My research interests are in plant-animal interactions, plant ecology and systematics, and conservation biology, and my research program combines systematic, ecological and population genetic approaches. Dr. Duncan Mackay and I jointly supervise a lab focusing on the study of plants, insects and their interactions.
I am particularly interested in the ecological and behavioural aspects of plant-animal mutualisms such as pollination and seed dispersal, the evolutionary dynamics of these relationships, and their conservation biology.
My interests in this area include the biology and management of both rare plants and weedy plants, the conservation of soil seed banks (particularly in relation to fire and grazing impacts), the reproductive ecology of weedy plant species and their impacts on native plant communities, and the effects of fragmentation, urbanization and climate change on plant-animal interactions.
Systematics, evolution and ecology of the Australian flora
I am also interested in the systematics and evolution of the Australian flora. I have recently been involved in a collaborative project on the systematics of exotic Rubus species in Australia and we are currently investigating the ecology and population biology of weedy blackberry species in South Australia. Another group in which I have a particular interest is the halophytic plant family Frankeniaceae which occurs in Mediterranean and dry climatic regions in habitats ranging from coastal salt marshes to saline and gypseous habitats in desert regions. My interest in the Frankeniaceae is part of a broader interest in the ecology and conservation of wetland and halophytic communities, including salt marsh and mangrove communities, and the evolution of halophytic and wetland plant groups.