About

I study how human activities impact tropical rainforest plant and wildlife communities.  I am especially interested in how vulnerable wildlife and plant species are affected by major land-use and climate change.  My work spans much of the tropical world, including the Amazon and tropical Australia.

I have maintained a long-term involvement at the Biological Dynamics of Forest Fragments Project in Brazil, which is the largest, longest-running experimental study into how human land-use impacts rainforest communities. This dataset has also contributed significantly to our current understanding of forest dynamics, floristic diversity and carbon stock and pulses in tropical rainforests.  

In Australia, I have developed an extensive research program that continues my work in global change and tropical forests at the Daintree Rainforest Observatory (DRO), where we have initiated an ambitious experiment to induce an artificial drought in order to study its effects on rainforest biodiversity.  My other research programs include understanding the biotic and abiotic drivers of secondary forest composition and carbon sequestration, and how fragmentation and human land-use influences disease vectors. I am the lead investigator on >$2 million in research grants and have authored/coauthored more than 130 peer-reviewed research articles. 

You can see the Daintree Drought Experiment on JCU’s Youtube channel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m5386WYkyWwhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xtFDZ_LNn00. See researchers from my lab Dr David Tng and Dr Deborah Apgaua:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QCa9WfSQXGk

Teaching
  • BZ2490: Toolkit for the Field Biologist (Level 2; CNS & TSV)
  • BZ2725: Australian Terrestrial Diversity (Level 2; CNS)
  • BZ3230: Ecological Research Methods (Level 3; CNS & TSV)
  • BZ5230: Ecological Research Methods (Level 5; CNS)
  • BZ5925: Australian Terrestrial Diversity (Level 5; CNS)
  • BZ5930: Conservation in a Changing World: Issues and Solutions (Level 5; CNS)
  • BZ5990: Toolkit for the Field Biologist (Level 5; CNS & TSV)
Interests
Research
  • Ecology Conservation Biology Restoration Ecology Climate Change Rainforest Ecology
  • A short youtube video can be seen here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m5386WYkyWw
  • Research Seminar on the Daintree Drought Experiment Can be seen here https://mediasite.jcu.edu.au/Mediasite/Play/67d312078b274f768eaff24df7e02e861d
  • TEDX talk can be seen here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xtFDZ_LNn00
Experience
  • 2010 to 2015 - Tropical Leader, James Cook University (Cairns)
  • 2001 to 2009 - Post-doctoral researcher, STRI (Brazil & Panama)
  • 1996 to 2001 - Herbarium manager, BDFFP (Brazil)
  • 1990 to 1995 - Conservation officer, QNPWS (Cairns)
Research Disciplines
Socio-Economic Objectives
Honours
Awards
  • 2018 to 2023 - European Research Council Advanced Grant 2018, ($2.4 million Euros). Role: collaborator, Lead Investigator: Dr Lourens Poorter
  • 2020 to 2022 - Lead Investigator, ARC Discovery Grant ($395,000) Drought effects and insect attack on rainforests
  • 2014 to 2017 - ARC Future Fellow ($680,000), Global Change: Rainforest responses to experimental drought
  • 2012 to 2015 - Lead Investigator, ARC Discovery Grant ($365,000), Response and vulnerability of tropical rainforest plants to experimental drought
  • 2011 to 2014 - Lead investigator, ARC Linkage Grant ($460,000), Accelerating species and biomass gains in tropical secondary forests
  • 2011 to 2014 - Lead Investigator, NERP/RRRC Grant ($102,000), Land use and disease dynamics across the Torres Straits
Fellowships
  • 2015 to 2050 - Fellow of the Royal Society of Quensland
  • 2007 to 2009 - NSF Post-doctoral Fellow, STRI Panama
  • 2004 to 2006 - Mellon Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow, STRI Panama
  • 2002 to 2004 - NASA LBA Post-doctoral Fellow, INPA Brazil & STRI Panama
Memberships
  • 2020 to 2021 - ERC Expert Panel
  • 2011 to 2019 - Deputy Chair, Scientific Advisory Committee of the Wet Tropics Management Authority, Cairns
  • 2009 to 2016 - Research Associate, Smithsonian Tropical Reseach Institute
  • 1996 to 2016 - Research Associate, Biological Dynamics of Forest Fragments Project, Brazil
  • 2013 to 2015 - President of the Association for Tropical Biology and Conservation (ATBC)
  • 2009 to 2011 - Councilor of the Association for Tropical Biology and Conservation
Publications

These are the most recent publications associated with this author. To see a detailed profile of all publications stored at JCU, visit ResearchOnline@JCU. Hover over Altmetrics badges to see social impact.

