Dr Bruce Webber

Senior Research Scientist, Team Leader (Ecosystem Change Ecology)


Bruce is a plant ecophysiologist specialising in plant-resource allocation and plant-ecosystem interactions. With interests in invasion science and conservation biology, he applies an ecophysiological approach to address questions relating to (i) the effect of rapid environmental change on invasive plants, (ii) the implications of landscape connectivity and fragmentation on both invasive and threatened plant populations, and (iii) the effect of climate change on yield and nutritional value in tropical crops. The common theme underpinning his current research is how plant fitness is variously influenced by abiotic, biotic and dispersal drivers, and how this fitness, in turn, impacts on population dynamics and species ranges. He runs projects across a range or ecosystems, with a particular focus on the tropical ecosystems of northern Australia and SE Asia, and complements this field-based research with controlled-condition laboratory experiments and mechanistic modelling.

Research interests: plant ecophysiology, plant-animal interactions, invasion science, global change, population ecology, conservation biology & biodiversity, photography.


Bruce leads the CSIRO Ecosystem Change Ecology Team based in Perth, Western Australia. This multidisciplinary team generates knowledge on the mechanistic links and synergistic interactions between landscape change, species invasions and native species decline in terrestrial ecosystems. Working in both agricultural and natural ecosystems, we undertake research and develop theory to underpin more effective policy and management actions for conservation, invasion and production challenges in the face of rapid global change. The team delivers primarily to Land & Water and Health & Biosecurity in CSIRO, and has strong links with the University of Western Australia, where Bruce is an Adjunct Associate Professor, via collaborative research and student supervision. The team undertakes research with a network of collaborators and on behalf of clients both in Australia and overseas.


For a full list of Bruce's publications, including links to PDF copies, please see his profiles at ResearchGate, Google Scholar or Researcher ID.

Five selected publications:
• Webber, BL, van Klinken, RD, Scott, JK (2014). Invasive plants in a rapidly changing climate: an Australian perspective. In: Invasive species and climate change (ed. by L.H. Ziska and J.S. Dukes). CABI International, London. pp 169-197. [View article]

• Webber, BL, Le Maitre, DC, Kriticos, DJ (2012). Technical comment on “Climatic niche shifts are rare among terrestrial plant invaders”. Science, 338: 193. [View article]

• Webber BL, Scott JK. (2012). Rapid global change: implications for defining natives and aliens. Global Ecology and Biogeography, 21: 305-311. (With cover image). [View article]

• Webber BL, Yates CJ, Le Maitre DC, Scott JK, Kriticos DJ, Ota N, McNeill A, Le Roux JJ, Midgley GF. (2011). Modelling horses for novel climate courses: insights from projecting potential distributions of native and alien Australian acacias with correlative and mechanistic models. Diversity and Distributions, 17: 978-1000. [View article]

• Webber BL, Woodrow IE. (2009). Chemical and physical plant defence across multiple ontogenetic stages in a tropical rain forest understorey tree. Journal of Ecology, 97: 761-771. [View article]

Academic Qualifications

  • BSc (Hons I)School of Botany, The University of Melbourne, Australia2000
  • PhDSchool of Botany, The University of Melbourne, Australia2006

Professional Experiences

  • Postdoctoral FellowCSIRO Climate Adaptation Flagship2009 - 2011
  • Marie Curie Postdoctoral FellowCentre d'Ecologie Fonctionnelle et Evolutive, CNRS, Montpellier, France2006 - 2008
  • Research FellowSchool of Biological Sciences, University of East Anglia, Norwich, United Kingdom2005 - 2006

Achievements and Awards

  • Julius Career AwardCSIRO2014 - 2017
  • CliMond Team Certificate of AppreciationCSIRO Ecosystem Sciences2012
  • Western Australian Young Tall Poppy Science AwardAustralian Institute of Policy & Science2011
  • John Phillip AwardCSIRO2011

Community and Corporate Citizenship

  • Australian Scientists in Schools Program2010 - present
  • Adjunct Associate Professor, University of Western Australia2009 - present

Contact information


  • +61 8 9333 6802