More than megaherbs: 200 years of vegetation change on subantarctic Campbell Island

Wednesday 10th of August 2011, 05:30 PM (9 years ago)

Contact: David Lyttle | | (03) 454 54750

A talk by Alex Fergus. The Campbell Island Bicentennial Expedition team stuck it out on our southernmost landmass for 10 weeks this past summer. As a member of the terrestrial ecology research group, my focus was the recovery of the plant and insect communities and the interaction between seabirds and plant diversity. The vegetation of Campbell Island has changed dramatically in the 200 years since European discovery. Burning, grazing, and the mediated effects of rats have altered species abundances and community structure. Permanent plots and photo points (dating from the 1870s) reveal vegetation damage before 1960 has given way to re-growth and range expansion. The progressive removal of European vertebrates has sparked a remarkable and rapid recovery of many of the iconic, and also the less well-known subantarctic plant species. How much of this recent change is simply recovery and how much is due to climate change is the next big question. Expect lots of pictures mixed in with a wee bit of science and even a few new discoveries for the island. At the Zoology Benham Building, 346 Great King Street, behind the Zoology car park by the Captain Cook Hotel. Use the main entrance of the Benham Building to get in and go to the Benham Seminar Room, Rm. 215, 2nd floor. Please be prompt as we have to hold the door open.