Doctor Ben Moore

Ben Moore is an ecologist broadly interested in plant-animal interactions, chemical ecology and the causes and consequences of variation in plant chemistry. He is particularly interested in the chemical, nutritional and physiological ecology of Australian marsupials, like the koala, that feed on Eucalyptus. What adaptations and strategies have these animals adopted that allow them to survive on this challenging diet? How is climate and landscape change altering the ecology of these interactions? And how does the quality of Eucalyptus as food for herbivores vary across the landscape and through time?

Ben completed his honours degree in zoology at the University of Melbourne and then obtained his Ph.D. from the Australian National University (Canberra).  He then spent 2.5 years at James Cook University in Townsville and 5 years at the James Hutton Institute in Aberdeen, Scotland.

Teaching, expertise

Ecology, Chemical ecology, Vertebrate ecology, Plant-animal interactions, Fauna and biodiversity, ecosystem effects of plant secondary metabolites.

Grants/Current Projects

Understanding and mapping how thermal and dietary constraints combine to restrict koala habitat (opens in a new window)
Funding body: NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment

What do koalas really eat? Novel characterisation of koala diets and habitat quality using faecal molecular analysis
Funding Body: Queensland Department of Environment and Heritage Protection
Period: 2017-2020

Assessing the contribution of regenerating forests to koala nutrition using molecular and chemical faecal analysis to understand koala diet composition and quality (opens in a new window)
Link: https://www.nrc.nsw.gov.au/LiteratureRetrieve.aspx?ID=247621
Funding Body: Natural Resources Commission (opens in a new window)
Period 2019-201

Determining the effects of regeneration harvesting on habitat nutritional quality for koalas (opens in a new window)  (via ANU, project leader: Karen Ford)
Link: https://www.nrc.nsw.gov.au/LiteratureRetrieve.aspx?ID=247621
Funding Body: Natural Resources Commission (opens in a new window)
Period 2019-201

Assessing the contribution of regenerating forests to koala nutrition using molecular and chemical faecal analysis to understand koala diet composition and quality (opens in a new window) (via NSW DPI, Project leader: Brad Law)
Link: https://www.nrc.nsw.gov.au/LiteratureRetrieve.aspx?ID=247621
Funding Body: Natural Resources Commission (opens in a new window)
Period 2019-201

Understanding the koala microbiome: unlocking the secrets of koala health and dietary specialisation, and successful husbandry and translocation
Partner/Funding Body: Australian Research Council (Linkage)
Period: 2014-2018

Rehabilitating a changing landscape: using the latest advances in koala ecology to direct adaptive management [via The University of Sydney]
Funding Body: Australian Research Council (Linkage)
Period: 2014-2017

Get tough, get toxic or get a bodyguard: how root herbivores shape grass defences
Co-researcher: Dr Scott Johnson
Partner/Funding Body: Australian Research Council (Discovery)
Period: 2014-2016

Temperature-dependent toxicity of plant secondary compounds to mammalian herbivores [via The Australian National University]
Partner/Funding Body: Australian Research Council (Discovery)
Period: 2014-2016

Psyllid-induced dieback of Grey Box (Eucalyptus moluccana) on the Cumberland Plain
Co-researchers: Dr Markus Riegler, Prof James Cook, Dr Paul Rymer
Partner/Funding Body: Environmental Trust, Royal Botanic Gardens and Domain Trust
Period: 2013-2015

High-throughput sample preparation robotics to enable emerging large-scale plant genomics, metabolomics and proteomics research
Co-researchers: Prof David Tissue, Prof David Ellsworth, Dr Markus Riegler and Dr Paul Rymer
Partner/Funding Body: Australian Research Council (non ACRG)
Period: 2013-2014

Genotypic and chemotypic diversity of Eucalyptus moluccana and its role in psyllid caused dieback
Co-researchers: Dr Markus Riegler, Dr Paul Rymer
Partner/Funding Body: Bjarne K Dahl Trust
Period: 2013

Selected publications

Book chapters

Moore BD, De Gabriel JL, (2012) 'Integrating the effects of PSMs on vertebrate herbivores across spatial and temporal scales', In: Iason G R, Dicke M, Hartley SE (eds.) The Ecology of Plant Secondary Metabolites: From Genes to Global Processes. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Iason GR, Moore BD, Lennon JJ, Stockan JA, Osler GHR, Russell JR, Campbell CD, Sim DA, Beaton JR, (2012) 'Plant secondary metabolite polymorphisms and the extended chemical phenotype', In: Iason GR, Dicke M, Hartley SE (eds.) The Ecology of Plant Secondary Metabolites: From Genes to Global Processes. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press

