Harry Butler Institute Centres


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 One Health & Biosecurity

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

Centre for Climate Impacted Terrestrial Ecosystems

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


Centre for Water, Energy, and 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.

One Health & Biosecurity

“Biosecurity is protecting the economy, environment and people’s health from pests and disease. It includes trying to prevent new pests and diseases from arriving, and helping to control outbreaks when they do occur”

– Australian Dept of Agriculture and Water Resources

Research Mission

Within the Harry Butler Institute’s Centre for Biosecurity our focus is always on protecting the environment so that Australia’s farmers, ranchers, and loggers can thrive in today’s global economy. Introduced pests can harm not only the ability of our primary industries to reach their markets, but can also have a huge impact on the day-to-day lives of small family enterprises. For this reason, we emphasize public outreach and collaboration so that our cutting-edge research reaches those who can benefit most.


The Centre for Biosecurity is based within Murdoch University at its campus in Perth, Western Australia.  This immerses us in a community of brilliant minds pushing the boundaries of knowledge and technology.  As an Institute, we have also built a network of industry, government, and community collaborators with whom we apply this breadth of knowledge.  Keep reading to see more about our recent projects or check out our news updates.


Featured Researcher

Dr Mariana Campos recently returned from Cambridge University (UK) where she honed her science communication expertise as a journalist with the Naked Science Podcast. Back at the Institute, Dr Campos has returned to her work as a research fellow in plant biosecurity. For more information about Mariana, check out her staff profile.

Sustainable Aquatic Ecosystems

Featured Project

The CSAEs freshwater research group works with regulators and local catchment groups to better understand the ecosystems supported in small pools created by dams in Western Australia. In an increasingly dry world, these man-made structures can serve as an ark, preserving native species for future generations. To read more about this project, visit their website.

Research Groups

The Centre for Sustainable Aquatic Ecosystems (CSAE) is a new umbrella for several established research groups associated with Murdoch University.  It houses passionate researchers working in a variety of disciplines related to conservation and ecology in freshwater and marine environments.

Within CSAE sits a group of top marine biologists and ecologists who help protect some of the world’s most charming species.  The Aquatic Megafauna Research Unit studies the behaviour and life history of dugongs, manta rays, and dolphins.

As a collaborative research group, the AMRU includes researchers from Murdoch University, where it is based, as well as those at international institutions including Duke University (USA) and Aarhus University (Denmark).

They maintain their own website where you can learn more about the individuals within the group and the projects they are working on.  For opportunities within AMRU, reach out using our contact form.

CSAE logo

The Estuarine Research Unit within HBI’s Centre for Sustainable Aquatic Ecosystems hosts a group of internationally recognised researchers and a deep repository of information on Western Australian estuarine ecosystems.

In line with the Harry Butler Insitute mission, the unit collaborates with state and federal agencies, local catchment groups, and industry to offer its expertise and long-term ecological monitoring database to help preserve the region’s biodiversity and productivity.  Recent projects include:


  • Science-based restocking of prawns in the Swan River

  • Developing a better understanding of the economically-important Black Bream

  • Ecological monitoring of the Walpole-Nornalup Inlet system

More information about the Estuarine Research Unit can be found at the Centre for Sustainable Aquatic Ecosystems website.

CSAE logo

The Freshwater Fish research unit has written the book on the biodiversity of Western Australia’s inland waters.  Within the Centre for Sustainable Aquatic ecosystems at the Harry Butler Institute, this team of dedicated researchers and educators not only advances the science, they also emphasize the importance of outreach and collaboration.

This research unit’s primary focus is on understanding the Southwest region’s freshwater ecosystems to better conserve and improve their health. At the Freshwater Fish research unit, they have worked extensively with both with native crayfish and sawfish, and with non-native species.  Their work has helped regulators and local interest groups protect valuable biological resources.  

More information about the Freshwater Fish research unit can be found at their website.

CSAE logo

The Marine Management research unit focuses on providing policy makers and resource managers with the information they need to ensure that Western Australia’s marine areas and reserves provide value for generations.

Along with Murdoch University and an international team of researchers, the Harry Butler Institute’s Marine Management group organised and operated the largest exploration of the Indian Ocean in decades. The data they gathered will provide a comprehensive physical and biological snapshot of one of the least studied regions on Earth and be essential for future conservation and management efforts.

For more information on the Marine Management group, visit their website. You can also follow their Indian Ocean voyage on the Western Australian Marine Science Institute website.

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