Plant environmental biology and functional ecology

How plants respond to the environment is of fundamental importance to understanding plant evolution, biodiversity and responses to future climate change. At the Research School of Biology, we apply fundamental knowledge of plant function to understand how plants adapt and acclimate to different environments, and how this determines the function of plant-based ecosystems.

Academic staff

Project Groups
A changing climate and coastal marine ecosystem function
Abiotic stress signalling, developmental programming and plant adaptation
Amazalert: raising the alert about critical feedbacks between climate and land use change in Amazonia
Anatomical coordination of water supply and demand
Aquatic ecosystem ecology
Australian Mountain Research Facility (AMRF, ARC LIEF project)
Australian native truffle diversity
Biological controls on soil respiration and its climatic response across a large tropical elevation gradient
Can seedling screens of energy use efficiency in wheat transfer to yield in the field?
Carbon and water cycling in tropical rainforest
Carotenoid derivatives as chloroplast signals
Chemical mechanism of Rubisco catalysis
Climate change and carbon gain in Antarctic mosses
CO2 acquisition by cyanobacteria and plants, and impact of climate change
CO2 diffusion inside leaves
Coping with temperature extremes: morphological constraints on leaf function in a warmer, drier climate
Disentangling climate and evolutionary controls over the temperature-dependence of leaf respiration
Ecology, genetics and physiology of animal-plant interactions
Ecophysiology of salinity and temperature tolerance in a changing world
Energy use and the plant canopy - measuring local respiration trends.
Enhancing carotenoid levels in cereals by esterification
Entropy, information theory and biodiversity
Evolution at extremes: Macroevolutionary responses to harsh environments
Evolution of salt tolerance in plants
Genetics and evolution of variation in chemical defence against herbivores
Genome wide association mapping
Genotypic variation in Rubisco between diverse wheats
Habitat quality as a driver of fisheries productivity on macroalgal reefs
HONOURS/MSC PROJECTS: The evolution of plasticity in thermal tolerance
How do growth and developmental temperature affect plant thermal tolerance? (*Honours 2020*)
Improving drought tolerance in wheat by selectively inhibiting negative regulators of drought stress signalling
Improving nitrogen use efficiency in cereals
Investigating the genetic architecture of thermal acclimation of leaf energy metabolism using GWAS
Isotope effects and natural isotope abundance
Landscape genomics
Leaf respiration under drought
Linking intracellular communication to whole-plant stress responses
Living on the edge: how do Australian plants cope with extreme temperature? (ARC Linkage 2019-22)
Multi-trait plasticity: understanding temperature response of alpine plants in a warming world (ARC Discovery 2017-20)
Out of the darkness: predicting rates of respiration of illuminated leaves along nutrient gradients
Pest resistance and sustainable plantation management of eucalypts
PhD STUDENT RESEARCH in plant ecology and ecophysiology
Photoprotective functions of xanthophyll pigments in avocado
Photosynthesis, food security and global change
Physiological and molecular regulation of stomatal movement
Potassium nutrition in oil palm
Productivity of tropical macroalgal reefs in a changing climate
Redefining metabolic schemes in plant respiration
Salinity tolerance along an aridity gradient: linking physiological processes with morphological constraints on leaf function in mangroves
Sediment-macroalgae community dynamics on tropical reefs
Seed and seedling ecology
Snowmelt timing and summer drought in the alpine zone: what strategies do alpine plants use to cope?
Student opportunites in the phenomic analysis of CO2 acquisition by cyanobacteria
Student opportunities in molecular analysis of CO2 acquisition by cyanobacteria
Student projects - additional topics for the future
Student research projects in CO2 fixation and water loss of leaves
Studies on the biochemical regulation of C3 and C4 photosynthesis
SUMMER SCHOLARSHIPS: Phenotypic plasticity in response to temperature in Australian plants
Testing environmental causes of population decline in an Australian song-bird (current PhD)
The causes and effects of mortality in tropical Australian trees
The evolution and functional sigificance of leaf shape
The role of N-terminal post-translational modifications of the tobacco Rubisco large subunit
Tree water use, bushfires, and the implications for urban and rural water supplies
Understanding how drought affects the risk of increased mortality in tropical rain forests
Understanding range limits and plant migration in response to climate change in Neotropical montane forests: moving from observational models to mechanisms
What are novel mechanisms for regulating transcription, RNA turnover and protein translation