Victorian Biodiversity Conference 2017 – Registration now open

victorian-biodiversity-conferenceAll ECRs and PhD students are encouraged to go to this excellent local conference:

What: The Victorian Biodiversity Conference
When: 7-8 February 2017
Where: At RMIT in the City

Super-cheap and easy, great for practicing your presentations skills, meeting other people in Victoria doing similar (and different) research, and networking!

Over two days in February 2017, the Victorian Biodiversity Conference aims to provide graduate students and early career researchers with an opportunity to showcase their work locally, and hopes to facilitate discussion and connections with industry, government, senior academics and the public through stimulating plenaries and panel discussions.

A number of low cost and free workshops will be offered before and after the conference, which are open for all to attend. We invite all graduate and early career researchers undertaking research related to biodiversity to submit an abstract.

The conference is deliberately broad, and encourages a variety of talks across disciplines (e.g. social, ecological, biological sciences) and ecological systems (e.g. marine, freshwater, terrestrial), related to both local and international issues. The only rule is that you must reside in Victoria.

Young professionals (less than 10 years experience) are invited to submit a research project they have undertaken with their current employer.

You will note that Deakin (through the Faculty of SEBE) is a sponsor for this conference (plus one of the speakers is CIE member Dr. Emily Nicholson).

Need more information? Want to register? Click HERE.

Please feel free to pass this on to all your networks 🙂

Australasian Society for Phycology and Aquatic Botany (ASPAB) 2016 – Plenary presentations open to CIE members via VMP


To all CIE members – We are hosting the 2016 Australasian Society for Phycology and Aquatic Botany (ASPAB) conference in Warrnambool next week and we would like to open the plenary presentations to the CIE membership by VMP. Both presentations will be held in the following rooms on each campus with the designated VMP.

  • Warrnambool: B3.03
  • Waurn Ponds: ka4.207-green room
  • Burwood: LT 4 (B3.05) (Thursday only – apologies, no room avail on Wed)
  • VMP: VMP SEBE LES 36991 (if dialing externally call 5223-6991)

There are plenary presentations on Wednesday and Thursday mornings as follows:


By: Dr Adriana Vergés, UNSW
What: Underwater forests in temperate seas: climate-mediated threats and restoration solutions
When: 9.00-10.00am, Wednesday, 9th November

Abstract: Seaweeds forests are the biological engines of shallow temperate reefs worldwide. They are among the most productive ecosystems on earth and support other important ecosystem services such as fisheries production. Pollution and climate change, however, are severely impacting temperate seaweed forests globally. In particular, ocean warming is causing the tropicalisation of temperate reefs and leading to the loss of seaweed forests, which are being replaced by turf and/or coral-dominated systems.

Here, I will discuss some of the mechanisms that may facilitate tropicalisation and I will highlight the specific role of herbivory in mediating kelp loss in eastern Australia. In addition to climate change, increased nutrients, urbanisation and pollution can also lead to widespread seaweed loss.

In the second part of my talk I will focus on the loss and subsequent restoration of the fucoid Phyllospora comosa (crayweed) along the highly urbanised coastline of Sydney. Biodiversity assessments showed that crayweed is functionally unique and supports a distinct ecological community when compared to other dominant seaweeds, thus motivating the need for restoration of this species.

Our research has shown that transplanted crayweed onto Sydney’s reefs generally survives, grows and reproduces similarly to crayweed in reference populations. Further, in some restored locations, crayweed populations are beginning to self-sustain and already support unique epifauna communities.

To conclude, I will present the community engagement and outreach work that has accompanied the restoration of crayweed in Sydney, including a successful crowdfunding campaign, the establishment of a citizen-science project and an exciting art-meets-science installation.

Biography: Dr Adriana VergĂ©s leads a research group within the Centre for Marine Bio-Innovation at UNSW Australia. She is particularly interested in the ecological impacts of climate change and the conservation of the world’s algal forests and seagrass meadows, which are increasingly under threat. She has worked in tropical coral reefs and temperate ecosystems from around the world (Mediterranean Sea, Atlantic, Indian and Pacific oceans) and much of her research is experimental and takes place underwater.

