Peter Anton Vesk

Peter Anton Vesk
University of Melbourne | MSD · School of Ecosystem and Forest Sciences

PhD

About

251
Publications
56,297
Reads
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11,526
Citations
Citations since 2016
98 Research Items
6709 Citations
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201620172018201920202021202202004006008001,0001,200
201620172018201920202021202202004006008001,0001,200
Introduction
My research focus is gathering, formalising and generalising knowledge for ecological management. I aim to bridge field ecology, modelling and decisions. Recent emphasis: making use of legacy datasets; vegetation dynamics under human-influenced disturbance regimes to aid management decisions; incorporating species traits into multispecies models; projecting and optimizing biodiversity benefits of ecosystem management; estimating and managing interacting species.
Additional affiliations
January 2005 - present
University of Melbourne
Position
  • Associate Professor and Reader; previously lecturer, senior lecturer
Description
  • I am a teaching and research academic working on vegetation ecology, management monitoring, statistical modelling and functional ecology. whew!
January 2005 - present
University of Melbourne
Position
  • Lecturer
January 2003 - December 2004
Monash University (Australia)
Position
  • Research Associate

Publications

Publications (251)
Article
In an effort to effectively model observed patterns in the spatial configuration of individuals of multiple species in nature, we introduce the saturated pairwise interaction Gibbs point process. Its main strength lies in its ability to model both attraction and repulsion within and between species, over different scales. As such, it is particularl...
Article
Monitoring vegetation restoration is challenging because monitoring is costly, requires long‐term funding, and involves monitoring multiple vegetation variables which are often not linked back to learning about progress toward objectives. There is a clear need for the development of targeted monitoring programs that focus on a reduced set of variab...
Article
Full-text available
Trait-based approaches are commonly used to understand ecological phenomena and processes. Trait data are typically gathered by measuring local specimens, retrieving published records, or a combination of the two. Implications of methodological choices in trait-based ecological studies—including source of data, imputation technique, and species sel...
Article
Full-text available
Monitoring ground layer biomass, and therefore forage availability, is important for managing large, vertebrate herbivore populations for conservation. Remote sensing allows for frequent observations over broad spatial scales, capturing changes in biomass over the landscape and through time. In this study, we explored different satellite-derived ve...
Preprint
Full-text available
In an effort to effectively model observed patterns in the spatial configuration of individuals of multiple species in nature, we introduce the saturated pairwise interaction Gibbs point process. Its main strength lies in its ability to model both attraction and repulsion within and between species, over different scales. As such, it is particularl...
Article
When managing grazing pressure for conservation, understanding forage dynamics is essential. In south-eastern Australia, ongoing grazing is inhibiting regeneration in several semi-arid woodland communities. Western grey kangaroos (Macropus fuliginosus (Desmarest, 1817)) have been identified as a key component of total grazing pressure. They are tho...
Article
Full-text available
Quantifying mean annual tree seed production is important for conservation and forestry applications, but its estimation remains a substantial challenge. Interspecies variation in seed production is often expressed as a trade-off between seed size and seed number, forming a key component of established models of mean annual seed production in fores...
Article
Full-text available
Understanding the impact of management interventions on the environment over decadal and longer timeframes is urgently required. Longitudinal or large-scale studies with consistent methods are best practice, but more commonly, small datasets with differing methods are used to achieve larger coverage. Changes in methods and interpretation affect our...
Article
Full-text available
The associations between functional traits and species distributions across environments have attracted increasing interest from ecologists and can enhance knowledge about how plants respond to the environments. Here, we applied a hierarchical generalized linear model to quantifying the role of functional traits in plant occurrence across topograph...
Article
Livestock grazing in riparian areas has significant impacts on waterway ecosystems. In Australia, livestock grazing is allowed on many public waterway frontages under long-term licences. Many barriers to removing or restricting grazing on riparian areas exist, including concerns that removing grazing from historically grazed sites may favour invasi...
Article
Full-text available
Genetic differentiation and phenotypic plasticity jointly shape intraspecific trait variation, but their roles differ among traits. In short-lived plants, reproductive traits may be more genetically determined due to their impact on fitness, whereas vegetative traits may show higher plasticity to buffer short-term perturbations. Combining a multi-t...
