Morphologie, Systematik, Evolutionsbiologie

Dr. Julia Goldberg

Postdoc & lecturer


Research interests


  • biodiversity & evolution of biotas, especially on islands and in island systems
  • phylogeography & phylogenetic systematics of various animal taxa
  • population genetics & genetic variability of species
  • speciation




My research centers primarily on the evolutionary processes driving speciation, with particular interest in the role of adaptation to new ecological environments. Related interests include phylogeography and phylogenetics. A range of data are used to address these research topics, including field observations, laboratory experiments, and molecular data. Molecular work ranges from population genetics and phylogenetics to evolutionary genetics.

Currently my main research focuses on the evolution, biodiversity and phylogeography of stick insects (Phasmatodea) with special emphasis on Malagasy and African lineages. This work is in collaboration with Sven Bradler in the DFG-funded project ‘Biodiversity and evolution of Malagasy stick insects: Ancient lineages or recent adaptive radiation?’. We seek to infer the evolutionary history of the Malagasy lineages and investigate the adaptive clade diversifications and micro-endemism of these insects. Furthermore, this study is aimed to advance our understanding of the phylogeography and evolution of distinct ecomorphs of stick insects on islands, for example ground-dwellers and canopy-dwellers, flying and flightless forms.
Additionally, I am working on questions relating to the evolution and phylogeography of selected taxa in New Zealand, including the Chatham Islands, in collaboration with Steve Trewick and Mary Morgan-Richards.


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Academic education & scientific career


  • since 2011 Postdoctoral research fellow & lecturer in the Department for Morphology, Systematics and Evolutionary Biology at the JFB-Institute of Zoology & Anthropology, Georg-August-University Göttingen, Germany

  • 2010 Dissertation (PhD) in evolutionary biology at the Institutes of Molecular Biosciences and of Natural Resources, Massey University, Palmerston North, New Zealand, supervisors Steve Trewick & Mary Morgan-Richards;
    thesis title: “Speciation and phylogeography in the New Zealand archipelago”

  • 2003 Diplom thesis “Intragenomic variation, evolution and phylogenetic potential of the Internal Transcribed Spacer (ITS1 & 2) of the ribosomal DNA within the most original Metazoa, sponges (Phylum Porifera)”, supervisor Gert Wörheide at the Institute of Geoscience and Geography, Department. for Geobiology, Georg-August-University Göttingen, Germany.

  • 1996 - 2003 Biological studies at the Georg-August-University Göttingen, Germany;
    key areas: zoology, geology, nature conservation and human genetics.


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    Scientific affiliations


    • The Society for the Study of Evolution (SSE) since 2007
    • International Biogeography Society (IBS) since 2006
    • Society of Systematic Biologists (SSB) since 2005
    • Gesellschaft für Biologische Systematik (GfBS) since 2003



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    Grants/scholarships/prizes


    • Allan Wilson Centre stipend (2009)
    • Allan Wilson Centre travel grant (2008) to XX. International Congress of Genetics, Berlin, Germany.
    • Poster prize in „Island Biogeography Symposium“ (2007), 3rd Biennial Conference of the International Biogeography Society, Tenerife, Canary Islands (“The Chatham Islands: ancient rocks – new biota”).
    • Institute of Molecular BioSciences, Massey University travel grant (2007) to Southern Connection conference in Adelaide, Australia.
    • Institute of Molecular BioSciences, Massey University travel grant (2005) to MBE05 conference in Auckland, New Zealand.
    • PhD scholarship, Marsden Fund of the Royal Society of New Zealand (2004-2007) at the Allan Wilson Centre for Molecular Ecology & Evolution, Institute of Molecular BioSciences, Massey University, Palmerston North, New Zealand (“The Chatham Islands: an emergent ark?”).



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    Selected Fieldwork


    • North and South Island, New Zealand (2004-2010)
    • Canary Islands, Spain (2007)
    • Chatham Islands, New Zealand (2005)
    • Balearic Islands, Spain (2003)
    • Lake Baikal/Siberia, Russia (2000)
    • Salawin WS, Mae Sariang District, Thailand (1999)
    • Białowieza NP, Poland (1998)