People

RESEARCH SCIENTISTS & OFFICERS:

Bruce WebberBruce Webber leads the Ecosystem Change Ecology team.  He is a Senior Research Scientist at CSIRO and an Adjunct Associate Professor in the School of Plant Biology at the University of Western Australia.  As a plant ecophysiologist, Bruce is exploring the effect of rapid global change on plant-resource allocation and plant-ecosystem interactions. With interests in invasion science, conservation biology and food security, he is applying novel methods and advancing conceptual underpinnings to better understand range shifts, landscape connectivity and plant fitness. Publications: [ResearchGate] [Google Scholar] [ResearcherID]  Other links: [Twitter]

Tommaso JuckerTommaso Jucker is a Research Scientist at CSIRO. His research is broadly focused on understanding what determines the composition, structure and function of plant communities, in an effort to predict how these will respond to rapid global change. He tackles these questions in a variety of ecosystems and using a range of approaches, analytical tools and data sources.  He also has a longstanding interest in how invasive plant species establish and spread outside of their native range, and how this in turn affects the composition and function of recipient communities. Publications: [Google Scholar] [ResearchGate]

Raphael DidhamRaphael Didham is a Joint Appointment with CSIRO and the School of Animal Biology at the University of Western Australia, where he is a Professor of Ecology.  His research focuses on the synergistic effects of multiple drivers of global change on biodiversity loss and ecological resilience within remnant natural ecosystems. Raphael works predominantly on terrestrial invertebrate communities, but has a wide range of research projects investigating human impacts on plant, invertebrate, bird and mammal communities across a range of tropical and temperate regions of the world. These projects are founded on a strong theoretical and empirical understanding of spatial variation in species diversity and the processes which promote and maintain resilience within species interaction networks. Publications: [Google Scholar] [ResearcherID]

Karen BellKaren Bell is a Joint Appointment with CSIRO and the School of Plant Biology at the University of Western Australia, where she is a Lecturer in Plant Ecology. Her research uses population genetics, phylogenetics and biogeography to address questions in evolutionary biology, long-distance species dispersal and plant-insect interactions. She is also working on method development in DNA metabarcoding of pollen, and is interested in finding new applications for these methods. Publications: [ResearchGate] [Google Scholar]

Paul YeohPaul Yeoh is a Senior Experimental Scientist at CSIRO with particular interests in the biological control of weeds. He is an experienced empirical field ecologist with a focus on impact assessments and collecting growth and abundance information on weed invasions. In the laboratory, Paul is likely to be gathering data on the response of weeds to various environmental conditions so as to enable the modelling of these plants to potential future climate scenarios. In the past, Paul has spent considerable time in quarantine facilities running host specificity trials for potential biological control agents and rearing insects for sterile insect release programs.  Publications: [Google Scholar] [ResearcherID]

Kathryn03Kathryn Batchelor is a Senior Research Technician at CSIRO specialising in plant and seed biology with a particular focus on species that are difficult to propagate in the laboratory.  Traditionally trained as an entomologist, she spent a decade in the biological control of weeds, redistributing insects and pathogens associated with blackberry and bridal creeper across southern Australia.  Kathryn is an experienced field surveyor and is currently managing a delimitation survey for bitou bush around a bulk freight port.

Ruchira02Ruchira Somaweera is a Postdoctoral Fellow with CSIRO Land and Water and an Adjunct Lecturer at Murdoch University. As a herpetologist, Ruchira has research interests broadly centered around the behavioural and evolutionary ecology of reptiles in tropical Australia and South Asia. Combining field surveys, computer-based modelling, molecular techniques and museum-based studies, Ruchira’s current research focuses on the adaptive capability of reptiles to environmental change, with a special interest in interactions between native and introduced species.  Publications: [ResearchGate] [Google ScholarOther links: [Web Profile]


FELLOWS & AFFILIATES:

John ScottJohn Scott is an Honorary Research Fellow with CSIRO Land and Water and an Adjunct Professor in the School of Animal Biology at the University of Western Australia. John’s main research interests include the ecology, management,  and biological control of invasive plants in Australia, principally on weeds with origins in countries around the Mediterranean basin and southern Africa. His recent research includes risk assessments for potential weeds and the adaptation responses required for weeds under climate change.  Publications: [Google Scholar] [ResearcherID]

Laura FaganLaura Fagan is a Visiting Scientist with CSIRO Land and Water and a Development Officer at the Department of Agriculture and Food Western Australia. Laura trained as an entomologist in Canada and worked as a scientist in New Zealand on integrated pest management and biosecurity. Her current work involves developing mobile phone apps to engage community in e-surveillance for managing pests and diseases in Australia. Her other interests include invasion science, farm biosecurity and conservation management. Publications: [ResearchGateOther links: [MyPestGuide]  [DAFWA homepage]

Alice WattAlice Watt is a Volunteer Fellow with CSIRO Land and Water.  Alice is undertaking field and laboratory research to assist with our projects investigating climate change resilience in riparian revegetation programs in the south-west of Western Australia. This work builds on her BSc(Hons) research that she completed in our team in 2016.