Article
Full-text available
Plant cell wall biomass is composed of a range of different types of carbon-based compounds. The proportions of the primary carbon types affect how cell walls decompose, an important ecosystem process because their decay contributes to soil carbon. Traditionally, these components are estimated using wet chemistry methods that can be costly and degr...
Chapter
Functional traits are commonly used in invasion studies due to their potential to generalize mechanisms to become invasive across species, which can inform both border screening and post-border management tools. Despite decades of research, however, finding general rules of traits that confer invasiveness has proven challenging. Trait-based invas...
Article
Full-text available
We introduce the AusTraits database - a compilation of values of plant traits for taxa in the Australian flora (hereafter AusTraits). AusTraits synthesises data on 448 traits across 28,640 taxa from field campaigns, published literature, taxonomic monographs, and individual taxon descriptions. Traits vary in scope from physiological measures of per...
Preprint
Full-text available
Monitoring vegetation restoration is challenging because ‘best practice’ monitoring is costly, requires long-term funding, and involves monitoring multiple vegetation variables which are often not linked back to learning about progress toward objectives. There is a clear need for the development of targeted monitoring programs that focus on a reduc...
Preprint
Full-text available
The associations between functional traits and species response to environments have aroused more and more ecologists’ interest and can provide insights into understanding and explaining how plants respond to the environment. Here, we applied a hierarchical generalized linear model to quantifying the role of functional traits in plants response to...
Article
Full-text available
Conservation managers are under increasing pressure to make decisions about the allocation of finite resources to protect biodiversity under a changing climate. However, the impacts of climate and global change drivers on species are outpacing our capacity to collect the empirical data necessary to inform these decisions. This is particularly the c...
Article
Full-text available
1. The establishment of new botanic gardens in tropical regions highlights a need for weed risk assessment tools suitable for tropical ecosystems. The relevance of plant traits for invasion into tropical rainforests has not been well studied. 2. Working in and around four botanic gardens in Indonesia where 590 alien species have been planted, we es...
Preprint
Full-text available
The introduction stage is usually overlooked in trait-based studies of invasiveness, implicitly assuming that species introductions are random. However, human activities promote the movement of specific types of species. Thus, species deliberately introduced for distinct purposes (e.g. gardening, forestry) or as contaminants of human commodities (e...
Preprint
Full-text available
Replication is a hallmark of scientific research. As replications of individual studies are resource intensive, techniques for predicting the replicability are required. We introduce a new technique to evaluating replicability, the repliCATS (Collaborative Assessments for Trustworthy Science) process, a structured expert elicitation approach based...
Article
The contribution of urban greenspaces to support biodiversity and provide benefits for people is increasingly recognised. However, ongoing management practices favour vegetation oversimplification - often limiting greenspaces to lawns and tree canopy rather than multi-layered vegetation that includes under- and midstorey - and the use of nonnative...
Article
Full-text available
Biological invasions are a major human induced global change that is threatening global biodiversity by homogenizing the world's fauna and flora. Species spread because humans have moved species across geographical boundaries and have changed ecological factors that structure ecosystems , such as nitrogen deposition, disturbance, etc. Many biologic...
Article
Trait‐based invasiveness studies typically categorize exotic species as invasive or non‐invasive, implicitly assuming species form two homogenous groups. However, species can become invasive in different ways (e.g. high abundance, fast spread), likely relying on different functional traits to do so. As such, binary classification may obscure traits...
Article
The Australian canola industry was established in the 1970s and has expanded since that time, particularly in the last two decades. This review addresses the changes in farming practices since the year 2000 and the epidemiological and management consequences for blackleg, caused by the fungus Leptosphaeria maculans, the main disease impacting Brass...
Preprint
Full-text available
Phenotypic plasticity can mask population genetic differentiation, reducing the predictability of trait-environment relationships. In short-lived plants, reproductive traits may be more genetically determined due to their direct impact on fitness, whereas vegetative traits may show higher plasticity to buffer short-term perturbations. Combining a m...
