Samantha Capon

Samantha Capon
Griffith University · School of Environment

30.25
 · 
PhD

About

92
Publications
18,975
Reads
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Introduction
I am an ecologist with a background in the ecology and management of riverine and wetland landscapes, especially their vegetation and particularly in dryland regions. Much of my work focuses on informing water and land management to protect, enhance and restore these ecosystems. I also have expertise in climate change adaptation. I am passionate about environmental ethics and the philosophy of ecological science especially with regards to its role in addressing current global challenges.
Research Experience
September 2009 - February 2016
Griffith University
Position
  • Research Fellow
December 2003 - December 2007
Monash University (Australia)
Position
  • Postdoctoral fellow

Publications

Publications (92)
Article
The concept of environmental water requirements (EWRs) is central to Australia’s present approach to water reform. Current decision-making regarding environmental water relies strongly on the notion that EWRs necessary to meet targets associated with ecological objectives for asset sites can be scientifically defined, thus enabling the ecological o...
Article
Drawing on the experience and lessons of wetland researchers and managers in Australia and New Zealand, we examined the implications of climate change for wetland policy and management, and identified potential adaptation responses and the information needed to support these. First, we considered wetland vulnerability to climate change, focusing on...
Article
Full-text available
Climate change threatens biodiversity in all ecosystems, and major shifts in species distributions are expected. Freshwater ecosystems are considered particularly vulnerable due to the ectothermic physiology of most freshwater species and their limited habitat extent and capacity to track climate trends. In this study, we examined what broad patter...
Book
Vegetation communities in Australia's riverine landscapes are ecologically, economically and culturally significant. They are also among the most threatened ecosystems on the continent and have been dramatically altered as a result of human activities and climate change. Vegetation of Australian Riverine Landscapes brings together, for the first ti...
Article
The concepts of ecosystem regime shifts, thresholds and alternative or multiple stable states are used extensively in the ecological and environmental management literature. When applied to aquatic ecosystems, these terms are used inconsistently reflecting differing levels of supporting evidence among ecosystem types. Although many aquatic ecosyste...
Article
Coastal freshwater supply and demand systems are expected to be significantly affected by changes to both climatic and non-climatic drivers over coming decades. Adapting to these changes to secure adequate freshwater to meet the rising demands of socio-economic development has become a critical task for decision-makers. Whilst a range of adaptation...
Article
Full-text available
• Understanding soundscapes, that is, the totality of sounds within a location, helps to assess nature in a more holistic way, providing a novel approach to investigating ecosystems. To date, very few studies have investigated freshwater soundscapes in their entirety and none across a broad spatial scale. • In this study, we recorded 12 freshwater...
Article
Full-text available
Bayesian networks (BNs) are widely implemented as graphical decision support tools which use probability inferences to generate "what if?" and "which is best?" analyses of potential management options for water resource management, under climate change and socioeconomic stressors. This paper presents a systematic quantitative literature review of a...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
The management of island water systems in highly developed tourism destinations of developing countries presents many challenges in the face of climate change. Such systems are high levels of uncertainty and complexity driven by dynamic interactions amongst multiple climatic and non-climatic drivers with many feedbacks. Understanding complex intera...
Article
Climate change poses significant emerging risks to biodiversity, ecosystem function and associated socioecological systems. Adaptation responses must be initiated in parallel with mitigation efforts, but resources are limited. As climate risks are not distributed equally across taxa, ecosystems and processes, strategic prioritization of research th...
Chapter
Full-text available
Recent studies of local landscape and vegetation change have improved our understanding of the part Europeans have played in the evolution of subtropical Australia. Here, we focus on sedimentary and documentary evidence from the large, rural catchments draining to Moreton Bay. In the 1840s, the region underwent a transition from Aboriginal pastoral...
Article
The Murray–Darling Basin in south‐eastern Australia contains over 70,000 km2 of wetlands and floodplains, many of which are in poor condition. In response, Australian governments have committed to a major restoration program, the Murray–Darling Basin Plan that includes management of 2,750 Gl of environmental water to protect and restore aquatic eco...
