Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Ben Zeeman joins the Plant Ecology Lab

Ben Zeeman has joined my Lab as a PhD student. Here's a little about Ben and his project.

I completed Honours in the Department of Botany at La Trobe University in mid-2013. Under the supervision of John Morgan and Ian Lunt (Charles Sturt University), I examined the long-term effects of drought, fire exclusion and herbivory on temperate woodland dynamics. From this research, I've just published my first scientific paper - in the Journal of Vegetation Science.
Following honours, I gained employment as a Research Assistant at the Australian Research Centre for Urban Ecology (ARCUE). At ARCUE, I worked on the design of a long-term ecological monitoring program in Melbourne’s urban grasslands, including the development of species inventories and the establishment of permanent transects across the entire reserve system. This work, funded by the Myer Foundation, provides an opportunity to document current condition of threatened grassland reserves, but will also allow us to track vegetation change in response to management over the coming decades.

My current PhD research is again being undertaken in the Department of Botany at La Trobe University under the supervision of John Morgan. My research will follow on from my work at ARCUE, using historical data to understand the current trajectory of vegetation change in Melbourne’s grasslands. In addition, I aim to identify how to best restore and conserve urban grasslands. My project will focus on examining how re-instating disturbance regimes will affect species composition, understanding the mechanisms of exotic species invasion, understanding the challenges for species adaptation to future climate predictions, and identifying the barriers to the recovery of declining native populations. The intention of my research is to assist in the management of a critically endangered ecosystem.


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