Ecology, evolution and environment

Prince Regent National Park, Australia

Evolution is a theme that unifies the biological sciences and provides the framework for understanding the diversification of life on earth. Ecology investigates the processes that govern the biological interactions between individuals and that operate on ecosystem scales.

We study life at all levels, from viruses and genes, through to individuals, and whole ecosystems, both natural and man-made. We examine the living world from an evolutionary perspective and use approaches from a number of disciplines to provide a bigger picture of how life functions and adapts to changing conditions.

Specialist areas in Ecology, Evolution and Environmental Sciences include behavioural ecology, behavioural genetics, conservation biology, ecophysiology, epidemiology and infectious diseases, landscape ecology, marine science, molecular biology, molecular evolution, and soil science.

Research themes

We look at the world from an evolutionary perspective. Evolutionary theory provides practical insights into how biota adapt or fail to adapt to environmental change, why organisms behave the way they do, and allows us to map evolutionary changes. Our research has the following themes:

Ecology, conservation and ecosystem function

Rapid environmental change, due to factors such as modified land use, invasive species and climate change, impose powerful new pressures on the affected populations and ecosystems. Ecological and evolutionary theory provides a toolbox of sophisticated methods ideally suited to dealing with those problems.

Animal behaviour, ecophysiology and behavioural genetics

What evolutionary processes have shaped the way animals behave and function? Using behavioural genetics we can examine the role of genetics and environment on an organism’s behaviour and function.

Molecular ecology and evolution

Using molecular population genetics, phylogenetics and genomics, we address many evolutionary questions in a range of plant, vertebrate and invertebrate animal taxa and across multiple temporal and spatial scales.