Evolution at extremes: Macroevolutionary responses to harsh environments

The Australian landscape presents many areas of extreme conditions for plant survival, such as drought, heat, or salt-affected soils. Are some lineages better able to adapt and diversify in these harsh conditions? This project aims to develop new phylo-spatial methods to identify lineages most tolerant of extreme environments, detect enabling traits that contribute to stress resistance syndromes, and test whether plant assemblages in extreme environments are formed from colonisation by specialist tolerators, or by local species adapting. These new methods provide a unique macroevolutionary perspective that allows the prediction of species or communities best able to adapt to the increasing extreme conditions expected under global environmental change.

There is scope to develop student projects (honours or higher degree) on this topic. Please get in touch if you are interested in joining the Macroevolution & Macroecology Group to work with us.


This project is funded by ARC Discovery Grant DP160103915. Principal Investigators are Lindell Bromham and Marcel Cardillo, and Xia Hua is employed as a postdoc.Collaborating institutions include the Atlas of Living Australia.