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RIEL’s Research Groups provide a mechanism for pursuing research excellence, building partnerships and supporting postgraduate students. They foster purposeful, collaborative and dynamic research environments.

Groups are led by RIEL’s senior academics and typically include post-doctoral researchers, PhD students and often Masters or Honours students.

Groups work on a wide range of topics and projects of regional, national and international significance, usually via interdisciplinary and multi-sector collaborations.

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Frog image by Keith Christian

Animal physiological ecology

In order to develop adequate conservation responses to climate change challenges, it is crucial that we understand the interface between animals and their environment.

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Native rice (RIEL image only)

Applied plant ecology

The Applied Plant Ecology Group applies understanding of plant ecology to develop solutions to conserve and utilise native plants, and to manage introduced species.

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goanna inspecting hole in red dirt

Arid-zone wildlife ecology and conservation

Our research is centred on the ecology, sustainable management and conservation of wildlife in arid Australia.

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Oyster image by Anna Padovan

Bioscience North Australia

We conduct high impact research and customized research consultancies that focus on detecting and interpreting microbiological threats in a complex world. We specialise in microbiological and molecular analyses in aquatic and terrestrial environments, including animal-microbe interactions, and analyses of sediment, water and biota.

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Broadacre cropping systems

The broadacre cropping systems group carries out multidisciplinary research with a strong foundation in crop physiology, agronomy, and soil science, aimed at enhancing the production, sustainability, and resilience of tropical cropping systems.

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fish in net on beach with fishers

Communities, livelihoods and natural resources

Our research aims to enhance the livelihoods and wellbeing of Indigenous and local communities

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Animal with dark fur with scattered white spots, pointy nose, and open mouth showing two sharp fangs in the bottom jaw. Standing on rough timber

Conservation and Sustainable Livelihoods

Conservation biology fuses many fields from pure biology through to social science, law and ethics. Our research grapples with this complexity through collaboration with skilled and committed people from across the world.

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Grey rat with large ears - head and shoulders and part of tail. Cage mesh and dry leaves in the background

Conservation Genomics

We study biodiversity in northern Australia and the broader region, applying research approaches in genomics and landscape ecology.

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fire in grass

Darwin Centre for Bushfire Research

The Darwin Centre for Bushfire Research delivers applied fire management research and training opportunities to land managers in northern Australia, South East Asia, Africa and South America.

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Ecosystem Services

Our research aims to assess the importance of natural resources for human well-being, applying various ecological economics approaches. We undertake trans-disciplinary research focusing on, and integrating various socio-economic, cultural and ecological aspects, particularly for the Indigenous peoples and local communities (IPLCs)

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Fish in water with a few leaves and stones on the stream bed

Freshwater, estuarine and marine ecology

We study aquatic biodiversity and environmental management of freshwater, estuarine and marine ecosystems.

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Aerial view of a tall tower with two people working on it. Trees, vehicles, and solar panels far below

Landscape water and carbon dynamics group

We use a combination of methods to better understand water and carbon cycles in tropical ecosystems – tropical savannas, rangelands, vine forests, wetlands, pasture and croplands, through to mangroves and peat forests. 

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Crocodile in water

Movement and landscape ecology

Tools and techniques for tracking the movement, migration and dispersal of animals in their natural habitat.

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Sustainable pastoral systems

The sustainable pastoral systems group applies an understanding of the plants, animals and environments that make up the pastoral systems of the Northern Territory and Asia to provide research for sustainable pastoral systems now and into the future.

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Waterway in open forest with dense green grass understory. Person in distance bending over collecting water samples

Top End Hydrology Lab

The Top End Hydrology Lab studies the physical and chemical components of critically important and iconic rivers of the Northern Territory and beyond

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Tropical aquaculture

The tropical aquaculture group studies biology, animal behaviour and animal welfare as applied to tropical aquaculture systems and provides support to both industry and Indigenous communities in developing and growing aquaculture sustainably.

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Tropical biosecurity

The tropical biosecurity group aims to build research capacity in tropical biosecurity to support a science-based approach to prepare, respond and manage pests, diseases and weeds and contribute to the protection of northern Australia’s unique environment and economy.

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Fire landscape image by Brett Murphy

Tropical savanna ecology

Our research investigates the sustainable management of tropical savanna landscapes.

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