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...

Chris Fulton - the need for weed

by Tabitha Carvan
Ningaloo Reef might be famous for its whale sharks and stunning seascape but for ANU researchers, the real star of the show is seaweed...

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...

Local birds are expert eavesdroppers

by Jess Fagan
Birds can quickly learn to recognise alarm calls from different species. Most humans are well versed in the art of eavesdropping. We...

Local birds are expert eavesdroppers

by Jess Fagan
Birds can quickly learn to recognise alarm calls from different species. Most humans are well versed in the art of eavesdropping. We...

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...

News

14
May
2019
Having a sexually transmitted infection and passing it on to a mate could benefit male animals, research from The Australian National University (ANU) Research School of...
14
Feb
2019
Researchers at the ANU Research School of Biology have made a remarkable discovery about a group of lizards, and how they've managed to thrive in extreme conditions on...
13
Dec
2018
RSB Research Fellow Jennie Mallela has been selected to participate in the 2019/2020 Superstars of STEM program. Superstars of STEM is an initiative from Science & Technology...
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
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...

Updated:  21 June 2019/Responsible Officer:  Director RSB/Page Contact:  Webmaster RSB