Title: Invertebrate assemblages and seed harvesting ant dispersal of the native Australian shrub Acacia longifolia subsp longifolia south-eastern Australia.
Summary: Acacia longifolia subsp. longifolia is an invasive plant in the Grampians National Park. Significantly impacting the native flora present in the park. Little is known of its impact on the diverse and largely endemic invertebrates of the region and currently there is speculation as to how it rapidly colonises new areas. This project will firstly focus on terrestrial invertebrates in both invaded and pristine areas and comparing invertebrate faunal composition, specifically, Collembola, Blattodea, Isopoda, Hymenoptera (Formicidae) and Dermaptera. Secondly, the roll of myrmecochory and the seed dispersal rate associated. This will lead to evaluating the diversity and variation of invertebrates and applying the found results to conservation and management opportunities with A. longifolia.
Title: Spatial variations in the seed ecology, effect of elevated CO2 and water availability on Serrated tussock (Nassella trichotoma (Nees) Arech).
Summary: Serrated tussock (Nassella trichotoma (Nees) Arech.) is a highly competitive weed threatening the biodiversity of Australian and International grassland communities, and despite consistent efforts for its control, it’s distribution is still wide spread. This two-part study is firstly investigating how the environmental cues of fire, drought, salinity, soil pH and seed burial effect serrated tussock seed germination and seedling emergence so that recommendations can be proposed for its current control. Secondly, to successfully manage the species into the future, it’s essential to understand how it will respond to elevated CO2 and water availability compared to similar native species so that long term competition can be established.