Prospective students

I am available to supervise Honours, Masters and PhD students. I am happy to discuss potential projects ideas with prospective students – please get in touch. Here are a few potential project themes relating to my current work:

Making rivers great again! Assessing the potential of environmental flows to restore native riparian plant communities

In partnership with DELWP’s Arthur Rylah Institute, we are seeking student/s to investigate the potential of environmental flows to restore native riparian vegetation. Flow regime is the primary driver of riparian vegetation dynamics. Many of Australia’s rivers are degraded due to water extraction, flow regulation and other anthropogenic pressures. Increasingly, water is being returned to rivers via environmental flows to improve their health, including the restoration of native riparian vegetation. Better knowledge of the relationships between river flows and riparian vegetation dynamics is required to best target environmental flows. To inform Victoria’s Environmental Flows Monitoring and Assessment Program, we are seeking student/s for a range of projects investigating vegetation flow-ecology relationships via a combination of nursery and field-based experiments, and/or interrogation of a large existing dataset. A student proficient in R and GLMMs is preferred but not essential. This project would be jointly supported by ARI and the SEFS at The University of Melbourne. Please contact Joe Greet to discuss:

Assessing the potential for natural regeneration following removal of the weedy shrub (Kunzea leptospermoides).

In partnership with Zoos Victoria, we are seeking a student to investigate the potential to restore areas heavily invaded by the shrub, Kunzea leptospermoides (Yarra Burgan). Approximately 75% of the Coranderrk Bushland Reserve (adjacent to the Healesville Sanctuary and managed by Zoos Victoria) is heavily invaded by Burgan. This invasion is linked with overbrowsing by macropods and altered fire regimes. Burgan invasion is associated with reduced understorey vegetation diversity and cover, and dieback of overstorey trees. A program is currently underway to remove Burgan from large areas of the reserve. We are seeking a student to assess the potential for recovery via natural regeneration following Burgan removal using both field-based (vegetation surveys) and nursery based (soil seedbank assays) studies. This project would be jointly supported by Zoos Victoria and the SEFS at The University of Melbourne. Please contact Joe Greet to discuss:

Saving our critically endangered fauna one planting at a time?

Revegetation is a common approach to restoring habitat for our native fauna. However, plantings and vegetation trajectories are often compromised such that the resulting vegetation community may not provide appropriate habitat. Hundreds of thousands of dollars have been spent (and will be spent) revegetating Yellingbo Nature Conservation Reserve in the Yarra Valley to provide habitat for the critically endangered Helmeted Honeyeater and lowland Leadbeater’s Possum. A range of factors affect the success of these plantings, including weed control (or lack of), protection (or lack of) from browsers (deer, wallabies) and other environmental factors (shade, flooding, etc.). There are a range of potential projects to assess the effectiveness of revegetation efforts at Yellingbo that could contribute knowledge to aiding the preservation of these species. Happy to discuss:

No eye deer? Developing vegetation restoration techniques to outsmart introduced deer in Australia.

Australian forests contain introduced deer species, which cause considerable damage to vegetation through browsing, trampling and thrashing. Attempts to restore these sites through revegetation are repeatedly hampered by deer, and excluding them through fencing and guarding can be cost-prohibitive. Alternative methods have been proposed in Australia and overseas, such as reduced plant nutrient levels, topping, deer repellents and co-planting of palatable and non-palatable species. However there is considerable uncertainty around their success and cost-effectiveness.

Greening Australia has revegetation sites across Victoria that are deer-affected. Last year for example, they planted 300,000+ plants at Yellingbo Nature Conservation Reserve where there are known populations of deer with variable levels of success. Next year they will plant similar numbers of plants at Yellingbo as part of the high-profile Twenty Million Trees restoration project. Greening Australia are keen to improve the science of restoration in the presence of deer. This project provides an opportunity to work with Greening Australia staff and on a large restoration project