Article
Full-text available
Aim: The conservation of plant species biodiversity has been identified as a crucial factor for the resilience of dryland ecosystems in the face of climate change and desertification. Duma florulenta (lignum) is a keystone species that facilitates biodiversity in the floodplains and wetlands of Australia's dryland river systems. This paper explore...
Article
Aim Riparian ecosystems are regarded as vulnerable to the effects of climate change. Because of their reliance on passive dispersal to migrate from areas where conditions have become unfavourable, plants are particularly susceptible. On dryland river floodplains, the species diversity of herbaceous annuals is often high while that of structurally d...
Article
Many studies have investigated the effects of human disturbances on floodplain propagule banks, but few have examined how these propagule banks change down the soil depth profile. Changes in soil propagule banks with depth can indicate the state of past vegetation and potentially demonstrate the effects of different land uses on the soil profile. H...
Article
Full-text available
Environmental flows are a critical tool for addressing ecological degradation of river systems brought about by increasing demand for limited water resources. The importance of basin scale management of environmental flows has long been recognized as necessary if managers are to achieve social, economic, and environmental objectives. The challenges...
Article
Coastal freshwater wetlands are amongst the world’s most modified but poorly researched ecosystems and some of the most vulnerable to climate change. Here, we examine vegetation resilience in coastal wetlands of subtropical Australia to altered salinity and flooding regimes likely to occur with climate change. We conducted field surveys and glassho...
Article
Environmental water management has become a global imperative in response to environmental degradation and the growing recognition that human well-being and livelihoods are critically dependent on freshwater ecosystems and the ecological functions and services they provide. Although a wide range of techniques and strategies for planning and impleme...
Article
Riparian ecosystems are hotspots for ecological restoration globally because of the disproportionately high value and diversity of the ecological functions and services which they support and their high level of vulnerability to anthropogenic pressures, including climate change. Degraded riparian ecosystems are associated with many serious anthropo...
Article
Full-text available
A decade ago, scientists and practitioners working in environmental water management crystallized the progress and direction of environmental flows science, practice, and policy in The Brisbane Declaration and Global Action Agenda (2007), during the 10th International Riversymposium and International Environmental Flows Conference held in Brisbane,...
Article
Full-text available
A decade ago, scientists and practitioners working in environmental water management crystallised the progress and direction of environmental flows science, practice and policy in The Brisbane Declaration and Global Action Agenda (2007), during the 10th International Riversymposium and International Environmental Flows Conference held in Brisbane,...
Article
Water resources management faces many challenges in coastal areas of developing countries, where climate change coupled with high rates of population growth and urbanization have the potential to cause severe water scarcity. Of particular concern, are sea level rise and altered precipitation regimes that will influence spatial and temporal patterns...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Water resources management faces many challenges in coastal areas of developing countries; where sea level rise and upstream flow decline coupled with high rates of population growth and urbanization have the potential to cause severe water scarcity. Understanding of the operational resilience of coastal freshwater systems is therefore needed to in...
Article
Full-text available
Climate change is driving shifts in social-ecological systems globally. In response, humans must adapt to altered climatic and environmental conditions. While climate change adaptation is a pressing issue in many sectors and regions, the adaptation of environmental management strategies is particularly urgent because of the severity and extent of r...
Article
Hydrology is widely considered to be the dominant driver of understorey vegetation dynamics in arid and semi-arid riparian ecosystems. Consequently environmental watering is often a key approach to restoring and promoting riparian vegetation diversity. Few studies however have considered the role of local factors, e.g. shading or litter accumulatio...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Increasing human populations and the continual change of the Earth's climate has meant that food security is becoming an increasingly important issue. One of the main factors contributing to food security is the availability of water for agricultural purposes. Recently, a few models have been proposed for water management problems in agricultural c...
Conference Paper
Over the coming century, Moreton Bay and its catchments face uncertain and potentially unprecedented levels of change in sea level, temperature, and changing frequencies of extreme storm surges, storms and floods. Climate change projections for the region indicate a high likelihood of warming in all seasons, a greater intensity of extreme rainfall...