She is passionate about communicating science to the wider public, especially through films, art and new media. Adriana originally hails from Barcelona (Spain), where she obtained her PhD in Ecology at the University of Barcelona (2007). She also holds an MSc in Science Communication (1999) from Dublin City University (Ireland) and a BSc (Hons) in Marine Science (1998) from the National University of Ireland (Galway).


annette-bruhnBy: Dr Annette Bruhn, Aarhus University, Denmark
What: Production of seaweeds for food, feed, biomolecules and circular nutrient management – a European perspective
When: 9.00-10.00am, Thursday, 10th November

Abstract: The interest in seaweed production has exploded in Europe over the last decade. A major driver, in line with the Blue Growth Strategy of the European Commission, is the production of a new sustainable biomass for energy, food, feed and biomolecules. Another strong driver is the need for circular nutrient management from marine and terrestrial sources to prevent and mitigate coastal eutrophication.

The major challenge for the profitable production of European seaweeds is the high cost of labour, forcing the development of technology and innovation throughout the process chain from seaweed production through to biorefinery concept of multiple products from a single biomass resource.

Cultivation is focused on a few species, primarily kelps, and commercial scale kelp farms are emerging in the North Atlantic, as part of integrated aquaculture systems or as single crop farms. Harvest yields of up to 21 kg fresh seaweed per meter of seeded line have been achieved. Importantly, the yields of kelps are increasing – through improved crop management, improved strains, innovative substrates, and mechanised seeding, deployment and harvesting processes. This has simultaneously furthered the cultivation of kelp as an active tool in coastal management. Other species in production are Palmaria palmata, Furcellaria lumbricalis, Ulva sp. and Gracilaria sp. – the latter two mainly in land-based systems.

The major markets are presently as whole biomass in the food, food ingredient and cosmetics industries. However, biorefinery processes are emerging from co-operative trans-European science-industrial research programs to broaden the application of seaweed biomass into nutraceuticals, biomaterials and energy markets.

Biography: Annette Bruhn (AB) works as a research scientist at the Department of Bioscience, Aarhus University, Denmark. Since finishing her PhD in biological oceanography in 2008, AB has been working with production of macroalgae in the cross-field between fundamental and applied science.

Her primary research focus is to optimize macroalgae cultivation to serve as an instrument for bioremediation of eutrophic coastal waters and wastewater streams, while at the same time producing a tailored biomass for food, feed, fertilizer and high value products.

AB is strongly engaged in science-industrial co-operations and participates in several international and national research projects, as well as in the national marine monitoring program. In 2010, she was one of the founders of AlgaeCenter Denmark, a Danish national platform for science-industrial research, development and dissemination within the production and applications of macroalgae.

Looking forward to your participation!

Best Student Research Paper Award @ CIE-HDR Conference 2016

Best Paper Award CIE-HDR 2016 ConferenceDear CIE HDR students,

An important part of the annual CIE conference is to seek out and acknowledge your fantastic research efforts. One way we would like to do this is to award you for your research excellence.

So If you have a recent research paper published, or accepted, since October 2015, please submit it for consideration into the 2016 Best CIE HDR Research Paper Award.

Entries are open to all CIE HDR students, and should be submitted directly to Tim Jessop (t.Jessop (at) before September 16th to be in the running (open only to CIE HDR students).

Papers will be judged, scored and ranked by a panel of CIE academics. Winners of awards (certificates and book vouchers) will be announced at the CIE conference dinner.

We look forward to receiving many papers!

Have you heard about our photo competition?

The air we breath: it is not  what it used to be – A public lecture by Dr Russell Schnell

The Centre for Integrative Ecology and Deakin Research are pleased to invite you to a




  • Date: Tuesday, 27th September 2016
  • Time: 3:30pm for a 4:00pm start (coffee/tea will be provided upon arrival at 3:30pm)
  • Venue: Deakin University, Waurn Ponds Campus, Building KA, Lecture Theatre ka3.403 (for our external visitors, see a map with directions below)

Please register your attendance @

Registration ends Friday, 16th September!

Russell C SchnellDr Schnell is a senior earth and climate scientist who was part of the IPCC team that won the Nobel Peace Prize (with Al Gore) in 2007.

Russell is very experienced at giving public talks on atmospheric and climate science and was the recipient of NOAA’s 2011 Outstanding Science Communicator Award.



External attendees may park in car park CP1 or CP8. Please see map below.
A parking ticket may be purchased from the ticket machine located on Nicol Drive North (T), please note that ticket machine does not accept cash, only card or one may download the parking CellOPark app.

Event Parking Map
Click on image to enlarge

CIE-HDR Conference 2016 – Photo Competition

Logo - Registration_UpdatedOn behalf of the conference organizing committee, we welcome you to our photo competition as one of the highlights of our CIE-HDR conference 2016. You are invited to take part in this exciting competition and showcase your photographic talent.

