Engagement award for hawkweed program

left to right: Roger Cousens (Uni Melb), Nick Williams (Uni Melb), me, Neil Smith (DEPI), Iris Curran (Parks Vic)
left to right: Roger Cousens (Uni Melb), Nick Williams (Uni Melb), me, Neil Smith (DEPI), Iris Curran (Parks Vic)

This morning the hawkweed program that I’ve been involved in for several years had some gratifying recognition, receiving one of the Vice-Chancellor’s Staff Engagement Excellence Awards for 2013.

Nick Williams and the University of Melbourne have been involved in Victoria’s hawkweed eradication program since the very day of the species’ first discovery in the state. Over the past decade University researchers have worked with Parks Victoria and the Department of Primary Industries (now the Department of Environment and Primary Industries) to find, control and monitor hawkweed infestations as effectively as possible. This collaboration has endured through multiple different funding arrangements, staffing changes and restructures, yielding some terrific research and a positive prognosis for eradication.

The hawkweed program has been an enormous team effort. In addition to those appearing in the photo above, I’d like to acknowledge the contributions of Karen Herbert, formerly of DPI; Nigel Ainsworth from DEPI; Charlie Pascoe, Keith Primrose, Elaine Thomas and Marie Keatley from Parks Victoria; and Kate Giljohann, Mathieu Bonneau, Joslin Moore and Jenny Bear from the University of Melbourne.

Here’s a sample of the research we’ve published so far. There’ll be more to come!

Williams & Holland (2007) The ecology and invasion history of hawkweeds (Hieracium species) in Australia. Plant Protection Quarterly 22, 76-80.

Williams, Hahs & Morgan (2008) A dispersal-constrained habitat suitability model for predicting invasion of alpine vegetation. Ecological Applications 18, 347-359.

Hauser & McCarthy (2009) Streamlining ‘search and destroy’: cost-effective surveillance for pest management. Ecology Letters 12, 683-692.

Hauser (2009) Where and how much? A spreadsheet that allocates surveillance effort for a weed. Plant Protection Quarterly 24, 94-97.

Moore, Hauser, Bear, Williams & McCarthy (2011) Estimating detection-effort curves for plants using search experiments. Ecological Applications 21, 601-607.

Bear, Giljohann, Cousens & Williams (2012) The seed ecology of two invasive Hieracium (Asteraceae) species. Australian Journal of Botany 60, 615-624.

Cousens, Heydel, Giljohann, Tackenberg, Mesgaran & Williams (2012) Predicting the dispersal of hawkweeds (Hieracium aurantiacum and H. praealtum) in the Australian Alps. In Eldershaw V. (ed) Proceedings of the 18th Australasian Weeds Conference. Weed Society of Victoria, October 2012, pp. 5-8.

Hauser, Moore, Giljohann, Garrard & McCarthy (2012) Designing a detection experiment: tricks and trade-offs. In Eldershaw V. (ed) Proceedings of the 18th Australasian Weeds Conference. Weed Society of Victoria, October 2012, pp. 267-272.

Kendal, Hauser, Garrard, Jellinek, Giljohann & Moore. (2013) Quantifying plant colour and colour difference as perceived by humans using digital images. PLoS ONE 8: e72296.

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