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
Distinguished ProfessorDist Prof David TissuePlant ecophysiology, photosynthesis, climate change
Distinguished ProfessorDist Prof Ian WrightGlobal-scale analysis of plant traits, plant ecology and evolution
Professor Prof Brendan Choat Plant ecophysiology, water transport in plants
Professor Prof Oula Ghannoum Plant ecophysiology, photosynthesis, climate change
ProfessorProf Markus RieglerInsect-microbe and insect-plant interactions, molecular ecology
ProfessorProf Justin WelbergenAnimal ecology, flying foxes, climate change biology, extreme weather effects
Theme Research Coordinator A/Prof Scott Johnson Multitrophic species interactions, insects and climate
Associate ProfessorA/Prof Ben MoorePlant-animal interactions, chemical ecology
Associate ProfessorA/Prof Paul RymerPopulation genomics, evolutionary ecology
Associate ProfessorA/Prof Robert Spooner-Hart 
Senior Lecturer Dr Chris Cazzonelli Molecular biology, genomics, epigenetics, RNA regulation, riboswitches, secondary metabolism, carotenoids
Senior LecturerDr Robert Sharwood 
LecturerDr Jessica Meade 
LecturerDr Simon Tierney  
Research FellowMs Claire Allison 
Research FellowDr Sitaram Aryal 
Research FellowDr Eli Bendall 
Research FellowDr Travis Britton 
Research FellowDr Hannah Carle 
Research FellowDr Karen Catunda 
Research Fellow Dr Sachin Chavan 
Research Fellow Dr Lily Chen 
Research FellowDr Shubham Chhajed 
Research FellowMr Jihong Han 
Research FellowDr Vinod Jacob 
Research FellowDr Alihan Katlav 
Research FellowDr James Makinson 
Research FellowDr Jennifer Morrow 
Research FellowDr Jennifer Peters 
Research FellowDr Demi Sargent 
Research FellowDr Emma Sumner 
Research FellowDr Andrea Westerband 
Research FellowDr Nicholas Wu