Academic Staff - Associate Professor Dieter Hochuli
|Phone:||+61 2 9351 3992|
|Fax:||+61 2 9351 4119|
|Address:||A08 - Heydon-Laurence Building, The University of Sydney, NSW 2006 Australia|
My work focuses on the ecology of terrestrial arthropods and their interactions with plants, at scales from landscapes down to individuals. I’m currently working on a diverse range of research questions that integrate my interests in community ecology and landscape ecology.
The simple facts are that the world is dominated by plants that seem to spend their life interacting in all manner of ways with the most speciose group of animals on the planet, insects.
We use multi-species multi-scale approaches to give us a leaf to landscape understanding of insect-plant interactions. We’re currently examining herbivory, pollination and seed dispersal by insects in a number of contexts, looking at everything from the mechanistic underpinnings of the relationships to how landscape disturbances change the integrity of these interactions. This work also targets potential top-down regulation of insect herbivores through predation and parasitism. At coarser scales, I’m interested in the roles of habitat characteristics in regulating assemblages and how organisms make decisions about how they use the habitats around them.
I’m also looking at big picture insect-plant interactions in collaborations with several systematists to identify how co-evolutionary relationships contribute to host specificity among herbivorous insects and ultimately, radiations of insects on different host plants. This is part of a larger project looking at coextinction risks for insects on threatened plants. We’re developing spatially explicitly models for estimating coextinction risk with a view to identifying the extent to which hidden losses of undescribed and unknown herbivores contribute to the extinction crisis.
Urban ecology and habitat restoration
My work on insect-plant interactions also has an applied perspective, giving insights into the effects of habitat fragmentation and benefits of ecological restoration. Given that over half the world’s population now live in urban areas and about 80% will by 2050, understanding how urban ecosystems work is vital to our sustainability. Sydney’s remnant vegetation is an ideal model system to work in allowing us to examine the impacts of urbanization and how we can manage what we still have as well as restore degraded systems.
Our work has shown that the declines in many of these urban systems are due to disruptions to ecological interactions. Interestingly, while further declines in functionally important components of diversity are likely to create some degree of ecological mayhem through the breakdown of ecological interactions, our work also points to how these novel urban ecosystems can be surprisingly resilient.
The beauty of trying to understand ecology at landscape scales is that we’re obliged to consider the systems in all their complexity - our work has had to integrate classical experimental approaches in ecology looking at competition, predation and environmental drivers with an understanding of how they interact with invasion, fragmentation and restoration. Our current work is investigating bottom-up and top-down drivers of ecology in urban systems as well as how structural attributes of remnant vegetation contribute to their integrity.
If you’re interested in working on these sorts of questions with me please have a look at our lab web site and get in touch.
I curated a rare books exhibition at Fisher Library in 2009 that gave me the chance to indulge my interests in art and history. Browsing through the treasures buried deep in the basement of the library’s rare books collection was sobering – it seems that folk looking at Australian systems in the 1850s knew that things like extinction and irreversible environmental degradation were inevitable unless we started to look after a our environment. Needless to say they were right.
- Powell, F. Hochuli, D.F. and G Cassis. 2011. Are psyllids affiliated with the threatened plants Acacia ausfeldii, A. dangarensis and A. gordonii at risk of coextinction?" Austral Ecology (in press)
- Powell, F. Hochuli, D.F. and G Cassis. 2011. A new host and additional localities for the rare plant louse Acizzia keithi Taylor and Moir (Hemiptera: Psyllidae) Australian Journal of Entomology. 50:441-44
- Matias, M. Underwood, A.J., Hochuli, D.F. and Coleman. R.A. 2010. Independent effects of patch-size and structural complexity on diversity of benthic assemblages. Ecology. 91:1908-1915
- Lunney, D., Hutchings, P. and Hochuli DF. (editors) 2010 The Natural History of Sydney. Royal Zoological Society of New South Wales, Mosman.
- Lunney, D., Hutchings, P., Hochuli DF and Recher, H. 2010. Is the natural history of Sydney so camouflaged that it wil not survive? In Lunney, D., Hutchings, P. and Hochuli DF. (editors) 2010 The Natural History of Sydney. Royal Zoological Society of New South Wales, Mosman., pp 429-438
- Lomov, B., Keith, D.A., and D.F. Hochuli. 2010. Pollination and plant reproductive success in restored urban landscapes dominated by a pervasive exotic pollinator. Landscape and Urban Planning. 96:232-239
- Christie, F.J., Cassis, G. and Hochuli, D.F. 2010. Urbanization affects the trophic structure of arboreal arthropod communities Urban Ecosystems.
