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Further research interests (Mike Hilton)

Strategies for invasive species management and eradication in southeast Australia and New Zealand

At least five highly invasive plants have been intentionally and accidentally introduced on the temperate dune systems of Australia since European colonisation. These have dispersed widely through various mechanisms and degraded the natural character of coastal dune systems. The remote dune systems of southwest Tasmania are threatened by two species (Thinopyrum junceiforme and Euphorbia paralias). This research, in collaboration with colleagues at the University of Adelaide and University of South Australia, is concerned with understanding processes of dispersal and developing strategies for managing the spread of these species.

The geomorphic and ecological impact of Ammophila arenaria (marram grass) invasion and Ammophila eradication

Marram grass usually establishes a dense vegetation cover that tends to halt sedimentation and dune movement in transgressive dune systems and build relatively continuous and massive foredunes. The impact of removing marram grass using herbicide applied from helicopters and ground vehicles has been studied on Stewart Island (Rakiura) since 1999, when Department of Conservation operations commenced. These impacts relate to the nature of the dune flora, stability of landforms, change in habitat and, in general, understanding the natural character of dune systems in southern New Zealand. Recent work has also focused on alternative methods of marram grass control, particularly the potential to utilise salt as a naturally occuring agent.