SPEAKER: Professor David Bowman, Professor of Environmental Change Biology, School of Biological Sciences, The University of Tasmania, Hobart
DATE: Friday, 10th June 2016
LOCATION: Melbourne Campus at Burwood – Burwood Corporate Centre (attendees to please report to reception)
Seminar will also be video linked to the following campuses: Geelong Campus at Waurn Ponds, Room ka4.207 (Green room) and Warrnambool Campus, Room J2.22
ABSTRACT: Fire positively and negatively affects food webs across all trophic levels and guilds and influences a range of ecological processes that reinforce fire regimes, such as nutrient cycling and soil development, plant regeneration and growth, plant community assembly and dynamics, herbivory and predation.
Rather than merely describing spatio-temporal patterns of fire regimes, I argue that pyrodiversity must be understood in terms of feedbacks between fire regimes, biodiversity and ecological processes. Humans shape pyrodiversity both directly, by manipulating the intensity, severity, frequency and extent of fires, and indirectly, by influencing the abundance and distribution of various trophic guilds through hunting and husbandry of animals, and introduction and cultivation of plant species.
Conceptualizing landscape fire as deeply embedded in food webs suggests that the restoration of degraded ecosystems requires the simultaneous careful management of fire regimes and native and invasive plants and animals, and may include introducing new vertebrates to compensate for extinctions that occurred in the recent and more distant past.
BIO: Professor David Bowman holds a research chair in Environmental Change Biology in the School of Biological Sciences at the University of Tasmania, Hobart Australia, and is also an adjunct professor at ANU Department Archaeology and Natural History.
After completing his PhD in forest ecology and silviculture at the University of Tasmania in 1984, he spent two decades in the undertaking full time research throughout northern Australia working closely with Aboriginal people, working with Northern Territory Parks and Wildlife and then Charles Darwin University where he was the Director of the Australian Research Council Key Centre for Tropical Wildlife Management.
During his career he been a fellow at numerous universities globally (Papua New Guinea, Harvard, Oxford, Kyoto, Arizona, Leeds, and British Columbia), awarded two travelling fellowship from the Australian Academy of Science, and a finalist four different Eureka Prizes.
His research is collaborative, transdisciplinary with the following themes: understanding how fire influences the Earth system, how humans alter ecologies with fire, how fire shapes landscapes, and the quest for sustainable fire management. Collectively he describes his research program as pyrogeography.
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