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Seminars and events

The Queensland Herbarium hosts free public seminars at the Brisbane Botanic Gardens in Toowong. The seminars are usually held on the second Monday of each month during February to November. Sessions are from noon until 1pm and are located in the FM Bailey conference room in the Herbarium building. Additional seminars may be programmed so please check the schedule on this page frequently. You don’t need to register for any seminar, just turn up on the day.

10 June 2019

How studying spiders can save all life on Earth

Robert Whyte, ToadShow, Author of ‘A Field Guide to the Spiders of Australia’ (CSIRO Publishing).

As our planet faces mass extinctions, we still know very little about spiders. Only 4,000 spiders have been described from an estimated 20,000 Australian species. Although neglected by science, spiders may be key indicators of habitat health.

8 July 2019

The restoration capacity of soil seed banks in abandoned cropping fields of semi-arid landscapes

Peta Zivec, Australian Rivers Institute, Griffith University

The capacity of soil seed banks to restore abandoned cropping lands in semi-arid landscapes is important to regeneration of these areas. This research is providing insight into why there is a lack of regeneration in some areas and what management (seed input, abiotic structural habitat manipulation or appropriate watering requirement) could be required to kick start the regeneration process. Management could have significant implications as the climate changes and water availability becomes more constrained.

12 August 2019

Two talks on problem grasses

Simone-Louise Yasui, Queensland University of Technology and Gabrielle Lebbink, University of Queensland

Simone-Louise Yasui - Assessing the effects of Eragrostis curvula abundance on the soil seed bank.
The introduction of African lovegrass (Eragrostis curvula), has significantly influenced community dynamics of Australian grasslands and threatens the conservation of native Australian plant species. To determine the best practice for managing the ecological impacts African lovegrass has on grassland ecosystems, it is necessary to understand both the above and belowground community effects different management techniques will have.

Gabrielle Lebbink - The influence of exotic grass Bothriochloa pertusa on floristic diversity at multiple spatial scales.
Since its introduction in the 1930s, the exotic grass Indian couch (Bothriochloa pertusa) continues to spread widely throughout north-eastern Australia and is of growing concern for conservation management. The spread of Indian couch may lead to significant declines in floristic diversity at both local and landscape scales. Reasons for the species recent rapid spread are unclear, however heavy livestock grazing and active sowing of seed are undoubtedly associated and thus need to be addressed in order to manage its spread. Research on the species extent is necessary for a comprehensive understanding of its impact on floristic diversity.

9 September 2019

Australian Coastal Wetlands - Sea Level, Peat and Fire

Patrick Moss, University of Queensland

Australia is regarded as the driest inhabited continent in the world and as such many of its wetlands are underappreciated at a global scale. This presentation will focus on the extensive areas of coastal wetlands that are located across eastern Australia, particularly their relevance to global carbon budgets. This presentation will highlight the importance that palaeoecological information can provide about the ecology and management of unique wetland systems.

14 October 2019

Extinction Risk in Novel Communities

John Pandolfi, University of Queensland

Local and global changes cause many ecosystems to be transformed into new configurations through taxonomic turnover and species-abundance changes. This transformation is resulting in what many refer to as ‘novel communities’ - communities with no historical precedence in the ecosystem. But a fundamental gap exists in the comparative analysis of ecosystems as community novelty remains an ill-defined, ill-quantified concept, often lacking a pre-historical context. Here, we develop a robust methodology for the identification of novel communities that allows for investigation of their frequency, causes, and consequences over long temporal scales. We distinguish between instantaneous novelty, in which a community is significantly different from its previous state, and cumulative novelty, in which a community is significantly unprecedented in all previous times. We identify novel communities only when instantaneous and cumulative novelty converge.

11 November 2019

Working together better: changing how we research invasive plant species to assist control efforts

Professor Jennifer Firn, Queensland University of Technology

Globally the prevalence and impact of invasive non-native species is rapidly increasing. While experimentally based research aimed at adequately responding and supporting management is limited in its ability to keep up with this pace, given the complex drivers associated with successful invasion and control strategies. In contrast landholders are in unique positions to witness biodiversity turnover in grasslands, adapt management practices in response, and learn from successes and failures. This local knowledge could be crucial for identifying feasible solutions to land degradation, and ecological restoration, but local knowledge is rarely explicitly embedded in ecological research.