Humans and human activity are an intrinsic part of a broader ecosystem. As our societies develop, we must be aware of the environments we operate in, and value and protect the biodiversity that surrounds us.

Business and biodiversity can coexist, and Murdoch researchers are working to create maximum value for the community while simultaneously safeguarding the environment. From temperate southern Australia to the tropical north and even further afield, our research spans the ecology, conservation and sustainable management of both natural and human-modified ecosystems.


Historically, Western Australia has avoided many invasive species that affect crop and native plant species. As the state leader in biosecurity research, our capabilities span food, forestry, fibre production systems and impacts of mining, protection of our unique biodiversity and environment.

Aquatic ecosystems

Freshwater, wetlands and estuarine research is of growing importance as human populations impact on waterways, lakes and coastlines around the world. We examine monitoring and restoration methods with a focus on environmental water flows, wetland and riverside replanting, habitat maintenance and climate change adaptation, particularly in response to changed rainfall and runoff.

Our marine sciences research focuses on marine fisheries dynamics and management, and marine mammal species ecology and conservation – particularly whales, dolphins and seals. Our work informs both sustainable seafood production and ecotourism.

Learn more about aquatic ecosystems

Terrestrial ecosystems

We focus on the conservation and management of native forest, woodland, shrubland and savanna, including the role of fire in ecosystem dynamics. A major research effort targets the animal and plant requirements for persistence under the human impacts of habitat loss and fragmentation, invasive species, changed wildfire frequency and climate change. This informs our ecosystem conservation efforts, restoration of degraded lands (for example in relation to mining), and addresses the effects of drought, disease and climate change.

Environmental science

Our long history of environmental and conservation science research provides fundamental information to regulators and managers for sustaining, conserving and restoring ecosystems, during or after human activity, and links closely to issues of policy and governance of natural resources. These policies inform sustainable eco-tourism both here and across the world.