Primary research interest

  • Plant community ecology

Researcher biography

Plant Community Ecology, Conservation Biology, Climate Change Biology

My research broadly focuses on understanding how plant communities reassemble, persist and function following human land-use change. My research falls into three categories:

1) Theoretical plant community ecology, particularly community assembly and function.

2) Effects of agricultural production on native plants, insects and their interactions.

3) Improving restoration approaches using ecological and evolutionary theory.

Within my first research area my work involves the development of community ecological theory, and meta-analyses and field studies on plant functional diversity. These studies aim to improve understanding of community assembly following sudden, large-scale disturbances. In the long-term this work is forming the basis of understanding how how novel plant communities form, function and persist in landscapes persistently impacted by biological invasions, fragmentation and climate change. Results from this work are fundamental to advancing our ability to design conservation and restoration plans that will continue to protect focal species and system long into the future.

Work in my second research area focuses on crop pollination as an ecosystem service in agricultural landscapes, globally and in Australia particularly. Though I do not currently have students working directly on these projects, I remain involved in large international collaborations on this important research topic.

Within my third research area, I am working to advance ecological and evolutionary knowledge of direct use for plant community restoration. Currently, I am involved in two forest restoration experiments that are aimed at testing the long-term importance of tree diversity and tree density for the rapid recovery of forest biodiversity while making a profit on the carbon market.