The Moore Lab’s new research assistant, Dr. Rowan Mott, and PhD candidate Emily have contributed some exciting and informative Wild Melbourne articles in recent months!
Emily wrote about her study genus, Salix, and other accidental human-mediated invasions that have occurred in Australia and worldwide. Rowan recently wrote about his field work in Park’s Victoria’s Western Grassland Reserves and their bountiful biodiversity.
Have a look!
Flowers of the Grey Sallow, Salix cinerea, Emily’s study species and the subject of her Wild Melbourne article.
Some new faces have joined our team and others have moved on. The end of 2016 saw post-doctoral researcher Tara Zamin move on from the Moore Lab to take on a new job as a management consultant. During her time working with us, Tara contributed greatly to the lab’s grassland research projects and the day-to-day running of the lab group. From all of us at the Moore Lab, we thank her for all her hard work and wish her all the best in her new role.
While Tara was finishing up with us, honours student Samantha Mibus successfully completed her honours project under the supervision of Joslin and Tara. Congratulations, Sam! You should be very proud of all of your hard work gaining a better understanding of the restoration of forb communities in the Western Grassland Reserves.
To fill the vacancies left by Tara and Sam, the Moore Lab has welcomed three new people into the group. Dr Cindy Hauser has been a long-time collaborator with Joslin and now joins us on a more formal basis to continue their work together investigating applied management of invasive species. Cindy will also be co-supervising the group’s new PhD candidate, Emma Bennett, as she embarks on her project looking at the effectiveness of sniffer dogs for detecting Hawkweed, an invasive plant in the Victorian Alps. Dr Rowan Mott has also started working with the Moore group and will be assisting on many of the lab group’s current projects.
It certainly has been a period of change for the Moore Lab and we are very excited to be moving forward with the skills that the new lab members bring.
I am advertising for two PhD students to work on projects developing and testing ecological survey designs for finding rare species.
Project 1: Comparing the effectiveness of human and sniffer dog surveys for a rare invasive species in the Australian Alps. Co-supervised by Dr Cindy Hauser.
Project 2: Field experiments to test and develop optimal search theory. Co-supervised by Prof Mick McCarthy.
Check out the opportunities page for further details. I look forward to hearing from you!
Dr Catherine Mills has joined the group on 6 June and will be working on models of seed dispersal with the aim of providing strategic advice to control grey sallow willow populations in Northern Victoria. She comes from a physics background and has recently completed her PhD at the University of Edinburgh in the UK, which focused on general ecology models of competition from a physics perspective. She is now excited to be working on a real-world conservation issue and is looking forward to be doing field work for the first time soon.
Dr Abbey Camclang has just joined our team as a post-doctoral researcher. She joins us after completing her PhD in the University of Queensland environmental decisions group and a brief restorative visit to her home in Canada (perhaps Melbourne is the mean of these two climates – we look forward to Abbey’s assessment once she’s settled in). Abbey is supported by the Monash node of the NESP Threatened Species Recovery Hub. Using the alpine peatlands as a case study, she will work with managers and researchers to understand how multiple threatening processes impact biodiversity so that we can better target our conservation resources and conserve critical habitat.You can read more about Abbey and her work on her website
Emily De Stigter shares the highs and lows of her first field-work in Australia
In September 2015 I began my first pilot study field season with the goal of quantifying the reproductive phenology of the invasive Grey Sallow willow, Salix cinerea. Better understanding the reproductive phenology of S. cinerea is the first step in giving us the power as researchers to recommend when and where to remove highly threatening populations of the species. Because this species invades wet regions (primarily riparian zones and occasionally bogs or peatlands), I had the fortune of spending my field work exploring by foot and truck the waterways of north-eastern Victoria.
Clad in snake-protective gaiters and gum boots, my field assistants and I tromped through willow-infested rivers and collected preliminary data regarding the willow’s flowering phases and size. Aside from a couple of surprise encounters with red-bellied black snakes and the rare 40°C day, the seven field trips I have completed so far throughout the season have been predominantly successful. In the upcoming months I will be re-visiting my sites so that I can complete my record of the entire willow growing season, from initial male flowering in late winter to defoliation in autumn. The long term goal with this data is to create a Bayesian predictive model which describes when flowering is likely to shift in the future with respect to climate change. For now though, this is the first quantification of seasonal flowering in Australia and a notable first step forward in my PhD.
It’s been a busy few months in the group and it will soon be busier!
Now recruiting – 2 research fellows
I am advertising for two research fellows to start in early-mid 2016. One of the positions (3 years) is to develop regional scale models of seed dispersal for species with wind dispersed seeds. The other position (2 years) is to build on recent work developing decision frameworks for managing multiple threats. See the opportunities page for more details.
ESA conference next week.
Tara, Emily and I are all heading to ESA in Adelaide next week. I will be talking about the decision framework for managing multiple threats and Tara will be reporting the results of our grassland restoration project. Emily will present a poster summarising the findings of her willow phenology pilot study. Full details are:
Wednesday, 2 December – Joslin Moore, Managing multiple threats – prioritising invasive plant management in the Australian Alps National Park, 11:15 – 11:30 AM, Track 4.
Wednesday, 2 December – Tara Zamin, Restoration barriers of novel temperate grassland communities in the Victorian Volcanic Plains 2:30 PM – 2:45 PM, Track 2 SYMPOSIUM: Synthesising restoration outcomes in agricultural and mined landscapes (part 2)
Poster session – Emily De Stigter, Seed availability and habitat suitability of the invasive Grey Sallow willow (Salix cinerea) across elevation. 5:30 PM – 7:00 PM
Discovery funding – integrating new technologies into optimal survey designs
Congratulations to Cindy Hauser who will be working with Mark Burgman and I over the next 3 years as the named post doc on a Discovery project entitled ‘Maximising the benefit of emerging technologies for ecological survey’. Cindy will build a framework that optimally allocates resources among different survey methods over time. The framework will advance the theory of ecological survey design by addressing uncertainty in detection, and will improve understanding of emerging methods such as eDNA sampling, drones and sniffer dogs.