The Environmental Genetics and Genomics Program brings the power of new DNA technologies to bear on central questions in ecology, evolution and environmental management. At one end of the spectrum, we engage in detailed examination of traits such as sex determination, the immune system and the role of epigenetic factors in focal taxa to unveil the mysteries surrounding the interaction of genes and the environment. At the other end of the spectrum we combine genomic trace DNA and DNA genotyping to probe the historical phylogeography of Australasian fauna and to solve problems of forensic and ecological importance.
The EcoChemistry and Toxicology Program involves the design of environmental sampling and analysis studies, undertaking the chemical analysis of food and environmental samples and routinely performs physiochemical, nutrient, trace metal and metalloid analysis.
Research projects focus on how aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems cycle trace elements and the ability of organisms to cope with natural stressors (climate change) and contaminants. This information is used for the development of national guidelines for the protection of aquatic ecosystems. As part of these programs, many innovative methods have been developed to quantify the total amounts and chemical species in these systems.
The Water Science Program seeks to develop the knowledge to inform development of management and policy for freshwaters in Australia and internationally. Of particular interest to us is generating the knowledge and fundamental understanding of how ecological communities and ecosystems function to deliver the services and values that society considers important. We work to refine evidence-based approaches for incorporating ‘best available science’ in management and policy development.
The Conservation Ecology Program carries out research that underpins conservation management, providing knowledge and tools to manage threats to Australia’s native biodiversity. The program focusses on how terrestrial populations, communities and ecosystems function; their response to changes brought about by processes such as land transformation, the spread of alien species, and changes to climate, fire and nutrient cycles; and how this understanding can be applied to most effectively manage or mitigate those impacts.