Full Project Title: 
Population fluctuations: models, mechanisms and management
Project Summary: 

We work on plant population ecology and management. Plant populations worldwide are threatened by habitat destruction, climate change and land-use change and invasive plant populations themselves can threaten biodiversity. We develop models of plant population growth and spread at local and landscape scales and use these models to determine appropriate management strategies for threatened and threatening plant populations. Population trends are the early warning signs of species decline. Despite abundant data and monitoring we still struggle to predict the population trends of threatened or invasive species and to apportion limited natural resource funding to achieve conservation and weed management goals. In collaboration with researchers at Harvard University, Stockholm University and the University of Sydney we are currently using an extensive database of plant population models to discover key drivers of population change and identify critical triggers for successful population management. Appropriate management options are informed by ecology, costs and feasibility; a current honours student is working to incorporate conceptual advances in population thinking with novel economic-demographic matrix population models to contribute to better management of invasive plants.

Funding Sources: 

This project is funded through an ARC Discovery Grant (DP120101462 - Population fluctuations: models, mechanisms and management).



  • Project Collaborators

    Assoc Prof Yvonne Buckley 

    Principal Investigator                                             
    School of Biological Sciences
    The University of Queensland/CSIRO

    Dr Simon Blomberg

    School of Biological Sciences
    The University of Queensland

    Assoc Prof Glenda Wardle 

    School of Biological Sciences
    University of Sydney

    Prof Johan Ehrlén 

    Department of Botany
    University of Stockholm

    Assoc Prof Elizabeth Crone 

    Harvard Forest
    Harvard University

  • Postgraduate Students
  • Publications

    Caplat, P; Nathan, R; Buckley, YM (2012) Seed terminal velocity, wind turbulence and demography drive the spread of an invasive tree in an analytical model. Ecology 93: 368–377.

    Adler, PB; Seabloom, EW; Borer, ET; Hillebrand, H; Hautier, Y; Hector, A; Harpole, WS; O'Halloran, LR; Grace, JB; Anderson, TM; Bakker, JD; Biederman, LA; Brown, CS; Buckley, YM; Calabrese, LB; Chu, CJ; Cleland, EE; Collins, SL; Cottingham, KL; Crawley, MJ; Damschen, EI; Davies, KF; DeCrappeo, NM; Fay, PA; Firn, J; Frater, P; Gasarch, EI; Gruner, DS; Hagenah, N; Hille Ris Lambers, J; Humphries, H; Jin, VL; Kay, AD; Kirkman, KP; Klein, JA; Knops, JMH; La Pierre, KJ; Lambrinos, JG; Li, W; MacDougall, AS; McCulley, RL; Melbourne, B A; Mitchell, CE; Moore, JL; Morgan, JW; Mortensen, B; Orrock, JL; Prober, SM; Pyke, DA; Risch, AC; Schuetz, M; Smith, MD; Stevens, CJ; Sullivan, LL; Wang, G; Wragg, PD; Wright, JP; Yang, LH (2011) Productivity is a poor predictor of plant species richness. Science 333(6050): 1750-1753.

    Coutts, SR; van Klinken, RD; Yokomizo, H; Buckley, YM (2011). What are the key drivers of spread in invasive plants: dispersal, demography of landscape: and how can we use this knowledge to aid management? Biological Invasions 13(7): 1649-1644.

    Firn, J; Moore, JL; MacDougall, AS; Borer, ET; Seabloom, EW; HilleRisLambers, J; Harpole, WS; Cleland, EE; Brown, CS; Knops, JMH; Prober, SM; Pyke, DA; Farrell, KA; Bakker, JD; O’Halloran, LR; Adler, PB; Collins, SL; D’Antonio, CM; Crawley, MJ; Wolkovich, EM; La Pierre, KJ; Melbourne, BA; Hautier, Y; Morgan, JW; Leakey, ADB; Kay, A; McCulley, R; Davies, KF; Stevens, CJ; Chu, C-J; Holl, KD; Klein, JA; Fay, PA; Hagenah, N; Kirkman, KP; Buckley, YM (2011). Abundance of introduced species at home predicts abundance away in herbaceous communities. Ecology Letters 14(3): 274-281.

    Buckley, YM; Ramula, S; Blomberg, SP; Burns, JH; Crone, EE; Ehrlén, J; Knight, TM; Pichancourt, J-B; Quested, H; Wardle, GM (2010). Causes and consequences of variation in plant population growth rate: a synthesis of matrix population models in a phylogenetic context. Ecology Letters 13 (9): 1182-1197.