Our people

Our people

Dr Drew Allen

drew.allen@mq.edu.au
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Our research uses mathematical models to describe a range of biological phenomena, including broadscale biodiversity gradients, rates of DNA evolution and nutrient cycles in organisms and ecosystems. Our work entails developing and testing a new class of biodiversity models that relate contemporary biodiversity to speciation-extinction dynamics in the fossil record and ecologically induced changes in population abundance through time. This work aims to provide a better understanding of how environmental changes, including those induced by human activities, influence the numbers of species present in ecosystems.

A/Prof John Alroy

john.alroy@mq.edu.au
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Quantifying biodiversity and extinction has been the main theme of our research. It focuses largely on methodological issues and global richness patterns, both in the deep fossil record and in the present. Our methods can be used to generate numerical timescales, compute extinction rates, find the chance that a single species is extinct, quantify the similarity between communities and estimate species richness. Our lab is also interested in the evolution of body mass, Pleistocene megafaunal extinctions and captive breeding programs.

A/Prof Melanie Bishop

melanie.bishop@mq.edu.au
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Our research investigates how the coastal zone might be sustainably developed to protect estuarine and nearshore biodiversity and its important socioeconomic values. We focus on temperate coastal ecosystems, which are one of the most important ecosystems for marine productivity and nutrient cycling, yet they have borne the brunt of human impacts. We use field experiments to address questions at ecologically meaningful scales, spanning coastlines and years.

Prof Grant Hose

grant.hose@mq.edu.au
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We aim to undertake groundbreaking research on the ecology of groundwater and surface freshwater environments and on the impacts of pollution and environmental change on them. Our goal is to better understand and protect these ecosystems through the development of robust and protective environmental quality criteria and guidelines.

Prof Michelle Leishman

michelle.leishman@mq.edu.au
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We do fundamental plant ecological research, focusing on the response of plants to climate change, on how exotic plants can become invasive in novel environments, on invasive plant pathogens and on the development of rehabilitation and restoration strategies for native vegetation. We use a range of different approaches, including field and glasshouse studies, bioclimatic modelling, functional trait comparisons, genetic analyses, and meta-analyses. Most recently, the lab has focused on urban greening, including species selection for urban spaces in a changing climate.
Emeritus Prof Mark Westoby

mark.westoby@mq.edu.au
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Research on the spread of ecological strategies, compared worldwide via measurable traits (what has come to be known as “trait ecology”). For land plants, current activities include models for coexistence of trait strategies, when trait-pairs become coordinated and when they do not, controls on geographical boundaries, and the importance of wood in nutrient budgets. (With Daniel Falster and others.) For bacteria and archaea, research is currently focused on cell size, genome size and potential rate of increase. Continuing interests also in state-and-transition models for vegetation, and in the logic of phylogenetically-informed trait analysis.
Photo of Hendrik Poorter
Prof Hendrik Poorter

hendrik.poorter@mq.edu.au
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Our main focus is currently in achieving a quantitative understanding of how plants respond to their a-biotic environment. To this end we carry out meta-analyses for a wide range of anatomical, morphological, physiological and chemical plant traits in leaves, stems and roots, as well as for whole plant growth, allocation and reproduction. Using experiments in which the light level, light quality, UV-B, CO2, O3, nutrients, water, temperature, salinity or soil compaction were experimentally manipulated, we derive dose-response curves which quantitatively summarise how plants in general acclimate in the longer term and at different scales to these different factors.

A/Prof Jane Williamson

jane.williamson@mq.edu.au
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Research undertaken by the Marine Ecology Group centres around the theme of human impacts (eg climate change, commercial fishing, microplastics) on marine ecological resistance and sustainability. We have a particular focus on species that are likely to be under threat and those that have the capacity to impart substantial community changes. In the past few years we have worked on a diverse array of species including sharks, rays, teleosts, echinoderms and polychaetes. We research our questions using molecular, laboratory and field-based techniques and incorporate the fields of animal behaviour, aquaculture, conservation biology, ecology and fisheries assessment.

Prof Ian Wright

ian.wright@mq.edu.au
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In much of our work, we investigate the functional ecology and ecological strategies of plants – the ‘how and why’ of differences among species in their structural, chemical and physiological traits – and the implications of this variation for larger-scale processes. For this, we use a variety of approaches, ranging from fine-scale anatomical or physiological studies to global-scale analyses of trait variation. We run fieldwork in a variety of systems, from the wet tropics to temperate woodlands to the arid zone.
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