 

Caroline DelaisseCaroline Delaisse is a Volunteer Fellow with CSIRO Land and Water.  Caroline brings expertise in seed germination ecology into our team and is assisting with our projects on understanding the seedbank of highly invasive weed species to improve management outcomes, primarily blackberry (Rubus anglocandicans).  This work builds on her BSc(Hons) research that she completed in our team in 2015.


Timm DobertTimm Dobert is a Volunteer Fellow with CSIRO Land and Water.  Timm is continuing to develop his research interests on the impacts of fragmentation and global change on tropical forest biodiversity.  This work builds on Timm’s PhD research that he completed in our team in 2015.



STUDENTS:

Melinda TrudgenMelinda Trudgen is a PhD student with the School of Biosciences at the University of Western Australia and with CSIRO Land and Water.  Her research is investigating how cultivated urban trees can escape to become environmental weeds. This work uses rosewood (Tipuana tipu), which is on the Australian Alert List as a potential Weed of National Significance, as a model species. The work has focused on climatic and edaphic factors that are likely to affect the potential distribution of this species, as a way of gaining insight into how urban plants ‘jump the garden fence’. Melinda is supervised by Bruce Webber, John Scott and Hans LambersPublications: [ResearchGate] [Google ScholarOther links: [Web Profile] [Twitter]

Edward TsenEdward Tsen is a a PhD student at the University of Melbourne’s School of Biosciences and with CSIRO Land and Water. Edward’s doctoral research examines the impact of anthropogenic disturbance upon plant-animal interactions in tropical rainforests and the impact of this disturbance on plant population genetics. With fieldwork in North Queensland’s Daintree region and South East Asia, Edward’s research interests encompass seed and pollen dispersal, camera trap fauna surveys, plant taxonomy and landscape connectivity.  Edward is supervised by Bruce Webber and Ian Woodrow. Publications: [ResearchGate] [Google Scholar]

Helen WhiteHelen White is a PhD student with the School of Biosciences at the University of Western Australia and CSIRO Land and Water. Her doctoral research is investigating the impacts of climate change on riparian ecosystems in the south west of Western Australia. She aims to understand the impacts reduced stream flow on these water dependent communities to arm land managers with adaptation strategies for restoration and management in to the future. This project is forms part of a bigger project on Blackberry decline, focusing on restoration in a post invasion landscape. Helen is supervised by Raphael Didham and John Scott.  Other links: [WCC biofund project]

Poasa NauluvulaPoasa Nauluvula is a PhD student at the University of the South Pacific in Suva, Fiji and with CSIRO Land and Water.  His research focuses on the growth and development of tuber crops and how this novel understanding can inform our ability to improve food security in the Pacific in a rapidly changing climate. This research is likely to make a significant contribution to the understanding of root crop agronomy not only for Pacific nations, but to the many other countries worldwide that have cassava as a staple component of their diet. Poasa is supervised by Bruce Webber, Bill Aalbersberg and Ros Gleadow.

Juliana Pille Arnold Juliana Pille Arnold is a PhD student with the School of Biosciences at the University of Western Australia and CSIRO Land and Water. Her doctoral research is investigating the impact of environmental change on species interaction networks, focusing on plant-pollinator interactions in degraded landscapes in the Swan Coastal Plain, Western Australia. Her research aims to assess the processes limiting pollinator visitation in modified landscapes at a landscape scale, as well as to determine the functional consequences of resource energetic constraints for pollinators on the reproductive output of plants in fragmented woodlands. Juliana is supervised by Raphael Didham, Bruce Webber and Jason Tylianakis  Other links: [LinkedIn]

Shilu Zheng Shilu Zheng is a PhD student with the School of Biosciences at the University of Western Australia and CSIRO Land and Water. She is interested in exploring the drivers of plant community assembly with trait-based approach. Her doctoral research is investigating the impact of habitat fragmentation on functional structure of subtropical plant communities in the Thousand Island (Qiandao) Lake in Zhejiang, China, focusing on intraspecific trait divergence of woody plants on islands. Shilu is supervised by Raphael Didham, Bruce Webber and Mingjian Yu of Zhejiang University.