Moore BD, Wallis IR, Marsh KJ, Foley WJ, (2004) 'The role of nutrition in the conservation of the marsupial folivores of eucalypt forests', In: Lunney D. (ed.) Conservation of Australia's Forest Fauna. 2nd ed. Mosman, NSW: Royal Zoological Society of New South Wales

Foley W J, Lawler IR, Moore BD, Marsh KJ, Wallis IR, (2004) 'Diet selection in marsupial folivores of Eucalyptus: the role of plant secondary metabolites', In: Goldingay RL, Jackson SM (eds.) The Biology of Australian Possums and Gliders. Chipping Norton, New South Wales: Surrey Beatty & Sons

Foley WJ, Lawler IR, Moore BD, Wallis IR, (2004) 'Ecological, Physiological and Behavioural Interactions between Marsupial Folivores and Eucalyptus Antifeedants', In: Acamovic T, Stewart CS, Pennycott TW (eds) Poisonous Plants and Related Toxins. CABI Publishing, Wallingford, UK.

Journal articles

Hiltpold I, Moore BD, Johnson SN, (2019) 'Elevated atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations alter root morphology and reduce the effectiveness of entomopathogenic nematodes', Plant and Soil, (In press)

Marschner C, Krockenberger MB, Higgins DP, Mitchell C, Moore BD, (2019) 'Ingestion and Absorption of Eucalypt Monoterpenes in the Specialist Feeder, the Koala (Phascolarctos cinereus)', Journal of Chemical Ecology, (In press)

Blyton MDJ, Soo RM, Whisson D, Marsh KJ, Pascoe J, Le Pla M, Foley W, Hugenholtz P, Moore BD, (2019) 'Faecal inoculations alter the gastrointestinal microbiome and allow dietary expansion in a wild specialist herbivore, the koala', Animal Microbiome, vol.1, Article no.6

Brice KL, Trivedi P, Jeffries TC, Blyton MDJ, Mitchell C, Singh BK, Moore BD, (2019) 'The Koala (Phascolarctos cinereus) faecal microbiome differs with diet in a wild population' Peer Journal, vol 7, e6534

Johnson SN, Reynolds OL, Gurr GM, Esveld JL, Moore BD, Tory GJ, Gherlenda AN, (2019) 'When resistance is futile, tolerate instead: Silicon promotes plant compensatory growth when attacked by above- And belowground herbivores', Biology Letters, vol.15, no.7, Article no.20190361

Johnson SN, Ryalls JMW, Barton CVM, Tjoelker MG, Wright IJ, Moore BD, (2019) 'Climate warming and plant biomechanical defences: Silicon addition contributes to herbivore suppression in a pasture grass', Functional Ecology, vol.33, no.4, pp 587-596

Wu H, Levin N, Seabrook L, Moore BD, McAlpine C, (2019) 'Mapping foliar nutrition using WorldView-3 and WorldView-2 to assess koala habitat suitability', Remote Sensing, vol.11, no.3, Article no.215

Beale PK, Marsh KJ, Foley WJ, Moore BD, (2018) 'A hot lunch for herbivores: physiological effects of elevated temperatures on mammalian feeding ecology', Biological Reviews, vol.93, no.1, pp 674-692

Champagne E, Moore BD, Cote SD, Tremblay JP, (2018) 'Spatial correlations between browsing on balsam fir by white-tailed deer and the nutritional value of neighboring winter forage', Ecology and Evolution, vol.8, no.5, pp 2812-2823

Garnick S, Di Stefano J, Moore BD, Davis NE, Elgar MA, Coulson G, (2018) 'Interspecific and intraspecific relationships between body mass and diet quality in a macropodid community', Journal of Mammalogy, vol.99, no.2, pp 428-439

Johnson SN, Glauser G, Hiltpold I, Moore BD, Ryalls JMW, (2018) 'Root herbivore performance suppressed when feeding on a jasmonate-induced pasture grass', Ecological Entomology, vol.43, no.4, pp 547-550

Ryalls JMW, Moore BD, Johnson SN, (2018) 'Silicon uptake by a pasture grass experiencing simulated grazing is greatest under elevated precipitation', BMC Ecology, vol.18, no.1, Article no.53

Ryalls JMW, Moore BD, Johnson SN, Connor M, Hiltpold I, (2018) 'Root responses to domestication, precipitation and silicification: weeping meadow grass simplifies and alters toughness', Plant and Soil, vol.427, no.s 1-2, pp 291-304, Special Issue: SI