Every attendee can participate. Photographs will be put on display during the conference and everyone can vote for their favourites.

Taking part is very easy, so it would be great if as many of you as possible would register for the competition. The winner in each category will get a prize!

There are three categories to choose from:

  1. Animals interacting
  2. Nature’s colours & patterns
  3. Researchers at work

Instructions for photograph entries:

  • Maximum 1 photograph per person in each category.
  • Please print and bring your photographs (size: 20 x 30 cm / DIN A4) with your name at the back.
  • Bring your entries to the conference and we will accept them during your registration on site.
  • Please also bring the photos as .jpg files (named with category name and photographer’s name, e.g. “animals interacting _SaraSmith.jpg”) so that we can collect them during registration as well, for later presentation on our website and for showing the winning photos on the big screen while the prizes are being awarded!
  • Photos will be displayed at the conference (no photo frames required) and later on the CIE website.

Please send an e-mail as soon as possible to to let us know how many photos you are bringing so we can organise space to hang them.

Deadline to notify us is 20 September 2016

Want a glimpse at last year’s pics? Click HERE.

Our Changing Landscapes: Acting on Climate Impacts – An open invitation to the second symposium by VicNature 2050

VICNATURE 2050An open invitation to the second symposium by VicNature 2050 – Our Changing Landscapes: Acting on Climate Impacts, which will be held on Tuesday 7 June at La Trobe University, Bundoora.

This symposium builds on our first symposium, Managing Victoria’s Biodiversity Under Climate Change, which was held at the University of Melbourne’s Bio21 Institute in October 2015. The outcome of the presentations and discussions from that event are summarised on as ‘10 things we all can do’.

What is this next symposium about?

This time we will look at what is perhaps the most contentious of the ‘10 things’: how, when, where and indeed whether we should intervene in landscapes while they become transformed under the influence of changes in the climate.

More specifically, the day will look at possibilities and problems involved in increasing the genetic diversity of vulnerable species, or introducing new ‘climate ready’ species, especially in areas where increased landscape connectivity is needed.

The format of the day will be a series of short presentations, followed by facilitated discussions in which all attendees are invited to participate.

Who will be presenting?

We have assembled a range of experts to talk to the various problems and opportunities climate-affected ecosystems present.
They include:

  • Dr Ian Lunt, ecologist: Keeping regions distinctive.
  • Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning: Planning for change.
  • Prof Michael Clarke, La Trobe University: Building knowledge – management experiments and ‘learning by doing’.
  • Prof Paul Sunnucks, Monash University: Genetics and the capacity for existing species to adapt.
  • Dr Graeme Newell, Arthur Rylah Institute: The future for Ecological Vegetation Classes (EVCs).
  • Jarod Lyon, Arthur Rylah Institute: Case study – streamflow changes.
  • Dan Jamieson, Parks Victoria: Case study – Alpine Ash.
  • Prof Andrew Bennett, La Trobe University and Arthur Rylah Institute: Case study – woodland birds.
  • Dr Jim Radford, Bush Heritage Australia: Passive and active management.
  • Elisa Rawlings, Greening Australia: Some practical ways to success.

Who will lead the discussions?

Similarly qualified people will lead the discussions, in which all participants are invited to take part. Facilitators include:

  • Fern Hames, Arthur Rylah Institute
  • Prof Ary Hoffmann, Bio 21 Institute, University of Melbourne
  • Prof Lynne Selwood, University of Melbourne and Royal Society of Victoria
  • Dr Peter Green, La Trobe University

Who should come?

The day will be useful to the scientific community, land management agencies, private land holders, Indigenous communities, conservation NGOs – indeed anyone involved or interested in the rehabilitation of our natural areas.

How to register

You can register online. Registration for the day, including lunch and refreshments, costs $58 (or $48 for NGOs or concession holders). We strongly recommend you book a place as soon as possible, to avoid disappointment.

Interested in any upcoming VicNature2050 events? You can register your interest at

Hosted by the VicNature2050 partners: La Trobe University; Bio21 Institute/University of Melbourne; Arthur Rylah Institute/ Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning; Victorian National Parks Association; Royal Society of Victoria; Greening Australia.

