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Microbiome of native Australian mammals

Wombat photo - Raphael Eisenhofer

Animals live in a microbial world.

Trillions of microorganisms inhabit animals and perform key functions for the host, including the digestion of recalcitrant diets, detoxification, development of the immune system, resilience against pathogens, and possibly even behavioural regulation. 

Evidence suggests that some microorganisms are transmitted vertically, and have been coevolving with their animal hosts for millions of years. In shorter timeframes, it is thought that microbiomes can confer more rapid adaptation to changing environmental conditions than host genomes. 

In light of the importance of the microbiome to host adaptation and health, most microbiome research to date has focused on humans. However, there is a growing interest in understanding the ecology and evolution of animal microbiomes.

There are honours projects available to study the microbiomes of our native Australian mammals. Please feel free to get in touch to discuss potential projects.

Raphael Eisenhofer


Dr Raphael Eisenhofer

Research area: Microbiology/bioinformatics - Australian Centre for Ancient DNA

Recommended honours enrolmentHonours in Ecology and Environmental Science or Honours in Animal Science

Tagged in Honours projects - Ecology and environmental science, Honours in Animal Science subtheme - Related projects, Honours projects - Raphael Eisenhofer, Honours projects - Evolution and palaeobiology, Honours projects - Evolution and palaeobiology - Ancient DNA

Competition: Young Scientist of the Year

How do we feed the world’s growing population? How do we save our wildlife from extinction? Got an idea that will build a brighter, greener world?

Australian high school students are invited to submit a short video about one of Australia’s big science challenges.

Video competition