The Centre for Integrative Ecology was founded within Deakin University’s School of Life and Environmental Sciences in 2010 – our vision is to address the fundamental question: how does life react to change on both short and long time scales? The relevance and timeliness of this subject is overwhelmingly obvious: we are facing dramatic changes globally, with humans exerting an enormous environmental footprint on the planet, more so now than ever before. This creates an urgency for ecologists to identify ways to mollify anthropogenic impacts on the environment. Ironically, these impacts also provide enormous opportunities for ecologists and evolutionary biologists to see how these perturbations influence biota over both short and long-term periods.
We are investigating the mechanisms of immediate and evolutionary response to environmental changes, not just what conditions endanger some species during change. To this end we combine ecology, evolution and ecological physiology. As a result our research falls into three overlapping focal areas: (I) environmental change has a direct impact on individual organisms, which is notably studied in the fields of sensory ecology and animal physiology. (II) With some delay these responses lead to changes at the level of populations and communities. (III) Environmental change, however, not only results in immediate responses but also imparts variation in selection pressures, ultimately leading to long-term evolutionary change.
In order to increase our chances of achieving significant advances in the ecological sciences, the Centre for Integrative Ecology aims to stimulate and promote collaborative research activities between these three normally discrete fields of research. The SRC aims to eliminate traditional borders between conventional fields of ecological research by promoting an integrative, multi-faceted, interdisciplinary research approach.
The goal for our research is to foster new conceptual understanding that advances fundamental science while also making innovative contributions to applied conservation and natural resource management.