Collaborating to Preserve Western Australian Biodiversity

Through careful and knowledgeable stewardship, the Vasse River’s liver was preserved as vital construction was safely completed.


Researchers at the Harry Butler Institute, lead by Dr. Stephen Beatty, partnered with the City of Busselton to carefully relocate, foster, and return endangered Carter’s mussel during the reconstruction of a bridge across the Vasse River in Western Australia. Temporarily hosted by Iluka in restored wetland habitat, these river “livers” are back to providing an essential environmental service to the Vasse River. Watch the video to learn how this partnership both ensured the survival of a threatened species and supported the economic growth of Western Australia’s southwest region. 

Community. Business. Biodiversity.

As experts in sustainable development, our researchers and industry professionals enable business to deliver maximum economic value to our community, whilst simultaneously safeguarding the environment.  Through collaborations with public entities and community groups, the Harry Butler Institute also facilitates high quality research on topics related to terrestrial, aquatic, and marine ecology and resource management.  Our achievements arise from activities in four primary areas…


The Harry Butler Institute ensures that all of its conservation and life science research efforts are multidisciplinary, collaborative, and translational to maximise their public benefit.

Scientific Publishing

Global knowedge of biodiversity and biosecurity practice is furthered by the Harry Butler Institute’s scientific publishing support for our researchers and research partners.

Field Observation

By facilitating access to vital natural laboratories, including the Harry Butler Research Centre on the Barrow Island, the Institute assists partners in accessing resources for scientific field work.


By supporting higher education in biosecurity and environmental science, the Harry Butler Institute is helping develop the next generation of practicioners and academics.

"Everything in the world has a place and a purpose and it belongs with something else and it relates to something else."

—Harry Butler

Our Centres

The Harry Butler Institute brings together industry specialists and Murdoch University academics concentrated in four broad research centres to achieve our common goal.  Each centre itself comprises dedicated working groups on topics of high relevance and value to society, which enables the coexistence of focused research and interdisciplinary efforts.

Centre for One Health & Biosecurity

Undertaking both fundamental and applied biosecurity research across terrestrial and aquatic systems, the Centre for One Health & Biosecurity covers food and fibre production systems, through to protection of our Australia’s diverse environment.

Centre for Sustainable Aquatic Ecosystems

Efforts to ensure healthy and productive freshwater, estuarine, and marine ecosystems that support diverse societies within Australia are centralised within the Centre for Sustainable Aquatic Ecosystems

Centre for Climate Impacted Terrestrial Ecosystems

Research within the Centre for Climate Impacted Terrestrial Ecosystems provides information to regulators and managers for identifying biodiversity processes and threats, understanding of conservation science, and environmental stewardship.

Centre for Water Energy & Waste

Supplies of water and energy, as well as the management of waste, are fundamental to modern life.  The Centre for Water Energy and Waste focuses on research that supports these vital services while ensuring that their impact on biodiversity is minimised.

Investing in Environmental Education in Western Australia

The Harry Butler Institute introduces our largest step yet toward greater educational opportunities for life sciences and conservation in Western Australia.


Ground is breaking soon on the Harry Butler Environmental Education Centre due to a collaborative effort between the Institute, Murdoch University, multiple levels of government, and industry partners. Located at the gateway to Beeliar Regional Park on Murdoch University’s Perth campus, the HBEEC will serve as a confluence for the community to engage with and enhance the biodiversity of Western Australia and abroad.

Recent News

Collaborative efforts by the Harry Butler Institute secure federal funding for high-tech building at Murdoch University

We have a new home! Our Director, Prof Simon McKirdy, was instrumental in the federal government's decision last week to dedicate 25 million dollars toward the construction of the new Harry Butler Environmental Education Centre. The building on Murdoch University's Perth campus will not only house the Institute and collaborative lab space, its entire first floor will also feature an interactive public museum. Plans for upper floors include architect designed meeting spaces to foster strong...

Detailed research brings about discovery of two new tube web spider species

Hidden beneath the gnarled bark of eucalypt trees in Southern Australia were two cryptic tube web spiders initially discovered by Jess Marsh, who conducted a study on the effects of fire on spider communities on Kangaroo Island. Harry Butler Institute’s own resident spider expert Dr Volker Framenau was consulted for the scientific description of these species, which are now known as Ariadna clavata and Ariadna tangara, bringing the count of Australian tube web spider species from 15 to 17. Dr....

Science communication success: HBI researchers publish article in the Conversation

Beach litter can be lethal.  Researchers at the Harry Butler Institute helped educate readers of The Conversation on its dangers with their recent article: Forget Sharks…here’s why you are more likely to be injured by litter at the beach.   The article, which translated work recently published by HBI’s own Drs. Marnie Campbell, Chad Hewitt, and Mariana Campos along with research officer Cameron McMains, was an overwhelming success in science communication.  As of February...