Behavioural, evolutionary and physiological ecology

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. 

Project Groups
3D modelling of navigation environments
A unique non-human model for the evolution of musical tool use: drumming by the palm cockatoo
Acoustic communication in birds
Alarm signals and interspecific eavesdropping
Are evolutionary refugia traps for endemic species?
Australian Mountain Research Facility (AMRF, ARC LIEF project)
Avian ecology and climate change
Beating the heat? Population genomics of climate change in Australian birds
Behavioural and life history variation in a wild population of eastern grey kangaroos (current PhD)
Biological adaptation under natural and anthropogenic conditions
Can cooperative species better handle environmental variability?
Carry-over effects of climate on Australian Birds
Climate change and leaf-eating mammals
Co-evolution between Australian cuckoos and their hosts
Comparative, meta-analytic and empirical approaches to understanding the impacts of developmental environments on life-history evolution
Coral development and comparative genomics
Coral regeneration
Domestic applicants for PhDs in Ecology & Evolution
Duetting and female song in Australian passerines
Ecological, social and food-security dimensions of Timor-Leste fisheries
Ecology of the Silky Hairstreak butterfly and its attendant ant, a potential indicator of old growth forest
Ecology, genetics and physiology of animal-plant interactions
Effect of endocrine disruptors on reproduction in daphniids
Effects of climate change on Australian bird species
Effects of climate change on Australian bird species
Effects of climate change on avian morphology
Environmental drivers of growth and mortality in larval fishes
Environmental physiology of locusts
Environmental risk assessment of genetically modified Alfalfa mosaic virus resistant white clover (Trifolium repens L.)
Epigenetic integration of genomic and environmental information in honey bees
Evolution of Australia's globally unique biodiversity hotspot
Evolutionary biology of Australian reptiles and amphibians
Evolutionary causes and ecological consequences of ageing in superb fairy-wrens (current PhD)
Evolutionary significance of early developmental environments: Interaction between maternal effects and offspring thermal environment on phenotypic development and fitness
Evolving with sexually transmitted infections
Feeding and ecology of grapevine scales
Fiddler crabs: current projects
Fiddler crabs: sex, territoriality and beyond
Food matters - Studying and disentangling the interconnection of monocultures, the microbiome and honey bee health
Genetics and evolution of variation in chemical defence against herbivores
Genital evolution in insects
Habitat quality as a driver of fisheries productivity on macroalgal reefs
Hangry? Examining the link between metabolism, aggression and social behaviour
HONOURS/MSC PROJECTS: Thermal tolerance and response to climate change in plants from extreme environments
Host social structure and the clonal composition of bacterial populations
How do animals learn about poisonous plants?
How do climate-related changes in tidal patterns affect the foraging time and breeding behaviour of shorebirds?
Identification of molecular mechanisms of action and direct target genes of developmental signalling pathways in sponges
Identification of target genes of developmental transcription factors Brachyury, Gata and Caudal in sponges
Identifying general rules why species differ in their sensitivity to climate variability
Impact of early thermal environments on thermal behaviour and physiology in lizards
Improving nitrogen use efficiency in cereals
Insect ecology, morphology or physiology
Insect vision & navigation
Kin selection and competition in cooperative breeders
Living on the edge: how do Australian plants cope with extreme temperature? (ARC Linkage 2019-22)
Maternal effects and phenotypic development in lizards
Multi-trait plasticity: understanding temperature response of alpine plants in a warming world (ARC Discovery 2017-20)
Nutrition of free-ranging primates
Out of the darkness: predicting rates of respiration of illuminated leaves along nutrient gradients
Parent-offspring communication under the risk of predation
Pest resistance and sustainable plantation management of eucalypts
PHD SCHOLARSHIP: The response of rehabilitated vegetation to fire in Kosciuszko National Park
PHD STUDENT RESEARCH - Ecology and ecophysiology in Australian desert and alpine plant species
Phylogenetics of Eucalypt beetles
Regulation of cricket salivary glands
Regulation of rat reproduction in rice fields of south east Asia
Responding to extreme climatic events
Role of poisonous plants in the foraging ecology of marsupials
Seed and seedling ecology
Sexual selection and the evolution of sex roles
Sexual selection in changing in environments
Sexual selection in the field cricket Teleogryllus commodus
Skeleton formation in soft corals and calcareous sponges
Sponge and coral microbiomes
Student projects - additional topics for the future
SUMMER SCHOLARSHIPS: Thermal tolerance and response to climate change in plants from extreme environments
Testing environmental causes of population decline in an Australian song-bird (current PhD)
The causes and consequences of dispersal in seed beetles
The colon environment as a determinant of E. coli diversity
The ecology and evolution of aposematism
The evolution and functional sigificance of leaf shape
The evolution of cooperative behaviour in Rabbit fish
The evolution of genital size in mosquitofish
The evolution of mouth markings in estrildid finches
The evolution of song in female birds
The impact of climate change on inter-specific interactions
Thermal acclimation, metabolism and thermal physiology in lizards
Using computer vision and machine learning to study honey bee behavior
Using macroinvertebrates to determine water quality in the Mulloon Creek catchment
Vocal mimicry and display
Wild eco-evolutionary dynamics: why is an iconic Australian bird declining? (ARC Discovery 2019-2023))