Who? What? Where? Why? How?

An exclosure plot showing effects of rabbit grazing on Macquarie Island.

An exclosure plot showing effects of rabbit grazing on Macquarie Island.

I’m a postgrad student at the University of Tasmania, studying plant ecology in alpine and Subantarctic environments. My studies focus on Macquarie Island, half way between Australia and Antarctica. (More about me here).

Why travel for days across the notorious Southern Ocean to then tramp around a soggy, windy and cold island looking at herbs and grasses? Well, ‘Macca’ is one of the wildest places on Earth – and is becoming increasingly wild as the ecosystem rebounds following the eradication of pest animals such as cats and rabbits – making it an ideal natural laboratory for studying ecosystem recovery and climate change impacts.

My other study sites are not so far south: alpine vegetation on the peaks of southern Tasmania. Evidently I like cold, windy, damp places. Or at least the plants which inhabit such places.

How to study vegetation change in these remote and wild environments? Read on…