Research Group

Environmental Biology and Biotechnology

The Environmental Biology and Biotechnology Research 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
  • the ecology, biomonitoring and ecotoxicology of estuarine and marine ecosystems

Members of the Environmental Biology and Biotechnology Group have established strong links and collaborations with government agencies and local councils, as well as animal welfare groups and foundations to provide leading research programs for the conservation of Australia's wildlife and ecosystems.

Amphibian Laboratory

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 role of the chytrid fungus in amphibian declines
  • risk analysis and management
  • assisted reproduction technologies
  • genome banking

Other interests include the evolution of the Australian frog fauna, identifying new species, and the biological control of the introduced cane toad.

Key contacts:

Professor Michael Mahony

Dr John Clulow

Ecology and Ecotoxicology Laboratory

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.

Key contact:

Dr Geoff MacFarlane

The Marsupial Research Laboratory

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.

Key contacts:

Professor John Rodger