2014 - ARC Future Fellows funding scheme results

Dr Jan Engelstaedter - Sex and bottlenecks: understanding the evolutionary dynamics of bacterial adaptation - $686,570

Bacteria can rapidly adapt to changing environments, often with devastating consequences for humans. However, this adaptive evolution is often limited by strong reductions in population size, in particular during transmission from one host to another. This project aims to investigate whether recombination in bacteria can overcome the limits that such bottlenecks impose on the rate of adaptation. To this end, it will construct mathematical models and complement them with evolution experiments in bacterial populations. Results from this research aim to generate fundamental insights into the role of recombination in bacterial evolution and will provide guidance for developing management strategies for bacterial pathogens.

 

Dr Margie Mayfield - What drives novel community formation? Mechanisms of resilience against invasion and native species persistence under land use change - $770,543

Environmental change is driving the creation of novel communities, stable mixes of native and exotic species. These communities are inevitable outcomes of human-induced environmental changes, yet why and how they form is still
poorly understood. As these communities maintain high levels of native biodiversity, they are of great conservation value. Using Western Australia wildflower communities, This project aims to provide the first experimental tests of which environmental and biotic factors drive novel community formation, native species persistence and resilience to invasion. This will be important for developing realistic conservation plans in many ecosystems globally, and more specifically in Western Australia's biodiversity hotspot.
 

2013 - ARC Future Fellows funding scheme results

A/Prof Yvonne Buckley - Determining how plant populations will respond to climate change - $870,240

It is widely predicted that global climate change will result in extinctions, invasions and disruption of the ecosystem services plants provide. In order to manage or adapt to these consequences of changing climate we need accurate forecasts of where suitable conditions for sustainable plant populations will occur. This project will enable better forecasts of where and how fast plant populations will expand or contract in response to climate change. New population modelling methods which integrate plant survival, growth and reproduction along environmental gradients, together with field studies at unprecedented national and international scales, will enable better forecasts of future locations for plant dependent industries and environmental services.


Dr Craig White - The evolution of breathing patterns in animals - $849,767

Although breathing is usually regarding as a continuous process, many species voluntarily hold their breath for up to several hours at a time. This pattern of periodic breathing is shown by a range of animals including mammals, reptiles, and insects, yet the reasons why they hold their breath is unknown. This project will examine the evolution of breathing patterns in the context of climate and atmospheric conditions. The outcomes of this project will provide insight into the evolution of fundamental characteristic of animals (breathing), describe the role of climate in shaping how animals breathe, and demonstrate how animals will cope with climate change.
 

2012 - ARC Future Fellows funding scheme results

Dr Richard Fuller - Optimising the ecological performance of cities - $670,064

One of the most environmentally destructive impacts that people have is also one of the greatest triumphs of modern civilization—the city. This project will study more than 1000 cities across the world to discover how we should build our cities into the future to achieve economic and social growth in a way that causes minimal environmental harm.

 

Dr Salit Kark -Systematic prioritisation of action for confronting invasive vertebrates in Australia - $818,856

This project will use novel scientific approaches to effectively prioritise action for mitigating the threats invasive vertebrate pests pose to humans and to biodiversity in Australia. Results will inform policy and management, substantially advancing our understanding of the key factors shaping spatial invasion sources, hotspots, drivers and impact.


2011 - ARC Future Fellows funding scheme results

Dr Diana Fisher - The role of life history and food supply in the extinction of carnivorous marsupials - $629,360

This project will test why marsupial predators show exceptionally diverse species lifespan and reproductive traits, reveal how these are affected by prey supply and climate change, and how they are linked to alarming species declines in our north. Understanding causes of vulnerability will help to focus conservation efforts to avert extinctions.



Dr Katrina McGuigan - Understanding phenotypes: contributions from studying mutations in a model organism - $713,248

The distribution of fish across aquatic habitats will be determined jointly by the swimming speed and endurance requirements imposed by features of the environment, such as water flow, and by the swimming capacity of the fish. This project will use zebrafish to characterise how body shape and physiology interact to determine swimming capacity.


2010 - ARC Future Fellows funding scheme results

Dr Sureshkumar Balasubramanian - Genomics of temperature response in plants - $700,927

Climate change is predicted to have negative impacts on Australian agriculture. This project will use genomic tools to uncover biological mechanisms for plant response to temperature that will help design crop varieties that are more tolerant to higher temperatures.

 

A/Prof Christine Beveridge  - Strigolactone, a new plant hormone: its regulation, role and potential for plant improvement - $774,692

This project will investigate a new plant hormone, one of only 10 or so discovered to date in plants. This hormone regulates shoot number, water and nutrient uptake and the ability of shoots to generate roots and develop wood. The Project will produce genetic tools and describe new processes for applications in sustainable plant improvement.



A/Prof Bryan Fry  - Adaptive evolution of coleoid (cuttlefish, octopus, squid) venoms - $791,360

This project represents an opportunity for biodiscovery from the venoms of cuttlefish, octopuses and squids. The independent adaptation for venom active at the subzero Arctic and Antarctic polar waters is of particular evolutionary interest. However, their divergent, bioactive compounds are also a rich drug design resource.



A/Prof Dustin Marshall  - Understanding and predicting invasion in the sea: a mechanistic approach - $695,571

Marine invasive species cost millions of dollars each year. This project aims to determine how and why invasive species out compete native species around much of the coast of Australia. Identifying the conditions that help invasive species outcompete native species will help managers reduce the spread and impact of marine invasive species.



Dr Kerrie Wilson  - Prioritising habitat restoration for biodiversity and ecosystem service outcomes - $669,327

An emerging carbon market will provide funds for habitat restoration over the coming decades, but this will only be realised through careful prioritisation and planning. This research will prioritise investments in habitat restoration in order to cost-effectively achieve biodiversity conservation and ecosystem service protection goals.

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