Faculty of Science Department of Zoology

About Us

From the head

About Us

The Department of Zoology is tackling some of the major problems facing the world and society today. Whether it is climate change, food security, environmental toxicology or species extinction; scientists in Zoology are tackling such major issues head-on.

Within the Department you will find an International renowned group of Academics, some 50 plus Research Fellows and over 100 post-graduate students; making Zoology an incredibly vibrant workplace. Staff and students are active in many areas and the Department has a vigorous and diverse research program with interests ranging from the structure and function of single cells through to the ecology, reproduction, development and evolution of animals.

Our current areas of research include:

Conservation and Climate Change – the physiology, ecology, behaviour and habitat requirements and population management of Australia’s unique endemic fauna.

Evolution and Behaviour – how evolutionary forces have shaped social behaviour, mating and communication systems; in animals as diverse as brightly coloured birds and cannibalistic spiders.

Marine Biology – the interactions of a myriad of ocean-dwelling organisms such bryozoans, fish, abalone and crustaceans with their environment, and the effects of disturbance, pollution and fisheries on their abundance.

Reproduction and Regeneration – the cellular and hormonal processes that control sex, development and sexual differentiation in mammals, and how embryonic stem cells maintain their pluripotent potential to become any tissue in the body.

The Department has a range of sophisticated laboratories and equipment housed in a modern building, and has state-of-the-art stem cell laboratories within the new Neuroscience Institute. We also have an active laboratory presence in the Bio21 Institute. Furthermore, Zoology is also home to the Centre for Aquatic Pollution Identification Management (CAPIM). The Department is an active participant in a consortium of Victorian institutions that operate the well-equipped Victorian Marine Science Consortium at Queenscliff.

The Department maintains strong and highly interactive links with the Museum Victoria, Melbourne Zoo, the Department of Sustainability and Environment, CSIRO, and has well-established collaborations with the Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences, as well as with several Biomedical Institutes across Melbourne, including the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute and the Murdoch Institute.

Welcome to Zoology, a truly integrative science for the 21st Century.

David Gardner, Professor and Head of Department.

Baldwin Spencer building

Our history

Zoology began as Natural Science under founding Professor Frederick McCoy. In 1887, Walter Baldwin Spencer was appointed Professor of Biology. Today the building bearing his name (pictured left in 1936), remains, although the lake has been replaced with union lawns. The Chair of Biology was renamed Zoology following the appointment of Wilfred E. Agar in 1920. Zoology moved to its present location in 1989.

Zoology logoOur logo

Our logo is based on a sculpture made by Andor Mezsaros in 1964 for the original building. It features a nerve cell surrounded by animals with increasingly sophisticated neural development, and remains fixed to the new building.

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