About the centre

The Centre for Terrestrial Ecosystem Science and Sustainability represents a collaboration of academic research staff working with community, industry and management partners towards a shared vision of maintaining sustainable and biodiverse ecosystems through scientific excellence.

This centre captures the outputs of 17 academic staff and over 100 current HDR students, with a shared vision to carry out robust science underpinning biodiversity conservation.

Our research strengths – in wildlife, plants and processes – are applied to ecosystems influenced by urbanisation, extraction industries, and primary production. Underpinning this research is our cross-cutting research themes, strong education linkage, and substantial industry and community engagement.

The centre’s core research areas

The inherent connection of freshwater, estuarine and marine ecosystems means that they must be studied and managed in an integrated fashion. In recognition of this, the research program of the Centre for Sustainable Aquatic Ecosystems consists of four interrelated nodes: Fisheries and aquaculture, marine megafauna, catchments to coast and, oceanography.

Lizard on red earth

Wildlife Biology and Conservation

Conservation and management of wildlife requires that we understand the biology, behaviour and ecology of native and invasive fauna, as well as their potential susceptibility to disease.

Murdoch researchers are contributing to this through robust applied science. We are developing and applying traditional and novel approaches to understand threatened species biology, evolutionary biology, and habitat requirements. Our investigations into wildlife disease and invasive species underpin conservation management decisions.

Burnt tree trunk

Terrestrial Ecosystem Management

Western Australia is home to more native plant species than any other state in the nation, with 10,000 plant species identified. Eight of Australia’s 15 terrestrial biodiversity hotspots occur within the state, and WA also supports an extraordinary diversity of unique terrestrial animal species.

Our research provides much needed evidence to inform policies that effectively address threatening processes, including land use, climate change, fire, weeds, and the introduced animals and diseases that threaten our extraordinary diversity.

Native pink flower

Ecological Restoration

Ecological restoration is a multi-disciplinary pursuit requiring collaboration across soil science, plant community ecology and social science. Many ecosystems need informed management to ensure that they can be returned to functioning landscapes.

Murdoch Researchers are well-positioned to deliver the collaborative translational science that’s needed to inform this emerging practice. Our research in this area is helping to rebuild agricultural, mining and urban landscapes.

Black and white cockatoo in tree

Urban Ecosystems

Globally, urban centres occupy the most biodiverse parts of the Earth, and increasing human population stretches the capacity of many ecosystem processes. In Australia, our quality of life strongly depends on how we manage these urban environments.

Murdoch ecologists and social scientists are working on the biology of urban wildlife, the impacts of weeds and invasive animals, and maintaining quality urban water reserves. Growing the connection between people and urban nature, through tourism, recreation and education, is important for preserving the unique environments we live in.

Key researchers

Trish Fleming

Professor Trish Fleming

Centre Director

Giles Hardy

Professor Giles Hardy


Treena Burgess

Professor Treena Burgess


Associate Professor Kris Warren

Professor Kris Warren


Natalie Warburton

Dr Natalie Warburton


Associate Professor Rachel Standish

Associate Professor Rachel Standish


Two researchers in outdoor area

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