Grasses Day

Leigh Douglas

SEDGES HAVE EDGES
RUSHES ARE ROUND
GRASSES HAVE KNEES (nodes) THAT POINT TO THE GROUND

Grasses Day

Amphibromus, Lachnagrostis, Austrostipa, Chloris, Themeda, Neurachne ….. or, Wallaby Grass, Blown Grass, Spear Grass, Windmill Grass, Kangaroo Grass, Fox-tailed Mulga Grass – just some of the native grasses identified by Alan Bedggood at our home near Lake Lonsdale, as he led about 20 of us on a fascinating tour of discovery on our November activity. Ask Alan if you think I’ve got some names wrong …. because it’s quite likely ….. a new learning curve, and definitely a new passion.

Alan brought along samples of grass for us to handle and look at closely, with and without using little powerful illuminated magnifiers for studying the finer points of grasses, such as their awns, lemmas, and glumes, the only way in which to speciate many grasses; the more closely we could look, the more interesting it all became (and becomes).

Out on the grasslands

A great memory tool Alan suggested was the use of comparative imagery: e.g., a wallaby grass floret looks like a unicorn’s head; some have moustaches, beards and fringes ….. Ask Alan …..

It’s amazing how knowing more about the grasses has deepened our understanding of ecosystems and habitats around the area. [Being at our place made it doubly beneficial to us]. It was a great relief to me to find that my favourite grass at home is native, Swamp Wallaby Grass, and not an introduced feral. It makes a beautiful sight, tall and graceful in winter-wet areas.

Wallaby Grass

It was not only native grasses, however, so I’d better mention that there were a lot of weeds he identified here too! In addition to identifying weeds, Alan and Wendy discussed different ways to control them, and the pros and cons of each; also valuable was learning more about the degrees of threat posed by different species: e.g. African Veldt Grass is pretty scary, rampant along roadsides since the 2006 fires.

We helped Judith Thompson celebrate a very special birthday (Happy Birthday Judith!) over lunch, which we had under the verandah to keep us out of the sun…although the sun was more than welcome after our prolonged cold weather. Thank you Alan ….. both for the weather ….. and for sharing your passion.

Mt Difficult Drive and Walk (14 Oct 2017)

Geoff Stratford

As members gathered at the Boroka Lookout mid-morning in mid-October the lookout was shrouded in cloud giving very limited possibility of catching a glimpse of a view. No matter to FOGG’s, a dozen of us pooled vehicles to tackle the gravel road which had claimed a Parks vehicle, bogged, earlier in the week.

With some hastily arranged road repairs by Parks Vic our group encountered no hint of a problem. In fact the amount of interesting plants and interactions between those present meant we travelled only a small distance compared to that which had potentially been planned. Rodney and Margo had mapped out perhaps five to seven locations which we might stop and observe the flora and environment.

Our first stop seemed less than two kilometres along the Mt Difficult track and it became obvious that we were blessed to have the company of Neil Marriot for this day. While many in the group have great knowledge of the plants of the Grampians, Neil was just so spontaneous in his identification of species and forth coming with extra information he could share with us. ‘this specimen differs from the described species and is pending reclassification and naming as a new variety/species’ he explained to us on a couple of occasions. The range of plants observed and flowering at the time was so extensive and discussion so keen it became obvious that the number of stops was going to have to be limited. The sun was also breaking through making it a classic day to be in the Gramps!

Finally back into vehicles and a kilometre or so further on and it was coffee time before another look through vegetation at the side of the track. Large dense patches of Boronia in flower caught the attention of all of us.

Rodney and his flock

Again the detail of observations and discussions led by Neil captured us all. We also ventured onto some rocky ledges which hosted some different plants but also exposed us to the resting places of a range of animals. Speculation, via scats, was that wallabies and possums frequented these ledges but disappointingly goats probably camped here as well.

