Gamba grass invasion dramatically alters available fuel load and fire intensity in tropical savannas, with important consequences for carbon storage and biodiversity conservation. We are looking for a PhD student to contribute to a broader project exploring remote sensing of invasive grasses and their impacts in Australian savannas. The research will involve time series analysis of lidar, radar and multi-spectral imagery to better understand the dynamics of woody vegetation structure following gamba invasion. An Australian Postgraduate Awards scholarship is required for this position. Top-up funding is available from the National Environmental Science Program. There are opportunities for collaboration with invasion ecologists at CDU and the University of Western Australia, and with the Amazon Environment Research Institute, Brazil.
Associate Professor Shaun Levick is a landscape ecologist who integrates remote sensing and geographic information system modelling with field experiments to better understand the structure and dynamics of savanna ecosystems.
Associate Professor Levick obtained his PhD from the University of the Witwatersrand in South Africa before moving on to a postdoctoral position with the Carnegie Airborne Observatory at Stanford University, California.
For the past five years he has led a small research group at the Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry in Jena, Germany, where he expanded his research on savanna vegetation structure and dynamics to savanna regions across the globe.
He is an Associate Professor of Remote Sensing at CDU, with a joint appointment at CSIRO Land and Water, Darwin.
His research program (GEARS - Geospatial Ecology and Remote Sensing) merges cutting-edge advances in airborne and terrestrial laser scanning with emerging tools in computer vision and machine learning to address environmental challenges.
Key research focus areas include:
- high precision carbon accounting
- fire ecology and management
- biodiversity conservation
- the visualisation and qualification of 3D dynamics
- the modelling for future trajectories of ecosystem change.
HDR project opportunities
Fire and other disturbances alter the three dimensional structure of savanna vegetation, modifying rates of carbon accumulation and availability of habitat for fauna. We are looking for a PhD student interested in exploring the structural signatures of disturbances at vegetation community to individual tree scales. The project will use ground based lidar to map the 3D structure of trees and vegetation patches across gradients of disturbance history and frequency in tropical savanna. An Australian Postgraduate Awards scholarship is required for this position. Top-up funding is available. There are opportunities for collaboration with the CSIRO, and with the Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry, Germany.