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 
  • 2014  Past President, Ecological Society of Australia 2014 (President 2011-13).
  • 2013 – present  Steering Committee for the Ecosystem Science Long Term Plan 
  • 2012 - present   Australian Academy of Science, National Committee for Ecology, Evolution and Conservation (formerly part of NC Plant and Animal Sciences)
  • 2011 – present   Handling Editor, Conservation Biology
  • 2011 – present  Advisory Committee, Australian Centre for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis
  • 2002 - present   Birds in Backyards Steering Committee 
  • 1992 – present  Director, Janet Cosh herbarium, University of Wollongong
Membership of Professional Societies 
  • 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.

Literature (2010-14) 

Andersen, Alan; Beringer, Jason; Bull, C. Michael; et al. (2014) Foundations for the future: A long-term plan for Australian ecosystem science. Austral Ecology 39: 739-748

Delgado-V, C.A., French, K. (2015) Differential influence of urbanisation on Coccidian infection in two passerine birds. Parasitology Research in press.

Bramley-Alves, J., Wanek, W., French, K., Robinson, S.A. (2015) Moss δ13C: An accurate proxy for past water environments in polar regions Global Change Biology in press

Gooden, B., French, K. (2015) Impacts of alien plant invasion on native plant communities are mediated by functional identity of resident species, not resource availability Oikos Volume 124, Issue 3, 1 March 2015, Pages 298-306

Norton, M.A., Prentice, A., Dingle, J.,French, K., Claridge, A.W. (2015) Population characteristics and management of the long-nosed potoroo (Potorous tridactylus) in high-quality habitat in the Southern Highlands of New South Wales. Australian Mammalogy Volume 37, Issue 1, 2015, Pages 67-74

Gooden, B. & French, K. (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

Gooden, B. & French, K. (2014) Non-interactive effects of plant invasion and landscape modification on native communities. Diversity and Distributions.20, 626-639.

Gooden, B. & 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.

Maute, KL, French, K, Legge, S & Astheimer, L (2013) Seasonal stress physiology and body condition differ among co-occurring tropical finch species. Journal of Comparative Physiology B183, 1023-1037.

Baker J., Harvey, KJ and French, K (2013) Adverse impacts of introduced birds on native birds.Emu, Rowley review 114, 1-12.

Mason, T., French, K., Jolley, D (2013) Arrival order among native plant functional groups does not affect invasability of constructed dune communities. Oecologia 173 (2): 557-568.

Ritchie, E.G. et al. (2013) Conservation: Relaxed laws imperil Australian wildlife. Nature 498 (7455), 434 

Martin, J., French, K., Major R. (2012) Behavioural adaptation of a bird from transient wetland specialist to an urban resident. PLoS ONE 7(11): e50006. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0050006

French, K. (2012) Competition strength of two significant invasive species in coastal dunes. Plant Ecology 213:1667–1673

Bain, D., French, K., Baker, J. and Clarke, J. (2012) Translocation of the Eastern Bristlebird 1: radio-tracking of post-release movements. Ecological Management & Restoration 13: 153 - 158

Baker, J, Bain, D, Clarke, J, French, K. (2012). Translocation of the Eastern Bristlebird 2: measuring the success. Ecological Management & Restoration 13:156 - 165

Mason, T., French K., Russell, K. (2012) Are competitive effects of native species on an invader mediated by water availability. Journal of Vegetation Science 23:657-666.

Ashcroft, M., French, K. and Chisholm, L. (2012) A simple post-hoc method to add spatial context to predictive species distribution models Ecological Modelling 228: 17-26.

Delgado-Velez, C., French K. (2012) Parasite-bird interactions in urban areas: Current evidence and emerging questions. Landscape and Urban Planning 105, 5–14.

Crates, RA., French, K. and McLean, CM. (2011) The abundance and distribution of two species of fairy-wren in suburban and natural habitats. Emu, 111, 341–349

Norton, MA., French, K. and ClaridgeAW. (2011) Habitat associations of the long-nosed potoroo (Potorous tridactylus) at multiple spatial scales. Australian Journal of Zoology 58, 303-316

Martin, J.M., French K., Ross, G.A., Major, R.E. (2011) Foraging distances and habitat preferences of a recent urban colonizer: the Australian white ibis. Landscape and Urban Planning, 102, 65– 72.

Jenner, B, French, K., Oxenham, K, Major, RE. (2011) Population decline of the white-fronted chat (Epthianura albifrons) in New South Wales. Emu 111, 84-91.

French, K., Mason, TJ, Sullivan, N (2011) Recruitment limitation of native species in invaded coastal dune communities. Plant Ecology 212,601-609.

Ashcroft, M.B., French, K.O. and Chisholm, L.A. (2011) An evaluation of environmental factors affecting species distributions. Ecological Modelling, 222,524-531.

Searchable Publication List

Current Students

  • Carlos Delgado-Velez  – Bird-parasite interactions in urban environments
  • 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) 
Last reviewed: 20 April, 2015