Faculty of Science and Technology

Weed science

Campus: Mt Helen

Discipline: Environmental Science

Research field: Weed Science

Key words: Climate change, seed,Agriculture,

Supervisor(s): Associet Professor S. K. Florentine (Florry)

Contact details:

Email: s.florentine@federation.edu.au

Phone: 0305327 9231 or Mobile: 0415 711 725

Brief Supervisor Bio

Associate Professor Singarayer Florentine is a restoration and invasive species ecologist, with more than 20 years of experience in research and higher education teaching. Florentine has published widely in those two research areas in high impact journals. He has been specialising in work on ecologically diverse habitats, and has had experience in three different countries. Florentine earned his PhD in 2001 from Curtin University in Western Australia, and then moved to Queensland where he worked as Weed Scientist with the Tropical Weeds Research Centre for 2 years. For the last 15 years, at the University of Ballarat and Federation University, Associate Professor Florentine has been active in a number of significant research projects, has been supervising larger number of postgraduate and honours students, and has developed undergraduate studies in restoration ecology.

Project title: Spatial variations in the seed ecology, effect of elevated CO2 and water availability on agricultural and environmental weeds.

Project Description

One of the most challenging issues in natural resource management is the control of elevated or unbalanced populations of weed species. Although substantial financial and other resources have been directed towards the control of some weeds, natural resource management agencies in Australia continue to struggle with who or what management. Invasive species tend to adapt to new areas so overcoming any environmental limitations.

Knowledge of the ecology of weeds is essential for the selection and development of control strategies. Such information is also needed to ensure appropriate management of fragile ecosystems which might be prone to invasion, particularly in the light of future climatic changes.

This project aims to collect empirical data on spatial variations in seed ecology, effect of elevated CO2 and water availability on key environmental and agricultural weeds.

Australian environments are subject to El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) and, as a result, drought, fire, and flood may occur at unpredictable intervals. Under this scenario, there is a high probability that weeds species will increase in abundance, significantly impacting on community composition and ecosystem function. It is essential to understand how all species will respond to elevated CO2 and water availability. To date, very limited studies have been conducted and thus a comprehensive study on these issues is needed.

This research would link ecological understanding of current variations in different populations and predict how this aggressive species would respond to future climatic variations in particular elevated CO2 and water availability. This research will address critical issues affecting Australia and equivalent systems in other parts of the world.