Our graduate subject runs as a two-week intensive from Monday 9 - Friday 20 April at the Parkville Campus. It combines lectures, computer labs and a field trip to the beautiful Otway Ranges (including an occasional snap tournament, if you're lucky).
The course covers the effects of fire on aspects of biodiversity and ecological processes. Managers are committed to developing science-based ecological burning strategies which achieve both biodiversity and asset protection objectives. Increased knowledge of the ecological impacts of fire on plants and animals facilitates a better understanding of how more effective management can be achieved.
More information on Bushfire & Biodiversity and other fire-related graduate subjects is available here. The Handbook provides additional details.
Please contact us if you have any questions about the course.
Manuela is currently wrapping up her PhD thesis and has discussed some of her findings with Westernport Water.
“The key to a peaceful coexistence with our wallaby friends on Phillip Island is education and compassion, especially as they find their natural environment and habitat gradually shrinking, and their interaction with humans increasing."
Click the image below for the full story!
Hearty congratulations to Andrew, Lauren, Sarah and Zahlia on the completion of their research projects.
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!
Please contact Holly firstname.lastname@example.org with any enquiries.
We're looking for volunteers to assist with drift fence installation for pitfall and funnel traps in southwest Victoria from Monday 28 August - Friday 1 September. This is a great opportunity to improve your knowledge of reptile trapping methods, learn more about the Fire & Fragmentation Project, and see some beautiful wildlife!
The week will be spent out in the field walking to sites, carrying heavy-ish equipment and installing drift fences, so a good level of physical fitness and enthusiasm is required. Basic food and accommodation at our field house in Casterton will be provided.
If you're not available, there will be further opportunities to volunteer later in September and October (dates TBC).
Please send all enquiries to Sarah.
Kirsten worked with Kate in the Central Highlands to investigate the responses of Mountain Bobucks (Trichosurus cunninghami) to fire. She measured the home range sizes of animals fitted with GPS collars, and examined the response of home range size to fire severity and vegetation diversity.
She found that home ranges were smaller in areas burnt by high-severity fire in 2009 than in long-unburnt areas. Smaller home ranges reflect high quality habitat, and it's likely that regenerating acacia in burnt areas provides bobucks with an abundant food supply. Within areas burnt by high-severity fire, there was a positive relationship between home range size and vegetation-type diversity, indicating that riparian vegetation is particularly resource-rich.
These results will help researchers and land mangers better understand the implications of changing fire regimes for bobuck populations.
Well done Kirsten, and thanks to Julio, Kate and Kirsten for the photos!
Fire Ecology and Biodiversity at UniMelb
Bushfire Behaviour and Management at UniMelb
Quantitative & Applied Ecology Group at UniMelb
Integrated Forest Ecosystem Research at UniMelb