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!

CIE Staff and HDR Conference – 27-29 October 2015

LogoCIE staff and HDR students – you are all invited to attend the CIE STAFF AND HDR CONFERENCE 2015, to be held at Deakin University on Tuesday, 27th – Thursday, 29th October 2015, Alfred Deakin Lecture Theatre J2.01, Warrnambool Campus.

Please note that registration is now closed. Looking forward to seeing you all there!

Have you heard about our photo competition? More information is available HERE.

Attached below the conference program + conference flyer which outlines more detail of the conference activities:


Deakin Warrnambool Units is located within the Deakin Warrnambool University Campus and is set on the banks of the picturesque Hopkins River, close to local surf beaches and popular tourist attractions. The Campus is situated approximately five kilometres east of the local city of Warrnambool.

HDR Conference guests will be accommodated in their own bedroom in either a 6 or 8 bedroom unit – kitchen, bathroom, lounge and laundry facilities will be shared with other Conference guests within that unit.

Accommodation Inclusions:

  • Bed linen, pillows and towels provided.
  • Free Wifi is available.

Accommodation Facilities:

  • Each unit has a full kitchen, including fridge, stove, oven, microwave, toaster, kettle and basic utensils.
  • Each unit has a bathroom with shower facilities.
  • Each unit has a laundry washing machine, dryer and iron.
  • Each unit has an appropriate sized lounge room equipped with TV/DVD. For larger groups, arrangements can be made to provide a complimentary unit nearby for the purpose of a common room subject to availability.
  • Paid parking is available within close proximity to all units. Free parking is available within a 5-10 minute walk of the accommodation.

Campus Facilities:

  • Café (Monday to Friday)
  • Conference facilities
  • Gymnasium
  • Recreational fishing / boating – Hopkins River
  • Tennis
  • Basketball / netball courts
  • Golf course – nine holes
  • Recreational oval

***Please note: fees may apply to use some campus facilities***

Location (See Attached Map):
The Reception Building is located on Lodge Drive, which is within the Deakin Warrnambool Campus. The University Campus is located on the Princes Highway, approximately 6km east of the Warrnambool CBD.

Warrnambool Campus Map (PDF)

Click here for a Google map

Travelling from Melbourne:
From the Princes Highway turn left onto Aitken Drive and enter the University Campus. Travel straight through the first roundabout onto Lodge Drive. Follow Lodge Drive until it ends and turn right. In approximately 200m you will see Reception (P Building) on the left hand side.

Check In & Out Times:
Check in is available from 2pm. Guests must check out by 10am on the day of departure.

Key Collection & Return (Business Hours):
Keys can be collected from Reception located at Building P (see attached map) during office hours (Monday to Friday 9am-5pm). Please return keys to Reception at Building P upon check out.

Key Collection & Return (After Hours):
For key collection outside of business hours it will be necessary for you to collect your room key from our onsite Security. Please make your way to Building P (see attached map) and contact Security on 03 5563 3222 to arrange key collection. When returning keys outside of Reception hours, please drop off keys in the Secure Key Box on the wall outside the entry to Building P.

Please Note: Guests accept liability and costs associated for lost or non-returned keys.

Car Parking:
General car parking within the Deakin Campus is charged at $1.50 per hour, up to a maximum of $6 per day. These regulations apply from Monday to Friday (8am-4:30pm). Limited free parking is available within the Campus.

Parking tickets can be purchased at the self-service parking machine located on the main road into the Campus (just before you enter the large roundabout).

Should you have any further questions or wish to discuss this booking with one of our friendly staff please don’t hesitate to contact us on 03 5563 3111 or

Deakin Media Release: Deakin Geelong to host national marine sciences conference (AMSA 2015)

AMSA 2015Australia’s top marine scientists will gather in Deakin University’s Waterfront Campus this Monday to discuss latest research, challenges and solutions for the nation’s future environmental sustainability.

The four-day 2015 Australian Marine Sciences Association (AMSA) national conference will, for the first time, include a public forum on the opening night (Monday 6 July).

The free Q&A event will be hosted by Anthony Boxshall from RRR’s Radio Marinara, and will feature a panel of experts to discuss the most pressing issues facing our marine environment, including marine parks, fisheries and climate change.

