Dr Joe Greet, Postdoctoral fellow

joegreet crop

Joe is a riparian plant ecologist working on a project with Chris Walsh and me that aims to restore Eucalyptus camphora swamp forest at Yellingbo. Funded through an ARC Linkage with partners Parks Victoria, Greening Australia, Melbourne Water and Zoos Victoria, we aim to quantify the interactive effects of flood regime restoration, native vegetation plantings, and removal of understorey vegetation in restoring degraded wetland forests. Email: greet[at]

Dr Elizabeth Wandrag, Postdoctoral fellow
lizzie wandrag

Lizzie is working with Richard Duncan and me on our ARC Discovery Project that aims to predict the causes and consequences of plant invasions. Email: elizabeth.wandrag[at]

Current students

Estíbaliz Palma, PhD studentEsti 1_photo

Esti is exploring the relationship between species invasiveness and ecosystem invasibility. [Primary supervisor: Catford; Co-supervisor: A/Prof. Peter Vesk]. Email: epalma[at]

Abigail Mabey, PhD studentabbie mabey may 2018

Abbie is identifying characteristics that enable species to become invasive across aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems, with a particular focus on plants and red seaweed. [Primary supervisor: Catford; Co-supervisors: Dr Marc Rius, Dr Dan Smale]. Email: A.L.Mabey[at]

Angela Bartlett, PhD student

Angela BartlettAngela is researching the impact of rates of introduction, and introduction bias, on the richness and composition of alien plant and vertebrate species assemblages. Her research will use theory and empirical data to investigate and develop predictive models to identify (1) which species are likely to become invasive and (2) geographic locations vulnerable to invasion under different future scenarios to inform biosecurity measures. [Primary supervisor: Catford; Co-Supervisor: Prof. Tim Blackburn (UCL)] Email: angela.bartlett[at]

Sarah Fischer, PhD student

euc camphoraSarah is using field experiments to understand drivers of regeneration in riparian trees. Working in Yellingbo Nature Consideration Park, Sarah is contributing to our larger ARC Linkage grant, which aims to restore swamp forest used by Leadbeater’s possum and Helmeted honeyeaters, with of which are critically endangered. [Primary supervisor: Dr Joe Greet; Co-supervisors: A/Prof. Chris Walsh and Catford]. Email: fischers[at]

Decky Junaedi, PhD student

photo-2014_edDecky’s project examines the influence of traits on the abundance of invasive plant species in mountainous tropical rainforest ecosystems. He is interested in using knowledge of plant traits to inform invasive plant risk assessments of exotic flora for use in Botanic Gardens. [Primary supervisor: Prof. Mark Burgman; Co-supervisors: Prof. Mick McCarthy and Catford]. Email: d.junaedi[at]

Stefanie Kaupa, PhD student


Stefanie is researching the impacts of agricultural land abandonment on hydrology
in the mountain environments of Nepal and Colombia. Land abandonment processes often include the introduction or expansion of invasive species, which can affect water yield and timing differently than native vegetation. Her research will use low cost environmental sensors to look at infiltration dynamics & preferential flow, evaporative differences and stream discharge across different stages of agricultural land abandonment. [Primary supervisor: Dr Mark Mulligan; Co-supervisors: Jane Catford, Sampurno Bruijnzeel] Email: stefanie.kaupa[at]

Shana Nerenberg, PhD StudentShana Nerenberg

Shana is working in the south west slopes long term restoration study. Her project investigates plant diversity of farmland revegetation sites with the aim of identifying effects of landscape context on restoration of plant diversity. [Primary supervisor: Dr Phil Gibbons; Co-supervisors: Dr Sue McIntyre, Prof. David Lindenmayer and Catford]. Email: shana.nerenberg[at]

Andrew O’Reilly-Nugent, PhD studentOReilly-Nugent

Andrew is using modern coexistence theory to unde
rstand biological invasions using a series of greenhouse and field experiments. [Primary supervisor: Prof. Richard Duncan; Co-supervisors: Dr Elizabeth Wandrag and Catford]. Email: Andrew.Oreillynugent[at]

