Conservation and restoration (broad acre arable land, conservation farming, invertebrate function)
Campus: Mt Helen
Discipline: Environmental Management
Research field: Conservation and restoration
Key words: broad acre arable land, conservation farming, invertebrate function
Supervisor(s): Penelope Greenslade, Michael Nash
Phone: 03 5327 6205
Brief Supervisor Bio
My main area of study is the effect of human impacts on invertebrates, particularly soil animals and assessing the success of restoring native invertebrates to revegetated areas. Human impacts have included fire, vegetation clearing, mining, broad acre and pastoral agriculture and pollutants including pesticides. I am also a taxonomist of an abundant, widespread group of soil animals, the Springtails.
Collaborators: CSIRO (John Kirkegaard)
Trials on plots planted with wheat which have either been conventionally tilled and burnt or with minimum tillage and stubble retention have been maintained for nearly 30 years. Soil invertebrates have been sampled on the plots seven times over at several time intervals and species differences in abundance have been detected between the treatments. It is proposed that these potential indicator species be collected alive, cultures established and resilience to moisture and temperature differences tested. Feeding trials will also be instigated in order to discover what environmental factors most influence populations.
The project will focus on decomposer organisms and their relationship to the nutrient status of the soil as well as to microbial populations and abiotic factors. Data on these last two factors will be available from collaborators.