Collin Ahrens

Senior Scientist (Genetics)

BA Environmental, Population, Organismic biology & PhD Plant Science

Collin has been interested in biology and evolution for as long as he can remember. This interest has led him down a long path of research that includes population genetics, the molecular mechanisms of adaptation, and how populations within a species have developed seemingly different ways to adapt to their local environment. He earned his PhD at the University of Connecticut studying the ecological risk associated with the release of genetically engineered grass species. Since then, he moved to Australia for his postdoctoral research, which includes time at the Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria researching the genetics of rare plant species; Western Sydney University developing theoretical and applied outcomes for the declining tree marri; and University of New South Wales detecting the genetic determinants of myrtle rust resistance in Melaleuca quinquinervia.

Outside of biological research, he’ll be doing one of five things: playing hockey (ice ­– the true type of hockey), listening to vinyl, searching for the best chai, throwing a ball for his doggo (grizzly bear), and hanging out with his family at the local playground.

Collin Ahrens, David Tierney, Paul Rymer (In review) Clonality and inbreeding amplifies genetic isolation and mate limitation in a rare montane woody plant (Persoonia hindii; Proteaceae). bioRxiv.

John Whale, Collin Ahrens, David Tissue, Paul Rymer (In review) Closely related tree species with overlapping ranges exhibit divergent adaptation to climate. bioRxiv.

Anthea Challis, David Tissue, Paul Rymer, Collin Ahrens, Giles Hardy, Katinka Ruthrof, Margaret Byrne (In review) Environmental and genetic drivers of physiological and functional traits in a key canopy species. SSRN (Social Science Research Network).

Collin Ahrens, Paul Rymer, Adam Miller (In review) Genetic offset and vulnerability modelling: misinterpretations of results and violations of evolutionary principles.. Authorea.

Collin Ahrens, Kevin Murray, Richard Mazanec, Scott Ferguson, Jason Bragg, Ashley Jones, David Tissue, Margaret Byrne, Justin Borevitz, Paul Rymer (In review) Genomic constraints to drought adaptation. bioRxiv.

Osazee Oyanoghafo, Adam Miller, Madeline Toomey, Collin Ahrens, David Tissue, Paul Rymer (2023) Contributions of phenotypic integration, plasticity and genetic adaptation to adaptive capacity relating to drought in Banksia marginata (Proteaceae). Frontiers in Plant Science 14: 1150116.

Collin Ahrens, Alexander Watson‐Lazowski, Guomin Huang, David Tissue, Paul Rymer (2022) The roles of divergent and parallel molecular evolution contributing to thermal adaptive strategies in trees. Plant, Cell and Environment 45: 3476-3491.

João Filipe, Paul Rymer, Margaret Byrne, Giles Hardy, Richard Mazanec, Collin Ahrens (2022) Signatures of natural selection in a foundation tree along Mediterranean climatic gradients. Molecular Ecology 31: 1735-1752.

Anthea Challis, Chris Blackman, Collin Ahrens, Belinda Medlyn, Paul Rymer, David Tissue (2022) Adaptive plasticity in plant traits increases time to hydraulic failure under drought in a foundation tree. Tree Physiology 42: 708-721.

Owen Holland, Madeline Toomey, Collin Ahrens, Ary Hoffmann, Laurence Croft, Craig Sherman, Adam Miller (2022) Whole genome resequencing reveals signatures of rapid selection in a virus‐affected commercial fishery. Molecular Ecology 31: 3658-3671.

Collin Ahrens, Paul Rymer, David Tissue (2021) Intra-specific trait variation remains hidden in the environment. New Phytologist 229: 1183-1185.

Collin Ahrens, Anthea Challis, Margaret Byrne, Andrea Leigh, Adrienne Nicotra, David Tissue, Paul Rymer (2021) Repeated extreme heatwaves result in higher leaf thermal tolerances and greater safety margins. New Phytologist 232: 1212-1225.

Collin Ahrens, Rebecca Jordan, Jason Bragg, Peter Harrison, Tara Hopley, Helen Bothwell, Kevin Murray, Dorothy Steane, John Whale, Margaret Byrne, Rose Andrew, Paul Rymer (2021) Regarding the F‐word: The effects of data filtering on inferred genotype‐environment associations. Molecular Ecology Resources 21: 1460-1474.

Brenton Von Takach, Collin Ahrens, David Lindenmayer, Sam Banks (2021) Scale‐dependent signatures of local adaptation in a foundation tree species. Molecular Ecology 30: 2248-2261.

Collin Ahrens, Margaret Andrew, Richard Mazanec, Katinka Ruthrof, Anthea Challis, Giles Hardy, Margaret Byrne, David Tissue, Paul Rymer (2020) Plant functional traits differ in adaptability and are predicted to be differentially affected by climate change. Ecology and Evolution 10: 232-248.

