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Dr Bruce Webber

Principal Research Scientist


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Bruce’s work focuses on the impacts of global environmental change on community ecology and the role of plant-ecosystem interactions in shaping community composition. He leads research that translates novel findings into improved management solutions to address the biggest challenges at the nexus of landscape change, species invasions and native species resilience. A common theme underpinning his current work is how plant fitness is influenced by abiotic, biotic and dispersal drivers, and how this fitness, in turn, impacts on population and community dynamics. Bruce’s research spans a variety of ecosystems, with a particular focus on the tropical regions of northern Australia and SE Asia. He complements this field-based research with controlled-condition experiments and modelling.

Bruce is based with the CSIRO Ecosystem Change Ecology Team 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. Bruce is also a Program Director at the Western Australian Biodiversity Science Institute (WABSI) and an Adjunct Associate Professor at the University of Western Australia.

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


For a full list of Bruce's publications (including links to PDFs), please see his profiles at Google Scholar or ResearchGate.

Ten selected publications:

• Webber BL (2021). Addressing weed threats to biodiversity. The Western Australian Biodiversity Science Institute. Perth, Western Australia. [View article]

• Somaweera R, Nifong J, Rosenblatt A, Brien ML, Combrink X, Elsey RM, Grigg G, Magnusson WE, Mazzotti FJ, Pearcy A, Platt SG, Shirley MH, Tellez M, van der Ploeg J, Webb G, Whitaker R, Webber BL. (2020). The ecological importance of crocodylians: towards evidence-based justification for their conservation. Biological Reviews, 95: 936-959. [View article]

• Cámara-Leret R, and 98 others, including Webber BL. (2020). New Guinea has the world’s richest island flora. Nature, 584: 579-583. [View article]

• Webber BL. (2020) Increasing knowledge to mitigate cat impacts on biodiversity: a research program for Western Australia. The Western Australian Biodiversity Science Institute. Perth, Western Australia. [View article]

• Tsen EWJ, Sitzia T, Webber BL. (2016). To core, or not to core: the impact of coring on tree health and a best-practice framework for collecting dendrochronological information from living trees. Biological Reviews, 91: 899–924. [View article]

• Webber BL, Raghu S, Edwards OR. (2015). Is CRISPR-based gene drive a biocontrol silver bullet or global conservation threat? Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 112: 10565-10567. [View article]

• 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, 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]

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Current Roles

  • Research Director
    Western Australian Biodiversity Science Institute

  • Adjunct Associate Professor
    School of Biological Sciences, University of Western Australia

  • Executive Member
    Western Australian Feral Cat Working Group

Academic Qualifications

  • 2000

    BSc (Hons I)
    School of Botany, The University of Melbourne, Australia

  • 2006

    School of Botany, The University of Melbourne, Australia

Professional Experiences

  • 2009-2011

    Postdoctoral Fellow
    CSIRO Climate Adaptation Flagship

  • 2006-2008

    Marie Curie Postdoctoral Fellow
    Centre d'Ecologie Fonctionnelle et Evolutive, CNRS, Montpellier, France

  • 2005-2006

    Research Fellow
    School of Biological Sciences, University of East Anglia, Norwich, United Kingdom

Achievements and Awards

  • 2014-2017

    Julius Career Award

  • 2012

    CliMond Team Certificate of Appreciation
    CSIRO Ecosystem Sciences

  • 2011

    Western Australian Young Tall Poppy Science Award
    Australian Institute of Policy & Science

  • 2011

    John Phillip Award

Community and Corporate Citizenship

  • 2018-present

    Associate Editor, Neobiota

  • 2010-present

    Australian STEM Professionals in Schools Program