Scottsdale recently started working with Chris Watson – an ecologist who has worked with a variety of ecosystems in Australia, Canada and the USA. He's currently a PhD. student at the University of Technology, Sydney and is researching how phenology - the study of seasonal events - can improve our understanding of temperate grassland ecology and the management of grassy ecosystems.
Phenology data is used for ecological monitoring and management in deciduous northern hemisphere ecosystems, but hasn't been developed for Australian environments. Chris is using field data, time-lapse photography, and satellite photographs from different grassland sites throughout eastern temperate Australia, including our Scottsdale Reserve.
The aims of this research are to determine the drivers behind grassland vegetation growth and flowering, and to establish why different grassland types exhibit different phenology patterns. He hopes to use phenology signatures to better identify at-risk grasslands, and enable more effective landscape-level monitoring and management of these ecosystems.