Flow-MER Fridays – Autumn 2023

Our Flow-MER Fridays line-up this Autumn included:

  • Condition, resilience and non-woody vegetation – Cherie Campbell
  • Social and environmental challenges of scale in monitoring and evaluation – Prof Ross Thompson
  • Oh, what a tangled web we weave: understanding the role of flows for food webs – Dr Paul McInerney and James Hitchcock

All session recordings can be found below. Please enjoy and subscribe to Flow-MER updates for the next series.

Session 1 – 3rd March 2023

Condition, resilience and non-woody vegetation

As a vegetation ecologist, Cherie is interested in the maintenance and recovery of wetland and floodplain vegetation in river-floodplain ecosystems. Her PhD research with the University of Canberra, under the supervision of Fiona Dyer, Ross Thompson and Sam Capon, aims to rethink the way condition is used to envisage and evaluate non-woody vegetation responses to environmental flows.

Cherie Campbell

Cherie is a member of the Flow-MER vegetation evaluation team and has been involved in monitoring and evaluating patterns in vegetation responses through programs such as The Living Murray and Long-Term Intervention Monitoring. Cherie lives in Mildura near the junction of the Millewa and Barka – the Murray and Darling Rivers – and appreciates the significant role rivers have in river-floodplain communities.

Session 2 – 10th March 2023

Social and environmental challenges of scale in monitoring and evaluation

Large scale environmental monitoring and evaluation programs are increasingly common globally. As the scale of management and restoration increases a range of issues arise including cross-jurisdictional management, determining and enacting engagement at different scales and extrapolating outcomes. In large European rivers these have been approached in a range of ways, and the highlights of those programs will be extracted and compared to the approach taken in the Murray Darling Basin.

Prof Ross Thompson

Ross Thompson is a freshwater ecologist, interested in the study of aquatic biodiversity, ecosystem function and food web ecology. Ross is the director of the Centre for Applied Water Science, University of Canberra.

Session 3 – 17th March 2023

Oh, what a tangled web we weave: understanding the role of flows for Food webs

Understanding energy flow through ecosystems is critical for understanding patterns of biodiversity and ecosystem function. Alteration of riverine flows can modify the structure and function of ecosystems, changing the availability and quality of food for animals. Research carried out within the Environmental Water Knowledge and Research (EWKR) and Flow MER food web themes has sought to improve our understanding of the complex relationship between hydrology and aquatic Food webs. In this session Paul will highlight some of the research that has arisen from the EWKR and other MDB projects that set the scene for research in Flow MER. James will provide an overview of a Basin-scale food web simulator that integrates knowledge of Basin Food webs with long-term monitoring data to provide estimates of the contribution that environmental water is making to the Biomass of key taxa groups. We will touch on recent research that helps us understand what is happening in the food web during large floods and directions for future work.

Simplified aquatic food web
Simplified aquatic food web

Dr Paul McInerney

Paul’s research focus areas include Food webs, how energy flow in ecosystems may be changed by both biotic and abiotic disturbance, or by man-made intervention, and how invasive species alter the structure and function within freshwater ecosystems. He is also interested in the responses of Basal resources to altered ecosystem conditions, and how this influences Food webs.

James Hitchcock

James is an aquatic ecologist and post-doctoral research fellow at the University of Canberra. His research focuses on Food webs, water quality, and ecosystem productivity. He is interested in understanding how human activity is disrupting aquatic Food webs and assessing potential management interventions.


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