York Gum (Eucalyptus loxophleba) woodlands were formally extensive in the Western Australian Wheatbelt, but persist now as smaller patches in a cropped landscape. For most of the year these woodlands have a bare understory until winter rain triggers germination of carpet-forming annual plants. These annual plants include many native species (daisies largely) but introduced annual grasses and daisies are increasingly common, particularly where woodlands adjoin crops. Introduced species often grow amongst native species in new combinations, creating "novel" communities. We are interested in the mechanisms behind the formation of these mixtures and also those that maintain annual plant diversity in general. Specifically we aim to determine the relative importance of the local environment, plant competition and random processes in forming the observed plant communities. This information will enable us to predict the types of mixtures we might see as the climate continues to dry and warm in the southwest.
This project is funded through two ARC Discovery Grants (DP140100574 - Exotic and native plant coexistence in novel communities; DP1094413 - Novel species interactions arising from synergistic environmental changes).
School of Biological Sciences
The University of Queensland￼
Ecosystem Restoration and Intervention Ecology Lab
University of Western Australia
Ecological Sciences Laboratory
University of Florida
University of Washington
The University of Western Australia / The University of Queensland