Current Research Projects
Risk assessment & website development for exotic plants under future climates
A/Prof. Michelle Leishman (MQ)
|The objectives of the project are: (1) to update species distribution modelling of the WONS species, using environmental data and updated emission scenarios; (2) update the trait database for all modelled species; (3) use a screening tool to prioritise species for risk assessment and management under climate change; (4) deliver project outputs via the web-based interactive tool weedfutures.net.|
This project will contribute substantially to the capacity of natural resource managers to assess weed risk and to prioritise exotic species for monitoring and management under future climates.
For more information regarding this project contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Project partnersDr Peter Turner (OEH)
Predicted effects of climate change on freshwater biodiversity
Alex Bush (MQ)
The project aims to establish a baseline dataset covering the distribution of freshwater species in NSW across a wide range of taxonomic groups. Projections of future distributions under climate change will identify key vulnerable groups as identified in the OEH Knowledge theme for climate change. The addition of freshwater weeds will complement the research by other projects in the Biodiversity Hub on Weeds of National Significance (WONs).To evaluate the risk climate change poses to biodiversity we will establish a standard framework for vulnerability assessment that combines modelling and ecological knowledge which can then be applied to other threatened taxa, both freshwater and terrestrial or marine, and easily updated in the future. This approach provides a more comprehensive insight into the vulnerability of species compared with assessments based solely on projections of correlative models, and does not require complex ecological and biophysical data.For more information regarding this project contact email@example.com
Simon Linke (Griffith Uni.)
Best practice translocation guidelines for climate change adaptation in NSW
Dr Rachael Gallagher (MQ)
Dr Nola Hancock (MQ)
Prof. Lesley Hughes (MQ)
The aim of this project is to provide a comprehensive overview of the practice of assisted colonisation for climate change adaptation and advice on how to effectively translocate species at risk of population decline under future climate change in NSW. We will use a combination of literature review and synthesis, practitioner consultation and surveys, and active engagement with policy officers within OEH to build an appendix to the existing, draft policy on translocation developed over the last 5 years.
For more information regarding this project contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Bob Makinson (RBG&DT)
How does an adaptation lens change the way we invest in landscapes for biodiversity?
Dr Stuart Whitten
|The objective of the project is first to evaluate whether (a subset of) the tools used to prioritise investments in biodiversity in NSW are able to adequately prioritise investment in the face of threats, primarily climate change, but also land use change or other factors. The second objective (assuming that there are clear opportunities to improve existing tools) is to provide guidance as to how tools can be improved. The third objective is to provide inputs into a project identifying adaptation pathways that aids in guiding investment through time as threats impact.|
Assessing the vulnerability of endangered species and ecosystems to climate change in NSW
Prof. Michelle Leishman (MQ)
|The aim of the proposed project is to assess the vulnerability to climate change of species and ecological communities that are currently listed as at risk of extinction under the NSW TSC Act. The data collected will allow an assessment of the threat of climate change to listed species and ecological communities, the most important types of threat resulting from climate change (eg range shifts, changes to disturbance regimes, rising sea level), the most vulnerable groups of entities (eg mammals, plants, reptiles), and the regions where the most threatened species likely to be affected by climate change occur. These data will provide an important input to a range of conservation actions that have been identified as priorities in the NSW Priorities for Biodiversity Adaptation to Climate Change (PBACC) Statement of Intent in response to the listing of Anthropogenic Climate Change as a Key Threatening Process.|
Dr James Brazill-Boast (OEH)
Dr Tony Auld (OEH)
Delivering ecological range metrics for the entire NSW flora
Dr Rachael Gallagher (MQ)
Stuart Allen (MQ)
The main aim of this project is to deliver baseline data on ecological range characteristics for each species in the NSW flora to help improve conservation planning and policy development.
Specifically, we will:
- Develop and maintain an online data portal where range and niche data for any, or all, plant species will be delivered as either tabulated raw data, or visualised through innovative graphing and data discovery techniques ready for export to reports or presentations.
