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CRC for Forestry > Newsletters > Biodiversity: BioBuzz > Issue fourteen (May 2011)

Biobuzz 14 (May 2011)

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Issue fourteen - May 2011 e-newsletter
BioBuzz - Biodiversity news

Hot Spot

Genome-wide markers provide mul­ti-purpose data for Euca­lyptus studies

Two research papers were published recently reporting the development and testing of a set of ­genome-wide markers for Eucalyptus. The Diversity Arrays Technology (DArT) markers were designed primarily for use in genetic linkage mapping and association studies, but they are also proving to be a powerful tool for studies of population genetics.  [read more]

What's On

CRC scientist wins Fulbright scholarship

­Dr Natasha Wiggins, an expert on animal physiology and herbivory, was recently awarded a Fulbright scholarship to study for twelve months at Boise State University, Idaho, and Washington State University, USA.   [read more


Forest Restoration Conference, September 2011

A symposium on the latest advances in the technical and theoretical aspects of forest restoration will be hosted by IUFRO in Madrid, Spain, on 27-29 September 2011. The conference will cover strategies for: ecosystem restoration; predicting field performance using ecophysiological indicators; producing plant material that will resist environmental stresses; and preparing a site for best restoration outcomes.  [read more]

Deadwood and dying trees: a matter of life and diversity

Dr Simon Grove and Dr Martin Moroni will be presenting results from a decade of research on coarse woody debris at the ‘International Symposium on Dynamics and Ecological Services of Deadwood in Forest Ecosystems’, to be held in Quebec in May.  [read more]

Genetics and silviculture meeting in Brazil

Brazil is a world leader in plantation eucalypt forestry, so where better to hold a meeting to discuss "... silvicultural and genetic strategies to minimize Eucalyptus environmental stresses: from research to practice"?  Prof Brad Potts has been invited to give one of the plenary talks in the session on "Genetics of Eucalyptus" and will present "Advances in eucalypt genetics: From genes to ecosystems". [visit conference website]

Disturbance dynamics in boreal forests

The 7th international conference on Disturbance Dynamics in Boreal Forests will be held in the city of Saguenay, Quebec, Canada from May 29 to June 3, 2011.  The theme this year is "Managing the boreal forests to emulate natural disturbance: utopia or reality?"  While eucalypt forests might not be strictly "boreal", the research undertaken in Tasmania on aggregated retention is certainly relevant.  Steve Read (Forestry Tasmania) will be presenting this research in a talk entitled "Silviculture guided by natural disturbance: variable retention in wet eucalypt forests" [read abstract].  To find out more, visit the conference website.

Strong representation of CRC at International Botanical Congress

The International Botanical Congress, held once every four years, will be held in Melbourne in July 2011.  The CRC will be represented by Prof Brad Potts, Assoc Prof Rene Vaillancourt, Dr Julianne O'Reilly-Wapstra, Dr Dorothy Steane, Ms Christina Borzak (all from UTAS) and Dr Merv Shepherd (SCU).  The delegation will be involved in organising and chairing symposia as well as presenting talks and posters.  [read more]

What's Been On

Eucalyptus studies contribute to foundation species conference

Prof Brad Potts was invited to contribute to a conference on “The genetics of foundation species as drivers of ecological processes” that was held in February 2011 in Flagstaff, Arizona. Brad presented results of community genetics studies involving Eucalyptus globulus, a tree that is gaining a reputation as a model species for this type of research in the southern hemisphere. [read more]

CRC scientists attend STBA technical advisory meeting

The annual technical advisory meeting of the Southern Tree Breeding Association was held in Melbourne on 8-10th March 2011.  The CRC was represented at the meeting by Brad Potts, Matthew Hamilton and PhD student David Blackburn, all of whom presented talks. Matthew presented a research update on work being undertaken on Mycosphearella genetics in subproject 4.2.10 and David overviewed his PhD research being undertaken in research program 2.  Brad presented talks on quantitative genetics of Eucalyptus globulus, the status of the myrtle rust in Australia (click here for more information) and also provided an update on progress with the development of the CRC for Forestry application for extension (see prospectus).

