Kris French 235x

Professor Kristine French

PhD, Monash University, 1989
B.Sc(Hons) University of Sydney 1984

Office Phone:  +61 2 4221 3655
Office Location:  B35.G15
Lab Phone:  +61 2 4221 3436 
Lab Location:  B35.G15

Director of the Janet Cosh Herbarium.

Author of A framework to guide ecological restoration : Coastal foredune scrub & temporate littoral rainforest.

Research Interests 

My research investigates how anthropogenic disturbances interrupt populations and communities. My work involves many different kinds of organisms in a range of different communities from plants through to insect and vertebrates and from arid grasslands, forests, and dunes to plantations.  The questions underlying these studies revolve around understanding the patterns of change and investigating the differences in the mechanisms by which disturbances change communities and ecosystem processes. One area that has been a significant focus in the lab has been to investigate how weed invasion influences community properties and what features of a weed are critical to the process of invasion.  A second focus has investigated changes in communities in cities as a result of urbanisation and in plantations. We are beginning and exciting research program investigating plant stress under future heat waves and we are also focusing on arbuscular mycorrhizae and their role in weed invasion and restoration. 

Suggested Topics for Future Students 

  • Heat stress in plants: which species will cope with heat waves?
  • The role of mycorrhizae in plant invasions and restoration
  • Seedbank dynamics of exotic and native species: figuring out factors that help the natives win.
  • What factors influence seed longevity in the soil?
  • Biocontrol agents: do they work? 

For potential research topics and information, see following pages

Bitou Bush small
Weed Ecology
Locust Control
Ecosystem impacts of locust control in arid zones
Urban Ecology

Abbreviated CV

Academic Degrees
  • PhD, Monash University, 1989
  • B.Sc(Hons) University of Sydney 1984
Current Professional Activities 
  • Professor, School of Biological Sciences
  • Director, Janet Cosh Herbarium, University of Wollongong
  • ERA Discipline Leader, Environmental Science
  • Coordinator, Bachelor of Conservation Biology
  • ARC College of Experts
       Handling Editor, Austral Ecology
       Handling Editor, Conservation Biology
       Birds in Backyards Steering Committee
       Holsworth Endowment Fund Committee
Membership of Professional Roles 
  • NSW Weed Society
  • Ecological Society of Australia
  • Birdlife Australia
  • Society for Conservation Biology
Prizes and Plenary Invitations 
  • 2013  Plenary Speaker at 4th Annual TERN Symposium
  • 2009  ESA prize for service to the society for developing the postgraduate research prizes.
  • 2008  Eureka Prize. NSW Dept of Env. and Climate Change Allen Strom Award for Environmental Sustainability Education, for Birds in Backyards.

