Cardillo Group - Macroevolution, Macroecology and Biogeography

We are interested in big-picture questions about biodiversity. Why are there so many species in the tropics? How have places like southwest Australia become biodiversity hotspots? Why are some species more threatened with extinction than others? To tackle questions like these we use big datasets for plants and animals, and a range of computational tools for analyzing geographic and phylogenetic data. Often, the most fun part is not getting an answer, but getting the question right: thinking about the basic scientific logic of a question about biodiversity, and devising an elegant and creative way of reaching an answer.

We always like welcoming new students, postdocs and visitors, so please get in touch if you are interested in macroevolution, macroecology, biogeography or conservation, and would like to join the lab. My lab is part of the Macroevolution & Macroecology group - you can find out more about what we work on and what we have published at

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Selected recent publications

Bromham, L. & Cardillo, M. (2019) Origins of Biodiversity: An Introduction to Macroevolution and Macroecology. Oxford University Press

Hua, X., Greenhill, S., Cardillo, M., Schneeman, H. & Bromham, L. (2019) The ecological drivers of variation in global language diversity. Nature Communications 10:2047

Skeels, A. & Cardillo, M. (2019) Reconstructing the geography of speciation from contemporary biodiversity data. The American Naturalist 193: 240-255

Cardillo, M., Weston, P.H., Reynolds, Z.M., Olde, P.M., Mast, A.R., Lemmon, E., Lemmon, A.R., Bromham, L. (2017) The phylogeny and biogeography of Hakea (Proteaceae) reveals the role of biome shifts in a continental plant radiation. Evolution 71: 1928-1943

Skeels, A. & Cardillo, M. (2017) Environmental niche conservatism explains the accumulation of species richness in Mediterranean-hotspot plant genera. Evolution 71: 582-594

Cardillo, M. & Skeels, A. (2016) Spatial, phylogenetic, environmental and biological components of variation in extinction risk: a case study using Banksia. PLoS One

Duchene, D. & Cardillo, M. (2015) Phylogenetic patterns in bird geographic distributions support the tropical conservatism hypothesis. Global Ecology & Biogeography 24: 1261-1268

Warren, D.L., Cardillo, M., Rosauer, D.F., Bolnick, D.I. (2014) Mistaking geography for biology: inferring processes from species distributions. Trends in Ecology & Evolution 29: 572-580


All publications



Why you won’t see kangaroos in Java but you will find goannas in Australia

Story | Friday 7 July 2023
A major new study explains why you won’t find kangaroos, koalas and other Aussie marsupials in Indonesia, but you will find many groups of animals that originated in Asia, such as goannas, rodents and kookaburras in Australia.

Scientists show how we can anticipate rather than react to extinction in mammals

Story | Wednesday 12 April 2023
A new study shows that we can use existing conservation data to predict which currently unthreatened species could become threatened and take proactive action to prevent their decline before it is too late.

Climate a bigger driver of language diversity than landscape

Story | Monday 20 May 2019
A region's climate has a greater impact than landscape on how many languages are spoken there, new research from The Australian National University (ANU) shows.

Big Questions in Biology - podcast now available

Story | Tuesday 6 September 2016
Did you miss the inaugural RSB public forum? Click here to listen

Cross-discipline research is being short changed

Story | Thursday 30 June 2016
Bringing together researchers from a range of fields can help solve complex problems, but research from ANU has found interdisciplinary research is consistently short changed.

ARC Discovery projects and DECRA fellowships

Story | Monday 2 November 2015

Marcel Cardillo

Story | Friday 6 June 2014
Lab research

Cats and foxes an unlikely aid to endangered island mammals

Story | Thursday 29 August 2013
In certain circumstances, the presence of cats and foxes can actually help mammal survival by controlling mesopredators such as rats.

E&E PhD Exit Seminar: Burning biodiversity: how fires disturb bird communities

Event | Fri 22 February 2019

Fires are a major cause of disturbance in ecosystems all over the world.