Stephanie is a post graduate student in the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies. Her research interests are diverse – but generally related to conservation planning questions for freshwaters and the freshwater/marine interface. She has recently been working on questions related to the classification of stream ecosystems. Taking the work a step further she has started to compare the informativeness and predictive strength of classification methods to continuous methods (e.g. MARS COMM). In addition to the work for her PhD thesis, she and Piero Visconti have been developing a method, presented here, to identify management priorities for aquatic invasive plant management in northern Australia. The work she is presenting in this seminar has been conducted one-on-one with Cassowary Coast Regional Council (Tully, Queensland) and is set to undergo a second round of funding to refine model parameters and develop implementation strategies to put the modelled priorities in action on-ground.
Aquatic invasive plants (AIP) are considered a leading cause of species endangerment and extinction in freshwater ecosystems worldwide. This is particularly true in ecosystems where plant dormancy and seasonal dieback are limited. In tropical northern Australia over fifty percent of the weeds of national concern impact aquatic ecosystems and supported biodiversity. While numerous resources exist to identify wetland values and threats, there remains an identified need for prioritization methods that can deliver effective and sustained management. We have developed a method to identify management priorities, across space and time, to reduce infestation densities of hymenachne (Hymenachne amplexicaulis), one of Australia’s most invasive AIPs. The species is known to have a high rate of spread and severe economic and environmental impacts across northeastern Australia. The work we present complements a larger cross-regional strategy aimed at reducing hymenachne and other AIP infestations in northern Australia. Our objective was minimize hymenachne infestation and management cost under the consideration of funding limitations, management costs, and an account for time dependent connectivity affects on invasion and re-invasion between planning units. Our results not only indicate priorities for resource allocation, but inform managers of gaps in data that could lead to more informed decision making in the future. The novelty of this work is the spatially explicit and time dependent account of management actions that allows for direct adaptation to on-ground decision making and management under constantly changing conditions.