Peter Ritchie

AProf Peter Ritchie profile picture

Evolutionary Genetics School of Biological Sciences

Personal Bio

PhD Massey University | MSc University of Auckland | Facebook | Twitter

Research interests

The central goal of my research program is to develop and apply genetic markers to New Zealand fisheries and aquaculture species. My current work focuses on genome sequencing and the population genetics of in-shore fishery species (e.g. NZ snapper, tarakihi, grey mullet, blue cod, octopus, scampi, etc). Genetic approaches enable us to determine reproductive success; give a precise assessment of population/stock structure, particularly breeding units; and detect adaptive genetic variation to environmental stresses, such as size-selective fishing and the effects of intensive land use on fish nursery grounds.

Industrial fishing is an evolutionary experiment on a grand scale, so genetic insights are of great value to this important food production sector. My group brings an important evolutionary genetics perspective to fisheries science research. I have a specific interest in population genetic structure and detecting population differentiation and adaptive variation. Fish are ideal models for determining the relative importance of natural selection because they have large population sizes and strong patterns of local recruitment. Whole genome sequencing and genotyping-by-sequencing (GBS) enable us to find areas of the genome under natural selection. Genome wide markers can also be used to support selective breeding programmes of aquaculture species.

I have an active and supportive research group, which is comprised of PhD and MSc students, post-doctoral fellows and technicians. Our research involves the laboratory techniques of DNA sequencing, microsatellite genotyping, genomics, bioinformatics, and population genetic modelling. My lab also as several projects on intertidal species (e.g. Cominella spp.) and seabirds (e.g. Buller’s albatross).


  • Teaching Excellence Award
  • Health and Safety Excellence Award
  • PGSA Award for best Post-graduate Supervisor
  • Applied Biosystems Award for Research Excellence


Lane, HS, JE Symonds, PA Ritchie (2016) The phylogeography and population genetics of Polyprion oxygeneios based on mitochondrial DNA sequences and microsatellite DNA markers. Fisheries Research 174, 19-29

Hernández, S, R Daley, T Walker, M Braccini, A Varela, MP Francis, et al (2015) Demographic history and the South Pacific dispersal barrier for school shark (Galeorhinus galeus) inferred by mitochondrial DNA and microsatellite DNA mark. Fisheries Research 167, 132-142

Varela, AI, PA Ritchie, PS PJ Smith, PJ (2013) Global genetic population structure in the commercially exploited deep-sea teleost orange roughy (Hoplostethus atlanticus) based on microsatellite DNA analyses. Fisheries Research 140, 83-90

Allendorf FW, England PR, Luikart G, Ritchie PA, Ryman N (2008) Genetic effects of harvest on wild animal populations. Trends in Ecology and Evolution 23 (6): 327-337

Ritchie PA, Millar CD, Gibb GC, Baroni C, Lambert DM (2004) Ancient DNA enables timing of the Pleistocene origin and Holocene expansion of two Adelie penguin lineages in Antarctica. Molecular Biology and Evolution 21, 240-248.

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