Seminars & Events

Seminars Unlimited

Our seminar series brings some of the world's leading researchers from across Australia and worldwide to present for one hour on most Wednesdays. Our seminars offer a wonderful insight into life in the sciences, with a diverse and engaging range of topics.

All welcome!

Venue: R4 Lecture Theatre, Ground Floor - behind the Hawkesbury Institute for the Environment, Western Sydney University Hawkesbury Campus, College Drive Richmond NSW 2753


Weds July 26 2017

Completing the PhD journey is worth celebrating! Years of hard work, experiments that only sometimes cooperate, and too much coffee is just part of the long and winding road towards the PhD! At HIE, we want to celebrate the journey with a special PhD Completion Seminar, our first being Yaojie Lu. Please join us on Wednesday as Yaojie shares with us the journey, the findings and the experience of doing PhD studies at HIE.

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Learn How To Harness The Life In Your Soils For Better Cropping Outcomes

Participants at our Soils Masterclasses have learnt how to adopt practices and strategies to enhance the life in soils and use the power of plant-soil-microbial relationships to unlock soil nutrients, produce healthier and more nutritious plants and understand how microbes drive modern farming success.

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November 2017

The Annual OzFlux Meeting brings the flux community together every year to learn the latest in environmental monitoring and scientific techniques.

Please join us in 2017 at the beautiful Hawkesbury campus of Western Sydney University, home to the Cumberland Plains Observatory and unique field facilities.

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Previous Seminars

Tues July 18 2017

Prof Paul Struik: Assessing the impact of 3D leaf anatomy on photosynthesis using microscale modelling approaches , followed by Dr Xinyou Yin: Can improvement in leaf photosynthesis increase crop productivity?

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Weds July 19 2017

This seminar will present various remote sensing and geospatial analysis & modelling topics including 1) mapping of tropical forest cover loss with Landsat and MODIS satellite time series, 2) MODIS-based quantification of dryland vegetation growth dynamics, 3) Landsat-based quantification of surface water and flooding extent dynamics across a 1/4 century for the entire Murray Darling Basin and modelling of riparian vegetation dynamic drivers, and 4) quantification of individual floodplain tree health via airborne LiDAR and hyperspectral scans.

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Weds 31st May 2017

In this talk I will review the history and current status of alien tree invasions in South Africa and discuss some recent and ongoing work to understand and manage these invasions.

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Weds 24th May 2017

Dr Meade will provide background information on movement ecology and animal navigation, and then go on to give an overview of her current research and present some preliminary results.

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Weds 17th May 2017

In her presentation, Dr Umbers will outline current thinking around startle displays, how they compare to other antipredator defences. She will present the results of several new studies that contribute field-based data to our understanding of these complex defences.

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Weds 10th May 2017

My research has included urban and non-urban (often National Park) streams of northern and southern Sydney. More recently this has included upland swamps of the Blue Mountains where our research suggests the endangered wetland ecological communities (Commonwealth and NSW listed) are suffering ionic contamination from urban development.

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Weds 19th April 2017

If the upper layer of the Earth's crust contains sufficient minerals and organic material to support the presence of diversified forms life, it is called soil. In each soil across world microscopic roundworms, also referred to as nematodes, are found, often in overwhelming numbers. Being trophically diverse, nematodes occupy central positions in soil food webs and fulfil key-roles in soil functioning and plant growth.

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Weds 5th April 2017

This presentation will focus on possible contributions from fields and disciplines represented by HIE researchers, especially topics pertaining to ligneous materials, microbial environments, and broader issues of sustainability around both energy use and sauna construction. Interested colleagues will be invited to join a new WSU Sauna Studies research group that is hoping to contribute to communal wellbeing and a local and international level.

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Fri 7th April 2017

Soil organic matter (SOM) regulates multiple ecosystem processes, including the exchange of trace gases and primary productivity. Recently, there has been vigorous debate over the role that microbial products play in forming stable soil organic matter, with increasing analytical evidence using isotopes, molecular chemistry, and microscopy all showing that SOM possesses a strong microbial signature.

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Fri 31st March 2017

I present an overview of savanna burning in northern Australia, linking biodiversity, Greenhouse gas abatement and the development of Indigenous livelihoods.

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We also show that under future elevated CO2 levels, populations of aphids, which spread cereal viruses, will decline on noninfected plants, but feeding rates and damage are anticipated to increase.

