Foley Group - Animal-Plant interactions

The aim of our research is to understand the ecology & evolution of interactions between plants and animals in the Australian biota and in particular the interactions between marsupial folivores and Eucalyptus.  We span a broad range of disciplines, from animal physiology and analytical chemistry to molecular and quantitative genetics and large scale genomics.  We work at scales from the individual to the landscape and with the focus on both animals and plants.

ARC DECRA Fellow

Postdoctoral Fellow

Technical Assistants

PhD Student

Honorary Group Leader

Honours Student

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Selected publications (PDFs at Researchgate)

Recently published, in press or coming soon!

  • Padovan A, Webb H, Mazanec R. Grayling P. Bartle J, Foley WJ, Külheim C (2017) Association genetics of essential oil traits in Eucalyptus loxophleba: explaining variation in oil yield. Molecular Breeding

  • Marsh, KJ. Wigley, HJ, Zhou, W. Foley WJ (2017) Pro-oxidant tannin concentrations do not affect feeding and survival of Paropsis atomaria larvae eating Eucalyptus foliage. Journal of Chemical Ecology

  • Kainer, D. Bush, D. Foley WJ, Kulheim C. (2017) Assessment of a non-destructive method to predict oil yield in Eucalyptus polybractea (blue mallee).   Industrial Crops and Products

  • Bustos, C, Dillon S.  Foley WJ , Kuheim C. (2017) Intraspecific diversity of terpenes of Eucalyptus camaldulensis at a continental scale. Australian Journal of Botany

  • Au  J, Foley WJ, Youngentob K. (2017)  Bark chewing reveals a nutrient limitation of leaves for a specialist folivore. Journal of Mammalogy

  • Ganzhorn JU Arrigo-Nelson, S....Foley WJ. (2016) The importance of protein in leaf selection of folivorous primates. American Journal of Primatology DOI: 10.1002/ajp.22550

Selected publications 2014-2016

  • Vance CK, Tolleson DR, Kinoshita  K,  Rodriguez J, Foley WJ (2016) Review: Near infrared spectroscopy in wildlife and biodiversity, Journal of Near Infrared Spectroscopy.  24: 1-25 

  • Windley, H., M. Baron, P. Holland, D. Starrs, W. Ruscoe, and W. J. Foley 2016. Foliar nutritional quality explains patchy browsing by invasive common brushtail possums in New Zealand. PLoS One 11(5):e0155216 

  • Kainer DK, Foley WJ, Külheim C (2015) Genomic approaches to selection in outcrossing perennials: focus on essential oil crops. Theoretical and Applied Genetics  10.1007/s00122-015-2591-0

  • Moore, B. D., N. L. Wiggins, K. Marsh, M. D. Dearing, and W. J. Foley. 2015. Translating physiological signals to behavioural changes in feeding behaviour in mammals and the future effect of global climate change. Animal Production Science 55:272 - 283

  • Myburg AA, Grattapaglia D, Tuskan GA et al  (2014) (+65 authors including Kulheim C, Foley WJ) (2014) The genome of Eucalyptus grandis. Nature 510 (7505):356-62. 

  • Külheim C, Padovan A, Hefer C, Krause ST, Köllner TG, A Myburg AA,  Degenhardt J, Foley WJ (2015) The Eucalyptus terpene synthase gene family. BMC Genomics 16, 450

  • Moore BD, Andrew RL, Kulheim C,  Foley WJ, (2014). Tansley Review: Explaining intraspecific diversity in plant secondary metabolites in an ecological context. New Phytologist. 201:733–750

  • DeGabriel JL, Moore BD, Ganzhorn JU, Stolter C, Wallis IR, Foley WJ, (2013). Translating nutritional ecology from the laboratory to the field: milestones in linking plant chemistry to population regulation in mammalian browsers. Oikos. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0706.2013.00727.x

Selected publications 2005-2013

  • Au J, Wallis IR, Ford KJ, Foley WJ (2013) Whole body protein turnover as an estimate of costs of detoxification of secondary metabolites in a browsing mammal. Journal of Comparative Physiology B 183:993-1003

  • Padovan A, Lanfear R, Keszei A, Foley WJ, and Külheim C (2013) Intra-individual differences in gene expression within a striking phenotypic mosaic Eucalyptus tree. BMC Plant Biology 13:29

  • Moles, A.T., Wallis, I.R., Foley, W.J. and others. (2011): Putting plant defences on the map: a test of the idea that plants are better defended at lower latitudes. New Phytologist, 191: 777-7

  • Moore BD, Lawler IR, R. WI, Beale C, Foley WJ (2010) Palatability mapping: a koala's eye view of spatial variation in habitat quality. Ecology 91: 3165–3176.

  • Keszei A, Brubaker CL, Carter R, Kollner T, Degenhardt J, Foley WJ (2010) Functional and evolutionary relationships between terpene synthases from Australian Myrtaceae. Phytochemistry 71, 844-852.

  • Felton AM, Felton A, Raubenheimer D, Simpson SJ, Foley WJ, Wood JT, Wallis IR, Lindenmayer DB (2009) Protein content of diets dictates the daily energy intake of a free-ranging primate. Behavioral Ecology 20, 685-690.

  • Degabriel JL, Moore BD, Foley WJ, Johnson CN (2009) The effects of plant defensive chemistry on nutrient availability predict reproductive success in a mammal. Ecology 90, 711-719.

  • Marsh KJ, Wallis IR, McLean S, Sorensen JS, Foley WJ (2006) Conflicting demands on detoxification pathways influence how common brushtail possums choose their diets. Ecology 87, 2103-2112.

  • Moore BD, Foley WJ (2005) Tree use by koalas in a chemically complex landscape. Nature 435, 488-490.

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A lemur’s guide to biophysical modelling

Event | Wed 5 December 2018
Mapping species vulnerability to climate change

E&E PhD Exit Seminar: Exploring the multi-scale effects of nutrition on an iconic, yet vulnerable specialist folivore, the koala

Event | Fri 8 June 2018

Habitat loss is a leading cause of decline in animal populations and identifying suitable habitats are essential for the conservation and managemen

E&E PhD Exit Seminar: Molecular and chemical mechanisms of defence against myrtle rust in Australian Myrtaceae

Event | Fri 19 January 2018

Increased human disturbance to forest ecosystems has exacerbated the spread of fungal pathogens to non-native environments.

Koala, 'Ian"

ANU gives koalas a home and care after bushfires

Story | Friday 31 January 2020
Koalas displaced and injured by Australia's bushfire crisis are being cared for and housed temporarily at the Research School of Biology.
Image: Pixbay

The heat is on for Australia’s beloved marsupials

Story | Wednesday 15 January 2020
As Australia's weather heats up, it could have serious consequences for some of our country's most iconic animals. The research shows marsupials like koalas, possums and gliders are forced to change their eating habits in hot weather because of the toxins found in Eucalyptus leaves.

Kara Youngentob

Story | Thursday 2 August 2018
Kara Youngentob's research interests are in applied ecological research to inform and improve wildlife management and conservation decisions.
Functional Ecology undergraduate field trip

Video: Functional Ecology field trip to Kosciuszko National Park

Story | Monday 16 January 2017
2016 Functional Ecology undergraduate field trip, made by RSB's own Pip Beale.
Howard in Mozambique

In memoriam - Dr Howard Bradbury AM

Story | Tuesday 29 November 2016
On Monday, 28 November, Emeritus Professor Howard Bradbury passed away.

Most gum tree habitats to halve in size by 2085

Story | Tuesday 20 September 2016

Jet fuel may be grown on iconic Aussie gum trees

Story | Monday 19 September 2016

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