Journal Articles
  • Lopes C, Firth C and Laurance S (2024) Occupancy of urban roosts by spectacled flying-foxes (Pteropus conspicillatus) is not affected by diurnal microclimate. Austral Ecology, 49.
  • Binks O, Cernusak L, Liddell M, Bradford M, Coughlin I, Bryant C, Palma A, Hoffmann L, Alam I, Carle H, Rowland L, Oliveira R, Laurance S, Mencuccini M and Meir P (in press) Vapour pressure deficit modulates hydraulic function and structure of tropical rainforests under nonlimiting soil water supply. New Phytologist,
  • Correa D, Stevenson P, Umaña M, Coelho L, Filho D, Salomão R, Leão do Amaral I, Wittmann F, de Almeida Matos F, Castilho C, Phillips O, Guevara J, Carim M, Magnusson W, Sabatier D, Molino J, Irume M, Martins M, da Silva Guimarães J, Banki O, Fernandez Piedade M, Pitman N, Monteagudo Mendoza A, Ramos J, Luize B, Moraes de Leão Novo E, Núñez Vargas P, Silva T, Venticinque E, Manzatto A, Reis N, Terborgh J, Casula K, Honorio Coronado E, Montero J, Schöngart J, López D, Costa F, Quaresma A, Zartman C, Killeen T, Marimon B, Marimon-junior B, Vásquez R, Mostacedo B, Demarchi L, Feldpausch T, Assis R, Baraloto C, Engel J, Petronelli P, Castellanos H, Brilhante de Medeiros M, Simon M, Andrade A, Camargo J, Laurance S, Laurance W, Rincón L, Schietti J, Sousa T, de Sousa Farias E, Lopes M, Magalhães J, Nascimento H, Lima de Queiroz H, Aymard C. G, Brienen R, Cardenas Revilla J, Vieira I, Cintra B, Feitosa Y, Duivenvoorden J, Mogollón H, Araujo-murakami A, Ferreira L, Lozada J, Comiskey J, de Toledo J, Damasco G, Dávila N, Garcia-Villacorta R, Lopes A, Vicentini A, Draper F, Arboleda N, Valverde F, Alonso A, Dallmeier F, Gomes V, Neill D, de Aguiar D, Arroyo L, Carvalho F, de Souza F, do Amaral D, Feeley K, Gribel R, Pansonato M, Barlow J, Berenguer E, Ferreira J, Fine P, Guedes M, Jiménez E, Licona J, Mora M, Villa Zegarra B, Cerón C, Fonty É, Henkel T, Householder J, Maas P, Silveira M, Stropp J, Thomas R, Machado Durgante F, Baker T, Daly D, Huamantupa-Chuquimaco I, Milliken W, Pennington T, Paredes M, Molina P, Fuentes A, Klitgaard B, Peña J, Peres C, Silman M, Tello J, Campelo W, Chave J, Di Fiore A, Hilário R, Phillips J, Rivas-Torres G, Van Andel T, von Hildebrand P, de Oliveira Pereira L, Barbosa E, Barbosa F, de Matos Bonates L, de Sá Carpanedo R, Doza H, Gomez R, Gonzales T, Gonzales G, Hoffman B, Junqueira A, Malhi Y, de Andrade Miranda I, Pinto L, Prieto A, de Jesus Rodrigues D, Rudas A, Ruschell A, Silva N, Vela C, Vos V, Zent S, Zent E, Noronha J, Albuquerque B, Cano A, Márquez Y, Costa J, Flores B, Galbraith D, Holmgren M, Kalamandeen M, Nascimento M, Oliveira A, Ramírez-angulo H, Rocha M, Scudeller V, Sierra R, Tirado M, Van Der Heijden G, Torre E, Vriesendorp C, Pombo M, Reategui M, Baider C, Balslev H, Cárdenas S, Casas L, Farfan-Rios W, Ferreira C, Linares-Palomino R, Mendoza C, Mesones I, Torres-lezama A, Giraldo L, Villarroel D, Zagt R, Parada G, Alexiades M, de Oliveira E, Garcia-Cabrera K, Hernandez L, Cuenca W, Pansini S, Pauletto D, Arevalo F, Sampaio A, Valderrama Sandoval E, Gamarra L and Ter Steege H (2023) Geographic patterns of tree dispersal modes in Amazonia and their ecological correlates. Global Ecology and Biogeography, 32 (1). pp. 49-69
