Plants, Animals and Interactions

Eucalypt trees being foraged by insects in greenhouse

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.

Our team has particular expertise in the complementary areas of eco-physiology, evolutionary ecology and species interactions. We pursue laboratory and field-based research, using both our unique experimental facilities and natural environmental gradients.

We study systems from the genomic and biochemical levels through to ecosystem-level responses to develop integrated understanding of both patterns and the underlying processes. This helps to predict and manage ecosystem functions and services across different types of landscapes, including natural woodlands, forest plantations and agricultural systems.

Our mission is to advance integrated understanding of how environmental change influences the biology of individual species, key interactions between species, and overall biodiversity and ecosystem functions.

PAI Diagram

Plants, Animals and Interactions Theme Scientists

Position Name Keywords
Theme Leader Prof James Cook Species interactions, evolution, molecular ecology
Deputy Theme Leader A/Prof Oula Ghannoum Plant ecophysiology, photosynthesis, climate change
Professor Prof David Tissue Plant ecophysiology, photosynthesis, climate change
Associate Professor A/Prof Markus Riegler Insect-microbe and insect-plant interactions, molecular ecology
Associate Professor A/Prof Brendan Choat Plant ecophysiology, water transport in plants
Senior Lecturer Dr Chris Cazzonelli Molecular biology, genomics, epigenetics, RNA regulation, riboswitches, secondary metabolism, carotenoids
Senior Lecturer Dr Scott Johnson Multitrophic species interactions, insects and climate
Senior Lecturer Dr Ben Moore Plant-animal interactions, chemical ecology
Senior Lecturer Dr Christopher Turbill Animal physiological ecology, evolutionary ecology
Senior Lecturer Dr Justin Welbergen Animal ecology, flying foxes, climate change biology, extreme weather effects
Lecturer Dr Paul Rymer Population genomics, evolutionary ecology
Research Fellow Dr Chris Blackman Plant hydraulics, plant structure and function, leaf anatomy, hydraulics and physiology, whole plant responses to drought
Research Fellow Dr Jennifer Morrow Insect molecular biology, developmental genetics, bioinformatics, insect symbionts     
Research Fellow Dr James Ryalls
Research Fellow Dr Shannon Smith Molecular ecology, social evolution, ecology and evolution of insect-fungal interactions