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

Find a CIE researcher in this theme (A to Z):

Abbey McDonald | Dr Alexandra McQueen | Dr Alizée Meillère | Amy Longmuir | Anaïs Pessato | Prof Andy Bennett | Ange Pestell | Anna Miltiadous | Anne Canelle Eichholtzer | Anthony Rendall | Dr Antoine Dujon | Batbayar Galtbalt | A/Prof Beata Ujvari | Billy Geary | Prof Chris Austin | Dr Christa Beckmann | Clare Vernon | A/Prof Daniel Ierodiaconou | Darcy Watchorn | Prof Don Driscoll | Eilysh Thompson | Dr Elodie Camprasse | Dr Eric Treml | A/Prof Euan Ritchie | Eve Udino | Fanny-Linn Kraft | Prof Graeme Hays | Hui Yu | Alfred Deakin Prof John Endler | Dr Kaori Yokochi | Prof Kate Buchanan | Dr Kay Critchell | Kendrika Gaur | Kristal Sorby | Kristian Bell | Kristina Macdonald | Lorenzo Galletta | A/Prof Luis O.B. Afonso | Luke Emerson | Alfred Deakin Prof Marcel Klaassen | Dr Martino E. Malerba | Dr Mary Young | Dr Mathew Berg | A/Prof Matthew Symonds | Dr Mylene Mariette | Nynke Raven | Dr Paul Tixier | A/Prof Peter Biro | Dr Raoul Ribot | Reihaneh Bandari | Roberto M. Venegas | Dr Rohan Brooker | Dr Sanja Van Huet | Sara Balouch | Sara Ryding | Dr Scarlett Howard | Simone Stevenson | Sundara Mawalagedera | Dr Susanna Venn | Tamara Camilleri | Thomas Burns | Prof Thomas Madsen | Dr Tim Jessop | Tobias Ross | Vanessa SkrzypczykYakupjan (Yakup) Niyazi |

Abbey McDonald

My research involves using Neogene aged fossil ostracod shells from various Victorian geological formations to investigate the palaeo-ecology of the various species. The effect changing oceanic conditions had on the ostracod

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fauna during this time period is also investigated.


Dr Alexandra McQueen

Birds use heat exchange through their bills to regulate body temperature. Our research investigates evolutionary changes in bill size in response to climate change across a wide range of bird species. We are further investigating

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how wild birds use their bills to dissipate heat during hot conditions.



Dr Alizée Meillère

My research aims to understand how birds respond to and cope with anthropogenic change (e.g., challenges associated with urbanization or with introduced man-made chemicals). My current work investigates the effects

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of early-life anthropogenic noise exposure (both pre- and post-natally) on avian development (physiology, morphology, cognition) and long-term fitness.

Deakin profile


Amy Longmuir

Phytophthora cinnamomi is a eukaryote pathogen which threatens many native and ecologically importent plant species in Australia. My research uses a whole genome approach to understand to evolution of the pathogen and

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the specific genetic profiles which play a role in infection.



Anaïs Pessato

My research aim to investigate how much thermoregulation capacity in the heat varies amongst individuals and how much developmental plasticity may contribute to this variation. I addressed this question using

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captive and free-living zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata), an arid adapted species.



Prof Andy Bennett

Animal behaviour and ecology, especially movement ecology and navigation of nomadic waterbirds, functions of avian coloration, and thermal responses of birds.


Deakin profile


Ange Pestell

Using camera traps, I am investigating the presence of predators, small mammals, reptiles and amphibians in two similar vegetation types in the mallee of NW Victoria, with a particular focus on time since fire, to assist land

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managers with fire management planning.

CIE profile / Twitter


Anna Miltiadous

I study avian maternal effects, particularly maternal corticosterone (the principal avian stress hormone) and its effect on reproductive outcomes including offspring epigenetics.


Personal website


Anne Canelle Eichholtzer

With the help of citizen scientists, we are testing a new video monitoring technology aimed towards the survey of small vertebrates (mammals, reptiles, frogs). For these smaller animals, the current methods are usually

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expensive, time-consuming and disruptive; this technology will help to make surveying them more practical and accessible. Future steps will include the development of an algorithm to automatically recognize and classify them on the video camera trap.

Deakin profile / Twitter


Anthony Rendall

Reintroduction and assisted colonisation ecology; threatened species ecology and inter-specific interactions.



