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.


Postdoctoral Fellow

PhD Student

Honorary Group Leader

Technical Assistant

Special Project Student

Research Assistant

Divisional Visitor

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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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Improving Australia's iconic oil

Improving Australia's iconic oil

Story | Wednesday 18 September 2013
Australia is being beaten at its own game, according to PhD student David Kainer.

The benefits of being a mosiac

Story | Tuesday 5 March 2013

A koala’s guide to the treetop buffet

Story | Thursday 26 May 2005