If you have any questions, email

CIE Staff and HDR Conference (6th – 7th October 2016)

CIE Conference 2016Professor Marcel Klaassen, Director, Centre for Integrative Ecology, has great pleasure in inviting you to attend our forthcoming CIE conference for staff and HDR students to be held on Thursday, 6th – 7th October 2016 at Waurn Ponds Estate (formerly Deakin Management Centre), Waurn Ponds Campus.

Our forthcoming conference will provide an opportunity for staff and students to come together, to discuss, listen and contribute to the thinking behind the research issues that face us now and into the future. All staff and HDR students are encouraged to attend. The conference also provides an important forum for staff/student networking, an activity strongly encouraged by the Centre and to showcase our achievements.

The global community is looking at universities to deliver quality research outcomes that make a difference, we should take charge, look to our future and build on this to meet the challenges ahead. The conference is a good way of working together through this, building on our ideas to create a brilliant research environment for our staff and students.

We highly encourage you to attend for an engaging two days of presentation, networking and activities.

Details of the conference arrangements and program will be confirmed and communicated closer to the date of the event, so stay tuned!

We would also like to extend this invitation to offer you a seat on the Scientific Organising Committee for this conference. This is an opportunity not to miss, especially for our HDR students (great for your CV). We would love for you to get involved, be creative and show us what you can offer to the conference. The role of the Committee will be to give direction to the conference, support and find ways to help publicise the conference, recommend speakers to be invited, and participate in the organizational aspect of the conference.

If you are interested in serving on the Organising Committee, please email Natasha Kaukov.

We look forward to your presence at this event.

The 6th CIE-HDR conference – Winning photos, talks and paper

Thank you all for taking part in the 6th CIE-HDR conference!  See below the full list of winners (all participating photos can be found HERE):


CIE-HDR Conference 2015 – Plenary Invited Speakers

Don Driscoll
Don Driscoll

Don A. Driscoll, Professor in Terrestrial Ecology:
“My work over the past 20 years is characterized by a combination of practical conservation research and ecological theory.

This approach is critical to advancing knowledge in conservation and ecology, communicating that knowledge effectively across a range of audiences, and developing a successful academic career.

This broad theme will emerge during the seminar as we merrily skip our way through my recent advances in conservation biology, spanning the ecologies of landscapes, fire and restoration.”

Prof Driscoll will brave the depths of terrestrial ecology, shedding light on the theory and practice of landscape, restoration and fire ecology.

More information on Don’s work can be found on his website.


  • PhD, UNI WA, metapopulation ecology of endangered frogs.
  • CSIRO Post-Doc, Canberra. Impacts of habitat loss and fragmentation on reptiles and beetles in agricultural landscapes.
  • ARC Post-Doctoral Fellowship, UTAS. Habitat fragmentation and metapopulations.
  • Lecturer in Biodiversity, Flinders University. Coordinating/teaching a post-graduate biodiversity course. Fire and fragmentation research.
  • Associate Professor, Fenner School of Environment and Society, Australian Natrional University. Ecological synthesis, dispersal, fragmentation and fire research.
  • Professor of Terrestrial Ecology, School of Life and Environmental Sciences, Deakin University, Burwood, Victoria.


Adriana Verges
Adriana Verges

Dr Adriana Vergés leads a research group within the Centre for Marine Bio-Innovation at UNSW Australia. Her research focuses on the ecology and evolution of species interactions and marine conservation more broadly.

Much of her recent work is centered on the ecological impacts of climate change in coastal ecosystems and the ‘tropicalisation’ of temperate communities such as algal forests or seagrass meadows.

Adriana is very interested in the use of films to communicate science and curates the ‘Science & Storytelling’ events at the Australian Museum in Sydney. This series of documentary film screenings and panel discussions bring together scientists, filmmakers and the general public to discuss the challenges behind representing complex science stories on screen.

Adriana originally hails from Barcelona (Spain), where she obtained her PhD in Ecology at the University of Barcelona. She also holds an MSc in Science Communication from Dublin City University (Ireland) and a BSc (Hons) in Marine Science from the National University of Ireland (Galway).

Abstract: Ocean warming, shifts in plant-herbivore interactions and the tropicalisation of temperate reefs

Climate-driven changes in species interactions can profoundly alter ecological communities, particularly when they impact foundation species. In marine systems, changes in plant-herbivore interactions can lead to the loss of dominant habitat forming species such as corals when tropical fish herbivory decreases, or to declines in algal forests when temperate urchin grazing increases.