  • de Lima R, Görgens E, da Silva D, de Oliveira C, Batista A, Caraciolo Ferreira R, Costa F, Ferreira de Lima R, da Silva Aparício P, de Abreu J, da Silva J, Guimaraes A, Fearnside P, Sousa T, Perdiz R, Higuchi N, Berenguer E, Resende A, Elias F, de Castilho C, de Medeiros M, de Matos Filho J, Sardinha M, Freitas M, da Silva J, da Cunha A, Santos R, Muelbert A, Guedes M, Imbrózio R, de Sousa C, da Silva Aparício W, da Silva e Silva B, Silva C, Marimon B, Marimon Junior B, Morandi P, Storck-Tonon D, Vieira I, Schietti J, Coelho F, Alves de Almeida D, Castro W, Carvalho S, da Silva R, Silveira J, Camargo J, Melgaço K, de Freitas L, Vedovato L, Benchimol M, de Oliveira de Almeida G, Prance G, da Silveira A, Simon M, Garcia M, Silveira M, Vital M, Andrade M, Silva N, de Araújo R, Cavalheiro L, Carpanedo R, Fernandes L, Manzatto A, de Andrade R, Magnusson W, Laurance B, Nelson B, Peres C, Daly D, Rodrigues D, Zopeletto A, De Oliveira E, Dugachard E, Barbosa F, Santana F, Do Amaral I, Ferreira L, Charão L, Ferreira J, Barlow J, Blanc L, Aragão L, Sist P, de Paiva Salomão R, da Silva A, Laurance S, Feldpausch T, Gardner T, Santiago W, Balee W, Laurance W, Malhi Y and Phillips O (2023) Giants of the Amazon: How does environmental variation drive the diversity patterns of large trees? Global Change Biology, 29 (17). pp. 4861-4879
  • Engert J and Laurance S (2023) Economics and optics influence funding for ecological restoration in a nation-wide program. Environmental Research Letters, 18 (5).
  • Nunes M, Vaz M, Camargo J, Laurance W, de Andrade A, Vicentini A, Laurance S, Raumonen P, Jackson T, Zuquim G, Wu J, Peñuelas J, Chave J and Maeda E (2023) Edge effects on tree architecture exacerbate biomass loss of fragmented Amazonian forests. Nature Communications, 14 (1).
  • Oliveira Vogado N, Laurance S, Liddell M, Engert J, Wurster C, Schiffer M, Thompson A, Nichols C and Cernusak L (2023) Assessing the effects of a drought experiment on the reproductive phenology and ecophysiology of a wet tropical rainforest community. Conservation Physiology, 11 (1).
  • Ortiz A, Marinace H, Fisk J, Hankenson L, Pacheco A, Goodman H, Potts E, Laurance S, Bischoff E, Holman V, Love S, Tng D and Apgaua D (2023) Shoot flammability differences between forest and savanna trees are driven by leaf dry matter content. Flora, 307.
