Turtle laying on beach

Evolutionary and Ecological Physiology Lab

Focussing on the responses of animals to changing environments
We are particularly interested in the interaction between phenotypic plasticity and adaptation, and the relationship between underlying physiological and molecular mechanism and their ecological and behavioural manifestation.

About us

Evolution is driven by environmental change which acts on organisms' physiology and thereby fitness. The environment is never stable, and organisms must either cope with varying physiological performance or implement some form of regulation. Led by Frank Seebacher, we focus our research on responses of animals to changing environments and look at how these responses have evolved in space and time.

Our research


By altering behavioural posture or moving between thermally different microhabitats, animals modify the operative temperature they experience and thereby alter heat transfer rates with the environment. To determine whether or not behavioural sequences represent thermoregulation requires comparison between the study animal and a control.


We research plasticity that is induced by epigenetic mechanisms during development, and how these modulate within-individual, reversible plasticity (acclimation). 


We examine the control systems in place, in both vertebrates and reptiles, that allow cardiovascular responses to constantly changing demands that result from changes in environmental factors (such as posture or heat).


We are investigating changes in enzyme kinetics and gene expression to understand the development of metabolic capacity and, hence, endothermy.


We are interested in how physiological capacities can constrain behaviour, and thereby explain behavioural patterns of individuals and interactions between individuals.

Our team

  • Professor Frank Seebacher, Lead
  • Diego Barneche, postdoctoral fellow
  • Clare Miln, research assistant
  • Isabella Loughland, student
  • Amelie LeRoy, student
  • Miki Jahn, student
  • Alec Simmonds, student
  • Luke Strasiotto, student
  • Geoff Mauze, student


For information about opportunities to work or collaborate with the Evolutionary and Ecological Physiology Lab visit our website.

Frank Seebacher

Professor of Biology
  • +61 2 9351 4119
  • Heydon-Laurence Building A08