Acacia aculeatissima hybridising

This confirmed some observations we had made of preferential grazing of some species by most likely the goats and possibly deer. Along with us humans these ferals pose a threat to our special place.
With time passing rapidly we resolved to head for the start of the Wartook Lookout track and have lunch. The view to the east from the roadside was spectacular to observe while we ate and the plants no less diverse than our previous stops. To our benefit the day had turned into a classic bright sunny one with a cooling southerly breeze to maximise our experience.

Mabel and Neil

Before we set off up the lookout track it was explained that it was being upgraded with rock from the immediate surrounds so that it would not suffer damage or start washaways with the expected increase of foot traffic when the peaks trail passes close by. While not completed, the path was of a very high standard and the walk was well defined and quite easy. More new plants observed along the way as well, which slowed our progress.

Two forms of Epacris impressa

Nearing the top it became obvious why this is such a special location. Lakes Bellfield, Fyans, Lonsdale and Wartook are all in the vista, in fact a unique view of Wartook. Because you are higher than Boroka the scope of the Pyrenees to the east and the plains to the north are more striking. We could also see past Mt Difficult in places to the plains of the west. And of course the ranges to the south basked in the sunshine. To me it was a location that gave me the best impression of the extent of the Grampians that I have observed. Maybe only an aeroplane flight could be more complete.

Check the view

By the time we returned to our vehicles it was agreed we had packed so much into a couple of stops and we were well satisfied to turn for home. A quick count of the species recording list showed more than seventy species had been observed without including the trees and larger shrubs and perhaps some of the smaller ones that were not in flower.

Sharing a laugh

It was most appropriate as we departed that a wedge tailed eagle did some circles overhead to just check we had left his/her place as we found it.

Here is Wendy’s list of plants seen:

  • Acacia acinacea
  • Acacia aculeatissima
  • Acacia obliquinerva
  • Acacia oxycedrus
  • Acacia verniciflua
  • Amperea xiphoclada
  • Banksia saxicola
  • Boronia nana
  • Boronia pilosa
  • Caladenia fuscata
  • Calytrix sullivanii
  • Chrysocephalum baxteri
  • Conospermum mitchellii
  • Coronidium scorpioides
  • Correa aemula
  • Correa reflexa
  • Crassula decumbens
  • Crassula sieberiana
  • Dillwynia sericea
  • Dodonaea viscosa
  • Drosera aberrans
  • Epacris grandiflora
  • Epacris impressa
  • Eucalyptus
  • Gahnia radula
  • Glossodia major
  • Gonocarpus sp
  • Goodenia geniculata
  • Grevillea aquifolium
  • Hibbertia cistiflora
  • Hibbertia fasciculata
  • Hibbertia humifusa
  • Hydrocotyle laxiflora
  • Hydrocotyle sp
  • Hypochaeris radicata*
  • Leptospermum scoparium
  • Leptospermum turbinatum
  • Leucopogon ericoides
  • Leucopogon glacialis
  • Leucopogon rufus
  • Leucopogon thymifolius
  • Lindsaea linearis
  • Lomandra filiformis
  • Luzula meridionalis
  • Melaleuca decussate
  • Olearia myrsinoides
  • Ozothamnus obcordatus
  • Pelargonium rodneyanum
  • Phebalium sp aff bilobum
  • Philotheca verrucosa
  • Phyllanthus hirtellus
  • Pimelea flava
  • Pimelea linifolia
  • Platysace lanceolata
  • Pultenaea mollis
  • Pultenaea scabra
  • Rhytidosporum procumbens
  • Senecio hispidulus
  • Spyridium parvifolium
  • Stellaria pungens
  • Stypandra glauca
  • Styphelia adscendens
  • Tetratheca ciliata
  • Thelionema caespitosum
  • Thryptomene calycina
  • Viola cleistogamoides
  • Xanthosia

Annual General Meeting

We were lucky to have nice weather for our AGM on Saturday 16th September.

Thirteen members attended and we covered all the usual business, the president gave his report and it is covered elsewhere in this bulletin.