Preprint
Full-text available
We introduce the AusTraits database - a compilation of measurements of plant traits for taxa in the Australian flora (hereafter AusTraits). AusTraits synthesises data on 375 traits across 29230 taxa from field campaigns, published literature, taxonomic monographs, and individual taxa descriptions. Traits vary in scope from physiological measures of...
Article
Full-text available
Accurately predicting species ranges is a primary goal of ecology. Demographic distribution models (DDMs), which correlate underlying vital rates (e.g. survival and reproduction) with environmental conditions, can potentially predict species ranges through time and space. However, tests of DDM accuracy across wide ranges of species' life histories...
Article
Full-text available
The need for reliable prediction of species distributions dependent upon traits has been hindered by a lack of model transferability testing. We tested the predictive capacity of trait‐SDMs by fitting hierarchical generalised linear models with three trait and four environmental predictors for 20 eucalypt taxa in a reference region. We used these m...
Article
Full-text available
Climate is a major factor determining the distribution of plant species. Correlative models are frequently used to model the relationships between species distributions and climatic drivers but, increasingly, their use for prediction in novel scenarios such as climate change is being questioned. Mechanistic models, where processes limiting plant di...
Preprint
Full-text available
Conservation managers are under increasing pressure to make decisions about the allocation of finite resources to protect biodiversity under a changing climate. However, the impacts of climate and global change drivers on species are outpacing our capacity to collect the empirical data necessary to inform these decisions. This is particularly the c...
Preprint
Full-text available
Climate is a major factor determining the distribution of plant species. Correlative models are frequently used to model the relationships between species distributions and climatic drivers but, increasingly, their use for prediction in novel scenarios such as climate change is being questioned. Mechanistic models, where processes limiting plant di...
Preprint
Full-text available
The contribution of urban greenspaces to support biodiversity and provide benefits for people is increasingly recognised. However, ongoing management practices still favour (1) vegetation oversimplification, often limiting greenspaces to lawns and tree canopy rather than multi-layered vegetation that includes under and midstorey; and (2) the use of...
Article
Full-text available
Ecological restoration of degraded ecosystems requires the facilitation of natural regeneration by plants, often augmented by large‐scale active revegetation. The success of such projects is highly variable. Risk factors may be readily identifiable in a general sense, but it is rarely clear how they play out individually, or in combination. We addr...
Article
Full-text available
Knowing where species occur is fundamental to many ecological and environmental applications. Species distribution models (SDMs) are typically based on correlations between species occurrence data and environmental predictors, with ecological processes captured only implicitly. However, there is a growing interest in approaches that explicitly mode...
Article
Full-text available
Document recommendation systems for locating relevant literature have mostly relied on methods developed a decade ago. This is largely due to the lack of a large offline gold-standard benchmark of relevant documents that cover a variety of research fields such that newly developed literature search techniques can be compared, improved and translate...
Article
Document recommendation systems for locating relevant literature have mostly relied on methods developed a decade ago. This is largely due to the lack of a large offline gold-standard benchmark of relevant documents that cover a variety of research fields such that newly developed literature search techniques can be compared, improved and translate...
Article
Plants can respond to damage through regrowth from meristematic tissue, commonly concentrated in buds. Knowledge of the distribution and abundance of buds within plants can assist in understanding individual, population and species responses to disturbances. Yet belowground buds can be hard to study, as they may be cryptic until initiated in respon...
Article
Plant modularity traits relevant to functions of on-spot persistence, space occupancy, resprouting after disturbance, as well as resource storage, sharing, and foraging have been underrepresented in functional ecology so far. This knowledge gap exists for multiple reasons. First, these functions and related traits have been considered less importan...
Article
Full-text available
Effective environmental assessment and management requires quantifiable biodiversity targets. Biodiversity benchmarks define these targets by focusing on specific biodiversity metrics, such as species richness. However, setting fixed targets can be challenging because many biodiversity metrics are highly variable, both spatially and temporally. We...
