Ecology in Australia and elsewhere

It’s All About the Plants
Tuesday, 8 Sep. 2015, 10:00–12:00
Goodman Building Lecture Theatre,
adjacent to the State Herbarium of South Australia
Adelaide Botanic Garden, Hackney Road

by José Facelli
Ecology & Environmental Science, The University of Adelaide

The traditional view of ecologists is that vegetation is determined by the environment. However, there is strong evidence that individual plants can actually modify the local environment and that these modifications can have profound effects on the rest of the plant community and on ecosystem function. Importantly plants introduce spatial heterogeneity into the environment, which in turn helps to maintain diversity by creating patches that favour different species.

Almost without noticing I have been addressing these issues for over 20 years. I welcome this opportunity to bring together and share research done by myself and other members of my laboratory. I will show how living (and dead!) plants can drive ecological processes, and the importance of this for management, conservation and restoration of native vegetation.

Associate Professor José (Jope) Facelli studied Agricultural Sciences at the University of Buenos Aires, but soon become bored of crops and interested in natural ecosystems. This lead to research on the effects of grazing in Patagonia and in the Pampas. He eventually completed a PhD (Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey) on the effects of leaf litter on successional processes. In 1992 he moved to Adelaide where he established the Terrestrial Plant Ecology Lab. Currently the research in this laboratory includes topics as diverse as the role of soil microbes in plant invasions, the effects of fire on populations of orchids and their pollinators, and the interactions between plant parasites and their hosts.

All Herbarium staff, honoraries, volunteers, students and guests welcome. Morning tea provided.