Gordon CE, Eldridge DJ, Ripple WJ, Crowther MS, Moore BD, Letnic M, (2017) 'Shrub encroachment is linked to extirpation of an apex predator', Journal of Animal Ecology, vol.86, no.1, pp 147-157

Gordon CE, Moore BD, Letnic M, (2017) 'Temporal and spatial trends in the abundances of an apex predator, introduced mesopredator and ground-nesting bird are consistent with the mesopredator release hypothesis', Biodiversity and Conservation, vol.26, no.6, pp 1445-1462

Moore BD, Johnson SN, (2017) 'Get Tough, Get Toxic, or Get a Bodyguard: Identifying Candidate Traits Conferring Belowground Resistance to Herbivores in Grasses', Frontiers in Plant Science, vol.7, Article 1925

Ryalls JMW, Moore B, Riegler M, Bromfield LM, Hall AAG, Johnson SN, (2017) 'Climate and atmospheric change impacts on sap-feeding herbivores: a mechanistic explanation based on functional groups of primary metabolites', Functional Ecology, vol.31, no.1, pp 161-171

Adams-Hosking C, Mcbride MF, Baxter G, Burgman M, de Villiers D, Kavanagh R, Lawler I, Lunney D, Melzer A, Menkhorst P, Molsher R, Moore BD, Phalen D, Rhodes JR, Todd C, Whisson D, Mcalpine CA, (2016) 'Use of expert knowledge to elicit population trends for the koala (Phascolarctos cinereus)', Diversity and Distributions, vol.22, no.3, pp 249-262

Gherlenda AN, Crous KY, Moore BD, Haigh AM, Johnson SN, Riegler M, (2016) 'Precipitation, not CO2 enrichment, drives insect herbivore frass deposition and subsequent nutrient dynamics in a mature Eucalyptus woodland', Plant and Soil, vol.399, no.s 1-2, pp 29-39

Gherlenda AN, Haigh AM, Moore BD, Johnson SN, Riegler M, (2016) 'Climate change, nutrition and immunity: Effects of elevated CO2 and temperature on the immune function of an insect herbivore', Journal of Insect Physiology, vol.85, pp 57-64

Gherlenda AN, Moore BD, Haigh AM, Johnson SN, Riegler M, (2016) 'Insect herbivory in a mature Eucalyptus woodland canopy depends on leaf phenology but not CO2 enrichment', BMC Ecology, vol.16, Article no.47

Hiltpold I, Moore BD, Johnson SN, (2016) 'Novel In vitro procedures for rearing a root-feeding pest (Heteronychus arator) of grasslands', Frontiers in Plant Science, vol.7, Article no. 1316

Ryalls JMW, Moore BD, Riegler M, Johnson SN, (2016) 'Above-belowground herbivore interactions in mixed plant communities are influenced by altered precipitation patterns', Frontiers in Plant Science, vol.7, Article no.345

Moore BD, Wiggins NL, Marsh KJ, Dearing MD, Foley WJ, (2015) 'Translating physiological signals to changes in feeding behaviour in mammals and the future effects of global climate change', Animal Production Science, vol.55, no.3, pp 272-283

Ryalls JMW, Moore BD, Riegler R, Gherlenda AN, Johnson SN, (2015) 'Amino acid-mediated impacts of elevated carbon dioxide and simulated root herbivory on aphids are neutralized by increased air temperatures' Journal of Experimental Botany, vol.66, no.2, pp 613-623

DeGabriel JL, Moore BD, Felton AM, Ganzhorn JU, Stolter C, Wallis IR, Johnson CN, Foley WJ, (2014) 'Translating nutritional ecology from the laboratory to the field: Milestones in linking plant chemistry to population regulation in mammalian browsers', Oikos, vol.123, no.3, pp 298-308

DeGabriel JL, Moore BD, Foley WJ, Johnson CN, (2014) 'Male-Biased Predation and Its Effect on Paternity Skew and Life History in a Population of Common Brushtail Possums (Trichosurus vulpecula)', Plos One, vol.9, no.11, Article number e111746

Gherlenda AN, Haigh AM, Moore BD, Johnson SN, Riegler M, (2014) 'Responses of leaf beetle larvae to elevated [CO2] and temperature depend on Eucalyptus species', Oecologia, vol.177, no.2, pp 607-617

Jensen LM, Wallis IR, Marsh KJ, Moore BD, Wiggins NL, Foley WJ, (2014) 'Four species of arboreal folivore show differential tolerance to a secondary metabolite', Oecologia, vol.176, no.1, pp 251-258

Marsh KJ, Moore BD, Wallis IR, Foley WJ, (2014) 'Feeding rates of a mammalian browser confirm the predictions of a 'foodscape' model of its habitat', Oecologia, vol.174, pp 873–882

