Weed Ecology Research

Weed Ecology

Kris French Research Area

Our work over many years has focused on coastal ecosystems and the impact of bitou bush (Chrysanthemoides monilifera subsp. rotundata) on these ecosystems. More recently we have also focused on the related boneseed (Chrysanthemoides monilifera subsp. monilifera) that occurs in woodland habitats in southern Australia, Stenotaphrum secundatum (buffalo grass) in Coastal She-Oak communities, and on lantana in rainforests and wet sclerophyll forests. Our work has sought to understand impact and mechanisms of invasion. We have investigated the effect of invasion of bitou on various faunal groups and determined how bitou bush influences ecosystem processes such as seed dispersal and litter decomposition. We have found the species that become locally extinct early in invasion and assessed the role and direction of rehabilitation activities in weed infested areas. We have followed plants that are affected by weeds to determine changes in reproductive output and plant stress in species co-occurring with weeds. This work is leading into investigating changes in plant communities and invasion potential under climate change. New facilitative interactions may enhance weed invasion and some new work is looking at the role of mycorrhizae in the invasion process.

Current students:

  • Ben Gooden
  • Louisa Armstrong
  • Kim Barrett

Past PhD students:

  • Carl Gosper
  • Liz Lindsay
  • Tanya Mason
  • Emilie Ens

Publications in Weed Ecology (2000 onwards)

Gooden, B. & French, K. (in press) Mesocosm experiment reveals that impacts of alien plant invasion on native plant communities are mediated by functional identity of resident species, not resource availability. Oikos

Gooden, B. & French, K. (2014). Alien grass disrupts reproduction and post-settlement recruitment of co-occurring native vegetation: a mechanism for diversity decline in invaded forest? Plant Ecology, 215(5), 567-580

Gooden, B. & French, K. (2014) Non-interactive effects of plant invasion and landscape modification on native communities. Diversity and Distributions.20, 626-639.

Gooden, B. & French, K. (2014) Impacts of alien grass invasion in coastal seed banks vary amongst native growth forms and dispersal strategies. Biological Conservation 171, 114-126.

Mason, T., French, K., Jolley, D (2013) Arrival order among native plant functional groups does not affect invasability of constructed dune communities. Oecologia 173 (2): 557-568.

French, K. (2012) Competition strength of two significant invasive species in coastal dunes. Plant Ecology 213:1667–1673

Mason, T., French K., Russell, K. (2012) Are competitive effects of native species on an invader mediated by water availability. Journal of Vegetation Science 23:657-666.

French, K., Mason, TJ, Sullivan, N (2011) Recruitment limitation of native species in invaded coastal dune communities. Plant Ecology 212,601-609.

Cousens, R., Hill, J., Bishop, I., French, K. (2010) Towards better prediction of seed dispersal by animals. Functional Ecology 24(6), 1163-1170.

Ens EJ, French K, Bremner JB. (2010) Novel technique shows different hydrophobic chemical signatures of exotic and indigenous plant soils with similar effects of extracts on indigenous species seedling growth Plant and Soil, 326, 403-414

Gooden, B, French, K, Turner, PJ, Downey, P (2009) Impact threshold for an alien plant invader, Lantana camara L., on native plant communities. Biological Conservation 142, 2631–2641.

Reid, A.M., Morin, L., Downey, PO, French, K. and Virtue, JG. (2009) Does invasive plant management aid the restoration of natural ecosystems? Biological Conservation 142, 2342-9.

Mason, T, French, K and Lonsdale, W.M. (2009) Do graminoid and woody invaders have different effects on species richness within plant functional groups in native communities? J. Appl Ecol 46, 426-33

Gooden, B, French, K, Turner P (2009) Invasion and management of a woody plant, Lantana camara L., alters vegetation diversity within wet sclerophyll forest in south-eastern Australia, Forest Ecology and Management 257, 960-967

Ens, E, French, K , Bremner, J (2009) Evidence for allelopathy as a mechanism of community composition change by an invasive exotic shrub, Chrysanthemoides monilifera spp. rotundata. Plant and Soil 316:125–137

Ens, E, Bremner, J, French, K , Korth J (2009) Identification of volatile compounds released by roots of an invasive plant, bitou bush (Chrysanthemoides monilifera spp. rotundata), and their inhibition of native seedling growth Biological Invasions 11; 275-287

Mason T.J. and French K (2008) Impacts of a woody invader vary in different vegetation communities. Diversity and Distributions 14, 839-838

French, K and Buckley S (2008) The effects of the herbicide metsulfuron-methyl on soil invertebrate communities in coastal dune invaded with Chrysanthemoides monilifera spp. rotundata Weed Research 48,266-272

French K, Ens E, Gosper CR, Lindsay E, Mason T, Owers B and Sullivan N (2008) Management implications of recent research into the effect of bitou bush invasion. Plant Protection Quarterly 23,24-28

Ens, E and French, K (2008) Exotic woody invader limits the recruitment of three indigenous plant species Biological Conservation141, 590-595

Mason T. J., French K. and Russell K.G. (2007). Moderate impacts of plant invasion and management regimes in coastal hind dune seed banks. Biological Conservation 134: 428-439.

Mason T. J., French K. (2007) Management regimes for a plant invader differentially impact resident communities. Biological Conservation 136, 246-259.

Gosper, C, Whelan, RJ and French K. (2006) The effect of invasive plant management on the rate of removal of vertebrate-dispersed fruits. Plant Ecology 184, 351-363

Lindsay E.A. and French K. (2006) The impact of the weed Chrysanthemoides monilifera ssp. rotundata invasion on coastal leaf litter invertebrates. Biological Invasions 8(2): 177-92.

Mason, T, Lonsdale, WM, French, K. (2005) Environmental weed control policy in Australia: current approaches, policy limitations and future directions. Pacific Conservation Biology 11(4), 23-45.

Lindsay E.A. and French K. (2005) Litterfall and nitrogen cycling following invasion by Chrysanthemoides monilifera spp. rotundata' J. Appl. Ecol. 42, 556-566.

Lindsay E.A. and French K. (2004) The impact of the herbicide glyphosate on leaf litter invertebrates within Bitou Bush infestations. Pest Management Science 60, 1205-1212

Lindsay E.A and French K. (2004) Chrysanthemoides monilifera ssp. rotundata invasion alters decomposition rates in coastal areas of New South Wales, Australia. Forest Ecology and Management 198, 387-99.

French, K. & Major, R. (2001) The effect of an exotic Acacia (Fabaceae) on ant assemblages in South African fynbos. Austral Ecology.26, 303-10.