Our committee for the next twelve months was elected and is:

  • President – Rodney Thompson
  • Vice President – Leigh Douglas
  • Secretary – jointly Bill and Judy Gardner
  • Treasurer – Judith Thompson
  • Committee Members:
    • David Steane
    • Mabel Brouwer
    • Charles Kerr
    • Wendy Bedggood
  • Newsletter Editor – Margo Sietsm

Activities for the coming year were discussed and the new committee will work towards organising many of the good suggestions.

We had lunch then went for a walk to Fish Falls, along the way we checked out some potential spots to install a seat. Some time ago it was decided to have a seat installed along the walk to recognise the Friends of Zumsteins who folded some years ago but passed their remaining finances to FOGGs. Having decided on a couple of suitable spots these have been given to Parks and the process of getting a seat installed can now happen.

We had hoped to see more wild flowers on our walk but this cold weather has made them late, although the sunny day and splashes of yellow from the wattle made us all feel like spring has arrived.

Deer in the Grampians

Daryl Panther

There were 16 people in attendance, including a few who were interested in learning more for the purpose of hunting, not our usual audience but welcome all the same.

Daryl explained his background and how he has farmed Deer in the past and now being a contractor to Parks Vic. helping with the control of feral animals. He continued by describing the different  species of deer found in Victoria.

  • Rusa Deer are found mainly around Sydney and NSW. They have 3 points on each antler. They will breed with Sambar, but as there are only isolated populations of Rusa in Victoria and we don’t have them in the Grampians they are not an issue.
  • Sambar Deer are one of the heaviest species of deer. They are found around Mt Cole, in South Australia and also in the Otways, with a few in the Grampians area. They have 3 points on each antler and a bib around their neck. Samba deer don’t mix with red deer so they tend to occur in different parts of the Park to Reds.
  • Hog Deer are similar to Rusa and Samba but only grow about as big as a lab dog, there are very few around, none in the Grampians. They have established populations mostly in Gippsland.
  • Chital or Axis Deer are found in Queensland around Charters Towers, there are some isolated populations in Victoria, but not within the Grampians.
  • Fallow Deer are grazers rather than browsers. They have distinctive palmate antlers, although when young can look like those of Red deer. There are four colour variations, black, red, white and menil, they all have spots throughout adulthood, unlike others that only exhibit spots as juveniles. They are commonly found around Pomonal, but do occur in other areas of the park.
  • Red deer, along with Fallow, are the most common species found within the park, (although Sambar sightings are expanding).They are a larger animal and have antlers with many points. There is open hunting season on Red and Fallow deer all year round.

Deer have their fawns in December and usually only have one young. The fawns stay with their mothers till April. March, April and May and into June is the rutting season at this time you can call animals in. Daryl demonstrated this mating call. Red deer males look for females while Fallow deer females do the searching. During the rut males hate each other and fight but at other times of the year can be found in bachelor herds. In June males and females congregate into herds.  Come November/December they spread out into the bush while the females have their fawns. The males drop their antlers at this time, possibly to prevent them from injuring the young, but mostly it is a response to nutritional needs. It is easier to move through the bush in leaner times searching for food if you don’t have an anchor either side of your head.

Deer were introduced into Australia 160 years ago and were brought to Longeronong and Hamilton where they were released around the 1860’s in order to have animals to hunt in the future. In 1918 they were declared a protected animal.

About ten years ago a study on the deer in the Grampians estimated there were more than 1100. Since then there have been several severe fires, pushing the deer out to the edges of the park for food and some were shot as a result of this. Numbers did drop, however now that the bush has recovered the animals have come back into the shelter of the Park and it is difficult to get an accurate estimate of numbers without doing an extensive survey.  Some estimates have them around 550 while others say there are over 1100. Some of our group members think this estimate is too low.

There is currently a program with the sporting shooters association to try to reduce their numbers but so far not many have been shot. This is taking place as ecologists have identified a problem with over grazing in the park, and you cannot begin culling native wildlife while there are introduced species grazing the same areas.

