We are a research intensive department that engages in research over the broad range of biological disciplines and taxa. Our research utilises the unique Australian and Antarctic biota and the Department offers a dynamic and supportive environment for generating creative, relevant and impactful research.

Research in the Department is strongly integrative. Our hallmark is a capacity to examine complex questions from multiple perspectives and to foster collaboration within the department.   We have a strong community of graduate students who are vital contributors to our research. The Department has state of the art research facilities and provides support and training for our students through departmental workshops and the research enrichment program of the Genes-to-Geoscience Research Centre.

Macquarie’s researchers are world leaders in climate change research, conservation biology, ecology, animal behaviour and evolution. Within the Department there are a number of research groups with strong collaborative links to other researchers within Macquarie University, particularly through MQ Centres for Genes-to-Geoscience, Climate Futures, Biosecurity Futures and Marine Research, to other universities and to industries including government agencies and NGO’s.

Research Areas

Animal Behaviour

Macquarie hosts the largest concentration of animal behaviour researchers in Australia.  Our research is integrative and transdisciplinary addressing behavioural ecology, sociobiology, comparative neurobiology, performance physiology and behavioural genomics.  On campus our Fauna Park and Ecology Reserve allow an integration of lab, semi-lab and field studies.  In addition, our researchers work at field sites across Australia and internationally.  As a community we hosted the international Behaviour 2015 conference.

Avian Behavioural Ecology Group (Prof Simon Griffith)

Behaviour, Ecology and Evolution of Fishes Lab (Assoc Prof Culum Brown)

Behavioural Biology Research Group (Prof Phil Taylor)

Behavioural Ecology (Prof Marie Herberstein)

Cheng Lab (Prof Ken Cheng)

Cognitive Neuroethology (Assoc Prof Barron)

Ecological Neuroscience Group  (Dr Ajay Narendra)

Evolutionary Ecology Lab (Dr Darrell Kemp)

Insect Mating Systems Lab (Dr Kate Barry)

Marine Predator Lab (Prof Rob Harcourt)

Neurobiology Lab (Associate Professor Nathan Hart)

The Lizard Lab (Assoc Prof Martin Whiting)

Conservation Biology

Our researchers are recognised nationally and internationally as leaders in conservation biology.  We are engaged with government and industry to achieve outstanding conservation outcomes, for example in threatened species management and climate change adaptation. In addition, we have excellent facilities for terrestrial and aquatic conservation research that includes land and water field vehicles, controlled environment chambers and glasshouses, a large herbarium and diverse isotope, sediment and geochemical analysis facilities.

Atwell Lab (Prof Brian Atwell)

Beaumont Lab (Dr Linda Beaumont)

Benthic Ecology Lab (Assoc Prof Melanie Bishop)

Conservation Genetics Lab (Assoc Prof Adam Stow)

Dudaniec Lab (Dr Rachael Dudaniec)

Frankham Lab (Em Prof Dick Frankham)

Nipperess Lab (Dr David Nipperess)

Plant Invasion and Restoration Ecology Lab (Prof Michelle Leishman)

Plant-Insect Interactions and Climate Change Ecology Lab (Prof Lesley Hughes)


Macquarie has a proud tradition of excellence in ecological research.  In 2015 we scored the highest ranking of 5 in the Australian Research Council’s Evaluation of Research Activity for Ecology at Macquarie.  Professor Mark Westoby was awarded New South Wales Scientist of the Year for his research in plant ecology.  Our research in ecology spans the terrestrial, aquatic and marine environments and there are many close synergies between our research in ecology and conservation biology.

Allen Lab (Dr Drew Allen)

Benthic Ecology Lab (Assoc Prof Melanie Bishop)

Comparative Ecology (Prof Mark Westoby)

Falster Lab (Dr Daniel Falster)

Forest Ecology and Spatial Modelling (Dr Ross Peacock)

Freshwater Ecology and Ecotoxicology Lab (Assoc Prof Grant Hose)

Marine and Coastal Phytoplankton Lab (Dr Leanne Armand)

Marine and Freshwater Biology Lab (Prof David Raftos)

Marine Ecology and Conservation (Dr Elizabeth Madin)

Marine Ecology Group  (Assoc Prof Jane Williamson)

Quantitative Ecology and Evolution (Assoc Prof Joshua Madin)

The Wright Lab (Assoc Prof Ian Wright)

Zeppel Lab (Dr Melanie Zeppel)


Our evolutionary studies consider evolution at multiple scales and levels of complexity.  We address genomic and microbial evolution.  We study adaptive changes in plant and animal traits in response to a changing world.  We investigate how ecologies evolve, and we have great strength in paleobiology research.

Analytical Palaeobiology (Assoc Prof John Alroy)

Conservation Paleobiology Lab (Dr Matthew Kosnik)

Donald Lab (Assoc Prof Jenny Donald)

Frankham Lab (Em Prof Dick Frankham)

Gillings Lab (Prof Michael Gillings)

Julia Raftos Lab (Dr Julia Raftos)

Neurobiology Lab (Associate Professor Nathan Hart)

Paleobiology Laboratory (Assoc Prof Glenn Brock)

Parasitology Lab (Dr Michelle Power)

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