Urban areas are habitats for humans, but they are also home to a great diversity of non-human life. Because cities and towns are often established in areas that support high biodiversity, urbanisation can be a key threat to native species and ecological communities. Our research group studies the ecology of plants and animals in cities, and their interactions with each other and the urban environment. We also have a strong focus on conservation in urban areas, seeking better ways to build and manage cities for the many species that share them with us. Our areas of expertise include the ecology of plants, frogs, birds, bats, bugs, butterflies, grasslands, forests, soils, streams, rivers and the built environment.
Working with governments, conservation organisation and private landholders, we apply our research to help conserve key habitat features, ecological communities and native species in urban environments, and to maintain the important services that ecosystems provide to humans in cities. These services include clean air, clean water, pollination of food plants and a more comfortable climate.
More Urban Biodiversity, Ecology and Conservation
- Dr Steve Livesley, Steve's research examines fundamental biogeochemical processes and the impacts of environmental change and management in natural, managed and urban ecosystems.
- Dr Kirsten Parris, Kirsten is an ecologist with research interests spanning urban ecology, amphibian ecology, conservation biology and animal behaviour, including acoustic communication in urban noise.
- Assoc. Prof. Chris Walsh, Chris studies interactions between land use and the ecological structure and function of stream ecosystems, and the management actions required for ecologically successful stream protection or restoration.
- Dr Nick Williams, Nick is an ecologist who studies patterns of biodiversity, ecological processes and conservation biology in cities; his research focuses on plants and vegetation communities but also includes studies of birds, mammals and insects.
- Dr Nick Bond, Nick studies the ecology and management of streams and rivers, including ecological responses to altered flow regimes.
- Dr Yung En Chee, Yung is an ecologist who uses ecological and decision theory, models and methods to provide evidence-based solutions to conservation and ecosystem management problems.
- Dr Fiona Ede, Fiona is an ecologist focusing on the restoration of plant communities in riparian areas, with research interests in revegetation techniques and invasive species management in both urban and non-urban settings.
- Dr Joe Greet, Joe is an riparian ecologist with a penchant for plants and a particular interest in relations between water regime and plant life-histories.
- Dr Geoff Heard, Geoff studies the impacts of urbanisation on frogs and strategies for their conservation management in cities, with a particular focus on the growling grass frog Litoria raniformis.
- Dr Samantha Imberger, Samantha is a freshwater ecologist, currently studying ways to improve the structure and function of an urban stream (Little Stringybark Creek) through the application of catchment-scale water sensitive urban design.
- Dr Caragh Threlfall, Caragh is an ecologist with particular interests in urban biodiversity, urban planning and design, and social-ecological interdisciplinary studies.
- Mr Stefano Canessa (PhD candidate), Stefano is researching ways to improve the conservation management of threatened species using decision analysis.
- Ms Claire Keely (PhD candidate), Claire is studying the conservation genetics of the growling grass frog Litoria raniformis in urbanising landscapes around Melbourne.
- Ms Jessica Kurylo (PhD candidate), Jesse is researching the effects of urbanisation on butterfly species species richness and abundance, with a special emphasis on the availability of food resources across the urban landscape.
- Mr Adrian Marshall (PhD candidate), Adrian has a background in landscape architecture, and his current research focuses on ecological design.
- Mr Alessandro Ossola, Alessandro investigates the ecology of human-dominated and natural ecosystems with particular emphasis on the relationships between biodiversity, soil, water and ecosystem processes.
- Ms Courtney Parker (MSc candidate), Courtney is studying the impacts of traffic noise on calling behaviour and mating success in frogs.
- Mr Michael Sievers, Michael is interested in how artificial wetlands perform as habitats for frogs, whether they could function as ecological traps, and how pollution may influence habitat selection.
- Ms Jessica Baumann, Jess' research focuses on the ecology of native Australian bees, including the delivery of pollination services and the use of artificial nesting blocks in Melbourne's urban green spaces.
- Mr Larry Meyer, Larry works as a Research Assistant with Kirsten Parris, currently helping with the preparation of a text book on urban ecology.