After Daryl’s talk we got a chance to examine some skulls and antlers Daryl had brought with him. Those antlers are HEAVY! We then went for a walk behind Brambuk looking for deer sign. We saw a small group of Reds, along with trees they have rubbed on, scats and footprints. Not surprising really as Daryl estimates there are 50 or more resident in Halls Gap. They are safe from hunters, and have well watered gardens and fields of green grass all year round.

Daryl also shared some stories of his work in pest control for Parks Vic. He showed us radio collars for tracking programs and the judas goat program that allows tracking of feral goat herds to enable removal. He is even having to deal with feral pigs not too far from the park as rogue hunters are trying to introduce populations for their own hunting purposes. There is a possibility this is also being done with deer species too.

Editor’s note

This time last year I reported on a presentation to the park Advisory Group by Mike Stevens on the issue of deer in the Park, including the proposal to use the sporting shooters group as had been done in Wilson’s Promontory. You can read it on our website but here is his proposed action list.

  • Control red deer particularly in high priority herb-rich woodland areas.
  • Zero tolerance, opportunistic control of Fallow and samba deer to prevent population establishment.

Insects of the Grampians

Dennis Crawford

Dennis brought along some brilliant photos he has taken over the years, just a small selection of the ones that have fascinated him the most. With each insect he described, Dennis projected up a larger than life closeup picture to show off the best features. He is very passionate and moved from one to the other very quickly, sharing snippets of information as he went. I have done the best I can to string his information into a report for everyone who missed his brilliant presentation.

Insects occur on every continent in the world, including Antarctica!

Current estimates suggest there are 70,000 insect species in Australia, 20-30 million worldwide. But most are yet to be classified. Of this total less than 1% are pests. Their bad reputation comes because most people only notice them when they are a problem.

3/4 of all species on earth are insects. They have been around for longer than most other species.

Insects are incredibly important to the environment. They are responsible for pollination, seed dispersal, dung burial, recycling and even as food to plants.

If vertebrates disappeared overnight the world would continue on. If insects disappear the ecosystem collapse. They are of incredible importance to our everyday lives!

Meganeura monyi, the forerunner of dragonfly had a wingspan of nearly a metre! This was in the Carboniferous era, an  oxygen rich time in which it was far easier to survive with a more primitive respiratory system without lung structures. In fact it was the presence of a diverse range of insects that drove the diversification of flowering plants. They fall into 6 major categories

