Perches and Basses" $287K (Beheregaray & Gilligan)
  • Australian Marine Mammal Centre 2010-2011 $330K (Moller et al.)
Key responsibilities

Research Section Lead - Ecology, Evolution and Environment (2020-2023, Flinders University)

Head of the Molecular Ecology Lab at Flinders University (MELFU)

Head of the Molecular Ecology Group for Marine Research (MEGMAR)

Conceived and implemented in 2011 the Annual Conference of Postgraduate Students (i.e. HDR students) in the School of Biological Sciences, Flinders University. Acted as conference chair and organizer between 2011 and 2013. This School-wide activity was implemented to assess the progress and enrich the research experience of the ~110 PhD students enrolled at that time within the School of Biological Sciences. Its popularity and success inspired the implementation of an Annual College of Science and Engineering HDR Conference, which includes PhD students from across our College. In 2020, the Annual College of Science and Engineering HDR Conference shifted to the level of Research Section. Currently, the organismal biology and envirronmental science students participate in the Annual HDR Conference of the Ecology, Evolution and Environment Research Section.

Topic coordinator
BIOL3722 Conservation and Ecological Genetics
Topic lecturer
BIOL1101 Evolution of Biological Diversity
BIOL1301 Introduction to Marine Biology
Supervisory interests
Conservation biology
Evolution, aquatic animals
Higher degree by research supervision
Principal supervisor: Molecular Ecology (3)
Associate supervisor: Biology (6)
Principal supervisor: Molecular Ecology (14)
Associate supervisor: Molecular Ecology (4)
Higher degree by research student achievements
Chris Brauer

DVC-R Award for Best PhD Publication - FEB 2017

Fabricius Domingos

Vice-Chancellor’s Award for Doctoral Thesis Excellence - MAY 2017

Expert for media contact
DNA studies
Evolution and Conservation of Aquatic Animals
Available for contact via
Or contact the media team
+61 8 82012092
0427 398 713
Media expertise
  • Animals
  • Biodiversity
  • Conservation
  • DNA studies
  • Fish
  • Evolution and Conservation of Aquatic Animals
Further information
The Conversation