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Ecohydrological equilibrium theory and Banksia woodland vegetation

Rebecca Thomas began her PhD at Edith Cowan University in March 2010 on a project that will encompass some key aspects of the Eneabba Climate Change Project. Rebecca received first class Honours in 2009 and has been awarded an Australian Postgraduate Award at ECU. Her Honours research was aimed at applying ecohydrological equilibrium theory to Banksia woodland vegetation. Rebecca was successful in identifying community and species level structural relationships with hydrological gradients at the local scale. Her research will extend this work to assess intraspecific variation in ecohydrological habitat requirements at the biogeographical as well as local scales. The Eneabba project study site represents the drier end of the ecohydrological range of Banksia attenuata and already has the necessary instrumentation to provide a detailed account of plant interaction with available water sources. Other (wetter) study sites within the range of B. attenuata (and possibly other more mesophytic species of Banksia) will be contrasted with the Eneabba population to quantify the functional, ecohydrological habitat range for the species. The impact of prospective climate change on the Eneabba ecohydrological habitat of each study species will be represented by the spatial and temporal shift in available water and plant functional response. Structural aspects of site vegetation (physiognomy, LAI, cover, sapwood area) will also be related to ecohydrological habitat in a bid to model long-term vegetation response to altered water availability.

Rebecca will be supervised by Associate Professor Ray Froend, with co-supervision and advice from other collaborators on the Eneabba project, Dr Collin Yates (DEC), Professor Neal Enright, Professor Keith Smettem (UWA) and others external to the project, Professor Derek Eamus (UTS) and Dr Dimity Boggs (ECU).


Researchers

Researcher – Rebecca Thomas
Supervisor – Professor Ray Froend
Co-supervisor – Department of Environment and Conservation (WA), Dr Colin Yates
Co-supervisor – The University of Western Australia, Professor Neal Enright
Co-supervisor – The Unviersity of Western Australia, Professor Keith Smettem
University of Technology, Sydney, Professor Derek Eamus
Dr Dimity Boggs

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