- Simpson, S.J., Raubenheimer, D., Charleston, M.A., Clissold, F.J., Couzin, I.D., Clements, K.D., Coleman, R.A., Dussutour, A., Foley, W., Forbey, J., Glaze, E., Gordon, I.J., Hanan, J., Hochuli, D., Kearney, M.R., McArthur, C., Poore, A.G.B., Sword, G.A. & Wallis, I.R. 2010. Modelling nutritional interactions: from individuals to communities. Trends in Ecology and Evolution. 25: 53-60
- Hochuli, D.F. , Christie, F.J. and B. Lomov. 2009. Invertebrate Biodiversity in Urban Landscapes: Assessing Remnant Habitat and its Restoration. In Comparative Ecology of Cities and Towns (eds. McDonnell, M.D., Hahs, A. and Breuste, J.) Cambridge University Press, Cambridge. pp 215-232
- Lomov, B., Keith, D.A., and D.F. Hochuli. 2009. Linking ecological function to species composition in ecological restoration: Seed removal by ants in recreated woodland. Austral Ecology 34: pp. 751-760
- Blamires, S.B. Hochuli, D.F. and Thompson, M.B. 2009. Prey protein influences growth and decoration building in the orb web spider Argiope keyserlingi. Ecological entomology. 34:545-550
- Christie, F.J. and Hochuli, D.F. 2009. Responses of wasp communities to urbanization: effects on community resilience and species diversity. Journal of Insect Conservation. 13: 213-221
- Hochuli, D.F. and Banks, P.B. 2008. Selection pressures on zoology teaching in Australian universities. Australian Zoologist. 34:548-553
- Blamires, S.B. Hochuli, D.F. and Thompson, M.B. 2008. Why cross the web: decoration spectral properties and prey capture in an orb spider (Argiope keyserlingi) web. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society. 94: 221-229
- Lassau, S.A. and Hochuli, D.F. 2008. Testing empirically derived predictions of beetle community patterns using remote sensing Diversity and Distributions 14:138-147
- Wratten, S.D., Hochuli, D.F., Gurr, G.M. and Tylianakis .J. and S.L. Scarratt 2007. Conservation, Biodiversity and Integrated Pest Management. in Kogan, M. and Jepson P. (editors), “Perspectives in ecological theory and integrated pest management”, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge. pp. 223-224
- Blamires, S.B. Thompson, M.B. and Hochuli, D.F. 2007. Habitat Selection and Web Plasticity by the Orb Spider Argiope keyserlingi (Argiopidae): Do they Compromise Foraging Success for Predator Avoidance?" Austral Ecology 32: 551-564
- Blamires, S.B. Hochuli, D.F. and Thompson, M.B. 2007. Does decoration building influence antipredator responses in an orb spider (Argiope keyserlingi) in its natural habitat? Australian Journal of Zoology 55:1-7
- Lassau, S.A. and Hochuli, D.F. 2007. Associations between wasp communities and forest structure: Do strong local patterns hold across landscapes? Austral Ecology. 32: 656-662
- Reid, A.M. and Hochuli, D.F. 2007. Grassland invertebrate assemblages in managed landscapes: effects of host plant and microhabitat architecture. Austral Ecology. 32: 708-718
- Goldsbrough, C. L., R. Shine, and D. F. Hochuli. 2006. Factors affecting retreat-site selection by coppertail skinks (Ctenotus taeniolatus) from sandstone outcrops in eastern Australia. Austral Ecology, 31: 326-336
- Tatarnic, N.J., Cassis, G. and D. F. Hochuli. 2006. Traumatic insemination in the plant bug genus Coridromius Signoret (Heteroptera: Miridae). Biology Letters. 2: 58-61
- Lomov, B., Keith, D.A., Britton, D.R. and D.F. Hochuli. 2006. Are butterflies and moths useful indicators for restoration monitoring? A pilot study in Sydney’s Cumberland Plain Woodland. Ecological Management and Restoration. 7:204-210.
- Christie, F.J. and Hochuli, D.F. 2005. Elevated Levels of Herbivory in Urban Landscapes: Are Declines in Tree Health More Than an Edge Effect? Ecology and Society. 10(1): 10. [online] URL: http://www.ecologyandsociety.org/vol10/iss1/art10/
- Lassau, S.A., Hochuli, D.F., Cassis, G. and Reid, C.A.M. 2005 Effects of habitat complexity on forest beetle diversity: do trophic groups respond consistently? Diversity and Distributions. 11:73-82
- Lassau, S.A. and Hochuli, D.F. 2005. Wasp community responses to habitat complexity in Sydney sandstone forests. Austral Ecology. 30: 179-187
- Lassau, S.A., Cassis, G. Flemons P.K.J.and Wilkie, L. and Hochuli, D.F. 2005. Using high-resolution multi-spectral imagery to estimate habitat complexity in open-canopy forests: Can we predict ant community patterns? Ecography. 28:495-504.