Personal websiteDeakin profileTwitter


Dr Antoine Dujon

Obtain insight on the evolution of cancer in terrestrial and marine species and the implications for their conservation.



CanEcEvDeakin profileTwitter


Batbayar Galtbalt

My research mainly focuses on understanding the migratory behaviour of long-distance migrant birds in relation to environmental condition and climate change. Currently, I use the movement tracking data of cranes and

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shorebirds in association with environmental datasets in order to reveal how they cope with different atmospheric and on-ground conditions.

CIE profile


A/Prof Beata Ujvari

Being an evolutionary ecologist, my research focuses on the interactions between organisms and their biotic and abiotic environment and how the combination of these parameters affects organismal fitness. My research links

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evolution and ecology to molecular genetics to explore the significance of genetic and epigenetic organismal responses to both macro- and micro environmental challenges.

WildGenesGroupDeakin profileTwitter


Billy Geary

My research aims to understand native and threatened species ecology, particularly species interactions, and look for ways to embed that in conservation decision-making.


CIE profileTwitter


Prof Chris Austin

I use genomic techniques to investigate and understand evolutionary responses to environmental change over a range of time scales and I am interested in evaluating new tools for biodiversity assessment using environmental

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DNA. I have a special interests and expertise in inland and marine environments and crustacean and fish species.

Deakin profile


Dr Christa Beckmann

I am a field-based ecologist with broad research interests centred on the theme of how animals respond to changes in their environment. I use an integrative approach to understand costs and benefits of attributes of animals in

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hypothesis-driven research, combining observations with experiments and comparative studies.

CanEcEvDeakin profileTwitter


Clare Vernon

Native and ecosystem ecology; focus on alpine meadows ecology in Australia, and globally how we measure this ecosystem change (systemic review).


Personal website / Twitter


Daniel Ierodiaconou

Applying innovative approaches in marine biodiversity assesments to understand patterns and processes to inform marine spatial planning.


Deakin Marine Mapping / Deakin profile / Twitter


Darcy Watchorn

I look at how native small mammal species respond to environmental change, such as fire, how they move through modified landscapes.


CIE profileTwitter


Prof Don Driscoll

Wildlife movement is key theme of my research. Movement influences how reptiles, frogs and invertebrates use fragmented farming landscapes, how chytrid fungus is spread to susceptible frog hosts, and

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how reptiles and other groups respond to fire.

Personal websiteDeakin profileTwitter


Eilysh Thompson

The invasion of large herbivores represents a serious threat to Australian native biodiversity. The aim of this project is to investigate the role that dingoes play in regards to this invasion, particularly how they influence

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feral herbivore distribution and behaviour.

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Dr Elodie Camprasse

My PhD research focused on understanding individual specialisations in foraging behaviour in seabirds.



Deakin profileTwitter


Dr Eric Treml

Our broad research interests are in marine ecology and conservation, specifically in understanding the causes and consequences of population connectivity, implications for biodiversity and assisting in local-to-global conservation

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MSEaC Lab / Deakin profileTwitter


A/Prof Euan Ritchie

Mammal Ecology and Conservation; Movement Ecology; Predator-Prey Interactions; Urban Ecology.



Personal websiteDeakin profileTwitter


Eve Udino

My current research investigates how developmental plasticity shapes individuals’ coping mechanisms, especially to high temperatures, in the zebra finch, an Australian arid-zone bird. I am interested in the response

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occurring during heat-stress at the behavioural, hormonal and cellular levels.

Deakin profile


Fanny-Linn Kraft

My research is focused on transgenerational effects of developmental stress on song learning in birds.



CIE profile


Prof Graeme Hays

We use satellite tags and data loggers to record the movement of free-living individuals and the environments they live in. This work includes satellite tracking sea turtles and other species and tagging and

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photo-id for long-term identification of individuals to assess survival rates. Tracking data help reveals operational sex ratios, links to the incidence of multiple paternity and threats. We monitor incubation conditions for sea turtles, particularly in light of the role of temperature in driving hatchling sex ratios and survival, which underpin concerns for sea turtle extinction in a warming world.

Google Scholar / Deakin profile


Hui Yu

The increasingly shrinking size and energy efficiency of current trackers helps researchers to better understand physiological, behavioural, and ecological mechanisms across a broad range of taxa. My research focuses on

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developing ways to study wild animal behaviours continuously through state-of-the-art trackers.


