Many plants, and trees in particular, have been standing where they are today for 100s and even 1000s of years. How have they been able to cope with the changing conditions over such a long time? Will this intrinsic ability to stay put and cope with changing conditions help them survive the rapid and human-induced climate change of today?
Six major biodiversity hotspots have been identified across South Australia, including Western Kangaroo Island, Southern Mount Lofty Ranges, Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara lands, Southern Flinders Ranges, Southern Eyre Peninsula and the Lower South East. However each of these areas is also currently under threat from a combination of habitat fragmentation, invasive species, altered fire regimes and climate change.
Details of recent research outputs from my group at the University of Adelaide can be found on our website: www.lowelabgroup.com.au
A couple of ‘ResearchByte’ articles, recently released, detail a review paper on plant adaptation to climate change, published in Conservation Genetics, and a research paper on identifying centres of plant biodiversity in South Australia, published in PLoS ONE, and can be found here.
Also, you may have seen recent media coverage of my group’s involvement in a legal trial in the US, where four men have pleaded guilty to theft and environmental crimes under the Lacey act. My group were involved in providing the genetic fingerprinting evidence that demonstrated that a batch of big leaf maple (Acer macrophyllum), sold to guitar companies, had been illegally logged from a protected stand. Check out more details here.
As well as the website, you can follow my group’s scientific undertakings through our Facebook page
The following is an open letter initiated by Dr Andrew Glikson, signed by Australian environmental and climate scientists and as published in The Conversation.
We the undersigned are concerned that the Australian Government’s 2015 Intergenerational Report underestimates the serious threat of global warming to future generations.
Australia’s waterside cities are under threat from rising sea levels unless more is done to stop CO2 emissions (Michael Dawes)
The Anthropocene, the geological epoch when humans have had an overriding influence on the earth and its atmosphere, is a step closer to being formally recognised as a geological period – and apparently it all started in 1610!
What turns an inconspicuous plant into an economically and ecologically damaging alien invader? Or to paraphrase this blog title – why does the Kraken awake? The answer is not simple. Several hypotheses exist, including lack of natural predators in the introduced range (the enemy release or habituation hypotheses).
However alien invaders often take time to become problematic. This lag phase, when plants may be called sleeper weeds, indicates that invaders may be adapting to their new environments. But recent research finds that multiple introductions of invaders during this phase can create a new breed of super weed.