The 2021 starting line-up

(First name alphabetical order after Dwyer)

Name: John Dwyer
Nickname: Circus
Height: 182cm
Position: Coach / water person
Junior clubs: Solabo Specters, Sunny Coast Clippers
College career: BBE in Landscape Architecture (QUT 1997), MSc in Botany (UQ 2003), PhD in Plant Ecology (UQ 2010)
Pro career: I’m a plant ecologist and senior lecturer at The University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia. I am interested in plant communities – how they form, the processes maintaining them, their capacity to recover from disturbance and their invasibility.
Favourite Bowie album: Low and Station to Station (depending on the mood)
Favourite Bowie persona: Thin White Duke

Name: Alexandra Catling
Nickname: Ali, Ali Cat
Height: 171 cm
Position: Wing Defence or Wing Attack
Junior clubs: Woden Valley
College career: BSc. Adv. (Honours), ANU
Pro career: I’m working with John Dwyer and Margie Mayfield to research how drought tolerance and biotic interactions combine to structure plant communities. I’m using a combination of glasshouse and field experiments, focusing on an annual plant system in Western Australia and Eucalypt forests in Tasmania. Overall, I’m interested in how community ecology and physiology can be used together to predict impacts of climate change.
Favourite Bowie album: I must admit I only know a couple of songs…
Favourite Bowie persona: There are multiple?!

Name: Aubrie James
Nicknames: aubs, slaubrie, slaubs, arby, RB, arbs, aubrie james dio (rare)
Height: 183 cm
Position: Goal Keeper / Goal Shooter (anywhere that requires ‘reach’)
Junior club: Iowa Cyclones
College career: B.S., Animal Ecology, Iowa State University; PhD, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Cornell University
Pro career: In my dissertation work, I studied annual flowering plants in the genus Clarkia– in particular, how pollinator sharing, spatial variation, and facilitation might affect their coexistence. I used a wide range of tools to do so, including field experiments and observations, dynamic models, and molecular work. More generally, the theme of my work is to ask if overlooking certain biological complexities matters for understanding plant diversity maintenance. Models of coexistence historically simplify community dynamics into equations of pairwise species competition, an abstraction that is often imported back into empirical tests of coexistence theory. As a result, empirical studies of coexistence tend not to focus on things like trophic interactions, mutualisms, spatial heterogeneity, and facilitation in understanding the maintenance of diversity. My work in ecology is to be curious about this: when we include such phenomena into our empirical tests and theory, do we see meaningful changes in our predictions about community diversity? It’s basically a long-running meditation on Borges’ On Exactitude in Science. Mostly I just like to have fun.
Favourite Bowie album: The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars
Favourite Bowie persona: Black Star Bowie, baby!

Name: Indigo Kuss-Patterson
Nickname: Indi, KP
Height: 178cm
Position: Goal Defense
Junior clubs: Coolum Dolphins
College career: BSc. ecology & BJ (UQ)
Pro Career: Currently working on an exciting Honours project with John and Hidden Vale Wildlife Centre. I am researching if LiDAR can be used to predict small mammal abundance and diversity. This will be based on characteristics from vegetation surveys within regrowth forests, mature forests and pasture, and mammal trapping within these vegetation types.
Favourite Bowie album: Low
Favourite Bowie persona: Ziggy Stardust

Name: Isaac Towers
Nicknames: Towers
Height: 170cm
Position: Wing Attack(!!!)
Junior club: State High
College career: BSc(UQ)
Pro career: I am completing my PhD with John and Margie Mayfield looking at spatial coexistence mechanisms in York gum winter annual plant communities. In April 2021 I will commence a postdoc at UNSW with Daniel Falster and Peter Vesk.
Favourite Bowie album: Low
Favourite Bowie persona: Thin White Duke

Name: Isis Arend da Silva
Nickname: Isis
Height: 181 cm
Position: Goal Keeper
Junior club: Capybaras
College career: B.S., Biology, PUCRS; M.S. Ecology, UFRGS
Pro career: I study how plants, mediated by their morphological, physiological or behavioural characteristics, interact with their environment and neighbours. In my previous work I have shown how seed characteristics are correlated with early life stage performance of native grassland’s plant species in Brazil. I investigated how much predictability these correlations hold for later life stages, as well as how the Grime’s triangle (CSR) correlates to performance and ecological strategies for these plants across life stages. In my work with the Dwyer and Mayfield Lab I will continue developing research with regenerative traits, focusing on how they interact with the local environment heterogeneity and affect species coexistence and patterns of distribution in a novel plant community in WA. I hope this research will contribute to the understanding of how sensitive these communities are to environmental change, as well as making possible the prediction of patterns based on species general morphology rather than in a species-species bases!
Favourite Bowie album: “Under pressure” is the only music I have from this guy, a whole album is too much
Favourite Bowie persona: They are all terrible