Harry Shepherd, PhD student
harry shepherd

Harry is examining the potential for plant-soil interaction to enhance ecosystem restoration. [Primary supervisor: Dr Bjorn Robroek & Catford; Co-supervisors: Dr Rob Griffiths]. Email: H.E.R.Shepherd[at]

Saras Windecker, PhD student

photoSaras is studying plant community assembly and its influence on wetland ecosystem function. [Primary supervisor: A/Prof. Peter Vesk; Co-supervisors: Dr Peter Macreadie and Catford]. Email: windeckers[at]

Potential students 

I welcome interested undergraduate and postgraduate students to contact me about potential projects. I have a number of ideas regarding student projects, but welcome – and encourage – other ideas. Please get in touch if you’d like to chat (j.a.catford[at]

Former lab members

Dr Nicki Munro, Postdoctoral fellow (2013-2015)nicki munro

Nicki is working with Cindy Hauser, Brendan Wintle and me on a project that aims to develop and test a process-based model of invasion. Nicki brings a wealth of experience to the project, which will be invaluable as we build, test and apply our model. Email: nicola.munro[at]

Dr Annabel Smith, Postdoctoral fellow (2015-2016)

annabel smithAnnabel is working with me and folk from Minnesota on a project examining trait-based interactions between invading plants and resident species in a Minnesotan prairie. Using a bunch of traits for over 200 species, we’re examining how the (relative) functional characteristics of 50 seeded species affect their invasion success and impact over a 20 year period. Email: annabel[at]

Dr David Johnson, PhD (2013-2018), Australian National University

DJ Fieldwork (7) - Copy
David used field surveys and experiments to increase understanding of ways to restore forbs in modified woodlands. [Primary supervisor: Dr Phil Gibbons; Co-supervisors: Prof. Don Driscoll and Catford]. Email: david.johnson[at]

Dr Samantha Dawson, PhD (2012-2016), University of New South Wales profile_pic_SD[1] - Copy

Sam’s PhD project focused on the impacts of flooding and agriculture on vegetation in the Macquarie Marshes, NSW. [Primary supervisor: Prof. Richard Kingsford; Co-supervisors: Prof. David Keith, Dr Peter Berney and me]. Email: samantha.k.dawson[at]

Maggie Gardner, summer student (2013)

Maggie is studying Environmental Biology at Washington University in St. Louis, USA and spent six months in Australia at the School of International Training in 2013. As part of her “Australian adventure”, she spent five weeks working with me on a research project that focused on biological invasions at global- and local- scales. The former involved big, exciting data; the latter involved long, exciting days in the field.

Estíbaliz Palma, visiting PhD student (2011-2012)

A PhD student at the University of Barcelona, Esti came to Melbourne for 6 months at the end of 2011 where she worked with Peter Vesk, Matt White (DSE ARI) and me. Interested in the link between species invasiveness and ecosystem invasibility, Esti used boosted regression trees and hierarchical modelling to examine how species traits modulate their responses to the environment. She presented the outcome of this work at the Neobiota 2012 conference in Spain.

Mike Sammonds, summer student (2009-2010)

Supported by the National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility – Water Resources and Freshwater Biodiversity, Mike used boosted regression trees to examine the relative importance of climatic conditions (vs other environmental factors) for the distribution of riparian plant species in south-eastern Australia. Based on these relationships and climate change projections, he then predicted which species were likely to have larger or smaller geographic range sizes in the future.  Mike is now working as a research assistant in the Department of Resource Management and Geography at the University of Melbourne.

Lauren Furmidge, MRes student (2018)

Lauren is examining effectiveness and impacts of radio tracking common lizards. She is doing an MRes in Wildlife Conservation, a joint program offered by the University of Southampton and Marwell Wildlife.

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