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Weds March 22 2017, 3.30pm - 4.30pm

Due to our choices, our diverse and incredible world is rapidly changing. Each of us will be affected by the changes that take place on our planet, some more than others. We need to foster a kinder world, one in which we consider impacts to others as if they were happening to ourselves. This is the message I convey as I share climate science with others.

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Weds March 15 2017, 3.30pm - 4.30pm

This paper engages with ecological and historical analysis of global trends in biological invasion. It explores different perspectives on the dynamics and chronologies of globalization, a process of integration. It is perhaps easiest and best to conceive of two stages in ecological globalization since the 1500s based on the rate and flow of introduced species.

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Monday November 28th 2016, 1.00pm - 4.00pm

We extend an invitation to greenhouse growers, protected croppers, industry members and staff to join us for a showcase tour of the Greenhouse Education And Research Training Facility being constructed at Hawkesbury (Richmond NSW 2754) on the grounds of Western Sydney University.This is your opportunity to see the new greenhouse while it is being completed, and share with researchers and colleagues your views and insights into the next steps forward with this very unique greenhouse.

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Dec 1-5 2016: The Australian and New Zealand Society for Comparative Physiology and Biochemistry (ANZSCPB) is an unofficial society that meets annually at locations around Australia and New Zealand. The aim of each meeting is to promote scientific excellence in comparative research in a socially enjoyable atmosphere.

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Weds December 7 2016, 3.00pm - 4.00pm

AmazonFACE is the first FACE experiment to be undertaken in a tropical forest and is in its pre-treatment phase (2015-2017). This phase is concentrating on baseline measurements, installation and testing of monitoring equipment, and the delivery of first results of species composition, standing carbon stocks and fluxes, biogeochemistry, and ecophysiological processes.

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Weds November 30 2016, 3.00pm - 4.00pm

We studied the importance of water relation traits in the physiological, morphological and anatomical adaptations and adjustments to drought. The talk will focus on the temporal and spatial plasticity of water relation traits and explores their importance in the whole tree adaptations of eucalypts to their environment.

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Weds November 23 2016, 3.00pm - 4.00pm

This seminar will focus on two experiments, using Whole Tree Chambers, to investigate processes that drive tree carbon uptake and allocation from the leaf to the whole tree.

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Weds November 16 2016, 3.00pm - 4.00pm

A pair of antennae is a distinguishing feature of insects, the majority of whom live in a sensory world dominated by odours. The diversity of shapes and sizes of insect antennae is both astonishing and puzzling: why is there such diversity to solve the same problem – to perceive chemical compounds. This seminar is a very preliminary account of scarce evolutionary explanations.

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Weds November 2 2016, 3.00pm - 4.00pm

Everywhere we look – other than deserts and ice sheets – there are plants full of chlorophyll. Yet this green-coloured biomolecule is highly nutritious. And insects (not to mention may other animal forms) have evolved to exploit multiple niches as plant-feeders. So, why is the world still so green?

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Weds October 31 2016, 3.00pm - 4.00pm

We invite contributions and collaboration to advance the semantic representation of ecosystems, and provide information to facilitate further contributions from additional key data resources....

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Weds October 26 2016, 3.00pm - 4.00pm

There are strong public needs for environmental surveillance systems that can systematically collect, analyse, and disseminate data for societal needs and benefits, including carbon, water and resource management, climate change, urban systems, and public health alerts. In this talk, we discuss the integration of satellite sensing with in situ sensors to monitor ecosystem dynamics and functioning, and better understand ecological changes, fates, and responses to climate variability and human activity. Examples of vegetation sensitivity, ecological resilience, and urban heat islands are presented...

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Tues 25 Oct 2016: With more than 90% of Australians living in cities and urban centres, issues of health, wellbeing and liveability in our cities are in the news more than ever.

This forum explores Western Sydney University's four research themes in the context of life in urban centres with a particular focus on challenges of urban heat islands, greenspace benefits, urban living trends and health implications for our future cities.

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This August, we will again be hosting showcase events as part of National Science Week.

The Hawkesbury Institute for the Environment is part of the Western Sydney Science Hub to showcase all things science, wildlife and sustainability during National Science Week!