Native grassland management field excursion

Native grassland is embedded amongst eucalypt forests in many production landscapes in Tasmania and active management is often required to maintain biodiversity values.  Gunns Ltd, the Tasmanian Land Conservancy and the Cradle Coast Natural Resource Management hosted a two-day field visit on the 14th and 15th December 2010 that addressed issues of montane native grassland and moorland conservation and management in north-west Tasmania.  [read more­]

­Tree hollow management and Tasmanian micro-bat field event

In March 2011 the Forest Practices Authority (FPA, Tasmania) ran an evening on tree hollow identification and management that included an introduction to Tasmanian bat species.  Sarah Munks (FPA) reports. [read more]

Odd Spot

Giant eucalypts found in ... EUROPE!

Dr Dean Nicolle, the director of Currency Creek Arboretum - home to the largest and most comprehensive Eucalyptus collection in the world - recently went on a tour of Europe in search of giant trees.  While not quite as big as The Centurion, Dean did come across some very respectable specimens.   [read more]

Subproject 4.2.1 Biodiversity benefits of alternatives to clearfelling

ARN research continues

Subproject 4.2.1 - dedicated to assessing aggregated retention (ARN) as an alternative to clearfelling - is winding up, with just two PhD students working hard to complete their theses.  The research, however, is set to continue in the form of an ARC Linkage Grant at UTAS.  Dr Sue Baker (who recently returned to Hobart from a year-long fellowship at the World Forestry Institute, USA) will work with Dr Greg Jordan and other scientists from UTAS and Forestry Tasmania on "Managing variable retention harvesting to maintain forest biodiversity - effect of forest influence and successional stage on recolonisation". Click here for more information.

Subproject 4.2.2 Biodiversity outcomes from plantation expansion into agricultural and native forest landscapes

Forest health, tree decline and remnant restoration

Research on remnant eucalypt forests over the past five years has yielded much useful information that has been incorporated into tools and recommendations for management of remnant eucalypt populations.  Neil Davidson (UTAS) provides an overview of his team's results into tree decline, forest health and remnant restoration.  [read more]

Student update

The end of the CRC is approaching and our post-graduate students are cruising to their finish lines - final measurements and analyses, paper writing, thesis production ... it's a veritable hive of activity out there!  [read more]

Subproject 4.2.3 Biodiversity value of coarse woody debris

Fungal community research attracts global attention

A PhD thesis by Dr Genevieve Gates is receiving extraordinary amounts of attention on the UTAS eprints website.  Her research addressed many aspects - diversity, ecology, phenology and sustainable management - of macrofungal assemblages found on coarse woody debris in Tasmania's southern forests.   [read more]


­DELTA describes debris dynamics

The CWD team is producing publications at a rate of knots. Nearing completion is a paper that describes DELTA - Dynamics of Eucalypt Logs in Temperate Australia.  [read more]

Subproject 4.2.5 Management of forest species of high conservation signficance, including threatened species

Did someone call the ghostbusters?  No ... it's the bat team!

If you were in Tasmania's south-east this summer you might have passed a group of people, led by UTAS PhD student, Lisa Cawthen, holding strange looking antennae and electronic gadgetry, wandering down roads, over hills and finally disappearing into treefern-filled gullies. These people weren't hunting for ghosts or aliens, but for bats and their day-time roosts.  [read more]

Owl calls are not just idle chatter

Mick Todd, has been analysing recordings of the Tasmanian Masked Owl as part of his doctoral studies at UTAS.  He has found that there are several types of calls - screech, continuous screech and chatter calls - that vary with age, sex and ... the weather!  [read more]

Student update

Click here for a brief overview of student activities in subproject 4.2.5.

