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 do life and society respond to a rapidly changing world?

Research in Ecology has never been more vital, as we witness the devastating effects of global change on biodiversity and human livelihoods. The Centre for Integrative Ecology aims to address the global challenge of ecological sustainability, contributing to transition to a world where species co-exist in functioning ecosystems and people live sustainably within the Earth’s planetary boundaries.

The CIE merges its interdisciplinary expertise in Ecology, Conservation and Sustainability Science, to provide the thorough ecological understanding and public engagement necessary to enable an ecologically sustainable future.

The CIE’s integrative approach brings a great breadth of expertise together to solve complex fundamental and applied problems in ecology, evolution and sustainability. Our researchers include behavioural ecologists, physiologists, wildlife and evolutionary biologists, geneticists, environmental scientists, and experts in economics, sustainability, bioinformatics and biodiversity conservation, working across terrestrial, marine and freshwater environments.

Our approaches involve research in the field, lab and computationally, embracing novel technologies to elucidate animals’ adaptations to their environment, monitor and conserve biodiversity, understand human impacts on nature, and enhance people’s appreciation of natural ecosystems.

Combined, our expertise and approaches drive high-impact research with a difference, providing exciting new insights into the natural world, and how we should best manage our impact upon it.

The CIE organises its research around 3 themes:

1. Understanding nature
How do species respond to environmental change, behaviourally, physiologically and evolutionarily?

  • Evolutionary responses to environmental change
  • Behavioral, developmental and physiological adaptations
  • Movement ecology in unpredictable or modified landscapes
  • Biodiversity drivers and constraints: natural and sexual selection
  • Native and threatened species ecology and behaviour

2. Sustaining nature in a changing world
What are the proximal threats to biodiversity, how severe are they, and how can threats be mitigated?

  • Wildlife disease
  • Climate change impacts on biodiversity/species and ecosystems
  • Invasive species impact
  • Ecosystem integrity and functions: fire, urbanization, habitat fragmentation and loss, ecological restoration

3. Sharing one planet: Ecologically sustainable systems
How can human populations be sustained on the planet, while at the same time ensuring other species and ecosystems remain functionally important and are not driven to extinction?

  • Integrated sustainability: economics, population density, resource consumption
  • Ecologically sustainable food production systems (aquaculture, fish, agriculture)
  • Conservation policy
  • Engaging society with nature (media, citizen science, education, benefits for human health)