Name: Julian Radford-Smith
Nickname: Disney Prince
Height: 180 cm
Position: Wing Defense
Junior clubs: Kenmore Bears
College career: BSc. (Honours), UQ
Pro career: I’m working with John to investigate how rainforest tree physiological strategies change along moisture gradients. It will capitalise on existing, spatial climate gradients throughout Southeast Queensland and Northern NSW and quantify how plant strategies (viewed as ensembles of functional traits) change in response to higher temperatures and lower water availability. This general knowledge will be translated into models to predict viable strategies at different positions along gradients. Because the seedling stage is crucial for successful recruitment in both natural and restoration contexts, field data will be validated using an experiment on rainforest seedlings assessing tolerance to drought, heat waves and their interaction.
Favourite Bowie album: Hunky Dory/ Let’s Dance
Favourite Bowie persona: Jareth the Goblin King

Name: Thomas Hanley
Nickname: Mot, Monto, Tommy H
Height: 195cm
Position: Centre ?!?
Junior clubs: The Monto Roo’s, the Brendan’s Bush Bashers
College career: B.Adv.S.(Hons), UQ
Pro Career: I’m currently working with John on my honours exploring drought responses of rainforest seedlings from SE QLD. Using a dry down experiment, we hope to describe the relationship between numerous functional traits and the drought responses of different species. I hope this will help highlight the types of species most at risk from ongoing climate change  and those best suited for restoration under changing conditions.
Favourite Bowie album: The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars
Favourite Bowie persona: Aladdin Sane

Name: Vanessa Moscato
Nickname: nessy, lochnessy, professor vanessa, mozzie, and my least favourite family friends might have once called me ‘Vanessa the undressa’
Height: 175cm
Position: Centre
Junior club: Proserpine State High
College career: BSc (USC, 2005)
Pro career: Field botanist, skipper and skink photographer. Yet to be converted to academia … My honours research looks at temporal changes in composition, structure and recruitment in dry rainforest ‘scrub breaks’ over the past 40 years. The broader contextual objective is to understand whether tenuous connections to larger fragments can sustain smaller dry rainforest fragments over the long term and whether they are sufficiently buffered by their location to maintain their pre-1982 climax state, despite the inherent dynamics of native pine plantations (1982 to 2021).
Favourite Bowie album: The man who sold the world
Favourite Bowie persona: The Goblin King

Past team members

Name: Gabrielle Lebbink
Gab, Gabs, Lestink, Stick
172 cm
Junior club:
Buderim Gingers
College career: BSc(Hons) UQ
Pro career: My PhD project aims to investigate the spread, impact and management of the invasive grass species, Bothriochloa pertusa. Since its introduction in the 1930s, B. pertusa continues to spread widely throughout north-east Queensland. I will be using past and present data sets to model and map the spread of B. pertusa and to explore changes in floristic composition over time. Using a manipulative experiment, I will also assess whether the likelihood of invasion is influenced by different management strategies and the functional composition of the native community. These findings can be used to inform conservation management, while more broadly helping to contribute to our understanding of community assembly and the dynamic interactions which occur between exotic and native species. I am working with Assoc. Prof. Rod Fensham and John Dwyer, with support from the Holsworth Wildlife Research Endowment and The Ecological Society of Australia.
Favourite Bowie album: Lets dance
Favourite Bowie persona: Jareth, The Goblin King

Name: Valerie Hagger
Nickname: Val
Height: 178cm
Position: Goal Defence
Junior club: Kenmore
College career: MSc(ConsBiol)(UQ), BSc(Hons)(UQ)
Pro career: Valerie Hagger is a PhD candidate at the Centre for Biodiversity and Conservation Science at UQ. Her research interests include ecological and socioeconomic interactions in ecological restoration, biodiversity conservation and climate change. She has previously published her research on the climate change adaptation of sub-tropical rainforest fauna (see Hagger et al. 2013).