Conference Paper
In the last three decades, agricultural development in tropical and subtropical regions has intensified worldwide, leading to high rates of deforestation, deteriorating riverine ecosystems and degraded water supplies. Studies of processes in tropical catchments have lagged behind the temperate zone, but critical differences exist with respect to th...
Article
Bayesian belief networks (BBNs) are probabilistic graphical models that can capture and integrate both quantitative and qualitative data, thus accommodating data-limited conditions. This paper systematically reviews applications of BBNs with respect to spatial factors, water domains, and the consideration of climate change impacts. The methods used...
Data
Figure S1. Box and whisker plots of riparian vegetation metrics across flow classes for rivers of subtropical south east Queensland. Figure S2. Box and whisker plots of abundance of common riparian species (per ha) across flow classes for rivers of subtropical south east Queensland. Figure S3. Box and whisker plots of environmental variables acro...
Article
Full-text available
The primary objective of this study was to test the relevance of hydrological classification and class differences to the characteristics of woody riparian vegetation in a subtropical landscape in Queensland, Australia. We followed classification procedures of the environmental flow framework ELOHA – Ecological Limits of Hydrologic Alteration. Ripa...
Article
Questions How diverse and resilient is vegetation following a decade of extreme drought along a typical floodplain gradient of semi-arid south-eastern Australia? How do mechanisms of resilience (i.e. persistence and soil seed banks) vary between major plant groups and spatially with respect to habitat type and position along a flood frequency grad...
Chapter
Full-text available
This book highlights the biology, ecology and management of the incredibly diverse riverine vegetation across Australia. Vegetation of Australian Riverine Landscapes brings together, for the first time, the results of the substantial amount of research that has been conducted over the last few decades into the biology, ecology and management of the...
Chapter
This book highlights the biology, ecology and management of the incredibly diverse riverine vegetation across Australia. Vegetation of Australian Riverine Landscapes brings together, for the first time, the results of the substantial amount of research that has been conducted over the last few decades into the biology, ecology and management of the...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
The imbalance of a coastal water supply and demand system is temporally affected by both natural and anthropogenic processes that are interactions between interdependent components with many feedbacks. Water availability is influenced over time by interactions among sea level rise, river flows and salt-water intrusion. Water demand is affected by p...
Article
Riparian habitats in arid and semi-arid landscapes are characterised by unpredictable flooding and drought with favourable opportunities for seedling establishment limited to short periods following floodwater recession. Tree species persisting under such conditions might therefore be expected to exhibit traits that facilitate seedling growth and s...
Article
QuestionsDo nurse plant interactions significantly influence understorey vegetation diversity in a large, semi-arid, shrub-dominated wetland? How do the modes and net effects of nurse plant interactions vary spatially along a flood frequency gradient, and temporally in response to drying?LocationNarran Lakes Ramsar site, New South Wales, Australia....
Chapter
3.1 INTRODUCTION Climate change poses a significant threat to the capacity of the world’s freshwater ecosystems to provide critical water ecosystem services upon which both human and non-human systems rely (Bates et al. 2008). High degrees of exposure and sensitivity to climate change effects, amplified by the position of freshwater ecosystems in t...
Chapter
This chapter provides an overview of the vulnerability of coastal ecosystems to climate change with respect to their exposure, sensitivity and adaptive capacity, emphasising the uncertainties involved in attempting to predict ecological impacts. It explores potential options for managed adaptation action that aim to conserve coastal biodiversity an...
Data
Presented by Patrick Driver and Michelle Casanova on the day, as part of the ACEAS Grand workshop
Conference Paper
Full-text available
In a landscape that is predicted to become increasingly managed, wetlands will become either wetter or drier for longer periods and, as a consequence, the ability of biota with limited dispersal mechanisms to re-colonize when favorable conditions occur will be reduced. Recent swings between drought and flood conditions across a large part of Austra...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Variable and unpredictable hydrological disturbances are a prominent feature of river-floodplain ecosystems, especially in drylands. Vegetation in these habitats typically exhibits a high degree of resilience to both floods and droughts, conferred by a range of traits at individual plant, population and community levels. Changes to hydrological dis...
