Behavioural, evolutionary and physiological ecology

Sexually-deceptive orchid being pollinated by a wasp. Photo: Rod Peakall

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

ANU Science On Location: Ningaloo Reef

There’s so much of it, unchanging and exposed except for dry scrub and grass, the only consolation from complete baldness. The red dirt comes right...

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...

Jennie Mallela

Research Background I became interested in research as a first year undergraduate student at the University of Leeds in the UK whilst studying...

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...

News

06
Aug
2018
New research involving biologists from The Australian National University (ANU) shows that some birds are just as skilled as humans at eavesdropping. The work has just been...
10
Jul
2018
ANU PhD graduate Regina Vega Trejo hopes that her ongoing research into inbreeding amongst species can help scientists discover why animals that are related are less likely to...
10
Nov
2017
Scientist have solved the mystery of how crested pigeons create an alarm without using their voice to prompt other birds to flee danger. Researchers have long suspected that some...
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...

Events

21
Sep
2018
Understanding the factors influencing mutation can improve mutation detection techniques, identify diagnostic signatures of disease-causing mutagens, and facilitate the...
25
Sep
2018
Having spent much of my working life studying sexual conflicts in animals, I have grown increasingly absorbed by human relations and how evolutionary, economic and cultural forces...
09
Oct
2018
Evolutionary innovations such as eyes, venom, and live birth (viviparity) are dramatic, adaptive novelties that have shaped the evolutionary trajectories of animals. However,...
18
Oct
2018
Biological variation is organized hierarchically; it exists among taxa, among populations, among genotypes or individuals, and within genotypes or individuals. Thinking...

Updated:  19 September 2018/Responsible Officer:  Director RSB/Page Contact:  Webmaster RSB