I am currently coordinating two major projects:
An assessment of methods to promote the restoration of swamp forests at Yellingbo
This project has involved both surveys and experiments looking at ways to promote the success of revegetation within the Yellingbo Nature Conservation Reserve – the last remaining home of the Helmeted Honeyeater and lowland Leadbeater’s Possum. Surveys of previous revegetation have identified factors important for the success of revegetation within the reserve. These include: elevation (water regime), canopy cover/shading, method of protection from browsing, and level of competition from understorey vegetation. Protection from browsing was found to be essential in open areas, and less so in densely vegetated areas, with browsing pressure variable between species depending on their palatability. In general, plantings at lower elevations (in wetter areas of the swamp) and in shaded positions with high levels of competition from exotic or native understorey plants have performed most poorly.
This information has been used to establish three experiments: a comparison of the importance of elevation (water regime) for the establishment of two dominant eucalypts of the swamp; the effect of understorey biomass removal (slashing of Phragmites) on planting success; and the effect of various weed control techniques (matting, mulching, ect.) on planting success. Initial surveys of plantings for these experiments have been completed with follow-up surveys to be conducted later this year.
Determining the main drivers of stream water temperatures in the Greater Melbourne region
I have recently begun work on a review of drivers of water stream temperatures within the Greater Melbourne region. This work has included a literature review on the drivers of urban stream water temperatures, and the collating and modelling of data from over 70 sites within the region. Modeled effects on water temperatures include: air temperature, stream size, riparian cover and proportion of connected impervious surfaces. The ultimate aim of this work (in conjunction with work by a colleague relating stream biota distributions to water temperatures) is to assess the vulnerability of stream biota to anthropogenic impacts on stream water temperatures in urban and peri-urban systems.