Collin Ahrens, Elizabeth James, Adam Miller, Scott Ferguson, Nicola Aitken, Ashley Jones, Patricia Lu‐irving, Justin Borevitz, David Cantrill, Paul Rymer (2020) Spatial, climate and ploidy factors drive genomic diversity and resilience in the widespread grass Themeda triandra. Molecular Ecology 29: 3872-3888.

Gillian Brown, Elizabeth James, Catherine Simmons, Collin Ahrens (2020) Recently naturalised Paraserianthes lophantha subsp. iophantha displays contrasting genetic diversity and climate relationships compared to native populations. Diversity 12: 422.

David Tierney, Collin Ahrens, Paul Rymer, Tony Auld (2020) The interaction of clonality, breeding system and genomics for a highly threatened plant species and the management implications. Biodiversity and Conservation 29: 3009-3029.

Collin Ahrens, Margaret Byrne, Paul Rymer (2019) Standing genomic variation within coding and regulatory regions contributes to the adaptive capacity to climate in a foundation tree species. Molecular Ecology 28: 2502-2516.

Collin Ahrens, Richard Mazanec, Trudy Paap, Katinka Ruthrof, Anthea Challis, Giles Hardy, Margaret Byrne, David Tissue, Paul Rymer (2019) Adaptive variation for growth and resistance to a novel pathogen along climatic gradients in a foundation tree. Evolutionary Applications 12: 1178-1190.

Adam Miller, Ary Hoffmann, Mun Hua Tan, Mary Young, Collin Ahrens, Michael Cocomazzo, Alex Rattray, Daniel Ierodiaconou, Eric Treml, Craig Sherman (2019) Local and regional scale habitat heterogeneity contribute to genetic adaptation in a commercially important marine mollusc (Haliotis rubra) from southeastern Australia. Molecular Ecology 28: 3053-3072.

Collin Ahrens, Paul Rymer, Adam Stow, Jason Bragg, Shannon Dillon, Kate Umbers, Rachael Dudaniec (2018) The search for loci under selection: Trends, biases and progress. Molecular Ecology 27: 1342-1356.

Collin Ahrens, Megan Supple, Nicola Aitken, David Cantrill, Justin Borevitz, Elizabeth James (2017) Genomic diversity guides conservation strategies among rare terrestrial orchid species when taxonomy remains uncertain. Annals of Botany 119: 1267-1277.

Michael Aspinwall, Angelica Vårhammar, Chris Blackman, Mark Tjoelker, Collin Ahrens, Margaret Byrne, David Tissue, Paul Rymer (2017) Adaptation and acclimation both influence photosynthetic and respiratory temperature responses in Corymbia calophylla. Tree Physiology 37: 1095-1112.

Collin Ahrens, Elizabeth James (2016) Conserving the small milkwort, Comesperma polygaloides, a vulnerable subshrub in a fragmented landscape. Conservation Genetics 17: 891-901.

Collin Ahrens, Elizabeth James (2016) Regional genetic structure and environmental variables influence our conservation approach for Feather Heads (Ptilotus macrocephalus). Journal of Heredity 107: 238-247.

Collin Ahrens, Elizabeth James (2015) Range-wide genetic analysis reveals limited structure and suggests asexual patterns in the rare forb Senecio macrocarpus. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 115: 256-269.

Collin Ahrens, Elizabeth James (2014) Characterization of 13 microsatellite markers for Diuris basaltica (Orchidaceae) and related species. Applications in Plant Sciences 2: 1300069.

Collin Ahrens, Elizabeth James (2014) Isolation and characterisation of 12 microsatellite markers for the vulnerable subshrub Comesperma polygaloides (Polygalaceae). Conservation Genetics Resources 6: 967-968.

Collin Ahrens, Thomas Meyer, Carol Auer (2014) Distribution models for Panicum virgatum (Poaceae) reveal an expanded range in present and future climate regimes in the northeastern United States. American Journal of Botany 101: 1886-1894.

Collin Ahrens, Elizabeth James (2013) Characterisation of microsatellite markers for the vulnerable grassland forb Senecio macrocarpus (Asteraceae). Applications in Plant Sciences 1: 1300041.

Collin Ahrens, Carol Auer (2012) Annual glyphosate treatments alter growth of unaffected bentgrass (Agrostis) weeds and plant community composition. PloS One 7: e50643.

Collin Ahrens, Carol Auer (2012) Genetic relationship between cultivated and feral creeping bentgrass (Agrostis stolonifera) in a cultural landscape. Weed Science 60: 583-588.

Collin Ahrens, Geoffrey Ecker, Carol Auer (2011) The intersection of ecological risk assessment and plant communities: an analysis of Agrostis and Panicum species in the northeastern U.S.. Plant Ecology 212: 1629-1642.

Collin Ahrens, Jinwon Chung, Tom Meyer, Carol Auer (2011) Bentgrass distribution surveys and habitat suitability maps support ecological risk assessment in cultural landscapes. Weed Science 59: 145-154.