Zahlia's project examined responses of mammal functional diversity to vegetation structure, fire history and landscape context, and Lauren's explored the responses of individual mammal species to spatial pattern across a gradient of scales. Their theses are the first to arise from the Fire & Fragmentation Project, so their work involved delving into relatively uncharted waters. They spent a fair chunk of time chasing elusive remnant patches of vegetation, and were among the first of us to discover some of western Victoria's less accommodating roads. The long days (weeks) they spent staring at wildlife camera images and consulting experts will be enormously helpful to the camera trappers of the future. We owe them (at least) one!
We also congratulate Andrew Stephens and Sarah on completion of their Masters theses. Sarah undertook an epic fieldwork campaign involving measurement of three-dimensional vegetation structure and collection of fuel hazard information at Otways sites. Her thesis is accompanied by a new paper in Forests comparing visual assessment of surface fuel loads with destructively sampled surface fuels.
Andrew used a vascular plant dataset collected in the Otways under the Fire, Landscape Pattern & Biodiversity Project to examine the responses of fire persistence traits to productivity and fire gradients.
Andrew, Lauren, Sarah and Zahlia have successfully wrangled their research questions, data and writing within relatively short periods of time, and we hope they have particularly laid back festive seasons! Please find their thesis titles here, and get in touch for more information about their work.
The thesis-submission season overlapped the conference (and fieldwork) season to make for an action-packed spring.
Holly visited Queenstown, NZ for the SEEM (statistics in ecology and environmental monitoring) conference, and Alan, Annalie, Kate, Sandra and Sarah attended the recent joint conference of the Ecological Society of Australia and the New Zealand Ecological Society in the Hunter Valley.
Kate won an award for the presentation she gave on her mountain brushtail possum tracking research.
Well done Kate on this fantastic achievement!