  • Peripato V, Levis C, Moreira G, Gamerman D, Ter Steege H, Pitman N, de Souza J, Iriarte J, Robinson M, Junqueira A, Trindade T, de Almeida F, Moraes C, Lombardo U, Tamanaha E, Maezumi S, Ometto J, Braga J, Campanharo W, Cassol H, Leal P, de Assis M, da Silva A, Phillips O, Costa F, Flores B, Hoffman B, Henkel T, Umaña M, Magnusson W, Valderrama Sandoval E, Barlow J, Milliken W, Lopes M, Simon M, van Andel T, Laurance S, Laurance W, Torres-Lezama A, Assis R, Molino J, Mestre M, Hamblin M, Coelho L, Lima Filho D, Wittmann F, Salomão R, Amaral I, Guevara J, de Almeida Matos F, Castilho C, Carim M, Cárdenas López D, Sabatier D, Irume M, Martins M, Guimarães J, Bánki O, Piedade M, Ramos J, Luize B, Novo E, Núñez Vargas P, Silva T, Venticinque E, Manzatto A, Reis N, Terborgh J, Casula K, Demarchi L, Honorio Coronado E, Monteagudo Mendoza A, Montero J, Schöngart J, Feldpausch T, Quaresma A, Aymard C. G, Baraloto C, Castaño Arboleda N, Engel J, Petronelli P, Zartman C, Killeen T, Marimon B, Marimon-Junior B, Schietti J, Sousa T, Vasquez R, Rincón L, Berenguer E, Ferreira J, Mostacedo B, do Amaral D, Castellanos H, de Medeiros M, Andrade A, Camargo J, Farias E, Magalhães J, Mendonça Nascimento H, de Queiroz H, Brienen R, Cardenas Revilla J, Stevenson P, Araujo-Murakami A, Barçante Ladvocat Cintra B, Feitosa Y, Barbosa F, Carpanedo R, Duivenvoorden J, de Noronha J, Rodrigues D, Mogollón H, Ferreira L, Householder J, Lozada J, Comiskey J, Draper F, de Toledo J, Damasco G, Dávila N, García-Villacorta R, Lopes A, Cornejo Valverde F, Alonso A, Dallmeier F, Gomes V, Jimenez E, Neill D, Peñuela Mora M, de Aguiar D, Arroyo L, Antunes Carvalho F, Coelho de Souza F, Feeley K, Gribel R, Pansonato M, Ríos Paredes M, Brasil da Silva I, Ferreira M, Fine P, Fonty É, Guedes M, Licona J, Pennington T, Peres C, Villa Zegarra B, Parada G, Pardo Molina G, Vos V, Cerón C, Maas P, Silveira M, Stropp J, Thomas R, Baker T, Daly D, Huamantupa-Chuquimaco I, Vieira I, Weiss Albuquerque B, Fuentes A, Klitgaard B, Marcelo-Peña J, Silman M, Tello J, Vriesendorp C, Chave J, Di Fiore A, Hilário R, Phillips J, Rivas-Torres G, von Hildebrand P, Pereira L, Barbosa E, de Matos Bonates L, Doza H, Zárate Gómez R, Gallardo Gonzales G, Gonzales T, Malhi Y, de Andrade Miranda I, Mozombite Pinto L, Prieto A, Rudas A, Ruschel A, Silva N, Vela C, Zent E, Zent S, Cano A, Carrero Márquez Y, Correa D, Costa J, Galbraith D, Holmgren M, Kalamandeen M, Lobo G, Nascimento M, Oliveira A, Ramirez-Angulo H, Rocha M, Scudeller V, Sierra R, Tirado M, van der Heijden G, Vilanova Torre E, Ahuite Reategui M, Baider C, Balslev H, Cárdenas S, Casas L, Farfan-Rios W, Ferreira C, Linares-Palomino R, Mendoza C, Mesones I, Urrego Giraldo L, Villarroel D, Zagt R, Alexiades M, de Oliveira E, Garcia-Cabrera K, Hernandez L, Palacios Cuenca W, Pansini S, Pauletto D, Ramirez Arevalo F, Sampaio A, Valenzuela Gamarra L and Aragão L (2023) More than 10,000 pre-Columbian earthworks are still hidden throughout Amazonia. Science, 382 (6666). pp. 103-109
  • Poorter L, Amissah L, Bongers F, Hordijk I, Kok J, Laurance S, Lohbeck M, Martínez-Ramos M, Matsuo T, Meave J, Muñoz R, Peña-Claros M and van der Sande M (2023) Successional theories. Biological Reviews, 98 (6). pp. 2049-2077
