PhD candidate Emma Bennett has been awarded a Parks Victoria Research Scholarship to support her work investigating the role of detector dogs in Hawkweed eradication. The scholarship recognises the importance of this research question to Parks Victoria and aims to improve Park Victoria’s allocation of financial and volunteer resources leading to improved detection of Hawkweed and better long-term Park health. The study is a true act of collaboration with NSW agency Office of Environment and Heritage (OEH), Victoria’s Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources (DEDJTR) and Parks Victoria offering in kind support. In addition, this scholarship will now fund travel and accommodation to the field sites of Hawkweed infestations in Falls Creek and Mt Buller to allow Emma to further investigate how detector dogs support eradication efforts. This scholarship forms a long term partnership with direct benefits of the study supporting management decisions within Parks Victoria.
A new book called Detecting and Responding to Alien Plant Incursions has just been published and it features an invited contribution from Moore Plant Ecology and Conservation Group members Joslin Moore and Cindy Hauser. Cindy has written a blog about their work and you can read that blog here.
I’ve contributed a small section to the recently published Detecting and Responding to Alien Plant Incursions. This volume addresses the full continuum of management from pre-border efforts through early detection to selecting management options and overarching governance. It’s a synthesis of the literature that will be of value to researchers. More importantly, it’s framed as guidance to the land managers and policy makers who are responsible for addressing these threats.
The break-out box that Joslin Moore and I were invited to write regards detectability, and how we can go about estimating it experimentally. This process calls on statistics and experimental design, tempered with biosecurity concerns and our desire to accurately simulate real survey conditions. Throughout, we’ve used examples from our hawkweed detection experiments to demonstrate how we’ve made these trade-offs ourselves. We were also able to include a couple of lovely photographs taken by Roger Cousens during our field work.
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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.
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