Research impact

In this era of environmental concern, timely, collaborative and dedicated research is vital. Our research combines ecology, evolution and ecological physiology to identify immediate and evolutionary responses to environmental changes. Our research informs sustainability programs, health care, climate studies and wildlife welfare efforts across a range of fields.

Evolution's role in cancer

Deakin researcher Dr Beata Ujvari is investigating whether evolution can determine cancer development, and even fight the disease, in the wake of exciting new findings that show evolution follows predictable pathways.

Research showed a mutant gene in goannas caused some to fall victim to cane toad toxins while others suffered no ill effects. This could translate across the animal kingdom and through diseases, including humans and cancer.

It makes sense that evolution would therefore play a role in the development of other genes responsible for pathogen and disease resistance, including cancer development and progression.

DR BEATA UJVARI

Parenting: learn from the birds

Deakin scientists, in collaboration with a team of acoustic experts in France, have completed a world-first study into how birds negotiate parental workloads, finding the answer is as simple as talking to each other.

CIE’s Dr Mylene Mariette said it was well-known that birds negotiated how much each parent worked to feed their chicks or incubate the eggs, but until now no one had asked how they reach their agreements.

Dr Mariette said understanding how birds negotiate workload was important to understand how cooperation functions in animals, and how it’s likely to have evolved. Dr Mariette said the next phase in the research would investigate honesty.