Dr Tony Auld (OEH)
Maurizio Rossetto (RBG&DT)
Population viability and climate change - increasing the predictive capability of pre-existing threats to NSW plant populations under climate change
Dr Nola Hancock (MQ)
|The aim of this project is to identify and collate pre-existing data sets of NSW plant populations in preparation for analysis to predict inbreeding potential and evolutionary capacity. Biological trait data will be incorporated into the data sets and current programs where minimal additional monitoring is required to increase its eligibility for assessment will be also identified. The objective of this project is to provide researchers with data to empirically test population viabilities and to inform practitioners and policy makers on the current and future genetic issues of the plant populations that they manage. This exploratory project is aligned with the objectives of the Node because it addresses several of the key challenges for responding to anthropogenic climate change (Department of Environment Climate Change & Water, 2010). Specifically, the project will identify where base-line data can contribute to gaps in our understanding of current genetic diversity across the landscape and assist in the identification of at-risk species under climate change.|
Dr. Paul Rymer (UWS)
Dr. Tony Auld (OEH)
Bioclimatic discordance: combining molecular and environmental data to identify floristic refugia and corridors
Maurizio Rossetto (RBG&DT)
Linda Beaumont (MQ)
The main objectives are:
- to develop models to identify potential future expansion/contraction for the Australian rainforest flora based on understanding of historical responses to climatic fluctuations,
Our findings will be directly applicable to rainforest management strategies, and the methodology developed will be broadly applicable across the whole NSW flora
Prof. Robert Henry (UQ)
How does the design and position of seawalls influence the resilience of sandy beach ecosystems to sea level rise?
Dr Melanie Bishop (MQ)
Dr Belinda Cooke (MQ)
This project will use a combination of ecological field sampling and modelling to address how the design and positioning of seawalls will influence the capacity of adjacent sandy beach ecosystems to adapt to sea level rise. In NSW, a variety of ‘hard’ structures have been erected along our coastline to protect coastal properties from erosion. These include (but are not limited to) sandbags, rockwalls, and vertical or sloping seawalls. These have been constructed at different alignments – while some are presently above the high-water line, others intercept the incoming tide every cycle. By comparing the effect of the various types of structures on sandy beach ecosystems between places where they are presently situated in the supratidal versus the intertidal or even the subtidal, we can, through a space for time substitution, assess how seawall design will influence the capacity of adjacent sandy beach ecosystems to adapt to rising sea-levels.
This project will contribute to Theme 2 of the node (Current variability and resilience to climate change) by assessing the resilience of a little studied, but nevertheless important ecosystem, to sea level rise. It will provide practical suggestions as to how new hard engineering structures might be designed to minimise their ecological impacts to sandy beach fauna.
A/Prof. Ron Cox (WRL, UNSW)
Dr Bruce Coates (OEH)
Water regime thresholds, aquatic metabolism and microbial diversity in floodplain wetlands
Dr Tim Ralph (MQ)
Dr Tsuyoshi Kobayashi (OEH)
Assoc. Prof. Kirstie Fryirs (MQ)
Microbial diversity plays a fundamental role on Earth, leading to effective carbon fixation and mineralization of organic matter (i.e. higher rates of productivity and respiration), which in turn promotes other biodiversity through effective energy and mineral transfer pathways. This project will focus on the Macquarie Marshes to enhance our understanding of the links between microbial diversity and water regimes by measuring aquatic metabolism and assessing biodiversity with methods such as traditional direct counts (e.g. micro-invertebrate survey) and newer procedures such as molecular-based techniques (e.g. bacterial DNA analysis).
Aim 1: Quantify rates of aquatic metabolism and the degree of microbial diversity in floodplain wetlands with different watering regimes in the Macquarie Marshes;
Aim 2: Define the relationships between water regime, aquatic metabolism, microbial diversity, and other environmental parameters (e.g. nutrients and carbon) related to aquatic ecosystem health;
Aim 3: Assess trends and thresholds of change for aquatic ecosystem response (i.e. metabolism and microbial diversity) to different water regimes with implications for floodplain wetland connectivity and refugia, and changing inundation regimes related to possible climate change scenarios.
Aim 4: Develop a larger research project from this proof-of-concept research, testing the idea of a threshold response to change across a range of wetland types and inundation regimes.
Dr Neil Saintilan (OEH)
Mr Tim Hosking (OEH)
Evaluating the status of the NSW terrestrial reserve system under a changing climate
Dr Alana Grech (MQ)
Dr Linda Beaumont(MQ)
This project will incorporate outputs of the OEH project “Identifying likely climate refugia and corridors to support species range shifts” to achieve the following objectives:
1. Quantify the coverage of vegetation and climate refugia in the NSW reserve system under current and future climatic conditions.
2. Use estimates of landscape connectivity, vegetation condition, land use and threatening processes to assess the adequacy of the reserve system under current and future climatic conditions.
3. Identify priority sites for the reservation of vegetation and refugia under future climatic conditions.
This project will develop outputs that directly inform the OEH and New South Wales Parks and Wildlife Service’s establishment of strategic priorities for additions to the reserve system.
Murray Robinson (OEH)