Moore BD, Andrew RL, Külheim C, Foley WJ, (2014) 'Explaining intraspecific diversity in plant secondary metabolites in an ecological context', New Phytologist, vol.201, no.3, pp 733-750

Ode PJ, Johnson SN, Moore BD, (2014) 'Atmospheric change and induced plant secondary metabolites — are we reshaping the building blocks of multi-trophic interactions?', Current Opinion in Insect Science, vol.5, pp 57–65

O'Reilly-Wapstra JM, Moore BD, Brewer M, Beaton J, Sim D, Wiggins NL, Iason GR, (2014) 'Pinus sylvestris sapling growth and recovery from mammalian browsing', Forest Ecology and Management , vol.325, pp 18 - 25

Bennett AE, Macrae AM, Moore BD, Caul S, Johnson SN, (2013) 'Early Root Herbivory Impairs Arbuscular Mycorrhizal Fungal Colonization and Shifts Defence Allocation in Establishing Plantago lanceolata', PLOS One, vol.8, no.6, Article No.e66053

Marsh KJ, Moore BD, Wallis IR, Foley WJ, (2013) 'Continuous monitoring of feeding by koalas highlights diurnal differences in tree preferences', Wildlife Research, vol.40, pp 639-646

Moles AT, Peco B, Wallis IR, Foley WJ, Poore AGB, Seabloom EW, Vesk PA, Bisigato AJ, Cella-Pizarro L, Clark CJ, Cohen PS, Cornwell WK, Edwards W, Ejrnaes R, Gonzales-Ojeda T, Graae BJ, Hay G, Lumbwe FC, Magana-Rodriguez B, Moore BD, Peri PL, Poulsen JR, Stegen JC, Veldtman R, Zeipel H, Andrew NR, Boulter SL, Borer ET, Cornelissen JHC, Farji-Brener AG, DeGabriel JL, Jurado E, Kyhn LA, Low B, Mulder CPH, Reardon-Smith K, Rodriguez-Velazquez J, De Fortier A, Zheng Z, Blendinger PG, Enquist BJ, Facelli JM, Knight T, Majer JD, Martinez-Ramos M, McQuillan P, Hui FKC, (2013) 'Correlations between physical and chemical defences in plants: tradeoffs, syndromes, or just many different ways to skin a herbivorous cat?', New Phytologist, vol.198, no.1, pp 252-263

Moore BD, Foley WJ, Forbey JS, Degabriel JL, (2013) 'Self-medication: A learning process?', Science, vol.340, no.6136, p 1041

Ryalls JMW, Riegler M, Moore BD, Johnson SN, (2013) 'Biology and trophic interactions of lucerne aphids', Agricultural and Forest Entomology, vol.15, no.4, pp 335-350

Ryalls JM, Riegler M, Moore BD, Lopaticki G, Johnson SN, (2013) 'Effects of elevated temperature and CO2 on aboveground-belowground systems: a case study with plants, their mutualistic bacteria and root / shoot herbivores', Frontiers in Plant Science, vol.4, p 445

Windley HR, Wallis IR, DeGabriel JL, Moore BD, Johnson CN, Foley WJ, (2013) 'A faecal index of diet quality that predicts reproductive success in a marsupial folivore', Oecologia, vol.173, no.1, pp 203-212

Iason GR, O'Reilly-Wapstra JM, Brewer MJ, Summers RW, Moore BD, (2011) 'Do multiple herbivores maintain chemical diversity of Scots pine monoterpenes?', Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B-Biological Sciences, vol.366, pp 1337-1345

Moles AT, Wallis IR, Foley WJ, Warton DI, Stegen JC, Bisigato AJ, Cella-Pizarro L, Clark CJ, Cohen PS, Cornwell WK, Edwards W, Ejrnaes R, Gonzales-Ojeda T, Graae BJ, Hay G, Lumbwe FC, Magana-Rodriguez B, Moore BD, Peri PL, Poulsen JR, Veldtman R, Von Zeipel H, Andrew NR, Boulter SL, Borer ET, Campon FF, Coll M, Farji-Brener AG, De Gabriel J, Jurado E, Kyhn LA, Low B, Mulder CPH, Reardon-Smith K, Rodriguez-Velazquez J, Seabloom EW, Vesk PA, Van Cauter A, Waldram MS, Zheng Z, Blendinger PG, Enquist BJ, Facelli JM, Knight T, Majer JD, Martinez-Ramos M, McQuillan P, Prior LD, (2011) 'Putting plant resistance traits on the map: a test of the idea that plants are better defended at lower latitudes', New Phytologist, vol.191, pp 777-788

