Professor Mike Lee

Calculated based on number of publications stored in Pure and citations from Scopus
1992 …2024

Research activity per year

Personal profile

Research Biography

I am interested in broad-scale patterns of evolution, such as major changes in body plan, or why some groups speciate much more rapidly than others. Reptiles are typically the research focus, though I also collaborate with workers on other groups such as birds, mammals and even arthropods.  We have recently obtained major funding to work on snake evolution (see below).

I grew up in Queensland (mainly Brisbane) in the 80s, and spent most of my childhood catching and examining any creature that moved, much to my parents horror. I now ostensibly get to do this for a living, except that with encroaching age and committments my research is moving more into theoretical and computational areas. I think Bayesian methods are the future of science.

My Google Scholar, Twitter and Academia profiles.

Research Interests


All papers can be downloaded if you join the above website; faster than asking for reprints.

Some representative recent papers:

  • King, B. and Lee, M.S.Y. 2015. Ancestral state reconstruction, rate heterogeneity, and the evolution of reptile viviparity. Systematic Biology 64 (3): 532-544.
  • Lee, M.S.Y., Cau, A., Naish, D., Dyke G. J. 2014. Sustained miniaturisation and evolutionary novelty in the dinosaurian ancestors of birds. Science 345: 562-566.
  • Mitchell, K.J. Llamas, B., Soubrier, J., Rawlence, N.J., Worthy, T.H., Lee, M.S.Y., Cooper, A. 2014. Ancient DNA unites elephant birds with kiwis and clarifies ratite evolution. Science 344: 898-900.
  • Lee, M.S.Y., Soubrier, J., Edgecombe, G.D. 2013. Rates of phenotypic and genomic evolution during the Cambrian explosion. Current Biology 23: 1889-1895.
  • Sanders, K.L., Rasmussen, A.R., Mumpuni, Elmberg, J., Silva, A., Guinea, M.L., Lee, M.S.Y. 2013. Recent rapid speciation and ecomorph divergence in Indo-Australian sea snakes (Hydrophiinae). Molecular Ecology 10: 2742 €“2759.
  • Paterson, J. R., García-Bellido, D.C., Lee, M.S.Y., Brock, G.A., Jago, J.B., Edgecombe, G.D. 2011. Acute vision in the giant Cambrian predator Anomalocaris and the origin of compound eyes. Nature 480(7376): 237-240. [cover article]
  • Lee, M.S.Y., Jago, J.B., García-Bellido, D.C., Edgecombe, G.D., Gehling, J.G., Paterson, J.R. 2011. Modern optics in exceptionally preserved eyes of Early Cambrian arthropods from Australia. Nature 474: 631-634.





PH.D AND HONS SUPERVISION: I am able to supervise projects in the research areas below; most of my recent students have submitted. My projects typically require quantitative skills in phylogenetics, comparative methods or related areas (or the desire to quickly learn these). Fondness for reptiles and/or fossils is optional. See publications above to get a flavour for what is possible.

Supervised Students Successes

  • Aug 2016 Benedict King - Best Student Paoer

Research Areas

  • Ecology and conservation

Supervisory Interests

  • Herpetology
  • Macroevolution
  • Biogeography
  • Vertebrate palaeontology
  • Palaeobiology
  • Cambrian explosion
  • Evolution
  • Phylogenetics
  • Palaeontology
  • Bayesian analysis in time series or bioinformatics
  • Systematics


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