Research

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The Hawkesbury Institute for the Environment's diverse portfolio of research brings excellence to decision-making in natural and managed land-based ecosystems.

Our research centres on the functioning of natural and managed land-based ecosystems in Australia and internationally. In a changing world, we need to understand the effects of rapid change in both natural environments and farming systems and on the communities of living organisms ranging from the smallest microbes to the tallest forest trees.

By bringing on board the world's foremost science researchers and providing the latest in technology and facilities, our research solves large-scale problems in a unique and innovative way.

The Hawkesbury Institute invests in scientific futures for the betterment of our natural and human world...

Perhaps the greatest driver of change worldwide, rising atmospheric carbon dioxide is already producing significant impact on our ecosystems in complex and unpredictable ways. The effects of this change are unlike anything our ecosystems have seen in recent history, and our challenge as researchers is to uncover the real effects of this change and provide decision-makers with actionable steps that can help to adjust to this new variability.

Essentially, the Hawkesbury Institute's role is to provide the essential scientific insights needed worldwide that promote sustained carbon storage while maintaining essential natural biodiversity to ensure resilient, productive ecosystems.

Supporting our efforts, the Institute offers a stimulating and friendly environment to nurture current and future generations of scientific experts across a wide range of disciplines.

We invest in scientific futures for the betterment of our natural and human world.

A unique research portfolio spanning natural and managed land-based ecosystems


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The Institute has been highly successful in securing a range of research grants and funded projects - find out more about our research and the people working on these projects.

Plants Animals and Interactions

When environmental conditions change, there are normally significant changes in the way that plants, animals and other organisms respond. 

Our theme explores how these changes affect the ecology and physiology of plants and animals. 

We also investigate how biotic interactions between species – plants, animals and microbes – underpin ecosystems and respond to environmental change.

Ecosystem Function and Integration

As our environments change,  there are massive and widespread effects to whole ecosystems and how they function across large areas.

In this theme we are looking at how ecosystems respond to changes such as reduced or increased rainfall, temperature and CO2 levels. 

We explore how changes in climate, land use and cover affect the exchanges of carbon, nutrients, water, and energy. Using models, we integrate processes at scales ranging from leaf to globe.

ARC CETP

One of the key challenges of the 21st century is closing the gap between current rates of food production and increasing global food demands, requiring new ways to improve crop productivity.

The ARC-funded Centre of Excellence for Translational Photosynthesis (CETP) seeks to identify natural and modern solutions to supercharge photosynthesis as a means of improving crop yield and efficiency.

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Worldwide demand for food and fibre is growing – driven by population growth, changing diets, wealth and, increasingly the diversion of more food crops and land to biofuel production.

Additionally in some parts of the Asia-Pacific, farm productivity has gone into structural decline and further resource inputs no longer translate into increased yields. Climate variability and extreme weather events can further compromise farm productivity and food security.

The Global Centre will provide solutions for these challenges in close partnership with industries, policy advisers and global experts.

ARC CETP

One of the key challenges of the 21st century is closing the gap between current rates of food production and increasing global food demands, requiring new ways to improve crop productivity.

The ARC-funded Centre of Excellence for Translational Photosynthesis (CETP) seeks to identify natural and modern solutions to supercharge photosynthesis as a means of improving crop yield and efficiency.