Moore BD, Lawler IR, Wallis IR, Beale CM, Foley WJ, (2010) 'Palatability mapping: a koala's eye view of spatial variation in habitat quality', Ecology, vol.91, pp 3165-3176

De Gabriel JL, Moore BD, Marsh KJ, Foley WJ, (2010) 'The effect of plant secondary metabolites on the interplay between the internal and external environments of marsupial folivores', Chemoecology, vol.20, pp 97-108

De Gabriel JL, Moore BD, Foley WJ, Johnson CN, (2009) 'The effects of plant defensive chemistry on nutrient availability predict reproductive success in a mammal', Ecology, vol.90, pp 711-719

De Gabriel JL, Moore BD, Shipley LA, Krockenberger AK, Wallis IR, Johnson CN, Foley WJ, (2009) 'Inter-population differences in the tolerance of a marsupial folivore to plant secondary metabolites', Oecologia, vol.161, pp 539-548

Shipley LA, Forbey JS, Moore BD, (2009) 'Revisiting the dietary niche: When is a mammalian herbivore a specialist?', Integrative and Comparative Biology, vol.49, pp 274-290

De Gabriel JL, Wallis IR, Moore BD, Foley WJ, (2008) 'A simple, integrative assay to quantify nutritional quality of browses for herbivores', Oecologia, vol.156, pp 107-116

Fisher DO, Double MC, Moore BD, (2006) 'Number of mates and timing of mating affect offspring growth in the small marsupial Antechinus agilis', Animal Behaviour, vol.71, pp 289-297

Moore BD, Foley WJ, (2005) 'Tree use by koalas in a chemically complex landscape', Nature, vol.435, pp 488-490

Moore BD, Foley WJ, Wallis IR, Cowling A, Handasyde KA, (2005) 'Eucalyptus foliar chemistry explains selective feeding by koalas', Biology Letters, vol.1, pp 64-67

Foley WJ, Moore BD, (2005) 'Plant secondary metabolites and vertebrate herbivores - from physiological regulation to ecosystem function', Current Opinion in Plant Biology, vol.8, pp 430-435

Moore BD, Wallis IR, Wood JT, Foley WJ, (2004) 'Foliar nutrition, site quality, and temperature influence foliar chemistry of tallowwood (Eucalyptus microcorys)', Ecological Monographs, vol. 74, pp 553-568

Moore BD, Wallis IR, Pala-Paul J, Brophy JJ, Willis RH, Foley WJ, (2004) 'Antiherbivore chemistry of Eucalyptus - Cues and deterrents for marsupial folivores', Journal of Chemical Ecology, vol.30, pp 1743-1769

Mclean S, Brandon S, Davies NW, Boyle R, Foley WJ, Moore B, Pass GJ, (2003) 'Glucuronuria in the koala', Journal of Chemical Ecology, vol.29, pp 1465-1477

Moore BD, Coulson G, Way S, (2002) 'Habitat selection by adult female eastern grey kangaroos', Wildlife Research, vol.29, pp 439-445

Moore BD, Foley WJ, (2000) 'A review of feeding and diet selection in koalas (Phascolarctos cinereus)', Australian Journal of Zoology, vol.48, pp 317-333

Boyle R, Mclean S, Foley WJ, Moore BD, Davies NW, Brandon S, (2000) 'Fate of the dietary terpene, p-cymene, in the male koala', Journal of Chemical Ecology, vol.26, pp 1095-1111

Reports and Popular Articles

What does a koala’s nose know? A bit about food, and a lot about making friends (opens in a new window)

Victorian koalas are eating themselves out of house and home (opens in a new window)

Little shop of horrors: the Australian plants that can kill you (opens in a new window)

Moore BD, Sim D, Iason, GR, (2010b) 'The Scottish Beaver Trial: Woodland monitoring 2009', Scottish Natural Heritage. http://www.snh.org.uk/pdfs/publications/commissioned_reports/393.pdf

Moore BD, Sim D, Iason GR, (2011) 'The Scottish Beaver Trial: Woodland monitoring 2010', Scottish Natural Heritage.
http://www.snh.org.uk/pdfs/publications/commissioned_reports/462.pdf

Moore BD, (2006) 'Why did the koala cross the forest floor?', Australasian Science.

I advised the IUCN on the preparation of this document prior to Copenhagen 2009.

IUCN SPECIES SURVIVAL COMMISSION 2009. Koalas and climate change: hungry for CO2 cuts. Species and Climate Change: More than just the Polar Bear. http://cmsdata.iucn.org/downloads/fact_sheet_red_list_koala_v2.pdf