Publications 2014-2017

  1. French, K, Robinson S, Lia J (in press) Thermotolerance capacities of native and exotic coastal plants will lead to changes in species composition under increased heat waves. Conservation Physiology.
  2. Maute, K., French, K., Story, P., Bull, C.M., Hose, G.C (2017) Short and long-term impacts of ultra-low-volume pesticide and biopesticide applications for locust control on non-target arid zone arthropods. Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment 240, 233-243
  3. Crocker, W., Maute, K., Webb, C., French, K. (2017) Mosquito assemblages associated with urban water bodies: implications for pest and public health threats. Landscape and Urban planning 162: 115-125
  4. French K, Smith L, Watts, E , Robinson S (2017) Invasive alien lianas have similar allometry to native lianas in temperate forest. Biol Invasions 19: 1029-37
  5. Maute, K., Story, P., Hose, G.C., Bull, C.M., French, K. (2017) Applications of fipronil (Adonis 3UL) and Metarhizium acridum for use against locusts have minimal effect on litter decomposition and microbial functional diversity in Australian arid grassland Soil Research 55:172-181
  6. Mason, T.J., French, K., Jolley, D.F (2017) Functional richness and identity do not strongly affect invasibility of constructed dune communities PLoS ONE 12 (1), e016924
  7. Muller-Stover, D. Nybroe, O. Baraibar, B. Loddo, D. Eizenberg, H. French, K. Sonderskov, M. Neve, P. Peltzer, D.A. Maczey N. and Christensen. S. (2016). Contribution of the seed microbiome contribute to weed management. Weed Research 56:335-39.
  8. Correia M, Montesinos D, French K and Rodriguez-Echeverria S. (2016) Evidence for enemy release and increased seed production and size for two invasive Australian acacias J Ecol 104:1391-1399
  9. Maute, K., French, K., Story, P., Bull, C.M., Hose, G.C. (2016) Effects of two locust control methods on wood-eating termites in arid Australia. Journal of Insect Conservation, 20:107-118
  10. French K, Watts, E (2015) Patterns of loss of biodiversity associated with invasion by Chrysanthemoides monilifera (L.) Norl. subsp. monilifera (boneseed) across a large geographic region. Weed Research 55 (6), 537-545
  11. Story, PG, French, K, Astheimer, LB, Buttemer, WA (2015) Fenitrothion, an organophosphorus insecticide, impairs locomotory function and alters body temperatures in Sminthopsis macroura (Gould 1845) without reducing metabolic rates during running endurance and thermogenic performance tests. Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry. 35, 152-162
  12. Delgado-V, C, French K (2015) Differential influence of urbanisation on Coccidian infection in two passerine birds Parasitol Res 114, 2231-2235
  13. Maute, K, French K, Bull M, Story, P, Hose, G (2015) Current insecticide treatments used in locust control have less of a short-term impact on Australian arid-zone reptile communities than does temporal variation. Wildlife Research, 2015, 42, 50–59
  14. Maute, K, French K, Legge, S, Astheimer L, Garnett, S (2015) Condition index monitoring support conservation priorities for the protection of threatened grass-finch population. Conservation Physiology 3, cov025
  15. Bramley‐Alves J, Robinson S, Wapstra E, and French K (2015) Moss δ13C: an accurate proxy for past water environments in polar regions. Global Change Biology 21, 2454 – 2464
  16. Gooden, B. & French, K. (2014) Impacts of alien plant invasion on native plant communities are mediated by functional identity of resident species, not resource availability. Oikos 124, 298-306
  17. Norton, MA, Prentice, A, Dingle, J, French, K, Claridge, A (2015) Population characteristics and management of the long-nosed potoroo (Potorus tridactylus) in high-quality habitat in the Southern Highlands of New South Wales. Australian Mammalogy 37, 67 – 74
  18. Andersen A, Beringer J, Bull M, Byrne M, Cleugh H, Christensen R, French K, Harch B, Hoffman, A, Lowe, AJ, Moltmann T, Nicotra A, Pitman A, Phinn S, Wardle G, Westoby M. (2014) Foundations for the future: A long-term plan for Australian ecosystem science. Austral Ecology 39, 739–748
  19. Aguiar, AC, French, K, Chisholm, LA (2014) A comparison of the ameliorating effects of native and exotic street trees on surface heat retention at dusk. Urban Climate 10, 56–62
  20. Gooden, B. French, K. Robinson, S. (2014). Alien grass disrupts reproduction and post-settlement recruitment of co-occurring native vegetation: a mechanism for diversity decline in invaded forest? Plant Ecology, 215(5), 567-580
  21. Gooden, B. and French, K. (2014) Non-interactive effects of plant invasion and landscape modification on native communities. Diversity and Distributions.20, 626-639.
  22. Gooden, B. and French, K. (2014) Impacts of alien grass invasion in coastal seed banks vary amongst native growth forms and dispersal strategies. Biological Conservation 171, 114-126
  23. Baker J., Harvey, KJ and French, K (2014) Threats from introduced birds to native birds. Emu, Rowley review 114, 1-12.

Searchable Publication List

Current Students

  • Kristen Miller (UTS) Heat stress responses in desert plants
  • Axton Aguiar Plant Stress and facilitation in urban gardens
  • Mitchell Stares The development of coarse woody debris as habitat for fauna in forests
  • Alison Haynes The role of moss in facilitating plant survival in extreme climates
  • Andrew Vossen Heat stress in seeds of fire prone environments
  • Ellen Ryan-Colton (CDU) Ecosystem impacts of buffel grass invasion in arid areas 
  • Simone Haider – The distribution of biocontrol agents for gorse
  • Kim Barrett  - Evaluating biocontrol agents of bitou bush
  • Paul Story – The effect of fenitrothion on dasyurid physiology.
HONOURS (With Co-Supervisors)
  • Alison Haynes BCons Biol  - Genetics of Persoonia hirsuta (with David Ayre)
  • Mitch Stares BCons Biol – Effect of fire and logging on coarse woody debris (with Brad Law, Luke Collins)
  • Matt Chard BCons Biol – Foraging decisions in urban ibis (with Richard Major)
  • Michael Davies Int B Sc – Heat shock proteins in Australian native plants (with Sharon Robinson and Heath Ecroyd)
  • Jon Pankhurst B Adv science – The identity of mycorrhizae in bitou bush and coastal native plants.(with Mark Dowton)
  • Elli Kircher BSc – The effect of invasive plants on native-mycorrhizal associations (with Ben Gooden)
  • Krystal Randall BSc – Is there evidence that heat shock tolerance may be passed on to offspring? (with Heath Ecroyd)
  • Eilysh Thompson B Env Sc – Are restored landscapes deficient in native mycorrhizae? (with Ben Gooden and Aimee Beardsmore)
  • Liam Murphy B Env Sc – The distribution of the invasive Euphorbia paralias (with Ben Gooden and Pete Turner)
  • Gemma Hopkins B Env Sc - Bat communities in remnant Illawarra Grassy Woodlands (with Ben Gooden, Brad Law and Lachlan Wilmott)
  • William Crocker B Env Sc – The interaction between mosquitoes, pathogens and ibis in cities (with Kim Maute and Cameron Webb) 

Honours Projects 2018 

Last reviewed: 26 May, 2017