Botanic Gardens Trust, Sydney, Australia

Evolutionary Ecology Research

Our ecologists study, describe and map the distribution and assemblage of native species across New South Wales and Australia in general. A major focus of our research is in understanding how plants respond to the main factors affecting temporal changes in distribution. These studies provide a basis for well-informed species and habitat conservation advice, and natural resource management - to aid in conservation decisions by Government, private landholders and land use agencies. 

Our ecologists also provide expert scientific opinion to the Government and the general public including participating in advisory committees that are part of recent conservation legislation.

We have dedicated research laboratories for a wide range of opportunities in conservation and population genetics research. DNA-based techniques are used to investigate changes in population dynamics, gene diversity and overall viability that occur as a consequence of the loss of connectivity across fragmented habitats. We are increasingly relying on innovative Next Generation Sequencing approaches and associated bioinformatic analyses. Some examples of Evolutionary Ecology’s research projects are listed below. We also conduct targeted genetics studies aimed at developing adequate management strategies for rare and threatened species. 

Current programs & projects

Restore & Renew NSW

Evolution, Biogeography and Adaptation

Community Ecology

Our team


  • Maurizio Rossetto (Principal Research Scientist) - Population dynamics and evolution: why are native species distributed and assembled the way they are?

Science staff

  • Christopher Allen (Senior Technical Officer) Restore & Renew NSW
  • Hannah McPherson (Scientific Officer) Newnes Plateau Shrub Swamps
  • Marlien van de Merwe (Scientific Officer) Restore & Renew NSW
  • Peter Wilson (Project Officer) – Restore and Renew NSW
  • Abigail Greenfield (Technical Officer) – Restore and Renew NSW

Research students

  • Susan Rutherford - PhD: Eucalypts: adaptive variation versus vicariance
  • Samantha Yap- PhD: The evolution of Australia’s modern rainforest assemblages
  • Monica Fahey- Honours: Connectivity and genetic diversity of Tristaniopsis species across altitude and latitudinal gradients

Honorary Research Associates

View from Mount Seldom Seen, Victoria. Photo: Susan Rutherford

‘Ecological Burn’. Photo: Lotte von Richter


Wrapped - Photo Cathy Offord

Nets under Wollemi Pines

ecologist in the field

field work