Skip to content

Phil Novis

Senior Researcher - Phycologist
Phil Novis
Contact Phil

Research interests

Research interests

  • evolution of algae
  • taxonomy, ecology, distribution and dispersal of freshwater algae
  • extreme environments: alpine habitats, acid mine drainage, polar deserts

Current projects

  • Evolution of green algae reconstructed from chloroplast genes
  • Relationships between charophycean algae and embryophytes
  • Biogeography of New Zealand non-marine algae: current focus Awarua Wetland (lowland) and Canyon Creek (alpine)
  • Distribution of algae in the Wright Valley, Antarctica
  • Nitrogen-fixing cyanobacteria associated with blooms of Didymosphenia geminata
  • Species-level identification of vegetative green algal filaments using a rapid molecular method
  • Taxonomy and distribution of Vaucheria in New Zealand
  • Addition of a photosynthetic biocathode to a microbial fuel cell
  • FAIIAR: the Freshwater Algae Identification, Information, and Action Resource - an online tool to help community groups identify freshwater algae and interpret aquatic ecology
  • Making images and descriptions of freshwater diatom types first described from New Zealand material accessible online
  • Investigation of Nostoc cf. commune populations from around New Zealand: taxonomy, toxicology

Selected recent publications

Zhong B, Xi Z, Goremykin VV, Fong R, Mclenachan PA, Novis PM, Davis CC, Penny D 2014. Streptophyte algae and the origin of land plants revisited using heterogeneous models with three new algal chloroplast genomes. Molecular Biology and Evolution 31: 177–183.


Gopalakrishnan KK, Novis PM, Visnovsky G 2014. Alpine Scenedesmaceae from New Zealand: new taxonomy. New Zealand Journal of Botany 52:84–99.


Commault AS, Lear G, Novis P, Weld RJ 2014. Photosynthetic biocathode enhances the power output of a sediment-type microbial fuel cell. New Zealand Journal of Botany 52:48–59.


Novis PM, Smissen R, Buckley TR, Gopalakrishnan K, Visnovsky G 2013. Inclusion of chloroplast genes that have undergone expansion misleads phylogeny reconstruction in the Chlorophyta. American Journal of Botany 100(11): 2194–2209.


Muralidhar A, Novis PM, Broady PA, Collings DA, Garrill A 2013. An estuarine species of the alga Vaucheria (Xanthophyceae) displays an increased capacity for turgor regulation when compared to a freshwater species. Journal of Phycology 49: 967–978.


Moniz MBJ, Rindi F, Novis PM, Broady PA, Guiry MD 2012. Molecular phylogeny of Antarctic Prasiola (Prasiolales, Trebouxiophyceae) reveals extensive cryptic diversity. Journal of Phycology 48: 940–955.


Novis PM, Braidwood J, Kilroy C 2012. Small diatoms (Bacillariophyta) in cultures from the Styx River, New Zealand, including descriptions of three new species. Phytotaxa 64: 11–45.


Novis PM, Visnovsky G 2012. Novel alpine algae from New Zealand: Chlorophyta. Phytotaxa 39: 1–30.


Novis PM, Visnovsky G 2011. Novel alpine algae from New Zealand: Cyanobacteria. Phytotaxa 22: 1–24.


Novis PM, Visnovsky G 2011. Novel alpine algae for New Zealand: Klebsormidiales. New Zealand Journal of Botany 49: 339–349.


Sparrow AD, Gregorich EG, Hopkins DW, Novis PM, Elberling B, Greenfield LG 2011. Resource limitations on soil microbial activity in an Antarctic Dry Valley. Soil Science of America Journal 75: 2188–2197.


Novis PM, Lorenz M, Broady PA, Flint EA 2010. Parallela Flint: its phylogenetic position in the Chlorophyceae and the polyphyly of Radiofilum Schmidle. Phycologia 49: 373–383.


Gile GH, Novis PM, Cragg DS, Zuccarello GC, Keeling PJ 2009. The distribution of Elongation Factor-1 Alpha (EF-1α), Elongation Factor-Like (EFL), and a non-canonical genetic code in the Ulvophyceae: discrete genetic characters support a consistent phylogenetic framework. Journal of Eukaryotic Microbiology 56: 367–372.


Novis PM, Halle C, Wilson B, Tremblay LA 2009. Identification and characterisation of freshwater algae from a pollution gradient using rbcL sequencing and toxicity testing. Archives Environmental Contamination Toxicology 57:504–514.


Novis PM, Beer T, Vallance J 2008. New records of microalgae from the New Zealand alpine zone, and their distribution and dispersal. New Zealand Journal of Botany 46: 347–366.


Novis PM, Hoham RW, Beer T, Dawson M 2008. Two snow species of the quadriflagellate green alga Chlainomonas (Chlorophyta, Volvocales): ultrastructure and phylogenetic position within the Chloromonas clade. Journal of Phycology 44: 1001–1012.


Novis PM, Whitehead D, Gregorich EG, Hunt JE, Sparrow AD, Hopkins DW, Elberling B, Greenfield, LG 2007. Annual carbon fixation in terrestrial populations of Nostoc commune (Cyanobacteria) from an Antarctic dry valley is driven by temperature regime. Global Change Biology 13: 1224–1237.


PhD Biology


Sparrow AD, Gregorich EG, Hopkins DW, Novis P, Elberling B, Greenfield LG 2011. Resource Limitations on Soil Microbial Activity in an Antarctic Dry Valley. Soil Science Society of America Journal 75(6): 2188-2197. WOS:000296553600017

Feng X, Simpson AJ, Gregorich EG, Elberling B, Hopkins DW, Sparrow AD, Novis PM, Greenfield LG, Simpson MJ 2010. Chemical characterization of microbial-dominated soil organic matter in the Garwood Valley, Antarctica. Geochimica et cosmochimica acta 74(22): 6485-6498.

Broady PA, Novis PM, Parsons MJ 2010. A tribute to Dr Elizabeth Flint, phycologist, in her 101st year. Phycologia 49(4): 307-308. ISI:000280232300001

Hawes I, Novis PM, Webster-Brown J, Wood S 2010. Freshwater ecosystem research in LGP. Antarctic 28(2): 24-26.

Novis PM 2010. Aerophytic algae. New Zealand science teacher 123: 29-.

Novis PM, Lorenz M, Broady PA, Flint EA 2010. Parallela Flint: its phylogenetic position in the Chlorophyceae and the polyphyly of Radiofilum Schmidle. Phycologia 49(4): 373-383.

Hopkins DW, Sparrow AD, Gregorich EG, Elberling B, Novis P, Fraser F, Scrimgeour C, Dennis PG, Meier-Augenstein W, Greenfield LG 2009. Isotopic evidence for the provenance and turnover of organic carbon by soil microorganisms in the Antarctic dry valleys. Environmental Microbiology 11(3): 597-608. WOS:000263755700006


  • Board member Styx Living Laboratory, Styx Living Laboratory Trust board of management