Alfred Deakin Prof John Endler

I am interested in predicting the direction of evolution given known environmental parameters, changing climate and habitats makes this more practical than ever.



Deakin profile


Dr Kaori Yokochi

I have studied how roads impact the survival, movement and genetics of threatened native fauna. I’m also studying the impacts of artificial lighting on native microbats.


Deakin profile


Prof Kate Buchanan

I am interested in how animal signalling systems evolve within the context of local environmental conditions. In particular I have focused on the evolution of signalling and communication behaviour in birds. Having conducted my

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PhD work on the evolution of bird song, my interests currently lie in testing the transgenerational impacts of early life conditions on song learning and cognition. For this I have developed experimental manipulations of condition and am testing the impact on physiological systems, behaviour and fitness. In conjunction with Dr Mylene Mariette I have developed an interest in prenatal acoustic sensitivity in birds and the relevance for vocal learning. Throughout my work I use a range of condition indices, including immune parameters and endocrine measures to assess individual and maternal effects.

Deakin profile


Dr Kay Critchell

I use biophysical modelling to understand the movement distributions of organisms and pollutants in the marine environment, now and into the future.



Deakin profile / Twitter


Kendrika Gaur

My research focuses on the optimization of eDNA (Environmental DNA) sampling methods in aquatic and terrestrial systems. eDNA techniques use the DNA deposited by animals into the environment (soil, air,

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sediment or water) to detect the present species. I am working on the following three projects:
1. Conservation Ecology and Genetics of the Pink-tailed worm Lizard (Aprasia parapulchella) which is native and threatened in Australia.
2. Is eDNA a better way to monitor Australia’s wildlife? This project uses a novel eDNA sampling arena to collect eDNA from terrestrial fauna in the Mallee region.
3. eDNA monitoring of the threatened frog species in the Western Ghats Biodiversity Hotspot of India.

Deakin profile / Twitter


Kristal Sorby

I am examining the developmental, physiological, behavioural, and evolutionary responses of vertebrates to changes in their glucocorticoid signalling system, and how this signal acts as a primary driver of broader

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whole-organism trait changes.

Personal website / Deakin profile / Twitter


Kristian Bell

I am studying the impact of fragmentation, agriculture and changes to fire regimes on the ecology, function and distribution of a native, foundation species of grass; Triodia scariosa.


CIE profile


Kristina Macdonald

My research aims to understand how herpetofauna respond to both fire and predation in South West Victoria. This research is interesting in how native fauna is responding to key threats.




Lorenzo Galletta

My work focus on the incubation behaviour of an arid adapted bird (Zebra Finch), to unravel its future changes in relation to climate change and how those will affect the eggs and embryo development.




A/Prof Luis O.B. Afonso

My research in fish physiology and endocrinology has both integrative and comparative aspects and strives to understand how aquatic organisms respond to stressful situations. Areas of interest include fish health, stress

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physiology, fish reproductive endocrinology and sex differentiation, and aquaculture.

MFAS / Deakin profile


Luke Emerson

My PhD research seeks to understand the influence of differing factors on the behavioural, spatial and foraging ecology of pumas. This research will provide insight into the ecology and impact of an apex predator within an

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ever changing environment, and will have implications for conservation and management initiatives in other systems where large carnivores occur.



Alfred Deakin Prof Marcel Klaassen

I have developed broad ecological research interests including theoretical, experimental and observational studies on numerous animal, plant and microbe taxa. Throughout this, my focus has primarily been on

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increasing our understanding of bird migration, nutritional ecology and disease ecological issues.

CIE profile / Deakin profile / Twitter


Dr Martino E. Malerba

Artificial lakes in agricultural areas can influence the distribution of native and invasive species.



Personal websiteTwitter


Dr Mary Young

Environmental drivers of biodiversity.



Deakin profile / Twitter


Dr Mathew Berg

Avian sensory ecology including coloration, olfaction and acoustic signalling (calls and song). Behavioural ecology, stress ecophysiology, and avian breeding biology.


Deakin profile


A/Prof Matthew Symonds

I am interested in the evolution of diversity, and what has generated difference in behaviour, morphology and physiology between closely related species. I use comparative cross-species approaches to study this, with

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particular focus on the effects of climate on morphology and the evolution of communication (particularly chemical and visual).

Personal website / Deakin profile


Dr Mylene Mariette

I study avian acoustic communication, including between parents and embryos, as a heat-adaptation strategy, in the arid-adapted zebra finch, and other species. I study the developmental, physiological, genetic and

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behavioural impact of that communication system. I also work on parental care, social network, and sexual selection.