Article
Full-text available
Translocation of plants has become a common approach in conservation biology in the past two decades, but it is not clear how successful it is in achieving long-term conservation outcomes. We combined a literature review with extensive consultations with translocation practitioners to compile data on translocations of threatened Australian plants....
Preprint
1.Ecological restoration of degraded ecosystems requires the facilitation of natural regeneration by plants, often augmented by large-scale active revegetation. The success of such projects is highly variable. Risk factors may be readily identifiable in a general sense, but it is rarely clear how they play out individually, or in combination.2.We a...
Article
Full-text available
Ecological theories often encompass multiple levels of biological organization, such as genes, individuals, populations, and communities. Despite substantial progress toward ecological theory spanning multiple levels, ecological data rarely are connected in this way. This is unfortunate because different types of ecological data often emerge from t...
Technical Report
This report is about the estimation, monitoring and control of kangaroo populations in the Mallee National Parks of Victoria. Kangaroo populations in the Parks are managed for two interdependent reasons: to prevent large die-offs of kangaroos during drought and because they are believed to impede the ecological restoration of degraded semi-arid woo...
Research Proposal
Recovery planning for threatened ecological communities could be made more efficient with a formal process for generalising knowledge on how ecosystems respond to different threats. This project aims to build on current progress in using State-Transition-Models (STMs) to support management decisions across many listed southern Australian eucalypt w...
Article
Full-text available
Modeling plant growth using functional traits is important for understanding the mechanisms that underpin growth and for predicting new situations. We use three data sets on plant height over time and two validation methods—in‐sample model fit and leave‐one‐species‐out cross‐validation—to evaluate non‐linear growth model predictive performance base...
Article
Wet sclerophyll forests of south-eastern Australia typically experience wildfire once or twice a century. However, disturbance regimes have changed drastically in recent decades due to clear-fell logging and altered fire regimes. To date, botanical research on disturbances in wet-forests has focussed on individual elements of disturbance regimes, s...
Article
Questions Relationships between species, their functional traits and environmental gradients can now be more fully understood with trait‐based multi‐species distribution models (trait‐SDMs). However, general patterns are yet to emerge from founding studies using these models, which are mostly case studies at a single scale. Here, we address the gen...
Article
Field data collection can be expensive, time consuming, and difficult; insightful research requires statistical analyses supported by sufficient data. Pilot studies and power analysis provide guidance on sampling design but can be challenging to perform, as ecologists increasingly collect multiple types of data over different scales. Despite a grow...
Article
Full-text available
Environmental and conservation scientists are increasingly being asked to justify their work in terms of benefits to society. This article describes economic theory for conceptualizing the benefits from environmental research, and provides a framework for estimating those benefits. In particular we discuss the evaluation of environmental science th...
Data
Site information. Table summarizing average rainfall and fire metrics for each Tiwi Carbon Study transect.
Data
R script and model output. R code used for data preparation, model building, overdispersion tests, model comparison and prediction via parametric bootstrap. Output of overdispersion tests and model comparisons are embedded in the document.
Article
Full-text available
Fire is a major determinant of savanna tree communities and, as such, manipulation of fire frequency is an important management tool. Resolving the effects of fire management on tree size class distributions can help managers predict and plan for short-term ecological and economic outcomes, reveal different strategies by which woody plants cope wit...
Article
Full-text available
Plant ecologists require spatial information on functional soil properties but are often faced with soil classifications that are not directly interpretable or useful for statistical models. Sand and clay content are important soil properties because they indicate soil water-holding capacity and nutrient content, yet these data are not available fo...
Article
Many ecosystems located within agricultural landscapes are in decline, particularly woodlands, grasslands and wetlands. Surviving remnants are generally fragmented and unrepresentative of pre-disturbance states. Here, we investigate the potential for recovery of ecosystem function in a grassy woodland–wetland mosaic in south-eastern Australia. We f...
Article
Full-text available
Value of information (VOI) analyses reveal the expected benefit of reducing uncertainty to a decision maker. Most ecological VOI analyses have focused on population models rarely addressing more complex community models. We performed a VOI analysis for a complex state–transition model of Box-Ironbark Forest and Woodland management. With three manag...