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 researcher in this theme:

Anaïs Pessato | Dr Andrew Bean | Ange Pestell | Anna Miltiadous | Anthony Rendall | Dr Antoine Dujon | Batbayar Galtbalt | A/Prof Beata Ujvari | Dr Christa Beckmann | Darcy Watchorn | Prof Don Driscoll | Dr Eric Treml | A/Prof Euan Ritchie | Eve Udino | Prof Graeme Hays | Jinzhu WANG | Alfred Deakin Prof John Endler | Dr Kaori Yokochi | Prof Kate Buchanan | Dr Kay Critchell | Kristian Bell | Lorenzo Galletta | Alfred Deakin Prof Marcel Klaassen | Dr Mary Young | Dr Mathew Berg | A/Prof Matthew Symonds | Dr Mylene Mariette | Nynke Raven | A/Prof Peter Biro | Dr Raoul Ribot | Roberto M. Venegas | Dr Rohan Brooker | Dr Sanja Van Huet | Sara Balouch | Sara Ryding | Simone Stevenson | Thomas Burns | Prof Thomas Madsen | Dr Tim Doherty | Dr Tim Jessop | Tobias Ross | Yakupjan (Yakup) Niyazi |

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.



Dr Andrew Bean

Our favourable biosecurity status can only be maintained through new knowledge and tools to protect against and reduce the impact of diseases, pests and weeds.


CSIRO website


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


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


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


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


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


Prof Graeme Hays

No info….



SAST project / Google Scholar / Deakin profile


Jinzhu WANG

No info….



Planet-ACIE profile


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


Kristian Bell

Exploring the drivers of a foundation species in modified landscapes.



CIE profile


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.




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 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.

Personal websiteDeakin profileTwitter


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


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.

CIE profileTwitter

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


Thomas Burns

Amphibian ecology.





Prof Thomas Madsen

No info….



WildGenesGroup / Deakin profile


Dr Tim Doherty

My research focusses on the behavioural, population and community level effects of environmental change on animals. This includes studies of fire ecology, predators, invasive species and movement ecology. Study species

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mainly include mammals and reptiles.

Personal websiteDeakin profileTwitter


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).




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