  • Orthoptera– grasshoppers katydids locusts. They appeared 300 million years ago. A local example is the Raspy Cricket in the Grampians. It  produces silk from its mouth to join leaves, has long antenna and curved ovipositor as a nymph. But after maturity does not have the long ovipositor.
  • Coleoptera– beetles, these were the first important pollinators. Approximately 30,000 species occur in Australia. 1/3 of these are weevils. Botany Bay weevil is present in the Grampians and endemic to large areas across the rest of Australia. It is so named for the area where it was first identified. Not surprising as it was the first place European biologists saw of Australia.
  • Lepidoptera– moths and butterflies developed sucking mouthparts and became nectar and pollen feeders. Approximately 20,000 moths (450 of these are butterflies) in Australia. Butterflies fold their wings back behind them, moths lay them flat along their body like a carapace. The Mistletoe moth only feeds on mistletoe, the Crexa moth only feeds on cherry Ballart trees. If these plants are removed from the environment, so are the insects. Is it possible this relationship works the other way? It’s not yet known as there are so many to study, and funding goes towards looking at pest insects mostly.
  • Neuroptera are the Lacewings. Antlion lacewings myrmeleontidae, create a cone shaped trap in the ground to capture their prey, usually ants. They flick sand at the ants on the side of the trap so they fall down into the centre where they can be eaten. This flick is one of the fastest actions in the natural world.
  • Isoptera includes termites and ants/wasps
    • termites deadwood feeders/recyclers 350 species replace large herbivores in Australia, breaking down plant material. They also replace earthworms in dry northern climates. Termites fly, but discard wings when they land. Some termite soldiers have a  “glue gun head” to squirt at ants that enter the mound.
    • Ants evolved 100 million years ago, with an incredibly complex social structure to their colony. There are 3,000 species identified in Australia. But it could be double that. The  workers are sterile females, the highest numbers within the colony. Then there are the breeding male drones, and the smallest number are fertile queens that do all the reproduction. Nuptial flights take place where a complete new colony moves all at once. Males are twice as big as female workers, the queens are twice as big again. Workers don’t fly, but they do get carried sometimes. Ants use a chemical based communication, when they are agitated or injured you can sometimes smell this yourself. A Formic acid smell.  They are the first colonisers after bushfires, and a great indicator of environment health. Some ants eat insects, some are herbivores, and some feed on sugars produced by other insects, so they farm them but do not kill them, just consuming their discharge.
      • Myrmecia species are the bull ants. Scavengers but will also kill other organisms to eat.
      • Funnel ants build the funnel shaped sand castles on entrance of hole, to prevent water entry.
      • Inqualine ants live in termite nests and cooperate to gain the benefit of the shelter provided by the mound in a very harsh hot dry climate.
    • The Flower Wasps are the ultimate romantic. Males have wings but females don’t. (However the ladies do have a bad sting.) They burrow under ground to lay eggs in living beetle larvae. Males are attracted by the female pheromone and they will carry a female to a flower to mate and gorge on nectar. Instead of taking her flowers, they carry her to the florist! But they are competing with the Scorpion fly, which have incredibly dextrous legs. The male will feed other flies to the  female during mating!
      • Diamma bicolour, the Blue Ant is actually a wasp. The female sting is intensely painful. They are parasitic on mole crickets, males are too small to carry the female, so they mate on the ground.
      • A Spider Hunting Wasp will grip the fangs of a huntsman, hold on tight, and inject a sting to paralyse the spider. It then lays eggs in the living spider in her nest, as a natural nursery with food built in! They are bigger and stronger than huntsman.
      • Cuckoo wasps have an armour plated schlerotised carapace. They curl up as a defence from the wasps they invade to lay eggs in their nests. Th Cuckoo wasp larvae hatch first and eat the other wasp larvae. The adults are then providing food to raise the cuckoo wasp and not realising it!
  • Diptera are Flies.
    • Eucalyptus sawfly species are also known as spitfires. Pergagrapta polita is the common spitfire. The name comes from their defence of vomiting concentrated eucalyptus oil. If this gets into your eyes it creates a strong burning sensation.
    • Some flies parasitic on spiders, eat them from inside out. Mantispidae, the mantis fly have parasitic larvae that eat spiders. Bladder flies in Grampians do this
    • Chrysopidae, larvae have a jaw looking device that is actually straws for sucking the fluids from their insect prey. They collect the bodies of their food on their back, along with lichen as camouflage.

Aphids are  introduced to Australia. This could be why they have become such a garden pest.

There are even some insects who’s larvae produce potassium cyanide as a defence mechanism.

 

Mount Abrupt Walk – 9th April

This activity was aborted early due to unforeseen circumstances. I need to share what transpired with members.

Six of us met at 10.30 am at the Mount Abrupt car park. A new member joined up, and a couple of our committee arrived with four guests to join us for a pleasant walk up the mountain on a cold grey, drizzly day.

After completing our normal pre-activity procedures and a weather discussion we agreed to set off. (If conditions worsened, or became unsafe in anyway, we could cut short and find a hot coffee in Dunkeld)

We had only travelled about 400 metres up the track, we were not on a difficult part of the track, our pace was reasonable and measured. No one was being pushed beyond their abilities. At this point one of our guests collapsed and stopped breathing.