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Weds October 12 2016, 3.00pm - 4.00pm

Conservation inputs are assumed to be general and increase biodiversity equally under all states of nature. Modern theory highlights that decision makers such as farmers substitute resources between states of nature and that inputs are state-contingent...

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Friday September 30 2016, 3.00pm - 4.00pm

Crop diseases cause yield losses, yet crop productivity needs to increase by > 70% over the next 35 years to accommodate population growth and changing dietary preferences. Crop plants and pathogens interact in response to changes in environmental conditions. There has been little work to study its combined effects on crop-disease interactions to guide strategies for adaptation to climate change....

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Weds September 28 2016, 3.00pm - 4.00pm

Plants maintain a predictable relative amount of biomass in their various organs, or allometry, through a range of sizes. I will introduce the different schools of thought involving plant allometry and particularly focus on allocation to leaves relative to the remaining biomass (leaf mass fraction)...

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Wednesday August 31 2016, 3.00pm - 4.00pm

This seminar will present an overview of the various topics that are under investigation within the land group. These recent and current projects include the evaluation of historical drought in offline land surface model simulations and in the CMIP5 output, the development of improved parameterizations for hydrology and turbulent fluxes in the Community Atmosphere Biosphere Land Exchange (CABLE) model, assessment of the impact of irrigation on temperatures in Australia, the impact of earlier spring time green-up on temperature, the development of improved gridded evapotranspiration products, and a web based tool and protocol for benchmarking land surface models...

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Thursday August 25 2016, 3.00pm - 4.00pm

The semio-chemicals that have been used most successfully in pest control are lepidopterous sex pheromones and the aggregation pheromones of Coleoptera. The Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources (DEDJTR) research team has developed systems based on semiochemicals to successfully control Carpophilus beetle in stone fruit, cherries and berries...

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Wednesday August 24 2016, 3.00pm - 4.00pm

I will discuss examples of how confocal imaging can be used to study cellular responses to biotic and abiotic stresses, measure tissue biomass changes, cellular pH, calcium, reactive oxygen species and metabolite levels in plants, microalgae and microbes. The applications of other instruments attached to confocal microscopes at WSU Confocal Bioimaging Facility will be discussed, such as fluorescence lifetime microscopy (FLIM) and Raman spectroscopy, to show how they can be used to provide insights into chemical composition, photophysiology and stress responses of plant tissues...

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Wednesday August 17 2016, 3.00pm - 4.00pm

Understanding species ability to withstand heat stress is paramount for predicting their response to increasing temperatures and decreasing rainfall. Our knowledge of plant thermal tolerance has rapidly increased over recent years; however, application of such measures to real-world scenarios could be enhanced through better insight into plant spatial and temporal variability of physiological response. ..

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Wednesday August 10 2016, 3.00pm - 4.00pm

I will provide examples of rhizosphere effects on 1) nitrogen mineralisation and plant growth after a wildfire, 2) soil carbon stabilisation under drought conditions, and 3) recycling of nitrogen and ecosystem stability under elevated CO2 and warming.

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Wednesday June 7 2016, 3.00pm - 4.00pm

In this seminar, I will synthesize the outcomes of three years of work at the HIE, will give an overview of some of my past research focused on the ecological consequences of nitrogen deposition in Mediterranean ecosystems and will introduce some of my research plans for the near future. I will particularly focus on the role played by the spatiotemporal environmental heterogeneity and multi-trophic ecological interactions on the whole-ecosystem response to global environmental change...

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Wednesday June 7 2016, 3.00pm - 4.00pm

In this seminar, I will synthesize the outcomes of three years of work at the HIE, will give an overview of some of my past research focused on the ecological consequences of nitrogen deposition in Mediterranean ecosystems and will introduce some of my research plans for the near future. I will particularly focus on the role played by the spatiotemporal environmental heterogeneity and multi-trophic ecological interactions on the whole-ecosystem response to global environmental change...

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Thursday 25 May 2016, 3.00pm - 4.00pm

Torpor, the ability of some animals to temporarily reduce body temperature and metabolic rate, has long been related to survival of seasonal bottlenecks in primarily cold habitats. I will introduce some of my findings of torpor use in response to energetic emergencies that suggest that heterothermic species with their flexible energy requirements have an adaptive advantage over homeotherms in the context of climate change...

