Mark Westoby

Emeritus Professor

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1974 …2023

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Personal profile


BSc Hons Ecology Edinburgh, PhD Wildlife Ecology Utah State

Westoby came to Macquarie as lecturer in 1975; personal chair from 1990; Laureate Fellow and Distinguished Prof from 2010; Prof Emeritus from 2017. Was married to Barbara Rice (1944-2009), after whom postgrad awards are named.

Research interests

As of April 2022, active research areas include the following:

  • eco-evolutionary optimization (EEO) models for plant species traits under future environments (with Ian Wright at Hawkesbury and Wang Han at Tsinghua)
  • trait ecology of startup plants, seedlings and resprouts
  • ecological strategies across bacteria and archaea via measurable traits; in particular, theory for optimal cell size (with Michael Gillings and Ian Paulsen)
  • state-and-transition descriptions for future Australian vegetation
  • island biogeography on the basis of traits (with Julian Schrader)

Research student supervision

Students and postdocs include David Haig (Harvard), Lesley Hughes (currently Dean of FSE at Macquarie), Michelle Leishman (Distinguished Prof at Macquarie), Ian Wright (Chief Scientist at Hawkesbury Institute of Environment), Saul Cunningham (Director of Fenner School at ANU), Ian Watson (leader of CSIRO Northern Agricultural Futures Initiative), Amy Zanne (Aresty Chair in Tropical Ecology, U Miami), Yusuke Onoda (U Kyoto), Angela Moles, David Eldridge, Daniel Falster, David Warton (all UNSW), Andrea Stephens (editor of Trends in Ecology and Evolution).

Teaching and Leadership

Initiator and organizer 2001-2012 of yearly Australia-wide postgrad short courses on current research in ecology and evolution, supported by Ecological Society of Australia and Australasian Evolution Society and attracting ~100 research students per year. This role has now been passed on to Adrienne Nicotra.

Leader 2005-2010 of an ARC Research Network. Fostering postgrads and ECRs from throughout Australia and also from overseas was a priority. Over the life of the Network 134 postgrads and ECR participated in working groups. They often shifted attention to questions of larger scope, and formed collaborations that stretched more widely across disciplines and continents, and targeted their work to higher-impact journals.

Initiator and leader 2005-2016 of Genes to Geoscience Research Enrichment Program, a federation of labs mainly at Macquarie University that offers a menu of 15-20 masterclasses each year for PhD students and postdocs. Genes to Geoscience won a national award in 2012 for “programs that enhance learning” from Australian Office of Learning and Teaching.



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  • 1 Similar Profiles
  • ETIB-T: an Equilibrium Theory of Island Biogeography for plant traits

    Schrader, J., Wright, I. J., Kreft, H., Weigelt, P., Andrew, S. C., Abbott, I. & Westoby, M., Jan 2023, In: Journal of Biogeography. 50, 1, p. 223-234 12 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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    1 Downloads (Pure)
  • AnimalTraits - a curated animal trait database for body mass, metabolic rate and brain size

    Herberstein, M. E., McLean, D. J., Lowe, E., Wolff, J. O., Khan, M. K., Smith, K., Allen, A. P., Bulbert, M., Buzatto, B. A., Eldridge, M. D. B., Falster, D., Fernandez Winzer, L., Griffith, S. C., Madin, J. S., Narendra, A., Westoby, M., Whiting, M. J., Wright, I. J. & Carthey, A. J. R., 2 Jun 2022, In: Scientific Data. 9, 1, p. 1-11 11 p., 265.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    Open Access
    7 Citations (Scopus)
    13 Downloads (Pure)
  • Field experiments on mechanisms influencing species boundary movement under climate change

    Westoby, M., Jul 2022, In: Plant and Soil. 476, 1-2, p. 527-534 8 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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    4 Downloads (Pure)
  • Patterns and drivers of plant diversity across Australia

    Mokany, K., McCarthy, J. K., Falster, D. S., Gallagher, R. V., Harwood, T. D., Kooyman, R. & Westoby, M., Nov 2022, In: Ecography. 2022, 11, p. 1-15 15 p., e06426.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    Open Access
    2 Citations (Scopus)
    23 Downloads (Pure)
  • The global spectrum of plant form and function: enhanced species-level trait dataset

    Díaz, S., Kattge, J., Cornelissen, J. H. C., Wright, I. J., Lavorel, S., Dray, S., Reu, B., Kleyer, M., Wirth, C., Prentice, I. C., Garnier, E., Bönisch, G., Westoby, M., Poorter, H., Reich, P. B., Moles, A. T., Dickie, J., Zanne, A. E., Chave, J., Wright, S. J., & 126 othersSheremetiev, S. N., Jactel, H., Baraloto, C., Cerabolini, B. E. L., Pierce, S., Shipley, B., Casanoves, F., Joswig, J. S., Günther, A., Falczuk, V., Rüger, N., Mahecha, M. D., Gorné, L. D., Amiaud, B., Atkin, O. K., Bahn, M., Baldocchi, D., Beckmann, M., Blonder, B., Bond, W., Bond-Lamberty, B., Brown, K., Burrascano, S., Byun, C., Campetella, G., Cavender-Bares, J., Chapin, F. S., Choat, B., Coomes, D. A., Cornwell, W. K., Craine, J., Craven, D., Dainese, M., de Araujo, A. C., de Vries, F. T., Domingues, T. F., Enquist, B. J., Fagúndez, J., Fang, J., Fernández-Méndez, F., Fernandez-Piedade, M. T., Ford, H., Forey, E., Freschet, G. T., Gachet, S., Gallagher, R., Green, W., Guerin, G. R., Gutiérrez, A. G., Harrison, S. P., Hattingh, W. N., He, T., Hickler, T., Higgins, S. I., Higuchi, P., Ilic, J., Jackson, R. B., Jalili, A., Jansen, S., Koike, F., König, C., Kraft, N., Kramer, K., Kreft, H., Kühn, I., Kurokawa, H., Lamb, E. G., Laughlin, D. C., Leishman, M., Lewis, S., Louault, F., Malhado, A. C. M., Manning, P., Meir, P., Mencuccini, M., Messier, J., Miller, R., Minden, V., Molofsky, J., Montgomery, R., Montserrat-Martí, G., Moretti, M., Müller, S., Niinemets, Ü., Ogaya, R., Öllerer, K., Onipchenko, V., Onoda, Y., Ozinga, W. A., Pausas, J. G., Peco, B., Penuelas, J., Pillar, V. D., Pladevall, C., Römermann, C., Sack, L., Salinas, N., Sandel, B., Sardans, J., Schamp, B., Scherer-Lorenzen, M., Schulze, E. D., Schweingruber, F., Shiodera, S., Sosinski, Ê., Soudzilovskaia, N., Spasojevic, M. J., Swaine, E., Swenson, N., Tautenhahn, S., Thompson, K., Totte, A., Urrutia-Jalabert, R., Valladares, F., van Bodegom, P., Vasseur, F., Verheyen, K., Vile, D., Violle, C., von Holle, B., Weigelt, P., Weiher, E., Wiemann, M. C., Williams, M., Wright, J. & Zotz, G., 7 Dec 2022, In: Scientific Data. 9, 1, p. 1-18 18 p., 755.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    Open Access
    1 Citation (Scopus)
    3 Downloads (Pure)