Valerie’s current research project investigates the costs and success of ecological restoration in Australia and the potential for achieving multiple outcomes for biodiversity conservation and carbon sequestration. More specifically it involves identifying the motivations for undertaking restoration, analysing the factors influencing the success of restoration from planning to monitoring/evaluation, assessing the cost-effectiveness of different restoration methods for Australia’s broad vegetation types, and identifying the links between biodiversity and socioeconomic outcomes in restoration projects. Her project has been awarded an Australian Postgraduate Award (APA) and a CSIRO Integrated Natural Resource Management (INRM) Postgraduate Award, and is supervised by Dr Kerrie Wilson (UQ) and Dr John Dwyer (UQ and CSIRO Ecosystem Sciences).

Valerie is an experienced terrestrial ecologist with 12 years ecological and environmental consulting experience for a range of industries (including government, Defence, mining, transport, water, energy and communications). She has been involved in 53 ecological projects, and was the project manager of ten of those. She was also the ecology team leader/manager.

Valerie is currently the Student and Early Career Representative of the Society for Ecological Restoration Australasia (SERA).
Favourite Bowie album: Labyrinth soundtrack
Favourite Bowie persona: Goblin King

Name: Trace Martyn
Nicknames: Trace
Height: 163cm
Position: Wing Attack
Junior club: North Carolina Cardinals
College career: BSc(CSU), MSc(UWyo)
Pro career: My research builds on previous studies of annual plant communities in Western Australia’s York Gum woodlands. I will pair field studies and ecological modelling to understand species coexistence and plant community assembly in these plant communities. Specifically, I am working to understand the role of higher order interactions in influencing species relationships in the context of global environmental change. I have previously researched in shortgrass steppe and sagebrush steppe plant communities in the western United States which, adding these York Gum woodlands to the list, shows that I am especially interested studying community assembly and coexistence in semi-arid ecosystems.

Personal website:
Favourite Bowie album: Hunky Dory
Favourite Bowie persona: Berlin-trilogy-era Bowie (when he was just being himself)

Name: Maia RaymundoMAIA_labphoto
170 cm
Junior club:
Marine Lab Seamen
College career: BSc(UOG), MSc(UOG)
Pro career: My PhD project will aim to identify the importance of pollination, seed dispersal, and environmental factors in shaping community diversity and biological invasion. It is increasingly clear that many processes are involved in determining local scale biological diversity. Though there are increasing numbers of studies examining the importance of competition and facilitation in determining how many species co- exist in a given location, cross-trophic studies on the importance of plant-animal interactions to species coexistence and diversity dynamics are still fairly rare. I plan to build on the work that Dr. Margie Mayfield, Dr. John Dwyer, and their students have done over the past 3 years in the novel plant communities of Western Australia’s York Gum woodlands. Results from this study will be useful in expanding our understanding of biodiversity maintenance in the real world as well as helping to improve conservation efforts in endangered ecosystems, like the York Gum woodlands, worldwide.
Favourite Bowie album: The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars
Favourite Bowie persona: The Thin White Duke

Name: Lachlan Charles
Nickname: Sargent Seed Trap
Height: 179cm
Position: Goal Shooter
Junior club: Brisbane Boondocks
College career: BEnvSc(Hons)(UQ)
Pro career: My PhD research focused on understanding the drivers of plant successional processes and community assembly within abandoned pasture adjacent to rainforests in tropical countryside landscapes. I submitted my thesis in late 2017 and am currently finalising thesis revisions and preparing various manuscripts for submission. I’m looking forward to the next chapter in my scientific career!
Favourite Bowie album: Space Oddity
Favourite Bowie persona: Major Tom

Name: Timothy Staples
Nicknames: The Crushinator, Mavis
Height: 178cm
Position: Wing Defence
Junior club: Townsville Frogs
College career: BSc(Hons)(UQ)
Pro career: My PhD looks at the relationship and trade-offs between diversity and productivity of mixed-species forest plantations across Australia. My goal is to determine how a site’s diversity (using functional traits etc) influences productivity, as well as the way a single tree’s productivity is related to the identity of its neighbors. Ultimately my goal is to create a predictive ecological framework that could be used in the design of future forest plantations. I am working with Dr Margie Mayfield (UQ), Dr Jacqui England (CSIRO), Dr J-B Pichancourt (CSIRO) and John, and my project is generously supported by a CSIRO Integrated Natural Resource Management (INRM) Postgraduate Award.
Favourite Bowie album: The Man Who Sold The World
Favourite Bowie persona: The Man Who Sold The World

Name: James McCarthy
Nickname: McNulty
Height: 185cm
Position: Goal Attack
Junior club: All Blacks
College career: MSc(Hons)(University of Canterbury)
Pro career: My PhD extended existing macroecological modelling approaches to incorporate abundance, size class and functional trait information to model plant community composition, ecosystem productivity (using metabolic theory) and functional change under climate change. I worked with Dr Karel Mokany (CSIRO), Dr Simon Ferrier (CSIRO) and John, and my project was generously supported by a CSIRO Office of the Chief Executive (OCE) Postgraduate Award. I am moving back to my home town of Christchurch NZ in early 2018 to start a new ecological modelling position with Landcare Research.