- Graham, K.G., Blackwell, G.L. and Hochuli, D.F. 2005. Habitat use by the Hastings River Mouse , Pseudomys oralis. Australian Zoologist. 33:100 -107
- Gibb, H. and Hochuli, D.F. 2004. Removal experiments reveal limited effects of a dominant species on ant assemblages. Ecology. 85: 648–657.
- Hochuli, D.F., Gibb, H., Burrows, S.E. and Christie, F.J. 2004. Ecology of Sydney’s urban fragments: has fragmentation taken the sting out of insect herbivory? In Urban Wildlife (D. Lunney & S Burgin eds), Royal Zoological Society of NSW, Mosman. pp 63-69.
- Lassau, S.A. and Hochuli, D.F. 2004. Effects of habitat complexity on ant assemblages: can we generalise across scale? Ecography 27: 157-164.
- Goldsbrough, C.L., Hochuli, D.F. and R. Shine. 2004. Fitness benefits of retreat-site selection: spiders, rocks and thermal cues. Ecology Vol. 85: 1635–1641.
- Goldsbrough C.L., Hochuli D.F. & R. Shine. 2003. Invertebrate biodiversity under hot rocks: habitat use by the fauna of sandstone outcrops in the Sydney region. Biological Conservation 109:85-93.
- Gibb, H., Giragossyan, H. & Hochuli, D.F. 2003. Spatial arrangement of nests of the common greenhead ant, Rhytidoponera metallica, on rock outcrops and the effect of a dominant ant. Records of the South Australian Museum Monograph Series 7: 275-281.
- Gibb, H. & Hochuli, D.F. 2003. Nest relocation in the golden spiny ant, Polyrhachis ammon: environmental cues and temporal castes. Insectes Sociaux. 50: 323-329
- Lassau, S. and Hochuli, D.F. 2003. Effects of roads on ant assemblages in the Sydney region: Are patterns scale-dependent? Records of the South Australian Museum Monograph Series 7: 283-290
- Reader, T. and Hochuli, D.F. 2003. Understanding gregariousness in a larval lepidopteran: the roles of host plant, predation and microclimate. Ecological Entomology 28: 729-736
- Gibb, H. and Hochuli, D.F. 2003. Colonisation by a dominant ant facilitated by anthropogenic disturbance: effects on ant assemblage composition, biomass and resource use. Oikos.103: 439-478
- Gibb, H., and Hochuli D.F. 2002. Habitat fragmentation in an urban environment: large and small fragments support different arthropod assemblages. Biological Conservation 106:91-100.
- Hochuli, D.F. 2001. Insect herbivory and ontogeny: How do growth and development influence feeding behaviour, morphology and host use? Austral Ecology 26: 563-570.
- Doherty M, Kearns A, Barnett G, Sarre A, Hochuli D.F., Gibb H, Dickman C. 2000. The interaction between habitat conditions, ecosystem processes and terrestrial biodiversity- a review. State of the Environment Reporting, Environment Australia. Technical paper series No. 2, Paper 2.
- Gibb, H. & Hochuli, D.F. 1999. Nesting of arthropod assemblages in fragmented habitats in the Sydney region. Pp. 77-81 in Transactions of the Royal Zoological Society of New South Wales, ed. by W. Ponder & D. Lunney. Surrey Beatty & Sons, Australia.
- Hochuli, D. F. 1998. The Biodiversity Tale: How Invertebrates Can Teach the Zoology Dog New Tricks. Pp. 15-23 in Is the Biodiversity Tail Wagging the Zoological Dog?, Eds. D. Lunney, T. Dawson, and C. R. Dickman. Mosman: Royal Zoological Society of New South Wales.
- Hochuli, D. F. 1996. The Ecology of Plant/Insect Interactions: Implications of Digestive Strategy for Feeding by Phytophagous Insects. Oikos 75(1):133-41.
- Hochuli, D.F. and F. M. Roberts. 1996. Approximate Digestibility of Fibre for a Graminivorous Caterpillar. Entomologia Experimentalis et Applicata 8:115-20.
- Hochuli, D.F., B. Roberts, and G. D. Sanson. 1994. Foregut Morphology of Locusta Migratoria (L.) (Orthoptera: Acrididae). Journal of the Australian Entomological Society 33(1):65-69.
- Hochuli, D. F. 1993. Does Silica Defend Grasses Against Invertebrate Herbivores. Trends in Ecology and Evolution 8(11):418.
- Hochuli, D.F., G. D. Sanson, and B. Roberts. 1993. Approximate Digestibility of Fibre for Two Locusts. Entomologia Experimentalis et Applicata 66(2):187-90.
- Hochuli, D.F., B. Roberts, and G. D. Sanson. 1992. Anteriorly Directed Microspines in the Foregut of Locusta Migratoria (Orthoptera: Acrididae). International Journal of Insect Morphology and Embryology 21(1):95-97.