 James BarrJames Barr is a PhD student at Curtin University and CSIRO Land and Water. His research focuses on predator recognition and anti-predatory behaviour in the King’s skink (Egernia kingii), and how these traits change when exposed to different levels of predation risk (from both native and introduced species), across isolated island populations in Western Australia. In addition, James will be investigating the genetic composition of social groups of this species, and identifying the degree of monogamy observed in their mating structure. James is supervised by Ruchira Somaweera, Bill Bateman, Stephanie Godfrey and Michael Gardner.

Katie White Katie White is a BSc(Hons) student with the School of Biosciences at the University of Western Australia and CSIRO Land and Water. Her research is looking at the influence of climatic gradients on the growth rates, germination success and reproductive potential of Stinking passionflower (Passiflora foetida) to inform the search for a biological control solution for this threatening weed.  Katie is supervised by Bruce Webber, Karen Bell and Wolfgang Lewandrowski.


Dennis Byrne Dennis Byrne is a BSc(Hons) student with the School of Biosciences at the University of Western Australia and CSIRO Land and Water. His research is using molecular tools to disentangle the historical biogeography of bitou bush invasions in Australia in order to improve chances of local eradication and management effectiveness. Dennis is supervised by Karen Bell, Bruce Webber and Pieter Poot.



TEAM ALUMNI:

Veronica Wilson (2016).  Veronica completed an Indigenous Cadetship with CSIRO Land and Water in our team while studying at the University of Western Australia.  Veronica provided enthusiastic research assistance for a number of our projects focusing on plant ecology field studies and camera trap research, among other things.

Alice Watt (2016).  Alice completed her BSc(Hons) entitled “Informing land managers on climate resilient restoration – optimising resource allocation in Eucalyptus rudis seedlings along a 600mm rainfall gradient” at the University of Western Australia and with CSIRO Land and Water, supervised by Bruce Webber, Raphael Didham and Helen White.

Caroline Delaisse (2015). Caroline completed her BSc(Hons) entitled “Understanding processes influencing seed germination in Rubus anglocandicans to improve weed invasion management” at the University of Western Australia and with CSIRO Land and Water, supervised by Bruce Webber and Pieter Poot.

Timm Dobert (2015).  Timm completed his PhD entitled “The influence of logging on understorey plant communities in tropical lowland rainforest in Borneo” at the School of Animal Biology at the University of Western Australia and with CSIRO Land and Water.  Timm was supervised by Raphael Didham, Bruce Webber and Katharine Dickinson and his research was conducted as part of the Stability of Altered Forest Ecosystems (SAFE) project in Sabah.  Timm examined the level of exotic plant invasions and variation in functional traits and evolutionary relatedness across a logging-intensity gradient from primary to repeatedly logged forests. His results showed that logging facilitates the invasion of exotic plants, albeit at currently low levels, and that a strong logging signal persists in the functional and phylogenetic structure of understorey plant communities. These findings emphasise the complexity of logging-induced impacts, over and above species diversity, with significant implications for conservation management of modified tropical landscapes. Publications: [ResearchGate]

Sonia Aghighi (2014).  Sonia completed her PhD entitled “The etiology and epidemiology of European Blackberry (Rubus anglocandicans) decline in South-West of Western Australia” at Murdoch University and with CSIRO Ecosystem Sciences, supervised by John Scott, Treena Burgess and Giles HardyPublications: [ResearchGate]

Samantha Harris-Wetherbee (2013).  Sam completed her MSc entitled “Ontogenetic defence trajectories in the rainforest sub-canopy tree, Ryparosa kurrangii” at the University of Melbourne and with CSIRO Ecosystem Sciences, supervised by Bruce Webber and Ian Woodrow.

Leonard Tan (2013).  Leonard completed his BSc(Hons) entitled “Does competition with native plants limit the invasion risk of Tipuana tipu in south-western Australia?” at the University of Western Australia and with CSIRO Ecosystem Sciences, supervised by Bruce Webber, Hans Lambers and Melinda Trudgen.

Nikolai MacNee (2013).  Nikolai completed his BSc(Hons) entitled “Responses of Cassava and Taro to elevated carbon dioxide” at Monash University and with CSIRO Ecosystem Sciences, supervised by Bruce Webber, Ros Gleadow and Cecilia BlomstedtPublications: [ResearchGate]