One of our attending members is a doctor and she went into action taking charge of CPR. Another member got straight on his phone and called 000. Our newest member is part of the Dunkeld SES, and he got in touch with his SES captain to organise a stretcher carry out. (We were lucky to have mobile service). In short we were doing everything we could. I can see no way we could have improved our response. Perhaps an EPIRB beacon could have pinpointed us for emergency services a little quicker, but really it turned out to be a moot point. Our guest had suffered a major heart attack.

His wife told us he loved to play golf alone. He was fit for his age and quite active. He was currently filming a new TV series. He took great delight in walking in the natural environment, photographing nature, and spending time in the natural world with like minded people. In short, if it was his time, she was pleased it happened with nice people around him. People who enjoyed the same interests, and did everything they could to save him.

After ambulance staff arrived and ran basic tests of heart function and body temperature, he was pronounced deceased. The required processes for an unexpected death were then followed. This included waiting for police, and undertaker. We called off our walk and abandoned the activity. After the police arrived we aided the SES with the stretcher procedure.

The guest who sadly passed was John Clarke. Comedian, actor and all round good bloke. One of my heroes and some one I respected greatly. He is missed by everyone who met him.

Vale John Clarke

I hope anyone who has been affected by events at the activity has sought help, if not please contact us. I know I struggled with a feeling of responsibility for depriving the world of a beloved comedian. Every news broadcast that mentioned his death was a bit of a knife twist, as I had been organiser and coordinator for the activity. Counselling and peer support has been offered by Parks Victoria.

Working Bee at the Brouwers

On a sunny Autumn day in late April, 14 of us gathered at the Brouwers new house.

JanBert and Mabel had been purchasing hundreds of native plants to plant in the garden around their new house. Unfortunately with JanBert’s sudden passing this was going to be a huge job for Mabel. Several working bees were organised and most of the plants were put in the ground before Mabel headed off overseas.

Our FOGGs working bee got over 150 plants planted, fertilised, watered in, mulched and a dripper watering system in place. A garden bed planted by an earlier working bee had already started growing and looking really good. In a year or two there will be a spectacular garden to look out onto from the house and it will attract many birds. We will have to include some pictures in a year or two.

We were treated to hot soup for lunch and sat round having a very sociable time in the sun as well as getting a good job done which was very much appreciated by Mabel.

Grampians Clam Shrimp Day – June 18


Bill Gardner

In June 2016 a new species of Clam Shrimp was found in a rock pool at Flat Rock, in the Northern Grampians. and Professor Brian Timms who studies invertebrate biodiversity in a variety of temporary waters across the inland was interested in investigating further. FOGGs decided to assist this June.

In the morning, armed with instructions from Bill and Professor Timms, volunteers went to several different high up areas across the park to collect samples of water and inhabitants. Then we met up at Laharum for Brian to check what was found and to tell us more about these surprising creatures.

  1. Lots were found on Flat Rock, Hollow Mountain and Mt Stapylton…including another new species…limited to that area? None found at Mt William or Lost Lake or track from Beehive falls to Briggs bluff. However the museum has recorded species from Mt Difficult in the past.
  2. One person brought in a sample from Arapiles which was actually a different species (pea shrimp….more rounded clam shape…widespread species)…Arapiles people are going to look harder in that area
  3. FOGG will monitor the Flat Rock pools at monthly intervals until they disappear and let Brian know how the population proceeds over time. Brian is an emeritus professor and is volunteer funding this research largely personally, so FOGG can be very helpful in taking this work in the Grampians forward. So, if you are interested, head out to look for some yourself.
  4. Samples can be posted to Brian in vials with cotton wool moistened with metho.

