Research

The aim of our research is to use ecological theory as a tool to solve and inform applied ecological problems that will aid in the conservation and sustainable management of natural resources. Our current focus is working with practitioners to address invasive species management problems using decision theory, population models and other quantitative tools. More broadly our research interests include the theory of the origin and maintenance of biological diversity, predicting the impact of exotic species, developing management strategies for their control and using optimisation tools and decision theory to identify and prioritise areas of high conservation value.  Current projects we are working on include:

ARC Linkage project: Multi-scale seed dispersal models for improved regional weed management

This project looks to combine mechanistic models of dispersal and decision analysis to identify and optimal surveillance and management protocols across the landscape. It is a collaboration with John Taylor (ADFA, Jason Sharples (ADFA), Richard Duncan (University of Canberra), Gaby Katul (Duke) and a host of land management agencies – Parks Victoria, Department of Environment, Land, Water & Planning, Goulbourn-Broken, West Gippsland and East Gippsland CMAs, Falls Creek Resort Management Board, Mount Hotham Resort Management Board and AGL Power.

The aim of the project is to develop a spatially explicit decision framework for effective control and surveillance of wind-dispersed invasive plants.

To achieve this aim we have four objectives:

  1. Measure how variability in seed production and the timing of seed release effects long-distance dispersal in realistic landscapes;
  2. Integrate local-scale wind measurements, fine-scale models of seed escape from the canopy, and weather models to characterise how wind dynamics at multiple scales determine large-scale dispersal patterns;
  3. Develop and test canopy turbulence models that down-scale mean wind predictions from weather models that will reduce reliance on local wind measurements and increase model utility; and
  4. Collaborate with land-managers to create a spatially-explicit decision framework that allocates control and surveillance effort across the landscape, accounting for dispersal, habitat suitability, management objectives, costs, and benefits.

The project will focus on the management of a highly invasive plant (Salix cinerea, grey sallow willow) across eastern Victoria. For the first time, the fundamental process of long-distance dispersal across a landscape will be explicitly integrated into management planning.

The Nutrient Network

Joslin belongs to the Nutrient Network (NutNet), an international research experiment that addresses fundamental questions about environment, productivity and diversity relationships in herbaceous plant communities. The network consists of more than 40 sites globally.

Estimating detectability

We collaborate with Cindy Hauser, Georgia Garrard and Mick McCarthy to undertake experiments to estimate detection rates of plants.  We use this information to design effective and efficient plant surveys.

Evaluating optimal and adaptive surveillance for invasive species

This project is aimed at developing, applying and evaluating optimal and adaptive surveillance protocols that are efficient and effective.  We collaborate with Tracy Rout, Cindy Hauser, Georgia Garrard and Mick McCarthy to develop the theory and applications. We have recently started evaluating the effectiveness of our protocols under real-world conditions by comparing optimal designs with standard approaches. Wan-Jou (Joyce) Lin (Masters of Environment) recently completed an experimental evaluation of optimal surveillance using native seedlings in a suburban park as a model system.

Structured decision making for conservation management

Joslin leads a number of projects associated with using structured decision making and other modelling techniques to improve management of invasive species in Australia.  She works closely with managers to develop frameworks to enable them to allocate limited budgets between actions to achieve the best outcome possible. Recent projects include managing invasive willow on the Bogong High Plains, a structured decision making process to identify priority invasive species for management across the Australia Alps and developing a framework to evaluate the impact of urban expansion on black cockatoo species in the Perth-Peel region.

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