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Team profiles

profile_kbarry_thumb Dr Karen Barry is a forest health scientist and lecturer in plant pathology at the University of Tasmania (School of Agricultural Science). Karen has worked in forest health research for over 10 years, having begun her PhD at the University of Tasmania in 1997. Her main areas of research have included plant-fungal interactions of wood decay in plantation temperate eucalypts and tropical acacia, specialising in identification of antimicrobial polyphenols. More recently as an ARC Research Fellow, she has become experienced in spectral characterisation of stress in eucalypts, which is requisite knoweldge before remote sensing can be effectively used to detect stress in plantations. This involves linking leaf pigments and physiological indicators to spectral indices and then scaling up to the crown and stands level. Several of these studies have been completed using the Pittwater study site. Now within the CRC for Forestry Project 1.2 ("Managing and sustaining") Karen is investigating the growth response of eucalypts to biotic damage and linking growth modelling to remote sensing.

battaglia Dr Michael Battaglia (CSIRO Forest Biosciences) uses his knowledge of forest behaviour to develop hypotheses and process-based models as a way of ensuring that the benefits from forests are sustained for the environment, economy and society. Current research projects include: developing silvicultural decision support tools for plantation management; modelling the effect of environment and silviculture on wood properties; modelling climate change impacts of forest function; developing decision support systems to predict the risk of, and rotation length impact of, forest health matters.

profile_downes_thumb Dr Geoff Downes is the Leader of the Material Knowledge group within the CSIRO Forest Biosciences Wood Quality Unit. Geoff has worked with CSIRO since 1992 within the SilviScan development group with a specific interest in short-term climate effects on wood formation and properties. His main areas of research are centred on causes of wood property variation and how forests and trees can be effectively assessed for wood quality. This has involved high-resolution environmental and tree growth monitoring, matched to high-resolution measurement of wood variability.  These data sets have been used to generate physiological relationships and models of cambial activity. Geoff has a PhD in wood structure and tree growth and has previously worked with the University of Melbourne. He has also worked at University of Aberdeen, Scotland studying ectomycorrhizal ultrastructure using TEM. Current research also includes fundamental causes of resin pocket formation in radiata pine and field-based prediction of kraft pulp yield in plantation eucalypts using NIR. Geoff leads project 2.4 of the CRC for Forestry.

Alieta Eyles cropped Since graduating with a PhD in Agricultural Science in 2003, Dr Alieta Eyles (University of Tasmania) has completed two post-docs; a year at the Tasmanian Institute of Agricultural Research on common scab disease in potato and then just over two years at Ohio State University (USA). She was involved in number of projects related to chemical ecology and one of her major projects examined the cross-effects of systemic induced resistance in Austrian pine (Pinus nigra) between a fungal pathogen and an insect pest. In February, 2007, Alieta started a postdoctoral fellowship with Drs Caroline Mohammed and Libby Pinkard. She has been investigating the role of abiotic stresses on physiological responses to pest attack and fertiliser application and induced resistance to pests at the Pittwater plantation. As a side project, she has also been examining the role of stem respiration in response to artificial defoliation in one-year-old E. globulus trees.

profile_hall_thumb Malcolm Hall (CSIRO Forest Biosciences) is a senior research technician and brings many years of technical experience to the project having been with CSIRO since 1975. Malcolm's background is in forest pathology, having previously been involved in research of fungal diseases caused by Armillaria and Chalara australis. He has had a long involvement in the research of defect and decay in regrowth and plantation eucalypts as a result of thinning damage, pruning and fungal diseases. He has also worked on ectomycorrhizal fungi and Mycosphaerella leaf spot. His experience in laboratory-based work and the design, establishment and maintenance of field trials allows Malcolm to provide invaluable technical expertise to the project where he manages the young Pittwater plantation.

profile_mohammed_thumb Associate Professor Caroline Mohammed is leader of the Managing and Sustaining (Project 1.2) of the CRC for Forestry. She has pioneered research into the interactions of fungal pathogens and insect pests with woody plant hosts especially the use of multidisciplinary approaches, involving geneticists, remote sensing specialists, physiologists, growth modellers and ecologists such as the team at Pittwater, to develop strategies for the sustainable management of production forest within the landscape. Caroline has held a joint position between CSIRO Forest Biosciences and the University of Tasmania since 1995, initially focusing on pathology but then adopting a more generic approach to the management of biotic stress (whatever the agent involved) by investigating the physiological processes of damage.

Tony O'Grady Dr Tony O'Grady (University of Tasmania) is an ecophysiologist with interests focused on understanding the fluxes of carbon and water in forests. He gained a PhD in 2000 from the Northern Territory University.  His thesis focused on understanding spatial and temporal patterns of water use in the tropical savannas of northern Australia. He came to Tasmania in 2002 and has been heavily involved in research at the Pittwater site since then. Tony has a diverse range of research interests and is involved in projects around the country focusing on understanding the hydraulic constraints on plant water use, identifying and quantifying ecosystem dependence on groundwater, the constraints on productivity of arid ecosystems, processes driving the development of stand structure and size class distributions and forest productivity, specifically understanding the overstory/understory interactions in forest systems.


Dr Libby Pinkard (CSIRO Forest Biosciences) heads the research being undertaken at the young Pittwater plantation. She specialises in the physiological basis for plant performance, form and function and the expression of this knowledge in understanding the consequences on productivity of forest health issues such as leaf disease and insect defoliation. She draws on her expertise in whole plant physiology; physiology of host/pathogen interactions; modelling host responses to stress and modelling potential distribution of pests using CLIMEX for her current areas of research, that include climate change impacts on forest function, host/pest interactions and potential pest distributions, the role of abiotic stresses in host responses to pest attack and physiological responses to pest attack.

profile_quentin2_thumb Audrey Quentin (University of Tasmania) graduated with Honours in Agricultural Science at the School of Agricultural, Environmental and Food Sciences (ESITPA) in Rouen, Normandy (France), and started her PhD project with the Forest Health Group of the CRC for Forestry in 2006. Her studies involve looking at plant responses to pest attack, because the impact of defoliation by herbivores is a major factor in economic viability of eucalypt forestry in Tasmania, particularly Eucalyptus globulus Labill. Audreys main objective is to improve the capacity to model host responses to pest attack, by linking host physiological processes to resource availability.


Dale Worledge is a senior research technician with CSIRO Forest Biosciences. Dale has worked with the CSIRO since 1992. His main areas of research are centred on tree physiology and hydrology, electronic environmental monitoring and plantation management. Dale has a Diploma of Applied Science in analytical chemistry and has previously worked with the Cascade Brewery (industrial chemistry and QA), CSIRO Entomology and the Department of Primary Industries and Water. Dale was responsible for coordinating the establishment of the Pittwater plantation, infrastructure installation and is also heavily involved in the ongoing management of the facility.