Chapter
https://books.google.com.au/books?id=QWteBAAAQBAJ&pg=PA110&lpg=PA110&dq=Adapting+Water+Resources+Management+to+Drought+and+Water+Scarcity+in+Australia%27s+Murray-Darling+Basin:+Impacts+and+Legacies+of+%27The+Big+Dry%27&source=bl&ots=DoJk46SdUs&sig=uLy_M3oEusvsNIDPQ1X4ccMOWHE&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwj5ro7Tqs3JAhWKipQKHQxSDeMQ6AEIHjAB#v=onepage&q=Adapt...
Book
Full-text available
Severe climatic changes are predicted for Australia before the close of this century. Climate change threatens biodiversity in all ecosystems; a management and conservation priority is to identify areas and habitats — refuges — that could shelter species from the worst impacts. Freshwater ecosystems contain high biodiversity, but are especially vul...
Technical Report
Full-text available
JUNE 2013 This paper has been produced by ACCARNSI's Infrastructure Node based at the UNSW Water Research Laboratory, Manly Vale, NSW. The authors are members of NCCARF's Adaptation Research Networks for Settlements and Infrastructure (ACCARNSI), Terrestrial Biodiversity and Water Resources and Freshwater Biodiversity. www.nccarf.edu.au/settlements...
Article
Full-text available
Riparian ecosystems in the 21st century are likely to play a critical role in determining the vulnerability of natural and human systems to climate change, and in influencing the capacity of these systems to adapt. Some authors have suggested that riparian ecosystems are particularly vulnerable to climate change impacts due to their high levels of...
Chapter
Water is fundamental to life on our planet and critical to all sectors of human activity. Climate change affects both the supply of water and the demand for water resources. Changes to the availability and quality of freshwater resources are expected to be one of the major ways in which people, and the environment, experience climate change impacts...
Article
Full-text available
Riparian plant habitats are temporally and spatially heterogeneous as a result of fluvial disturbance and comprise numerous different habitat types including; channel, channel bank, floodplain and wetland habitats. ~ Plant diversity in Australian habitats comprises a range of taxonomic groups, life forms and functional groups and includes plants on...
Technical Report
Full-text available
Climate change represents a major threat to coastal ecosystems and communities. In many areas around the Australian coast, the combined projected threats of sea level rise, increased temperatures and reduced rainfall will place unprecedented stress on species, ecosystems and human settlements and industries. Given that even the strictest climate ch...
Technical Report
Full-text available
This Handbook is intended to help people choose a decision-making framework to manage the uncertainty inherent in climate change adaptation decision-making. Climate change introduces additional sources of risk and uncertainty into many decision problems. Decisionmaking frameworks and decision tools can help people identify sources of uncertainty an...
Technical Report
Full-text available
Climate is a key driver of complex human and natural systems. Weather uncertainty has always provided challenge enough to real-world decision makers, but it was perceived as classical uncertainty derived from stable systems that we just did not understand well enough. Climate change introduces non-stationarity, altering in fundamental ways the stru...
Article
Full-text available
Plant species in temporary wetlands can be subject to dramatic changes in conditions, ranging from prolonged inundation to prolonged drought. Temporary wetland plants exhibit a range of mechanisms which facilitate persistence through periods of extreme dry and/or extreme wet including long-lived soil seed banks which tend to be particularly prevale...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Water and soil nutrient availability are the primary factors determining the distribution and maintenance of floodplain vegetation in semi-arid ecosystems. Indeed, the distribution of plants within semi-arid floodplains varies according to flood tolerance, water resource availability and the presence of sufficient soil nutrients to support and stim...
Conference Paper
The presence of water in semi-arid environments is both spatially and temporally unpredictable and variable, creating a harsh and patchy environment. When present, water stimulates the germination and growth of plants but can also result in plant (or seedling) mortality. This study investigates how seedling emergence and mortality differ between va...
