Australia's leading biodiversity scientists

The University of Adelaide is home to the Australian Centre for Evolutionary Biology and Biodiversity (ACEBB; www.adelaide.edu.au/acebb) that is a nationally recognised centre of expertise in systematics, evolutionary biology and biodiversity science. A unique strength of ACEBB is its relationship between the SA Museum, State Herbarium, South Australian Department of Environment and Natural Resources. This close collaboration is seen as the best practice model in Australia. Particular strengths of ACEBB include:

Species Discovery and Phylogenetics

Building on strengths in biodiversity discovery, taxonomy, systematics and phylogenetics, we are progressing the understanding of the evolutionary relationships of species and their rapid identification, including applications of DNA barcoding. In addition we are incorporating evolutionary history into the conservation assessments of species.

Evolutionary and Landscape Adaptation

Our researchers in these fields specialise in macroevolution, life history trait analysis, adaptational evolution, biogeographic history, phylogeography and recent landscape genetic and ecological changes due to contemporary pressures. Through this research ACEBB scientists advance the understanding of evolutionary adaptations in Australian systems due to historical impactors (long term climatic change, geological change) and contemporary landscape influences (fragmentation, invasives, climate change).

Biodiversity and Ecosystem Analysis and Monitoring

ACEBB also examines the dynamics of species and ecosystems change in response to climate change, fragmentation and invasive species through both analysis and modelling. We achieve this through establishing large scale remote monitoring programs in terrestrial and marine environments to track the trajectory of ecosystems over time, including the development of novel monitoring techniques, such as DNA barcoding, environmental genomics, image capture and analysis and remote data feedback.

Biodiversity Management and Conservation Decision-Making

We are using the unique capabilities of ACEBB to combine genetic and adaptation understanding into biodiversity and ecosystem analysis and modelling for conservation decision-making. This is a new and expanding area of ACEBB.s focus. Novel technical skills in environmental forensics and assessment that use DNA barcoding and phylogeographic data are also being significantly expanded.

The ACEBB team has a prolific publication and research output; in 2009 alone they published 149 journal articles, 11 book chapters, 1 book and conducted nearly US $5 million in research projects.

Researchers go underground to reveal 850 new species

A national team of 18 researchers, led by Professor Andy Austin (University of Adelaide), Dr Steve Cooper (SA Museum) and Dr Bill Humphreys (WA Museum) have recently conducted a comprehensive four-year survey of underground water, caves and micro-caverns across arid and semi-arid Australia.

"Our research has revealed whole communities of invertebrate animals that were previously unknown just a few years ago. What we have discovered is a completely new component to Australia's biodiversity. It is a huge discovery and it is only about one fifth of the number of new species we believe exist underground in the Australian outback."- Professor Austin

A world class biodiversity precinct

The University of Adelaide is at the heart of a biodiversity precinct that is easily covered on foot. The area is also at the centre of Adelaide and within easy walking distance of accommodation, restaurant and shopping precincts.

Biodiversity attractions near the conference venue

  • South Australian Museum
  • University of Adelaide
  • Botanic Gardens
  • DENR/Herbarium
  • Adelaide Zoo