Community level plant diversity is driven in large part by the interactions between species at local scales. While competitive interactions between individuals and species are known to be important for determining which species coexist, other types of interactions are generally considered to be of little importance. Evidence is growing, however, that facilitation among plants is common at local scales and can dramatically impact on coexistence dynamics and local patterns of diversity. This honours project is in conjunction with a team of PhD students and postdocs who are working on coexistence and community diversity in Western Australian wildflower communities. There is capacity for several honours students to join this project and the details of the project will depend on student interest and whether they are interested in starting Sem 1 or 2. For a Sem 1 start, this honours project will involve glasshouse/growth chamber based experiments exploring the mechanisms of facilitation among annual wildflower systems. For students interested in a Sem 2 start, this project can be expanded to the field and can focus on field experiments rather than lab experiments aimed to test specific mechanisms of facilitation of plants by other plants.

Supervisor: Professor Margie Mayfield