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School of Science, Psychology and Sport

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

Contact details:


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)

Project description:

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.