  • Pos E, de Souza Coelho L, de Andrade Lima Filho D, Salomão R, Amaral I, De Almeida Matos F, Castilho C, Phillips O, Guevara J, de Jesus Veiga Carim M, López D, Magnusson W, Wittmann F, Irume M, Martins M, Sabatier D, da Silva Guimarães J, Molino J, Bánki O, Piedade M, Pitman N, Mendoza A, Ramos J, Hawes J, Almeida E, Barbosa L, Cavalheiro L, dos Santos M, Luize B, de Leão Novo E, Vargas P, Silva T, Venticinque E, Manzatto A, Reis N, Terborgh J, Casula K, Coronado E, Montero J, Marimon B, Marimon-Junior B, Feldpausch T, Duque A, Baraloto C, Arboleda N, Engel J, Petronelli P, Zartman C, Killeen T, Vasquez R, Mostacedo B, Assis R, Schöngart J, Castellanos H, de Medeiros M, Simon M, Andrade A, Camargo J, Demarchi L, Laurance W, Laurance S, de Sousa Farias E, Lopes M, Magalhães J, Nascimento H, de Queiroz H, Aymard G, Brienen R, Revilla J, Costa F, Quaresma A, Vieira I, Cintra B, Stevenson P, Feitosa Y, Duivenvoorden J, Mogollón H, Ferreira L, Comiskey J, Draper F, de Toledo J, Damasco G, Dávila N, Garcia-villacorta R, Lopes A, Vicentini A, Noronha J, Barbosa F, de Sá Carpanedo R, Emilio T, Levis C, de Jesus Rodrigues D, Schietti J, Souza P, Alonso A, Dallmeier F, Gomes V, Lloyd J, Neill D, de Aguiar D, Araujo-murakami A, Arroyo L, Carvalho F, de Souza F, do Amaral D, Feeley K, Gribel R, Pansonato M, Barlow J, Berenguer E, Ferreira J, Fine P, Guedes M, Jimenez E, Licona J, Mora M, Peres C, Zegarra B, Cerón C, Henkel T, Maas P, Silveira M, Stropp J, Thomas-Caesar R, Baker T, Daly D, Dexter K, Householder J, Huamantupa-Chuquimaco I, Pennington T, Paredes M, Fuentes A, Pena J, Silman M, Tello J, Chave J, Valverde F, Di Fiore A, Hilário R, Phillips J, Rivas-Torres G, van Andel T, von Hildebrand P, Barbosa E, de Matos Bonates L, Doza H, Fonty É, Gómez R, Gonzales T, Gonzales G, Guillaumet J, Hoffman B, Junqueira A, Malhi Y, de Andrade Miranda I, Pinto L, Prieto A, Rudas A, Ruschel A, Silva N, Vela C, Vos V, Zent E, Zent S, Albuquerque B, Cano A, Correa D, Costa J, Flores B, Holmgren M, Nascimento M, Oliveira A, Ramirez-Angulo H, Rocha M, Scudeller V, Sierra R, Tirado M, Umaña M, van der Heijden G, Torre E, Vriesendorp C, Wang O, Young K, Reategui M, Baider C, Balslev H, Cárdenas S, Casas L, Farfan-Rios W, Ferreira C, Linares-Palomino R, Mendoza C, Mesones I, Torres-Lezama A, Giraldo L, Villarroel D, Zagt R, Alexiades M, Garcia-Cabrera K, Hernandez L, Milliken W, Cuenca W, Pansini S, Pauletto D, Arevalo F, Sampaio A, Sandoval E, Gamarra L, Boenisch G, Kattge J, Kraft N, Levesley A, Melgaço K, Pickavance G, Poorter L and ter Steege H (2023) Unraveling Amazon tree community assembly using Maximum Information Entropy: a quantitative analysis of tropical forest ecology. Scientific Reports, 13.
  • ter Steege H, Pitman N, do Amaral I, de Souza Coelho L, de Almeida Matos F, de Andrade Lima Filho D, Salomão R, Wittmann F, Castilho C, Guevara J, Veiga Carim M, Phillips O, Magnusson W, Sabatier D, Cardenas Revilla J, Molino J, Irume M, Martins M, da Silva Guimarães J, Ramos J, Bánki O, Piedade M, Cárdenas López D, Rodrigues D, Demarchi L, Schöngart J, Almeida E, Barbosa L, Cavalheiro L, dos Santos M, Luize B, de Leão Novo E, Vargas P, Silva T, Venticinque E, Manzatto A, Reis N, Terborgh J, Casula K, Honorio Coronado E, Monteagudo Mendoza A, Montero J, Costa F, Feldpausch T, Quaresma A, Castaño Arboleda N, Zartman C, Killeen T, Marimon B, Marimon-Junior B, Vasquez R, Mostacedo B, Assis R, Baraloto C, do Amaral D, Engel J, Petronelli P, Castellanos H, de Medeiros M, Simon M, Andrade A, Camargo J, Laurance W, Laurance S, Maniguaje Rincón L, Schietti J, Sousa T, de Sousa Farias E, Lopes M, Magalhães J, Nascimento H, de Queiroz H, Aymard C G, Brienen R, Stevenson P, Araujo-Murakami A, Baker T, Cintra B, Feitosa Y, Mogollón H, Duivenvoorden J, Peres C, Silman M, Ferreira L, Lozada J, Comiskey J, Draper F, de Toledo J, Damasco G, García-Villacorta R, Lopes A, Vicentini A, Cornejo Valverde F, Alonso A, Arroyo L, Dallmeier F, Gomes V, Jimenez E, Neill D, Peñuela Mora M, Noronha J, de Aguiar D, Barbosa F, Bredin Y, de Sá Carpanedo R, Carvalho F, Coelho de Souza F, Feeley K, Gribel R, Haugaasen T, Hawes J, Pansonato M, Paredes M, Barlow J, Berenguer E, Brasil da Silva I, Ferreira M, Ferreira J, Fine P, Guedes M, Levis C, Licona J, Villa Zegarra B, Vos V, Cerón C, Durgante F, Fonty É, Henkel T, Householder J, Huamantupa-chuquimaco I, Pos E, Silveira M, Stropp J, Thomas R, Daly D, Dexter K, Milliken W, Molina G, Pennington T, Vieira I, Weiss Albuquerque B, Campelo W, Fuentes A, Klitgaard B, Pena J, Tello J, Vriesendorp C, Chave J, Di Fiore A, Hilário R, de Oliveira Pereira L, Phillips J, Rivas-torres G, van Andel T, von Hildebrand P, Balee W, Barbosa E, de Matos Bonates L, Doza H, Gómez R, Gonzales T, Gonzales G, Hoffman B, Junqueira A, Malhi Y, de Andrade Miranda I, Pinto L, Prieto A, Rudas A, Ruschel A, Silva N, Vela C, Zent E, Zent S, Cano A, Carrero Márquez Y, Correa D, Costa J, Flores B, Galbraith D, Holmgren M, Kalamandeen M, Lobo G, Montenegro L, Nascimento M, Oliveira A, Pombo M, Ramírez-angulo H, Rocha M, Scudeller V, Sierra R, Tirado M, Umaña M, van Der Heijden G, Torre E, Reategui M, Baider C, Balslev H, Cárdenas S, Casas L, Endara M, Farfan-Rios W, Ferreira C, Linares-Palomino R, Mendoza C, Mesones I, Parada G, Torres-lezama A, Urrego Giraldo L, Villarroel D, Zagt R, Alexiades M, de Oliveira E, Garcia-Cabrera K, Hernandez L, Cuenca W, Pansini S, Pauletto D, Arevalo F, Sampaio A, Sandoval E, Gamarra L, Levesley A, Pickavance G and Melgaço K (2023) Mapping density, diversity and species-richness of the Amazon tree flora. Communications Biology, 6 (1).
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ResearchOnline@JCU stores 143+ research outputs authored by Prof Susan Laurance from 1997 onwards.