Favourite Bowie album: Hunky Dory
Favourite Bowie persona: Thin White Duke

Name: Claire Wainwright
Nickname: C-dub
Height: 170cm
Position: Goal Keeper
Junior club: California Grizzly Bears
College career: BSc & MSc (UCSD), PhD (UQ)
Pro career: My research focuses on using field and lab studies to address basic questions in plant community assembly and multispecies coexistence theory, with a particular emphasis on interactions between native and invasive species. I am especially interested in semi-arid plant systems, which I have worked in both in California and Western Australia. I am also interested in the links between restoration ecology and community ecology theory. During my PhD I worked with Dr Margie Mayfield (UQ), Prof. Richard Hobbs (UWA) and John. For my first postdoc I extended my research in the amazing York gum Woodlands of Western Australia with Dr Mayfield and Dr Janneke HilleRisLambers (UW USA). I am now a plant ecologist in the Terrestrial Restoration Ecology Lab at the University of Washington, USA.

Personal website:
Favourite Bowie album: Hunky Dory
Favourite Bowie persona: Ziggy Stardust

Name: Daniel AndersonDaniel_1_tease
Nickname: Dates and Carrots, Slippers
Height: 186cm
Position: Wing Attack
Junior clubs: Bunbury Bulldogs, Lake Grace-Pingrup Bombers
College career: BEnvSc(Hons)(UQ)
Pro career: For my Honours I investigated the drivers of Coachwood (Ceratopetalum apetalum) monodominance in the warm temperate rainforests of southeast QLD and northern NSW. Specifically, I used a combination of seedling experiments and field surveys to assess the roles of aluminium accumulation and soil biota in reducing plant diversity in these low diversity stands. I was privileged to spend time in these forests with two of Queensland’s best rainforest botanists, Dr Mike Olsen and David Jinks.
Favourite Bowie album: Aladdin Sane
Favourite Bowie persona: Aladdin Sane

Name: Georgia MarshallGeorgia_1
Nickname: George
Height: 166cm
Position: Centre
Junior club: Robina High Team B
College career: BEnvSc(Hons)(UQ)
Pro career: My Honours research contributed to PlantPopNet, a global network of plant population studies focusing on Plantago lanceolata. In particular I investigated the influence of competition on population rates in multiple populations in Southeast QLD. I worked with Dr Rob Salguero-Gomez and John, and strangely, I spent a lot of time in historical cemeteries…the preferred habitat of P. lanceolata in the Brisbane region.
Favourite Bowie album: Scary Monsters (And super Creeps)
Favourite Bowie persona: Pierrot

Name: Riah MasonRiah_1
Nickname: Riah (?)
Height: 165cm
Position: Goal Attack (!!)
Junior club: Bracken Ridge Drop Bears
College career: BEnvSc(Hons)(UQ)
Pro career: My Honours research focused on the ecological recovery of Brigalow regrowth in southern QLD. I revisited John’s PhD thinning trial (est. in 2007) and assessed woody plant species’ recruitment in the various thinning treatments.
Favourite Bowie album: Lodger (it is awesome)
Favourite Bowie persona: The Man Who Sold The World

Name: Aislinn SpencerAis_1
Nickname: Aisey (the ghost)
Height: 176cm
Position: Wing Defence
Junior clubs: Belmont Brewers
College career: BEnvSc(Hons)(UQ)
Pro career: For my Honours I am investigated plant invasion and re-invasion in coastal sand dunes of the Sunshine Coast. Specifically I assessed the relative importance of the abiotic environment, the soil seedbank and seed rain as drivers of exotic plant dominance in this very dynamic system.
Favourite Bowie album: Hunky Dory
Favourite Bowie persona: Thin White Duke

The good photography was by Dr Toby Smith – gentleman, photographer and lover of bees: