Our research

Our research

We’re a research intensive department that engages in studies across 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 high impact research.

Our world-class research and research centres

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 and beyond. We have a strong community of Higher Degree Research 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 University’s Research Enrichment Program. 

Macquarie’s researchers are world leaders in: 

  • climate change research
  • conservation biology
  • ecology
  • animal behaviour
  • evolution

Our research was recognised as above or well-above world standard in the 2015 ARC Excellence in Research for Australia in the areas of:

  • Biological Sciences 
  • Environmental Sciences 
  • Agricultural and Veterinary Sciences

Our researchers have won multiple awards including: 

  • Eureka
  • Australian Academy of Science
  • NSW Scientist of the Year
  • NSW Tall Poppy

Within the department our research groups have strong collaborative links to other researchers within Macquarie University, particularly through MQ Centres for Green Cities, Biosecurity FuturesARC ITTC for Fruit Fly Biosecurity Innovation, Marine Research and Species Spectrum, as well as through the NSW Adaptation Hub Biodiversity Node and to other universities and industries including government agencies and NGOs.

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.

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.

Ecology

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. Distinguished 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.

Evolution

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 evolution and adaptation across multiple taxa, and we have great strength in paleobiology research.

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