biological control fire response impact assessment invasive plants mycorrhizal facilitation plant community assembly plant functional types plant nutrition requirements plant taxonomy restoration ecology trophic interactions

Email Ian

+61 8 9168 4200

+61 8 9168 2179
Street Address
Lot 248 Ivanhoe Road, Kununurra WA 6743, Australia
Postal Address
PO Box 942, Kununurra WA 6743, Australia


Fire ecologist in the Kimberley region. My role is to conduct research to support the implementation of prescribed fire management in the Kimberley region. Research will show the effects on biodiversity, ecosystem function and plant and animal abundance, of current uncontrolled fire regimes compared to areas where controlled prescribed burning has been implemented. The aim is to provide evidence that prescribed burning operations can be used to improve biodiversity status in Kimberley rangelands.

Volunteer field assistant: Fire Ecology of North Australian Mammals, 2013

A volunteer field assistant is needed to help Ian and Richard with a project investigating fire and mammal ecology in the Kimberley, northern Australia. This project relates to recent declines among native mammals across much of northern Australia. Field work will be conducted in the Kimberley region of Western Australia and based out of Kununurra from May to Sep 2013 (specific dates may vary). Volunteers will be involved with trapping, identifying, handling and measuring a range of mammal species from small rodents up to larger marsupials including possums, bandicoots and quolls (5 g - 5 kg). There will be significant involvement in measuring/identifying vegetation, habitat assessment and data entry. You will need to be prepared for early mornings, long hours in tropical conditions (e.g. long walks carrying traps over rocky terrain, high humidity and temperatures >35oC), sharing cooking duties and living and working in a small team. You will need to have a good work ethic and you must be easy to get along with as field work under arduous conditions can bring out both the best and worst in people! Desirable qualifications include experience with animal handling and ecological methods for undertaking vegetation survey. Accommodation, food and travel associated with field work within Australia will be covered (about half of the time), however the volunteer will provide their own food while based in Kununurra and all their international travel costs. Some accommodation costs may be covered while in Kununurra.

If you would like to apply please email Ian Radford outlining your suitability for the role, relevant experience and two references.

Deadline: April 20th 2013


My main research interests are in fire ecology, plant invasion ecology, restoration of degraded landscapes and biological control. A broad perspective on environmental impacts associated with fire and plant invasive species has been gained through work across climatic zones from the dry tropics in northern Australia, through the coastal plains and ranges in NSW, to the cool temperate subalpine environments of New Zealand. Current work involves the impacts of fire regime on tropical biota in the Kimberley region of far north western Australia. My most recent work investigated the relative roles of plant functional traits, competition, disturbance and soil fungal mycorrhizal facilitation of alien plant (Hieracium lepidulum) invasion of south island New Zealand high country environments. Previous studies included the use of fire in restoration of tropical riparian ecosystems invaded by rubbervine (Cryptostegia grandiflora), research into invasion processes associated with Acacia nilotica in the Mitchell grasslands, and use of fire and biocontrol agents for the control of woody weeds in Queensland. I have also conducted studies into comparative ecology and invasive traits among closely related Senecio species, and genetic and taxonomic differentiation in variable species complexes.

Brief CV

Academic Qualifications

  • Doctor of Philosophy in Agriculture, University of Sydney, 1997
  • Bachelor of Science (Honours), University of Sydney, 1991

Research Experience

  • Analysed trends in diverse woody and herbaceous plant communities using species identity, abundance and vegetation structural data (e.g. BOTANAL)
  • Conducted prescribed burning experiments at landscape scales for weed control and ecosystem restoration research
  • Used univariate (ANOVA, regression, non-parametric tests) and multivariate techniques (MANOVA, PCA, CVA, NMS, cluster analyses) for analysis of complex data sets
  • Used comparative growth performance and functional type analysis for identification of plant invasive traits
  • Undertook soil microbial/arbuscular mycorrhizal fungal (AMF) species manipulations and measured root AMF infection rates
  • Undertook stratified plant demographic and phenological sampling
  • Conducted field based research in remote localities under arduous conditions
  • Used soil analyses (charged resins, N, P, K, Ca, Mg, pH, structural analyses) to quantify plant resources
  • Examined plant breeding systems and hybridisation
  • Used ecological data in population simulations and models
  • Ran isozyme electrophoretic analyses
  • Undertook taxonomic research using morphometric analyses, herbarium survey and electron microscopy


  • Fire and biodiversity in the Kimberley - BCI project, DEC/Bushfire CRC/CSIRO collaboration
    Use of Landsat technology and biodiversity monitoring (invertebrates, herbaceous and woody plants, soil attributes and function) to determine fire regimes most conducive to conservation aims and arrest of biodiversity declines
  • NHT project, the Kimberley Fire Project, to complement these studies using biodiversity monitoring in conjunction with co-ordinated management approaches to reduce the incidence of large scale severe fires.
  • Grass curing relating to fire danger - Bushfire CRC project
    Linking on the ground measurement of grass curing/moisture with satellite image signatures to allow remote sensing for fire danger indices
  • Proposed studies:-
    PhD supervision of student investigating roles of fire and other processes in maintenance and decline of critical weight range mammals - DEC/UWA/USyd/Bushfire CRC collaboration