Emerging evidence from the eastern Mediterranean, Japan and eastern Australia indicates that ocean warming is causing a novel type of phase-shift in tropical-temperate transition zones, whereby tropical and subtropical herbivores are overgrazing the canopy forming algae that typically dominates shallow temperate reefs.

I will use a ten-year (2002-2012) video dataset from northern NSW that encompasses a 0.6°C increase in mean sea surface to quantify patterns of kelp abundance and kelp-herbivore interactions in a tropical-temperate transition zone. Kelp was present on 70% of surveyed reefs in 2002, declined through time and completely disappeared from 2010 onwards. Simultaneously, grazing incidence on kelp increased steadily from <10% to over 70% in the years preceding kelp disappearance. The proportion of tropical and herbivorous species in fish communities increased as kelp declined.

Experimental video evidence shows transplanted kelp is quickly consumed within hours by tropical rabbitfish (Siganidae) and drummers (Kyphosidae) in reefs from where it has disappeared, where large densities of grazing surgeonfish dominate consumption of algal turfs. These results suggest that climate-mediated increases in herbivory pose a very significant global threat to kelp dominated ecosystems and the communities they support.


  • What’s causing the tropicalisation of temperate marine ecosystems? – This project investigates the causes of climate-mediated declines in cold water algal forests. These seaweeds are the trees of our underwater world and support major fisheries and coastal recreation. This project provides innovative multidisciplinary training for postgraduate students in experimental marine ecology, advanced molecular microbiology and physical oceanography.
  • Kelp grazers and the restoration of missing underwater forests – The loss of habitat-forming macroalgae along urbanised coastlines represents a substantial loss of biodiversity worldwide. Crayweed (Phyllospora comosa) is an important habitat-forming species that supports economically important fisheries such as crayfish and abalone. Crayweed disappeared from all metropolitan Sydney reefs in the 1980s, probably as a consequence of pollution. Although water quality has dramatically improved since those days, crayweed has not returned. This project aims to restore crayweed to Sydney reefs and investigates the ecological processes that influence the survival of this species in denuded coastlines.
  • Seagrass genetic diversity and ecosystem function – Loss of biodiversity ranks among the major causes of ecosystem change in the 21st century, with effects rivalling those of other human impacts such as climate change, habitat loss and nutrient pollution. Communities with greater diversity generally exhibit greater productivity and recover better from disturbance when compared to less diverse communities. This projects investigates diversity at the genotypic level in an endangered seagrass (Posidonia australis) and aims to establish the relationship between genotypic diversity, phenotypic diversity and community processes such as productivity and herbivory.


John Wingfield
John Wingfield

John Wingfield, Distinguished Professor and Endowed Chair in Physiology, Department of Neurobiology, Physiology and Behavior, University of California, Davis, California.

John Wingfield is interested in how organisms perceive their environment, integrate and transduce that information into morphological, physiological and behavioral responses. Of particular interest are the mechanisms by which animals use this system to respond to changing environments and their ecological contexts.

He is currently Distinguished Professor and Endowed Chair in Physiology at the University of California, Davis. John is also participating in the Deakin University “Thinkers-in-Residence” Program.

Abstract: Allostasis, resilience and coping with a changing world

A potentially serious outcome of global climate change is the increase in frequency and intensity of extreme weather events. Additionally, environmental perturbations such as human disturbance, invasive species, social disruption and pollution indicate that bird populations world wide face major challenges in coping with stress. Responses to one or more environmental perturbations incur energetic costs in addition to those of the normal life cycle such as breeding, migrating etc.

The concept of allostasis provides a framework to integrate energetic demand and wear and tear of daily and seasonal routines (the predictable life cycle) with perturbations of the environment including disease, aging and social status. The concept is particularly attractive because it allows a framework to assess the challenges faced in changing social and physical environments at the individual level because no single organism experiences the environment in exactly the same way as another.

The reactive scope of the mediators of coping mechanisms, such as the adrenocortical response to acute stress, also vary on seasonal, daily, habitat and individual bases. Understanding these regulatory mechanisms will be critical to ameliorating the effects of global change in general.



CIE Staff and HDR Conference (27-29 October 2015) – Conference Program

LogoDear CIE staff and HDR students,

See below the program for our forthcoming CIE-HDR conference to be held on the 27-29 October 2015 on the Warrnambool campus.

We look forward to a successful and brilliant 2015 CIE-HDR conference and we hope to see you all there!

More information on where and when is available HERE. Make sure to visit the photo competition page!