Professor Len Gillman

Len in Antarctica

Associate Dean, International; Head of School - Science

Phone: +64 9 921 9999 ext 8213


Address for blogs:


BSc, PhD. (Auckland)


Len N. Gillman is Associate Dean, International; Head of School, School of Science at AUT, New Zealand; associate professor in ecology and biogeography; and an associate editor for Journal of Biogeography. His main research interests are in patterns of species richness and evolutionary processes.

Teaching Areas:

Biogeography, ecology and evolution, diversity patterns and theory, terrestrial ecology.

Research Areas:

I am interested in questions of causation for global patterns in species richness and in particular the link between productivity, rate of microevolution and biodiversity patterns. I have been involved in testing for the influence of productivity on rates of microevolution in plants. Current work includes the influence of population size and energy on microevolution rates in mammals and birds.

Research Summary:

Len Gillman is an evolutionary ecologist. His major research interest is in differential rates of molecular evolution and the implications of this for global patterns in species richness. Len has been active in conservation in New Zealand since 1984, having held executive positions on Native Forests Action Council and Maruia Society and having acted as a board director of the Environmental Defence Society. He completed his PhD in Auckland, at the age of 47, on forest seedling damage and mortality. From his PhD work, he published six papers.


Google Scholar profile

Gillman, L. N. and S. D. Wright. 2013. Species richness and evolutionary speed: the influence of temperature, water and area. Journal of Biogeography: DOI: 10.1111/jbi.12173.

Gillman, L. N. and S.D. Wright 2013. Climate, biodiversity and genetic evolution. In The balance of nature and climate change. In Klaus Rohde (ed). Cambridge University Press.

Gillman, L. N. 2013. Biodiverstiy. Second edition of: Health and Environment in Aotearoa New Zealand. Shaw, S. & Deed B. (Eds.) Melbourne: Oxford University Press.

Cusens, J., S.D. Wright, P.D. McBride, L.N. Gillman. 2012. What is the form of the productivity–animal species richness relationship? A critical review and meta-analysis. Ecology. 93: 2241–2252.

Gillman, L. N., L. McCowan, and S. D. Wright. 2012. The tempo of genetic evolution in birds: body mass, population size and climate effects. Journal of Biogeography. 39: 1567–1572.

Wright, S. D., H. A. Ross, D. J. Keeling, P. McBride, and L. N. Gillman. 2011 Thermal energy and the rate of genetic evolution in marine fishes. Evolutionary Ecology. 25:525-530.

Gillman, L. N., P. McBride, D. J. Keeling, H. A. Ross, and S. D. Wright. 2011 Are rates of molecular evolution in mammals substantially accelerated in warmer environments? Reply. Proceedings of the Royal Society B. 278: 1294-1297.

Wright, S. D., L. N. Gillman, H. A. Ross, and D. J. Keeling. 2010. Energy and the tempo of evolution in amphibians. Global Ecology and Biogeography. 19:733-740.

Gillman, L. N., D. J. Keeling, R. C. Gardner, and S. D. Wright. 2010. Faster evolution of highly conserved DNA in tropical plants. Journal Evolutionary Biology. 23: 1327-1330.

Gillman, L. N. and S. D. Wright. 2010. Mega mistakes in meta-analyses: devil in the detail. Ecology. 91: 2550-2552.

Goldie, X., L. Gillman, M. Crisp, and S. Wright. 2010. Evolutionary speed limited by water in arid Australia. Proceedings of the Royal Society B. 277: 2645-2653.

Gillman, L. N., H. A. Ross, J. D. Keeling, and S. D. Wright.  2009.  Latitude, elevation and the tempo of molecular evolution in mammals. Proceedings of the Royal Society B 276:3353-3359.

Wright, S. D., L. N. Gillman, H. A. Ross, and J. D. Keeling.  2009.  Slower tempo of microevolution in island birds: implications for conservation biology. Evolution 63:2276-2287.

McBride, P. D., L. N. Gillman, and S. D. Wright.  2009. Current debates on the origin of species. Journal of Biological Education 43:101-107.

Corfield, J., L. Gillman, and S. Parson.  2008.  Vocalizations of the North Island Brown Kiwi (Apteryx mantelli). The Auk 125:326-335.

Gillman, L. N.  2008.  Assessment of sustainable forest management in New Zealand indigenous forest. New Zealand Geographer 64:57-67.

Gillman, L. N., and S. D. Wright.  2007.  Molecular evolution has wheels in the tropics. Biologist 54:195-199.

Wright, S., J. Keeling, and L. Gillman.  2006.  The road from Santa Rosalia: a faster tempo of evolution in tropical climates. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 103:7718-7722.

Gillman, L. N., and S. D. Wright.  2006.  The influence of productivity on the species richness of plants: a critical assessment. Ecology 87:1234-1243.

Gillman, L. N., and J. Ogden.  2005.  Microsite heterogeneity in litterfall risk to seedlings. Austral Ecology 30:497-504.

Gillman, L. N., J. Ogden, S. D. Wright, K. L. Stewart, and D. P. Walsh.  2004.  The influence of macro-litterfall and forest structure on litterfall damage to seedlings. Austral Ecology 29:305-312.

Gillman, L. N., and J. Ogden.  2003.  Seedling mortality and damage due to non-trophic animal interactions in a northern New Zealand forest. Austral Ecology 28:48-50.

Gillman, L. N., S. D. Wright, and J. Ogden.  2003.  Response of forest tree seedlings to simulated litterfall damage. Plant Ecology 169:53-60.

Gillman, L. N., S. D. Wright, and J. Ogden.  2002.  Use of artificial seedlings to estimate damage of forest seedlings due to litterfall and animals. Journal of Vegetation Science 13:635-640.

Gillman, L. N., and J. Ogden.  2001.  Physical damage by litterfall to canopy tree seedlings in two temperate New Zealand forests. Journal of Vegetation Science 12:671-676.






Last updated: 30-Aug-2016 10.53am

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