Current Funding

Current and recent Research Funding to JCU is shown by funding source and project.

Australian Research Council - Linkage - Projects

Integrating climate adaptation into rainforest restoration plantings

Indicative Funding
$410,237 over 3 years, in partnership with Australian Genome Research Facility ($15,000)
Summary
This project aims to investigate the impact of within species adaptation to climate on reforestation success in the Australian Wet Tropics. For a suite of six species of tropical tree frequently employed in rainforest restoration plantings in northeast Queensland, we will test the hypothesis that collecting seed from populations in similar ecoclimatic settings to the planting site will result in superior seedling growth and survival. The results of the study will allow us to provide practical advice to reforestation practitioners about the importance of matching the provenance of seed source to planting sites, and opportunities for selecting provenances pre-adapted to predicted future climatic conditions at planting sites.
Investigators
Lucas Cernusak, Martin Breed, Susan Laurance and Darren Crayn in collaboration with Alexander Cheesman, Maurizio Rossetto, Christopher Noune and Kenneth Chan (College of Science & Engineering, Flinders University, University of Exeter, Royal Botanic Gardens & Domain Trust and Australian Genome Research Facility)
Keywords
Restoration; Microbiome; Ecophysiology; Common garden; Adaptation; Rainforest

Skyrail Rainforest Foundation - Research Funding

The future of urban roosts of the Spectacled Flying-fox in North Queensland

Indicative Funding
$4,109 over 1 year
Summary
In partnership with Cairns Council and Bat & Tree Society, I have collected data on bat temperatures and microclimate at 20 urban roosts, including the two remnant forests. I have undertaken field surveys of vegetation structure, but these methods may not accurately estimate the top down perspective of canopy organisms. Hence, the next step is to estimate the three dimensional space of bat roosts. Using terrestrial laser scanning (TLS), I will quantify the volume of vegetation at different heights and correlate with microclimate conditions in order to rank the thermal insulation of roost sites to protect bats during heatwaves.
Investigators
Camila Madeira Tavares Lopes, Susan Laurance, Denise Doolan and Cadhla Firth (College of Science & Engineering, Australian Institute of Tropical Health & Medicine and EcoHealth Alliance)
Keywords
Spectacled Flying-fox (Pteropodidae); Roost preference; Microclimate

Australian Research Council - Discovery - Projects

The role of drought-stress and insect attack on rainforest plant health

Indicative Funding
$395,000 over 3 years
Summary
This project aims to examine the vulnerability of tropical plants to drought and insect attack in a large-scale field experiment. We will pioneer a new research approach that focuses on the causes and stages of decline in plant health prior to death, in order to identify the characteristics of plant species that make them more susceptible to drought and insect attack. Expected outcomes of this project include an improved capacity to predict the function and composition of future forests. This project will provide significant benefits to communities concerned with the direct and indirect effects of droughts in protected areas, forestry reserves and agriculture.
Investigators
Susan Laurance, Lori Lach and Nigel Stork (College of Science & Engineering and Griffith University)
Keywords
Drought-stressed plants; plant-insect interactions; Rainforest; inswect attack; bottom-up & top-down processes; Daintree

Skyrail Rainforest Foundation - Research Funding

Tropical forest flammability and post-fire recovery

Indicative Funding
$4,993 over 1 year
Summary
This project aims to quantify the shoot-level flammability of tropical forest species across a range of growth forms via experimental burns and assess which plant functional traits influence high or low flammability. The expected outcomes of this research include an understanding of the relation between plant traits and species and growth form flammability, which will help inform fire management and revegetation efforts in the wake of increased tropical and subtropical forest bushfires. The overall significance of this research is to build on previous rainforest flammability data and provide experimental data that may eventually be used in larger scale flammability modelling.
Investigators
Ebony Potts and Susan Laurance (College of Science & Engineering)
Keywords
Flammability; Growth form; Invasive; Tropical forest; Native; Plant BBQ

Bush Heritage Australia - Paul Hackett Memorial Scholarship

A temperature and humidity analysis of the Golden-shouldered parrot (Psepholus chrsoterygius) nest chambers: implications in a changing climate?

