Dr. Helen Murphy is a Research Scientist at CSIRO Ecosystem Sciences in Atherton. She joined CSIRO in 2005 as a Post-Doctoral Research Fellow examining how weeds impacted on rainforest community structure and function. The work provided information to land managers on which weeds had the greatest impact, and where in the landscape these impacts were most evident. She also established a large field-based program monitoring the response of weed species to Tropical Cyclone Larry and maintains close links with weed managers in the Wet Tropics and Biosecurity Queensland.

Invasive species management in the Wet Tropics is currently driven by a species-led prioritisation approach, as are weed and pest animal management activities globally. However, land managers in the region are increasingly recognising the necessity for regional-scale population prioritisation tools that incorporate the complexity of ecological processes of invasive species spread and establishment and take account of the values and assets in the landscape.

Program 7 will have three projects addressing different threats to rainforest health. A generalised analytical toolkit will be developed for assessing vulnerability to extreme climatic events, particularly the sensitivity of Wet Tropics fauna to temperature extremes. The role of fire as a driver of rainforest distribution (particularly on the threatened ecosystem of the Mabi forest) will be determined.

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