The event will also include a photographic exhibition of beautiful seaweed images taken by Dr Alecia Bellgrove, fellow researcher Melanie Wells and Deakin University photographer Donna Squire. The exhibition will be available all week, while Dr Bellgrove will present her research on Monday, July 6 at 11.20am.

Feel free to help us by spreading the word 🙂

More on the conference and itinerary is available @ Deakin 2015 media releases or via the AMSA 2015 website.

Deakin EnviroBall 2015 – Tickets are now available

EnviroBall 2015As every year, the annual Deakin EnviroBall function is the perfect opportunity for everyone associated with Environmental Science at Deakin to catch up and celebrate as another year draws to a close. All are welcome –  from current students and staff to HDRs and alumni.

Tickets are on sale NOW and ticket sales will close Friday, August 7. To purchase a ticket please go to Deakin eStore.

What: 3 course dinner + beer, wine & soft drinks
When: Thursday, 3rd September 2015, 7pm-midnight
Cost: Subsidised price only $90
Where: Leonda by the Yarra, 2 Wallen Road, Hawthorn
(For more information CLICK HERE)

Please feel free to pass this invitation onto other past or current enviro students you may be in contact with.

Heads-up: CIE Staff and HDR Conference 2015

CIE Staff and HDR Conference 2015You are all invited to attend the CIE STAFF AND HDR CONFERENCE 2015, to be held at Deakin University on Tuesday, 27th – Thursday, 29th October 2015, Alfred Deakin Lecture Theatre J2.01, Warrnambool Campus.

There will be a diverse program designed to showcase current opportunities and activities with the Centre of Integrative Ecology

The conference will showcase:

  • Work of our newly appointed staff and highlight opportunities for collaborative work with established programs
  • A program of longer talks and shorter “turbo-talks”, so everyone can get involved
  • Provide a great place to build collaborative links with those from other campuses
  • There will be themed workshops to develop various skills including a “Meet the Editors” session with editors from leading ecological journals taking questions on publishing
  • Evening entertainment and opportunities to visit local attractions (e.g. whale watching & platypus viewing)
  • Meals/catering will be provided

Buses will be provided from all the campuses to make it easy to get to-and-from the conference.

We hope that you can join us at this very important School/Centre event.

Further information and program of activities will be sent out closer to the date of the conference.

On behalf of the CIE conference organising committee

Two conferences for (almost) the price of one – ESA & AOC 2015

reminderReminder to all CIE students and staff!!

The Ecological Society of Australia (ESA) 2015 meeting runs in Adelaide, 29th Nov – 3rd Dec. More information about the ESA meeting is available HERE.

This year the ESA meeting will run back to back with the Australasian Ornithological Congress (AOC) meeting (25th – 29th Nov, 2015) in the same city. More information about the AOC meeting is available HERE.

Two conferences for (almost) the price of one! Register today 🙂

Best friends or mortal enemies?: The complex ecological roles of Australia’s predators – Royal Society of Victoria public lecture

The Royal Society of VictoriaThe Royal Society offers evening lectures (free to the public) on a wide range of hot topics in science at large on every second and fourth Thursday of the month. These maybe worthwhile to consider visiting.

Notably the upcoming one on the 12th of March (Thursday, 7:00 PM – 8:45 PM), which will be provided by Deakin CIE’s own Euan Ritchie entitled: Best friends or mortal enemies?: The complex ecological roles of Australia’s predators.

The venue is the Society’s lecture theatre upstairs at 8 La Trobe Street, Melbourne.

For more information on Euan’s lecture and future lectures please visit The Royal Society of Victoria website.


The Student Conference on Conservation Science (SCCS) 2015 – Registration is now open

Student Conference on Conservation ScienceThe Student Conference on Conservation Science (SCCS), Australia 2015, will bring together 100 post-graduate students from the Asia-Pacific region and elsewhere to develop their skills and forge lasting professional relationships in this, the most biologically and culturally diverse region in the world.

There are a few places left (earlybird rate extended until 25th October 2014). Registration closes on October 31 (or when sold out).

When: 19 to 29 January 2015

Where: The University of Queensland, St Lucia, Australia (Brisbane Campus)


  • 3 days of conference
  • 3 days of excursions and sightseeing around the Great South East
  • 4 days of training and workshops (including Basic R, Marxan, Species Distribution Modeling)
  • A unique opportunity to create lasting networks in conservation science

For further information and to register please visit the SCCS website.