Subproject 4.2.6 Management of the risk of gene flow from eucalypt plantations

Hybrid vigour key to assessing risk of gene flow from exotic plantations

The risk of gene flow from exotic eucalypt plantations into wild eucalypt populations depends on a number of factors including the movement of pollen in the landscape, the likelihood of hybridisation between two species and the likelihood of hybrid establishment in the wild.  A fourth factor that is being monitored is the relative fitness of hybrids in the wild compared to the native species.  Matt Larcombe reports.­ [read more]

Spotting the spotted gum hybrids

As part of her studies on the genetics of flowering phenology and gene flow in Corymbia, Myralyn Abasolo, a PhD candidate at SCU, is developing a range of methodologies for hybrid identification. [read more]

Related references

Click here to view a list of references relating to the management of the risk of gene flow from eucalypt plantations.

Student update

The students affiliated with subproject 4.2.6 are in the middle of their post-graduate studies, so field work, lab work and data collection are in full swing.  [read more]

Subproject 4.2.7 Management of genetic resources

Using genetics to plan for native carbon plantings

Archana Gauli, a CRC-affiliated PhD student at UTAS, is studying the quantitative and molecular genetics of cabbage gum (Eucalyptus pauciflora) to identify important genetic and environmental factors that need to be taken into consideration when planting native forests for carbon sequestration.  [read more]


­­Stringy bark population research makes front cover of AJB

In the scientific equivalent to a centrefold, Eucalyptus obliqua has made the front cover of Australian Journal of Botany. UTAS lecturer and photographer, Rob Wiltshire, provided a stunning photograph of an E. obliqua canopy in Tasmania's southern forests to illustrate Justin Bloomfield's article on E. obliqua population structure.  [read more]

Student update

For the latest news on student activity in subproject 4.2.7, click here.

Subproject 4.2.8 Integrated management of browsing mammals

Operational testing of a defensive chemical 'fence'

Operational trials of Eucalyptus nitens (shining gum) deployment stock will be planted in spring to determine whether planting the perimeter of a plantation with genotypes that are relatively high in marsupial-deterring compounds results in an overall decrease in browsing throughout the field trial. [read more]

Genetics study tackles biotic effects of drought

A new CRC-affiliated PhD student at UTAS, Adam McKiernan, will study the effect of drought on the defensive chemistry of Eucalyptus globulus (Tasmanian blue gum) and the consequences for associated biota.  [read more]

Subproject 4.2.9 Lethal trap trees

Seventh heaven for beetles

This summer was perfect for beetles and their entomological mates in Tasmania.  Perfect conditions for a really good final test of the trap trees.  [read more]

Subproject 4.2.10 Improving Mycosphaerella leaf disease resistance in Eucalyptus globulus

Leaf defensive chemicals and Mycosphaerella leaf disease

Eucalypts have to put up with attacks from browsing mammals, insects and fungi such as Mycosphaerella leaf disease (MLD).  We know that eucalypts produce nasty chemicals to counter at least some of these attacks ... but do the chemicals produced for one purpose have any effect on the incidence or magnitude of attack from other enemy lines?  Matt Hamilton (UTAS) has been investigating whether there is any relationship between leaf defense chemicals produced to deter marsupial browsers and MLD damage on juvenile foliage. [read more]

The genetic relationship between Mycosphaerella leaf disease and growth

Over the past seven years, blue gum (Eucalyptus globulus) progeny trials have been established in north-western and north-eastern Tasmania to study the genetics of Mycosphaerella leaf disease (MLD).  This valuable resource will produce genetic data for many years to come and it is important that the trials are monitored regularly for growth and health traits.  At present the trials range from just three to seven years old. They were assessed recently for growth. [read more]

Project 4.4 Integrated Pest Management Group (Western Australia and Green Triangle)

For the latest news from IPMG visit the IPMG website.

Related sites

Forest Practices Authority

Applied Environmental Decision Analysis (AEDA) newsletter

Industry Pest Management Group


The editor of BioBuzz is Dr Dorothy Steane. Please contact Dot with any feedback or with your ideas for BioBuzz 15 (December 2011).