Our projects

Our projects

The main activity of the Species Spectrum Research Centre will be to support working groups undertaking research across a wide range of organisms and phenomena, including brain structure, microbial function, mimicry and crypsis, coral biology and ant perception and navigation. Each working group will consist of Macquarie researchers, ECRS and HDRs and selected domestic and international visitors.

Species Spectrum Research Centre funded working groups in 2018:

Hotspotting complex lifecycles: the juvenile enigma of metamorphosing animals

Working group membership:

Matthew Bulbert (MQ), Martin Whiting (MQ); Lynne Beaty (Trent University Canada), Bibiana Rojas (University of Jyväskylä, Finland); Matthew Symonds (La Trobe University); Ian Wright (MQ); Linda Beaumont (MQ); Josh Madin (MQ, University Hawaii)

Working group commencement date:

June 2018

Working group proposed completion date:

June 2019

Working group status:

2018: Trait selection and data collection

Working group outputs:

NA

Ecological strategies across bacteria and archaea via measurable traits

Working group membership:

Mark Westoby, Michael Gillings, Josh Madin, Ian Paulsen, Sasha Tetu, Jemma Geoghegan. Assistance from Lisa Moore, Daniel Nielsen.

Working group commencement date:

June 2018

Working group proposed completion date:

June 2020

Working group status:

  • Weekly working group meetings to work through concepts and generate testable hypotheses
  • A bacterial trait database (derived from working group 'Network for ecological strategies across bacteria and archaea') is being explored to further develop hypotheses and relating these to the existing literature
  • Organising a workshop to be held at Macquarie University, 12-16 November, including all members + Fierer and Litchman.

Working group outputs:

NA

An investigation of the relationship between brain size and urban adaptation

Working group membership:

Lizzy Lowe, Alex Carthey, Alessandro Ossola, Ajay Narendra, Chris Reid, Jannis Liedtke

Working group commencement date:

June 2018

Working group proposed completion date:

June 2019

Working group status:

2018: Trait selection and data collection

Working group outputs:

NA

General rules for protected area design: using species traits to ensure protected area ‘adequacy’

Working group membership:

  • Conservation planning representatives: Vanessa Adams (MQ), Hugh Possingham (TNC)
  • Plant trait representatives: Rachael Gallagher (MQ), Will Cornwell (UNSW), James Camac (uni Melb)
  • Bird trait representatives: Simon Griffith (MQ), Daisy Englert Duursma (MQ), Micha Jackson (UQ)
  • Bat trait representatives: April Reside (UQ), Caragh Threfall (Uni Melb), Pia Lentini (Uni Melb)

Working group commencement date:

June 2018

Working group proposed completion date:

June 2020

Working group status:

  • Numerous on-line working group discussions are taking place to determine a set of scoping analyses that will combine available data on plant distributions, protected areas, cleared land, land capacity, and plant traits.
  • Compilation of datasets has begun.
  • Organising a workshop to be held at Macquarie University, late 2018

Working group outputs:

NA

Pipilika: Ant database to identify the relationship of metabolic rate with activity time

Working group membership:

Ajay Narendra; Ravindra Palavalli Nettimi; Fleur Ponton; Drew Allen; Joshua Madin (MQU); Nigel Andrew (UNE), Heloise Gibb (La Trobe); Marc Seid (Scranton University, USA).

Working group commencement date:

June 2018

Working group proposed completion date:

June 2019

Working group status:

  • Final testing phase of respirometer
  • Data collection and data entry

Working group outputs:

NA

Toward a traits based approach for groundwater biomonitoring

Working group membership:

  • Macquarie University: A/Prof Grant Hose, Dr Kathryn Korbel, Dr Anthony Chariton
  • International; Dr Christian Griebler (Helmhotz Centre, Munich, Prof Anne Robertson (Roehamptonb University, UK), Dr Florian Malard (Univ Lyon, France), Prof Diana Galassi (L’Aquila Univ, Italy), Dr Tiziana Di Lorenzo (ISE CNR, Italy), Dr Sofia Riboliera, (Natural History Museum of Denmark).

Working group commencement date:

June 2018

Working group proposed completion date:

June 2019

Working group status:

Organising a workshop to be held in Europe, late 2018

Working group outputs:

NA

Species Spectrum Research Centre funded working groups in 2017:

Pipilika: Ant database to identify the relationship of metabolic rate with activity time

Working group membership:

Ajay Narendra; Ravindra Palavalli Nettimi; Fleur Ponton; Drew Allen; Joshua Madin (MQU); Nigel Andrew (UNE), Heloise Gibb (La Trobe); Marc Seid (Scranton University, USA).

Working group commencement date:

June 2017

Working group proposed completion date:

June 2018

Working group status:

Completion of companion project 'changes associated with activity time (diurnal and nocturnal animals), by investigating neural changes/adaptations'.

Working group outputs:

  • manuscript (in review): 'Brain neuroarchitecture in diurnal and nocturnal ants'
  • Zachary Sheehan awarded a Masters degree in 2017 from MQU for the project: 'Brain neuroarchitecture in diurnal and nocturnal ants'.

Mapping behavioural ecology across the species spectrum

Working group membership:

Alex Carthey, Mariella Herberstein, Mark Westoby, Drew Allen, Simon Griffith, Martin Whiting, Matt Bulbert, Josh Madin, Dan Falster, Ian Wright

Working group commencement date:

June 2017

Working group proposed completion date:

June 2020

Working group status:

  • Initial scoping exercise completed and exploratory data analyses completed
  • Data source libraries compiled for each taxon and research assistant hired to process papers in source libraries and assemble them into a full dataset of metabolic rate, body mass and brain size.

Working group outputs:

  • Current database consists of 1707 observations from 150 sources.
  • All taxa: 
    • 4 phyla: Annelida, Arthropoda, Mollusca, Chordata
    • 9 classes: Clitellata, Insecta, Gastropoda, Amphibia, Reptilia, Aves, Mammalia, Malacostraca, Arachnida
    • 76 orders
    • 254 families
    • 615 genera
    • 848 species

Network for ecological strategies across bacteria and archaea

Working group membership:

Michael Gillings, Ian Paulsen, Sasha Tetu, Mark Westoby, Jemma Geoghegan, Josh Madin

Working group commencement date:

June 2017

Working group proposed completion date:

June 2018

Working group status:

In 2018 this working group is transitioning to working group: ‘Ecological strategies across bacteria and archaea via measurable traits’, after receiving Species Spectrum Research Centre working group funding in 2018

Working group outputs:

  • Weekly working group meetings to workshop concepts and generate testable hypotheses
  • A bacterial trait database has been created from multiple existing data sources
  • Submission of an ARC Discovery (Westoby and Gillings + Madin, Fierer and Litchman)
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