Australian Research Council Discovery Projects to begin in 2018

Exciting new projects will begin in the Centre for Geometric Biology in 2018 as part of the Australian Research Council (ARC) Discovery Projects funding scheme.

Professor Dustin Marshall will be investigating how the paternal environment, that is, the environment that developing sperm experience, can influence reproductive and offspring success.  Dustin will use an externally fertilising marine invertebrate as his study organism which will allow him to manipulate the paternal environment without the confounding effect of the maternal environment.

Professor Craig White and Dr Lesley Alton will be tackling the fundamental biological question of why so few biological traits scale proportionally with body size. Craig and Lesley will use artificial selection to engineer animals where biological scaling laws are either ‘broken’ or enhanced. This means that they will create large animals with low metabolic rates and small animals with high metabolic rates and measure the consequences of this for fitness.

Dr Mike McDonald will be collaborating with Dr Kat Holt from the University of Melbourne to investigate the co-evolution of microbes in a long-term evolution experiment.  The bacteria Escherichia coli and the baker’s yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae will be cultured independently or together in two different environments for 1,000 generations. Mike and Kat will then measure individual growth rates, ecosystem performance, fitness, and sequence the whole genome. They will then look for signals of co-evolution between E.coli and yeast.

Dr Chris Greening will be collaborating with Associate Professor Perran Cook from the School of Chemistry and Ronnie Glud and Damien Callahan (University of Southern Denmark and Deakin University) to investigate the role that hydrogen plays in sandy sediments that are anoxic (depleted of oxygen). This project aims to quantify the respiratory pathways and the importance of hydrogen in the microbial ecology and biogeochemistry in the sandy sediments that dominate our coastline.