Faculty of Science

School of Biological Sciences

A selection of current projects in the School is listed here.

We welcome you to discuss other research project ideas with us. To do this:
Domestic students can contact the Graduate Research Coordinator at the School or Centre in which you wish to undertake research.
International students can use our online enquiry form, which helps us match your research interests with a potential supervisor.

Using DNA metabarcoding to quantify plant-pollinator interactions
Plant-pollinator interactions are traditionally recorded through field-based observations, but new methods using DNA metabarcoding have been shown to detect more interactions than traditional methods.
Regulation of insensible evaporative water loss in birds and mammals
This project investigates how and why the insensible water loss (evaporative loss below thermoneutrality) of birds and mammals is regulated rather than being passively determined by ambient temperature and humidity.
Physiology and biophysics of gas exchange by aestivating snails
This project investigates the oxygen, carbon dioxide and water vapour exchange of pulmonate terrestrial snails during activity, rest and aestivation. The mantle and epiphragm of aestivating snails are critical barriers to gas exchange but the biophysics of diffusional exchange across these high resistance membrane surfaces is poorly understood.
Metabolic physiology of dormant and resting seeds
This project investigates the metabolic rate of resting and dormant seeds, using both direct calorimetry (heat production) and indirect calorimetry (oxygen consumption and carbon dioxide production).
Determining nativeness: An evolutionary approach to tracing the origin of cryptogenic plants
This project investigates the geographic origin of cryptogenic plant species in Australia, through phylogenetic analysis, population genomics, and evolutionary ecology. This will inform on which populations are native or alien and help prioritise management of invasive alien species.
Understanding sperm-egg interactions in broadcast spawning marine invertebrates
This project will explore how environmental factors impact sperm-egg interactions in broadcast spawning marine invertebrates, focusing mainly on mussels and sea urchins as model systems.
Sexual selection in a complex and changing world
This project will explore how various environmental and ecological factors shape patterns of male and female reproductive success, and ultimately how sexual selection varies according to context.
Seagrass adaptation and acclimation responses to extreme climatic events: genomics and gene expression
This project will focus on gene expression responses to multiple environmental stressors associated with extreme events under predicted climate change scenarios.
Fisheries ecology and oceanography to inform management of the western rock lobster
The Western Rock Lobster Council (WRLC) and Fisheries Research Development Corporation have funded UWA and Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development-Fisheries to investigate an area at the center of the fishery with unusually low lobster abundance.
The role of seed dormancy in future proofing seagrass populations
Seagrasses are resilient habitats, persisting in environments that are constantly challenged by changing conditions and novel human impacts. Understanding how they do this is the key to future-proofing seagrass populations at risk from change.
Ecosystem resilience of Shark Bay under changing ocean climate
The main goal of this project is to understand the ecosystem scale consequences of climate-driven changes in primary producers in the Shark Bay World Heritage Area.
Establishing the causative nature of mutations that underlie human brain developmental disorder
This project will use CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing to study the functional impact of novel mutations in human pluripotent cells grown as cerebral organoids.
Influence of physical drivers on marine megafauna movement patterns
This research aims to characterise environmental (i.e., extrinsic) drivers of movement at a global scale and map global hotspots of abundance and anthropogenic activities to assess levels of overlap and risk.
Evolution of the mammalian baculum
This project investigates the most evolutionary divergent bone in the mammalian body - the baculum (os penis). Our research aims to provide a comprehensive view of the proximate mechanisms of selection and its ultimate consequences for evolutionary divergence of this most remarkable bone.
Escape responses in fiddler crabs
Understanding the sensory information which prompts flight from predators shows us how animals measure risk and avoid predation. Comparing field and laboratory experiments, this project has many possible variations to pursue.
Reproductive and behavioural ecology of guppies
Using the guppy (Poecilia reticulata), this research is focussed on pre- and postcopulatory sexual selection and their potential interactions within a number of contexts.
Vocal communication in the cooperatively breeding Western Australian magpie
This project investigates the incredibly complex world of magpie vocal communication.
Computational genomics: Understanding the genome
Using the latest computational tools and working with an expert team, you will analyse huge volumes of data, deciphering the genome to gain a greater understanding of plant genome evolution, diversity and help breed higher yielding climate resilient crops.