In the face of species loss caused by shrinking and polluted Australian habitats, the Environmental Biology & Biotechnology Group brings together research scientists interested in establishing impact monitoring, conservation and management tools for Australia's unique fauna and ecosystems.
Particular strengths include: the conservation, assisted reproduction and impact monitoring of Australian amphibian species; the development of assisted reproduction and humane population management tools for marsupial species; and the ecology, biomonitoring and ecotoxicology of estuarine and marine ecosystems.
Members of the Environmental Biology & Biotechnology Group have established strong links and collaborations with government agencies and local councils, as well as animal welfare groups and foundations, and the Tom Farrell Institute to provide leading research programs for the conservation of Australia's wildlife and ecosystems.
Current Research Projects
- Ecology of Urban Populations of Squirrel Glider
- Assessment of Tidal Restoration Initiatives on Dominant Vegetation Species of a Coastal Wetland, NSW, Australia.
- Biodiversity Impact of Lantana Management
- Predicting Floristic Variation in NSW Rainforest Vegetation
Ecosystems & Impacts
- Marine and Estuarine Invertebrates as Sentinels of Environmental Contamination.
- A Novel Molluscan Biomonitor for Assessing Estrogenic Effects of Contaminants in Estuarine and Marine Ecosystems.
- Assessing Effects of Petroleum Oil Pollution on Estuarine Rock Platform Invertebrate Communities.
- Development of the Scientific Requirements of an Environmental Management System (EMS) for the Pearling (Pinctada maxima) Industry.
- Biomarkers of Heavy Metal Stress in Mangrove Ecosystems.
- Use of Macroinvertebrates to Assess Impact of Effluent on Streams
- Conservation of the Green and Golden Bell Frog with Emphasis on Rehabilitation of Habitat Features for Survival
- Managing Pond Breeding Frogs in the Forest Environment
- Role of Chytrid Fungus in the decline of Australian Frogs
- Biological Control of the Cane Toad by Sterile Male Methods
- Artificial Breeding of Dasyurid Marsupials
- Cryobiology of Sperm, Eggs and Embryos of Frogs
- Technologies for Amphibian Genome Banking
- Sperm-based Contraception for Marsupials
- Zona Pellucida Based Contraceptives for Overabundant Koalas and Kangaroos.
- Tools and Methodologies for Monitoring Marsupial Immunological Responses
- Oral Delivery of Fertility Control Vaccines
- Chlamydia Vaccines for the Koala
- Parental Care and Sex-Role Reversal of the Hip-Pocket Frog
- Acoustic Communication of Frogs
- Cognition, Behaviour and Ecology in the Indian Mynah, Acridotheres tristis
Researchers in the Amphibian Laboratory are interested in conserving Australia's unique amphibian fauna. We are studying their ecology and conservation biology in a variety of habitats and ecosystems. Our primary interest is in understanding the causes of, and finding solutions to, the biodiversity crisis in amphibians that has already resulted in the extinction of numerous Australian frogs, and many others become endangered. Our key questions and strategies focus on: the roleof the chytrid fungus in amphibian declines; risk analysis and management; assisted reproduction technologies; and genome banking. Other interests include the evolution of the Australian frog fauna, identifying new species, and the biological control of the introduced cane toad.
Our group is primarily interested in the ecotoxicology of pollutants in estuarine and marine environments. We examine the effects of pollutants on estuarine and marine biota, and their biological responses to pollutant stressors, which may be employed as surrogates and more informative monitoring tools for pollution effects than measuring contaminant levels alone. We are also interested in the ecology of estuarine and marine environments, assessing potential impacts to ecological communities and restoration ecology initiatives. Other related research interests include ecotoxicology in terrestrial environments, behavioural ecology and behavioural ecotoxiciology.
Contact: Dr Geoff MacFarlane.
Marsupial Research Laboratory (MRL) is investigating various aspects of reproduction, immunology, disease and vaccine development in marsupials. In addition to fundamental research (gamete molecular biology and proteomics) we are developing various assisted reproduction technologies for marsupials. These include gamete maturation techniques, sperm cryopreservation, artificial insemination, in vitro fertilization (IVF) and intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) for endangered marsupial species. However other marsupial species suffer as a result of disease or overabundance within shrinking and fragmented habitats. For these species, we are developing, refining and delivering vaccines as tools to prevent and treat disease, and humane methods of population control through immunocontraception.
For enquiries regarding the Environmental Biology & Biotechnology Group, please contact Dr Merrilee Harris.