Deakin profile / Twitter


Nynke Raven

Tasmanian devil immune profiles can alter due to local environmental variables, parasites and other internal factors. My research investigates how these factors and subsequent changing immunity, affects transmissible

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cancer infection and progression.

WildGenesGroup / Deakin profileTwitter


Dr Paul Tixier

Behavioural innovations and prey switching by large marine predators (odontocetes) in response to fisheries and changes in prey availability.


Deakin profile / ResearchGate


A/Prof Peter Biro

My research is currently exploring linkages between animal physiology, behaviour, life-history, and natural and human-caused selection in fish and other organisms. In particular, I want to know what promotes the existence

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(& maintenance) of consistent individual differences in behavior, often termed ‘personality’ or ‘temperament’, and what this means for predator-prey interactions, and for practical issues such as sampling bias and the effects of human harvesting of animal populations.

CanEcEvDeakin profile


Dr Raoul Ribot

My work is mainly focused around the theme ‘understanding nature’, e.g. evolutionary responses and adaptations of species (mostly birds) to environmental change, movement ecology of waterbirds in

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unpredictable landscapes and the ecology and behaviour of native Australian birds.

Deakin profile


Reihaneh Bandari

The goal of 15 among SDGs related to life and land and some its targets and indicators related to the protected species of flora and fauna which I will research about in my case study.


Local SDGs / Twitter


Roberto M. Venegas

Ocean landscapes and climate change effects on species distribution.





Dr Rohan Brooker

I am a behavioural ecologist who works with tropical and temperate marine species. I am interested in predator-prey interactions, interspecies mutualisms, habitat specialisation, and recruitment, and how these processes

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are affected by anthropogenic disturbance.

Deakin profileTwitter


Dr Sanja Van Huet

Changes in environment and species over the Quaternary Period.



Deakin profile


Sara Balouch

The major focus of my research involves understanding the consequences of different agricultural practices on habitat quality and the response of reptiles towards these habitat changes. We are investigating the patterns of

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reptile distribution in different habitat conditions and land management practices to assess the response of reptiles towards habitat degradation.

Personal website / Deakin profile / Twitter


Sara Ryding

Our research looks at how birds are changing morphologically in response to climatic warming. Birds partly thermoregulate with their beaks and legs, and some evidence suggests the size and shape of beaks and legs

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are becoming larger to better handle higher temperatures. We aim to explore where and why these patterns exist.

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Dr Scarlett Howard

My research will examine how urbanisation and other human-influenced environments are impacting native and introduced bee species in terms of their foraging, pollination, biodiversity, distribution, physiology, and

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cognition. I will use the gathered information to investigate the evolutionary origins of behaviour and foraging strategies in Australian native bees.

The Symonds Lab / Google Scholar / Twitter


Simone Stevenson

My PhD project focuses on measuring and understanding change to biodiversity on large scales (national to global) using biodiversity indicators.


Personal website / CIE profileTwitter


Sundara Mawalagedera

My research investigates the evolutionary relationships among a native Australian medicinal plant clade which lacks scientific appraisal. It comprise several species of conservation priority.


Personal website


Dr Susanna Venn

My research tackles how alpine plants and plant communities respond to environmental changes, disturbances and extreme events, in terms of their distribution, community composition and

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thermal tolerances.

Personal website / Deakin profileTwitter


Tamara Camilleri

My PhD project focuses on measuring and understanding change to biodiversity on large scales (national to global) using biodiversity indicators.


CIE profile


Thomas Burns

Amphibian ecology.





Prof Thomas Madsen

No info….



WildGenesGroup / Deakin profile


Dr Tim Jessop

Much of my research studies the effects of environmental, ecological and anthropogenic disturbances on animal physiology, ecology and evolutionary biology.


Deakin profile


Tobias Ross

I am studying the effects of increasing levels of pollution on migratory shorebirds to determine how these pollutant levels change over time and how they vary between species of the East Asian Australasian Flyway (EAAF).


CIE profile


Vanessa Skrzypczyk

My research looks at the differences in nutritional properties of seaweeds and how these properties change with location and species type.




Yakupjan (Yakup) Niyazi

Geological processes underwent on the seafloor, will lead the environmental and ecological changes, which ultimately can impact the biodiversity of the ocean.


Deakin Marine Mapping / CIE profile