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Thursday 12 May 2016, 3.00pm - 4.00pm

This talk will address the physiological differences between C4 grasses and trees, present preliminary results of a combined [CO2]a manipulation experiment , whereby the functionality of grass and tree savanna species were directly compared, and highlight how physiological traits may underpin rapid vegetation switches between states.

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Wednesday 11 May 2016, 3.00pm - 4.00pm

Plant ecological strategy research changed gear in the 1990s with the suggestion that measurable species traits should be used directly as strategy dimensions. This opened a path to world-scale comparisons. And indeed, over the past 20 years a satisfying quantitative picture has been built about the constellation of species ecologies worldwide.

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Wednesday 4 May 2016, 3.00pm - 4.00pm

In this seminar I will provide further insight into community dynamics of AMF using next-generation sequencing techniques and offer an outlook to other important soil organisms in context of the changing climate that heavily influences the availability of a key resource for life on earth: water.

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Wednesday 27 April 2016, 3.00pm - 4.00pm

I will focus on one topic that I have been preoccupied with in the last few years, i.e., our understanding of how plants respond to drought stress. I will present data from two cases studies for a) Scots pine mortality in the southern boundaries of its distribution in Europe, and b) the future of tropical rainforests under scenarios of climate-change-induced drying...

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Friday 22 April 2016, 11.00am - 12.00pm

Current global challenges highlight the need for sustainable agricultural systems and increases in crop yields. A deeper understanding of how crops balance CO2 uptake for photosynthesis with transpirational water loss will enable the development of crops to meet global food, feed and fuel demands.

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Wednesday 20 April 2016, 3.00pm - 4.00pm

In this seminar I will summarise our progress on understanding the photosynthetic light harvesting and photoprotection mechanisms of several species of microalgae that have high relevance in aquatic ecosystems or applied algal research such as biofuel production.

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Friday 15 April 2016, 12.00pm - 1.00pm

New reconstructions of the evolutionary relationships among C4 plants and their C3 relatives have allowed large-scale comparative analyses to deepen our understanding of C4 plant biology.

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Thursday 7 April 2016, 11.00am - 12.00pm

Change has always been present however, agriculture systems in general are facing change at an unprecedented rate from a range of significant causes. Dr Mike Bange presents impacts of these changes on cotton production systems and highlight some options for adaptation.

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Wednesday 6 April 2016, 3.00pm - 4.00pm

In this seminar, I will present work done across several disciplines and organisations where I have investigated the transport of water in plants at multiple scales. The motivation for this approach is to reveal differences in water transport at different scales.

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Wednesday 23 March 2016 3.00pm - 4.00pm

Tephritid fruit flies are able to exploit unripe fruit for their larval development. The main hypothesis fueling our research is that this rather unique adaptation is enabled by symbiotic bacteria associated with these flies.

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Friday 18 March 2016, 12.00pm - 1.00pm

Tephritidae is a family of Diptera insects including the ‘true’ fruit flies. Many of them are considered as economic important pests worldwide. Quarantine implementation and effective Sterile Insect Technique (SIT) applications rely partly on the accurate delimitation of species limits.

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Wednesday 7th March 2016, 3.00pm - 4.00pm

Top-down and bottom-up regulation in a multi-trophic system has long been a challenging issue in community and ecosystem ecology. Since past studies have focused on either top-down or bottom-up trophic cascades, the interaction of top-down and bottom-up effects is poorly understood. I have proposed a conceptual framework on the integration of top-down and bottom-up forces in a terrestrial system, focusing on herbivore-induced plant traits.

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Friday 26 February 2016, 12.00pm - 1.00pm

The desire for urban trees presents a dilemma in arid and semi-arid regions. Tree planting is widely discussed as a mechanism for adding green infrastructure and environmental amenities to cities. We propose that there is a critical role for ecological science in performance-based landscape and green infrastructure designs that optimize the seemingly paradoxical tradeoffs in landscaping dry environments, including a role for trees in hot, dry cities...

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Wednesday 10 February 2016 3.00pm - 4.00pm

What insights do ecophysiological comparisons among grass lineages provide, both into the key functional benefits of C4 photosynthesis and into the importance of water?

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Seminar Committee

Ask us about presenting a seminar - we're here to help. Email us at hieseminars@lists.uws.edu.au.

Dr Matthias Boer
Dr Matthias Boer

Dr Christopher Turbill
Dr Christopher Turbill

Dr Uffe Nielsen
Dr Uffe Nielsen

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