Behavioural, evolutionary and physiological ecology

orchid being pollinated by a wasp

Ecologists often begin by asking how interactions between individual and the environment result in differential survival & reproductive output of organisms depending on their size, age, sex & which traits they possess. These can result in predictable changes in population size and composition that, at broader scales, generates variation in gene flow among populations and differences in species ranges. Natural selection operates whenever there is variation in reproductive output because organisms differ in their ‘fit’ with the environment. Evolutionary change feeds back to affect future ecological interactions. Research at the Research School of Biology covers all aspects of the ecology-evolution cycle. Our key research strengths include: ecophysiology of plants and mammals; behavioural ecology of crabs, birds, insects, reptiles & fish; sensory ecology of crabs & insects; functional ecology of fish & plants; evolutionary genetics of microbes, fungi and reptiles; and the epigenetics of bees. We also have a strong international reputation for developing theory in evolution & ecology that transcends specific study taxa. 

Projects

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Highlights

Chris Fulton

Lab research The Fulton Lab explores patterns of aquatic biodiversity in relation to environmental variability across space and time. Our recent work...

Craig Moritz

Group research focus We study the evolution of diversity of terrestrial vertebrates in relation to environmental history and with a focus on tropical...

Do bees distinguish colours?

ADRIAN HORRIDGE delves into the enlightening research world of bee vision.
Humans have long believed that the colours of flowers have evolved to attract bees. But my recent experiments show that bees actually distinguish...

Janet Gardner

Group Research Focus. We are interested in understanding species’ responses to environmental change. We make novel use of time-series available...

Maja Adamska

Group research focus Our interests are related to a set of fundamental and interconnected biological questions: How does a complex animal arise from...

Marcel Cardillo

Lab research Spatial and phylogenetic patterns of biodiversity, and the macroevolutionary and ecological processes that generate these patterns. A...

Michael Jennions

Lab research focus Bizarre evolutionary games arise when species evolve to have males and females. These include resolving sexual conflict, choosing...

Naomi Langmore

Group research focus We test evolutionary theory using field experiments on birds. Our recent work includes studies of coevolution between cuckoos...

Scott Keogh

 Group research focus My group works in two broad but largely unrelated, areas.  My bread and butter (funded) research is on the molecular...

The secret sanctuaries of Ningaloo reef

You might think seaweed is the annoying stuff that washes up on beaches, and gets caught in your boat motors, paddle or fishing gear. But ANU marine...

News

23
Mar
2017
Biologists at The Australian National University (ANU) have found the first evidence of mass extinction of Australian animals caused by a dramatic drop in global temperatures 35...
03
Nov
2016
Congratulations to new RSB Future Fellows Maja Adamska, Megan Head, Rowena Martin, Sasha Mikheyev and Jiayu (Jean) Wen, and to NHMRC Early Career Fellow Rob Summers! Fifteen ARC...
11
Oct
2016
Any cyclist with a passing familiarity with the science precinct at ANU would know about The Magpies of Linnaeus Way. They are so famous that they even get capital letters, as all...
30
Aug
2016
New research has resolved a mystery over why female fiddler crabs visit and leave many males during mating season, and found the females aren’t just being picky. The research...
13
May
2016
Researchers at The Australian National University (ANU) have found possums in New Zealand prefer to eat leaves high in available protein, giving authorities new evidence to help...
07
Mar
2016
Ecologists have found that Murray crayfish numbers plunged 90 per cent in a high country river after their habitat was lost. Although alpine streams can be hotspots for crayfish,...
15
Feb
2016
Researchers who have spent 10 years studying ground-nesting wasps have solved a mystery of how the insects make sure that they find their way home. Professor Jochen Zeil from The...
01
Feb
2016
Queen bees and ants emit a chemical that alters the DNA of their daughters and keeps them as sterile and industrious workers, scientists have found. “When deprived of the...
01
Oct
2015
Researchers at ANU have found frill-necked lizards have different coloured frills, depending on where they live and what they eat. The colour of the frill on the lizards varies...
16
Sep
2015
Researchers at The Australian National University (ANU) have found the size and shape of orchids play a big part in their act of sexual deception to get male wasps to pollinate...

Events

28
Mar
2017
The movement of animals shapes their population dynamics and influences community and ecosystem structure. Animal movement patterns are therefore fundamental to our understanding...
02
May
2017
In my research group, we are interested in the contribution of the mitochondrial genomes to the evolution of life-histories. Genetic variation within the mitochondrial DNA...
09
May
2017
Cooperative breeding is a reproductive strategy where individuals look after young that are not their own. A typical feature of such systems is that not all individuals provide...
16
May
2017
Effective scientific progress requires that researchers report what they find and how they found it. This is not a controversial idea, but when it comes to actual practice, in...

Updated:  26 March 2017/Responsible Officer:  Director RSB/Page Contact:  Webmaster RSB