Endemics on the misty edge: explaining the centre of local endemism on Tasmania’s southeastern peninsulas

Mr Joe Atkinson1

1University Of Tasmania, Hobart, Australia


The Tasman and Forestier Peninsulas contain an unusually high concentration of Tasmanian endemic plant species for eastern Tasmania. Understanding the mechanisms that give rise to endemic plant species and their distributions is important not only for our understanding of ecological processes, but for the conservation of the many species of rare or threatened plants restricted to this region, which is currently being heavily developed for tourism. Spatial and environmental analyses of the distributions of these species tested the hypothesis that a distinct environment and long-term environmental constancy have resulted in this centre of local endemism. There are distinct combinations of climatic and edaphic environments that are associated with high concentrations of endemics. The places with the high concentrations tend also to be much closer to the Last Glacial coastline than other parts of Tasmania.


Joe has a keen interest in plant ecology, and is currently undertaking his honours year in geography, while concurrently working as an ecologist in the private sector. He hopes to continue to do research for as long as there is the resources for him to do so (as well as willing supervisors/collaborators).


Species richness and composition of farm dams in southeast Tasmania

Mr Fang Zhao1, Prof James Kirkpatrick2, Dr Peter McQuillan3

1University Of Tasmania, Hobart, Australia

2University of Tasmania, Hobart , Australia

3University of Tasmania, Hobart, Australia


This study determined the relationships between environment and use of farm dams and their biota There were 261 species recorded from 104 farm dams in southeast Tasmania from 2016 to 2017, including 114 macroinvertebrates, six frogs and 141 vascular plants. Most dams were non-seasonal small dams that were built more than ten years ago and used for domestic and stocking purposes. Multidimensional scaling (MDS) was used to ordinate species composition data in four dimensions. Nine cluster groups were identified in the agglomeration classification, with the input of the ordination scores for the four aces. Age, bank height, altitude, and frog species composition significantly impacted the composition of all species, plant species and macroinvertebrate species. There was no relationship between frog species composition and environmental variables. No variables affected the richness of all species groups. It is thus hard to define a perfect dam that maximize the diversity of all of plant, macroinvertebrate and frog species. However, it is still possible to design dams which maximise overall diversity in the three groups as a whole, or diversity within macroinvertebrates or plants.


Fang Zhao, BIS, MAS, PhD candidate in University of Tasmania, currently research on the potential conservation values of farm dams in southeast Tasmania. Also interested in wetland ecosystem services, freshwater ecology and dam development and management.

Email: Fang.Zhao@utas.edu.au

A swell-dominated shoreline reaches climate-induced recessional tipping point at Ocean Beach, Tasmania

Mr Chris Sharples1, Ms Hannah Walford1, Dr Christopher Watson1, Dr Joanna Ellison1, Dr Quan Hua2, Mr Nick  Bowden3, Professor David  Bowman1

1University Of Tasmania, Hobart, Australia

2Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO), Lucas Heights, Australia

3Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems Co-operative Research Centre, Hobart, Australia


Renewed global sea-level rise (SLR) is expected to eventually cause recession of many shores, however most swell-exposed sandy beaches have not yet shown evidence of receding in response to this cause.  A 70-year air photo and beach profile record for swell-dominated Ocean Beach (western Tasmania) demonstrates an abrupt change of long-term shoreline position variability circa 1980, from episodic erosion and accretion (since at least 1947) to persistent recession up to the present.  Some of the processes that elsewhere confound expected sandy coast responses to SLR – such as episodic reversals of alongshore or onshore-offshore sand transport causing beach changes large enough to mask any sea-level rise effects – are not significant on the Tasmanian west coast.  Instead, Ocean Beach exhibits conditions likely to cause earlier recession in response to SLR than most beaches. We have identified two changing processes capable of explaining the change of behaviour at Ocean Beach, namely sea-level rise and increasing onshore wind speeds. Both are likely to contribute to the observed change of beach behaviour.  The factors causing an early shoreline response to sea-level rise at this site are probably applicable much more widely as indicators of beaches likely to respond earlier than others to SLR.


Chris Sharples is a geologist who has specialised in coastal geomorphology as a contractor /consultant since 1998. He is currently completing a PhD study on differentiating the coastal erosion effects of global sea-level rise on coastal landforms.

Fish use of vegetated saltmarsh flats – gaps, methods and opportunities

Ms Violet Harrison-Day1

1University Of Tasmania, Sandy Bay, Australia


Coastal saltmarsh wetlands are increasingly being recognised globally for their roles in providing nursery habitats and trophic transfer for fish and fisheries. Studies of fish use of saltmarshes have a high degree of variability in their aims, approaches and sampling techniques, partly tailored to suit habitat types (e.g. flats vs creeks) and plant communities (e.g. succulent herbs vs grasses). Given this variability, there is a need for a systematic review of the existing literature reporting fish use of saltmarshes globally, to document the sampling methods used, the spatial and temporal breadth of the literature, and the subtopics within this area of study (e.g. marsh restoration, food chains and fisheries) that have received most and least attention. The review that I report will form the basis of developing appropriate sampling techniques and study design to provide a detailed state-wide and year-round account of fish use of Tasmanian saltmarshes. The review will also assist similar studies in other regions of the world in filling the gaps in region specific data to inform management of fish and fisheries at multiple scales.


Violet Harrison-Day is a PhD student at the University of Tasmania.

Email address: violet.harrisonday@utas.edu.au

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