Biodiversity and Ecology


We work on a broad range of research areas including the expanding our knowledge of Australia’s biodiversity through the discovery and description of new species, conservation and threatened species management, species distribution modelling, defining community assemblages, and population genetics.

We apply a variety of techniques including environmental DNA and next generation sequencing approaches to our research, such as the monitoring aquatic species, DNA barcoding for species delimitation and description, and genotyping for investigating species’ population genetics.

Environmental DNA for monitoring species

Environmental DNA is the trace DNA left by plants and animals in the environment.

These DNA traces can be used to monitor the presence of species in an environment without the need to directly interfere with organisms.

We have used eDNA to monitor the community assemblages of aquatic plants and animals and for detecting specific species at sites, such as the threatened Alpine Stonefly.

Our research is used to inform where species occur across landscapes and how they respond to environmental characteristics.

We also investigate how eDNA behaves in the environment, which helps inform how to interpret field collected eDNA data.

DNA barcoding

DNA barcoding is a useful tool for delineating species and is the backbone for genetic applications such as eDNA analysis.

Our team uses DNA barcoding to identify and describe new species.

We maintain a genetic reference database of DNA barcodes linked to curated specimens of aquatic organisms.

This database is critical for placing accurate taxonomic identities on eDNA sequence data and has been used by multiple institutions.

Population genetics

Our research team uses SNP data to investigate how connected species populations are.

Our research has included investigating populations of the threatened Alpine stonefly and wetland plant species.

This research provides an understanding of how species disperse through landscapes and what local and regional factors may be important to maintaining connected populations.

Conservation, Biodiversity and Threatened species

Our research focuses on understanding our unique biodiversity, particularly of freshwater invertebrates, the threats to this biodiversity and how we can manage freshwater systems for conservation.

Much of our research is linked to the threatened Alpine ecological community.

We apply a number of techniques to further our research of the biodiversity in this area as well as assessing ecological changes and threat management.

Lab Members

Olivia Lines

Fields of Study

Genetics, Genomics, Environmental DNA, Taxonomy, Freshwater ecology.

Capabilities and Techniques

eDNA sequencing and analysis; DNA barcoding; Taxonomy; Field sampling; Field and laboratory experimentation; species distribution modelling; population genetics.

Translational Opportunities

Understanding freshwater communities, species diversity, distributions and population connectivity; conservation and Threatened species management; DNA-based biomonitoring.