Indicative Funding
$5,000 over 1 year
Summary
The Golden-shouldered Parrot (Psepholus chrsoterysius) is an endangered species endemic to Cape York, Queensland. This bird has particular significance to the Olkola People, an important totem, called Alwal in language. Bush heritage have been working in partnership with Olkola rangers for the last 5 years to protect and recover this endangered species. Alwal has particular nesting habits; it nests in specific chronical termite mounds constructed by Amitermes scolpulus. The Parrot is very particular in mound choice, only selecting those of certain size and width (170cm height to 70 cm width). This is believed to provide optimum incubation temperatures. Nest success is also thought to be reliant upon a symbiotic relationship with an Australian mallee motth (Trisyntopa scatophaga) which feeds on the parrots droppings and therefore keeps the nest clean, preventing risk of infections. This study eill assess nest chamber and ambient temperatures and humidity across the breeding season of 2021, using Hydrochron humidity and temperature loggers (DS1923), which will be placed inside and outside selected nests. FLIR heat sensing cameras will also be used to take pictures of all active and non active nests and their nearest neighbours. The data will be compared to early nest research carried out by Weaver (1986) who assessed nest temperatures in the 1970s. This study will provide insight into nest chamber thermal changes, and create a more reliable baseline longer term, due to the technnological constrictions when this study was first carried out in the 1970s.
Investigators
Katy Huett and Susan Laurance (College of Science & Engineering)
Keywords
Threatened Species; golden shouldered parrot; Climate Change

Skyrail Rainforest Foundation - Research Funding

Shoot flammability of various native and invasive tropical rainforest species and lifeforms: An experimental study

Indicative Funding
$2,489 over 1 year
Summary
This project will assess the shoot-level flammability of tropical forest species across different lifeforms, such as trees, shrubs and vines. The expected outcomes of this research will include be a greater understanding species flammability and the functional features of plants that contribute to this. The project aims to inform environmental managers on how to reduce wildfire into rainforests by managing the flammability of species on forest edges and restoration plantings.
Investigators
Ebony Potts and Susan Laurance (College of Science & Engineering)
Keywords
Flammability; Tropical forest; Native; Invasive; Phylogeny; Plant BBQ

Ecological Society of Australia - Applied Forestry Scholarship

Shoot flammability of various native and invasive tropical rainforest species and lifeforms: An experimental study.

Indicative Funding
$2,000 over 1 year
Summary
This project will compare the shoot level flammability of native and invasive tropical forest species. More the 100 plant species from the Wet Tropics will be evaluated for their flammability in order to understand how fires carry into and through rainforests. The overall significance of this research is to understand for the first time if and how rainforest species develop flammability and provide experimental data that may eventually be used in larger scale flammability modelling.
Investigators
Ebony Potts and Susan Laurance (College of Science & Engineering)
Keywords
Flammability; Tropical Forestry; Native; Invasive; Phylogeny; Plant BBQ
Supervision

Advisory Accreditation: I can be on your Advisory Panel as a Primary or Secondary Advisor.

These Higher Degree Research projects are either current or by students who have completed their studies within the past 5 years at JCU. Linked titles show theses available within ResearchOnline@JCU.

Current
  • Future savannas: How do Climate and Land use explain the Plant Community Dynamics of two distinct Tropical Savannas in West Timor and North Queensland? (PhD , Secondary Advisor/AM)
  • Utililising Drone-based Thermal Remote Sensing technology to accurately estimate Spectacled Flying-Fox (Pteropus conspicillatus) abundance and model population trajectories (PhD , Primary Advisor/AM/Adv)
  • The effects of rainforest fragmentation on parasite infections in terrestrial mammals (PhD , Primary Advisor/AM/Adv)
  • Drought effects on rainforest plant water use. (PhD , Primary Advisor/AM/Adv)
  • Rainforest plant flammability and recovery post-fire (PhD , Primary Advisor)
Completed
Collaboration

The map shows research collaborations by institution from the past 7 years.
Note: Map points are indicative of the countries or states that institutions are associated with.

  • 5+ collaborations
  • 4 collaborations
  • 3 collaborations
  • 2 collaborations
  • 1 collaboration
  • Indicates the Tropics (Torrid Zone)

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  • E2.024, Sir Robert Norman Building (Cairns campus)
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