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Landscape, tectonic and biodiversity


Earth is losing biodiversity at an unprecedented rate and we need urgent, consistent, and cost-effective solutions to prevent the collapse of ecosystems to reach a point from which there will be no recovery. Complex mountainous landscapes host significant biodiversity as they provide species with easy access to a broad range of life-supporting environments. This critical relationship provides new avenues to address the loss of biodiversity. This post-graduate research project aims at creating the knowledge and delivering the technology to evaluate and rank the capacity of landscapes to support biodiversity now and in the future under various climatic scenarios, from single catchments to national parks, and to continents. This project will assist in decision-making in environmental management.


Associate Professor Patrice Rey, Dr Tristan Salles.

Research location

School of Geosciences

Program type



  1. Quantify and explain the spatial correlation between landscape complexity, habitat heterogeneity, and biodiversity in various geological and climatic settings in Australia and across the world. Establish whether collisional, extensional, and uplifted landscape support contrasting biodiversity or contrasting biodiversity patterns.
  2. Explain how topographic complexity and habitat heterogeneity arise, persist and decline over millions of years, and how they respond to short-term disturbances such as earthquakes, extreme weather events, climate changes, and sea-level fluctuations. Establish to what extend regional biodiversity patterns are the product of the history of landscapes.
  3. Design and deliver flexible, cost-effective, and open-source technologies to quantify the capacity of landscapes to support biodiversity now and hundreds of years in the future under various climatic scenarios and extreme disturbances.

Additional information

We will consider outstanding students with a background in either geosciences or ecology-biology or statistics. A possibility exists for a partnership with the Royal Botanic Garden in Sydney. 

HDR Inherent Requirements

In addition to the academic requirements set out in the Science Postgraduate Handbook, you may be required to satisfy a number of inherent requirements to complete this degree. Example of inherent requirement may include:

  • Confidential disclosure and registration of a disability that may hinder your performance in your degree;
  • Confidential disclosure of a pre-existing or current medical condition that may hinder your performance in your degree (e.g. heart disease, pace-maker, significant immune suppression, diabetes, vertigo, etc.);
  • Ability to perform independently and/or with minimal supervision;
  • Ability to undertake certain physical tasks (e.g. heavy lifting);
  • Ability to undertake observatory, sensory and communication tasks;
  • Ability to spend time at remote sites (e.g. One Tree Island, Narrabri and Camden);
  • Ability to work in confined spaces or at heights;
  • Ability to operate heavy machinery (e.g. farming equipment);
  • Hold or acquire an Australian driver’s licence;
  • Hold a current scuba diving license;
  • Hold a current Working with Children Check;
  • Meet initial and ongoing immunisation requirements (e.g. Q-Fever, Vaccinia virus, Hepatitis, etc.)

You must consult with your nominated supervisor regarding any identified inherent requirements before completing your application.

Want to find out more?

Opportunity ID

The opportunity ID for this research opportunity is 2837

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