Portrait image of Dr Bruce Webber.

Dr Webber is a plant ecophysiologist with CSIRO Ecosystem Sciences.

Dr Bruce Webber: exploring the impacts of global change on plants

Dr Bruce Webber is working to improve our understanding and management of plant invasions, efforts to conserve threatened species and future food security.

  • 22 December 2011 | Updated 15 January 2014

In this article

  1. Overview
  2. Publishing History

Overview

Page 1 of 2

Current activities

Dr Bruce Webber is a Senior Research Scientist with CSIRO Ecosystem Sciences in Floreat, Western Australia, and is an Adjunct Associate Professor at the University of Western Australia.

Dr Webber’s research explores the effect of rapid global change on plant-resource allocation and plant-ecosystem interactions.

With broad research interests in invasion science, conservation biology and food security, his current work uses an ecophysiological approach to address questions relating to the effect of climate change on invasive plants, the implications of landscape connectivity and fragmentation on both invasive and threatened plant populations, and the effect of climate change on yield and nutritional value in tropical tuber crops.

Dr Webber maintains active research collaborations with external institutions in Australia and overseas, including France, South Africa, Fiji, Cameroon, Columbia and Indonesia.

He also manages long-term rainforest study plots in the Daintree region of North Queensland, Australia.

Background

Dr Webber began his research career working in the rainforests of North Queensland, investigating plant-animal interactions and plant defence mechanisms in the rare Australian tree, Ryparosa kurrangii as part of his PhD.

This work spanned the three areas of botanical ecophysiology (plant defence chemistry, environmental regulation of resource partitioning), plant systematics (phenetic taxonomy) and plant-animal interactions (ant-plant symbioses, herbivory, frugivory, pollination).

Dr Webber applies his areas of core research expertise to the issue of climate change adaptation for biodiversity conservation and food security.

He held postdoctoral appointments at the University of East Anglia (Norwich, United Kingdom), with the CNRS at the Centre d’Ecologie Fonctionnelle et Evolutive (Montpellier, France) where he was awarded a Marie Curie Research Fellowship (2006–08), and with the CSIRO Climate Adaptation Flagship.

Dr Webber joined CSIRO in 2009.

Dr Webber's ongoing research interests include:

  • invasive species dynamics and the influence of life history traits on competitive ability
  • plant resource allocation as influenced by rapid global change
  • plant defence mechanisms, particularly cyanogenesis and ant-plant mutualisms
  • multi-trophic interactions and the characterisation of ecosystem interaction webs
  • the influence of plant-frugivore and plant-pollinator interactions on plant population dynamics
  • systematics of Achariaceae (Flacourtiaceae pro parte), particularly Ryparosa.

Academic qualifications

Dr Webber has been awarded a:

  • Bachelor of Science with First Class Honours, majoring in botany and environmental science at The University of Melbourne, Australia, in 2000.
  • Doctor of Philosophy from the School of Botany at The University of Melbourne, Australia, in 2006.

Achievements

Dr Webber has been the recipient of or has been awarded:

  • the Australian Institute of Policy & Science Western Australian Young Tall Poppy science award, 2011
  • the CSIRO John Philip award for excellence in young scientists, 2011
  • best student paper in the journal Australian Systematic Botany, 2007
  • a Marie Curie Intra-European Individual Research Fellowship, 2006
  • best student presentation at the Ecophysiology of Australasian Plants & Ecosystems conference, 2003
  • the G.A.M. Scott Research Award in postgraduate botany, 2002
  • the University of Melbourne Dean’s Honours List for academic achievement, 1999
  • the Bruce Knox Honours Prize in botany, The University of Melbourne, 1999.

He is also:

  • an Adjunct Associate Professor in the School of Plant Biology at the University of Western Australia
  • a member of the Australian Society of Plant Scientists
  • a member of the Weeds Society of Western Australia
  • a member of the Australian Scientists in Schools program.