Article
Full-text available
Many aquatic ecosystems have been severely degraded by water-resource development affecting flow regimes and biological connectivity. Freshwater fish have been particularly affected by these changes and climate change will place further stress on them. The MurrayDarling Basin (MDB), Australia, represents a highly affected aquatic system with dramat...
Technical Report
Full-text available
In 2007 the National Water Commission in collaboration with the NSW Murray Wetlands Working Group Inc., funded the project Minimising Environmental Damage from Water Recovery from Inland Wetlands: Determining water regimes to minimise the impact of sulfidic sediments (potential acid sulfate soils). The principal objective of this project was to pro...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Bayesian Networks (BNs) are increasingly recognised as a useful tool for ecological modelling due to their ability to incorporate a broad range of data types and explicit representation of uncertainty through the use of probabilities. They allow considerable flexibility with respect to the detail and focus of the models allowing conceptually simple...
Book
Full-text available
Climate change represents a major threat to coastal ecosystems and communities. In many areas around the Australian coast, the combined projected threats of sea level rise, increased temperatures and reduced rainfall will place unprecedented stress on species, ecosystems and human settlements and industries. Given that even the strictest climate ch...
Technical Report
Full-text available
The Ecological Outcomes of Flow Regimes Project commenced in July 2008 and was funded by the National Water Commission through its Raising National Water Standards Program. The National Water Initiative requires that surface water and groundwater systems of high conservation value be identified and appropriately managed. Further, it is a requiremen...
Article
We investigated the effects of flooding and drying over 6 months on growth and biomass allocation in seedlings of Muehlenbeckia florulenta Meisn. (tangled lignum), a common and widely distributed shrub of Australia's desert floodplains.We sought to determine if lignum seedlings respond to flooding or drying by altering traits or allocation patterns...
Data
Full-text available
The Northern Murray-Darling Basin Program is an initiative of the Murray-Darling Basin Authority (MDBA) aimed at providing advice on the sustainable management of the water resources of the Darling River and its associated tributary river systems. The Program is guided by a Working Group made up of representatives from state agencies, community and...
Article
Although soil seed banks are understood to be integral to the vegetation dynamics and restoration of many ecosystems, little is known of their role in riparian zones. In this study, we investigated soil seed banks of riparian zones of contrasting condition in an agricultural landscape and evaluated their potential to influence riparian restoration....
Article
Full-text available
Australia’s large desert floodplains are among the world’s most hydrologically variable wetlands and vegetation in these habitats changes dramatically over time in response to flooding and drought. Annual forb and grass communities in these desert floodplains rely on large, diverse soil seed banks as critical sources of propagules for recruitment....
Article
Full-text available
Soil seed banks are an important component of plant community diversity in ephemeral wetlands, allowing many species to persist through unpredictable periods of flood and drought. Spatial variation of extant vegetation in such habitats commonly reflects patterns of flood history and often varies predictably between broadly differing hydro-geomorphi...
Article
Full-text available
Fluvial processes such as flooding and sediment deposition play a crucial role in structuring riparian plant communities. In rivers throughout the world, these processes have been altered by channelization and other anthropogenic stresses. Yet despite increasing awareness of the need to restore natural flow regimes for the preservation of riparian...
Article
Full-text available
Vegetation zonation patterns are a common feature in flood plain– wetland complexes and are important to the biodiversity and functioning of such systems. The purpose of this paper is to identify links between water regime, seed bank and the establishment of zoned vegetation communities in a series of small distributary channels within the Narran L...
Article
Full-text available
Australian dryland rivers are acknowledged as being among the most variable and unpredictable in the world in terms of their flow regimes. Although renowned for their spectacular floods over vast and complex floodplains, rivers exist for much of the time as discrete waterholes, which are important refugia for aquatic biota. Recent work has shown th...
Article
1. This paper explores soil seed bank composition and its contribution to the vegetation dynamics of a hydrologically variable desert floodplain in central Australia: the Cooper Creek floodplain. We investigated patterns in soil seed bank composition both temporally, in response to flooding (and drying), and spatially, with relation to flood freque...