Some information about clam shrimps:

  1. Live in gnammas…rock pools formed by chemical dissolution of the sandstone at water/ air interface…overhanging brows typical and flat bottoms. Other gnammas in other rock types evolve differently.
  2. Gnammas need to be min 15 cm deep and a couple of metres across to be likely habitat for clam shrimp. Filamentous algae seems to clog them up and is not a hopeful sign in a gnamma…but still worth looking.
  3. Require dry period to mature eggs, so not found in permanent water.
  4. About 30% of eggs hatch on the first rain after dryness…lifecycle is about 6 weeks so limited time to see them.
  5. Hard to see, shadows on sunny days often easier…need to get your eye in.
  6. Filter feeders
  7. Mate guarding…clasp females until they moult when they can be mated with…so often seen joined together. Claspers diagnostic of different species (prevents wasting time trying to mate with wrong species?)
  8. Detailed egg surface structure diagnostic of species. Eggs often lock together to reduce blowing round.

More information on Brian’s other research interests and posters of Brian’s work on gnammas and various shrimp genera are available.

Contact Bill Gardner

  1. Email
  2.  Phone 0438838286

Sallow Wattle! (“Not-Friend” of the Grampians)

On 5/02/2017 PhD student Samantha Barron gave us a very interesting presentation on her research into Sallow Wattle, (Acacia longifolia), which has become extremely invasive in many parts of the Grampians since the 2006 fires. Samantha mentioned that it is also invasive in more than 20 countries around the world, where it has been introduced for things such as dune stabilisation, tannin production and for ornamental reasons.

The more we know about it, the better we may be able to manage it long-term, and this has been, and is, the overall focus of her research.  Samantha’s aims are to determine which environmental factors help it, and to compare functional traits and genetic differences of the species within its home and invaded ranges; a further aim is to look at its competitive abilities under different climate change scenarios.

One characteristic helping plants to become invasive is being “disturbance adapted”. Acacia longifolia, which includes ssp longifolia and sophorae, is top of the tree for being disturbance adapted ….. Hello Grampians! Fires, floods, you name it, the Grampians excels in disturbance. Fire especially seems to suit Sallow Wattle propagation.

Other factors driving invasiveness include:

  • Fast growing
  • Reproductive maturity of less than 2 years
  • Large, viable seed production
  • Nitrogen fixation
  • Adaptability
  • Allelopathy (the chemical inhibition of one plant by another, due to the release of substances acting as germination or growth inhibitors).

Sallow Wattle appears to have the lot!

Biological control possibilities include (seed eating) weevils, flies, gall-inducing wasps, rust fungus, and stem-boring insects.

Samantha’s research highlights many more questions ….. ie:

  • Which areas are most at risk
  • Where will the species do best
  • Where is it going to increase in abundance and distribution
  • Where energy should be directed for control measures …… such as, where it is a danger to threatened species, and along waterways, where it thrives.

Two studies are in the pipe-line:

  1. Mapping, and predicting plant health by Parks
    The fascinating Chlorophyll Fluorescence measuring tool is assisting as a measure of plant health, (we’d all like one but Samantha tells us they are expensive)
  2. CO2 and drought study; e.g., how well does Sallow Wattle do with/without water??
    There are so many variables. For example, in open heathland, the species doesn’t have to grow as tall as in wooded areas, but it gets no shade once it has outgrown the heath.

Many thanks to Samantha, and her hard-working assistant Josh, for this research and presentation. We wish them all the best as they continue this research.

FOGGs have a strong commitment to encouraging and supporting research into the biodiversity of our Park. Samantha was not one of the students we supported financially, but whose work is so important and we will help with any followup work if needed. We hope to have at least one student presentation on our calendar each year.

Some of us are helping Park research with photomonitoring of Sallow Wattle at different sites. We each have a list of GPS points where a starpicket has been hammered in so that at regular intervals we can take a photo pointing in the same direction. Over the years this will become a valuable record of where it is or is not flourishing.

Lake Fyans Centenary

October 2016

As Rod says in his president’s report it was a  wild wet day but a worthwhile exercise to raise our profile a little and to enjoy seeing how a wet winter had transformed the nearby woodlands. The photos give you a feel of it I hope. I believe there are plans to publish a book on the day, and I will let you know if that happens.

Margo