Rossini R.A., Walter G.H. & Fensham R.J. (in press) ‘Optimal sampling strategies for monitoring threatened endemic macro-invertebrates in Australia’s discharge springs’, Marine and Freshwater Research, TBC
Rossini R.A., Rueda J.L. & Tibbetts I.R. (2013) ‘Feeding ecology of the seagrass grazing nerite Smaragdia souverbiana in subtropical seagrass beds of eastern Australia’, J. Molluscan Studies 80: 139-147
Rasmussen A. & Rossini R.A. & Kuchel L. (2011) ‘Is It Worth Taking Time Out of First Year Science Courses to Explicitly Teach Team Skills?‘ In Krause, K., Buckridge, M., Grimmer, C. and Purbrick-Illek, S. (Eds.) Research and Development in Higher Education: Reshaping Higher Education, 34 (pp. 238 – 252)
Walter G.H., Rossini R.A., Gleeson M.L., Terry L.I., Kaye L.A., Booth D.T. & Roemer R.B. (in prep) ‘Climatic influences on the functional stability of tightly coupled interspecific interactions – Macrozamia lucida cycads in an obligate pollination mutualism’, Global Change Biology, TBC
Rotini A., Tibbetts I.R., Migliore L. & Rossini R.A. (in prep.) ‘Chemical protection drives prey choice in the obligate seagrass-feeding mollusc Smaragdia souverbiana (Montrouzier, 1863)’, Journal of Experimental Marine Biology, TBC
Book review of Klaus Rhode ‘The Balance of Nature and Human Impact’, Austral Ecology, 24 May 2016
November 2014 ‘How best to monitor threatened invertebrates in arid zone oases’ presented at Ecological Society of Australia Alice Springs Australia.
December 2015 – ‘Dealing with permanent impermanence; how do endemic gastropods in arid zone springs respond to spatio-temporal heterogeneity?’ presented at Australasian Malacological Society Molluscs 2015 Conference Coffs Harbour Australia.
July 2016 – ‘Dealing with permanent impermanence; the ecology and physiology of endemic snails in Australia’s desert springs’ presented at the World Congress of Malacology 2016 Conference Penang Malaysia.
August 2016 – ‘Conserving islands in the desert: the intersection of endemic biodiversity and threat in Australian arid zone springs‘ presented at the International Society of Limnology 2016 Congress in Torino Italy.
Prizes & Awards
2013 – Great Artesian Basin Co-ordinating Committee PhD top-up scholarship
2014 – Wiley Science best presentation about management at the Ecological Society of Australia conference 2014 Alice Springs
2016 – The University of Queensland School of Biological Sciences travel scholarship
2016 – Ecological Society of Australia student research grant
2016 – Malacological Society of London student travel grant to attend WCM2016 Penang
2016 – Third prize for student posters presented at WCM2016 Penang
2016 – International Society of Limnology Wetzsel student travel scholarship to attend SIL Torino
Outreach & Science Communication
Moreton Bay Research Station Open Day – public lecture regarding the seagrass grazing nerite Smaragdia spp. particularly those local to Moreton Bay and their role in seagrass dynamics (2015)
Bush Heritage Australia ‘Bushie Blog’ (2015)
iROOS and Bush Heritage Australia undergraduate experiences – facilitating partnerships between undergraduate ecology students and conservation organisations, hosting and guiding students on BHA’s Edgbaston Reserve
Cunnamulla State School Workshops & Science Open Day – annual ecology themed science stall for all members of the school community (2011, 2012, 2013)
2008 – 2010 Research Assistant, Marine and Estuarine Ecology Unit, The University of Queensland
2012 – 2013 Research Assistant & Project Co-ordinator, Walter Lab, The University of Queensland
2012 – 2013 Research Assistant, Fensham Lab, The University of Queensland
2015 – 2016 Research Assistant, Australian Rivers Institute, Griffith University
Projects past & present
I am involved in a number of projects, many of which are continuing even though I am currently completing my PhD. Although they are from disparate areas they are all unified by my interest in ecology and invertebrates.
Ecology of endemic invertebrates in Great Artesian Basin springs (2012 – present)
Springs are home to an unparalleled suite of species that are found no where else, many of whom are limited to only a few ponds in one locale. These species are rarely found in all springs and most literature to date focuses on explaining absence with dispersal limitation. Not all springs are the same and not all species require the same conditions, meaning spring endemics may also be limited by narrow environmental tolerances and a highly heterogenous environment. My project aims to determine how the amazing array of species of gastropod species in springs are affected by heterogeneity in the spring environment, and test the mechanistic links between their species-specific physiological limits and their patterns of narrow distribution.
Ecology of cycad-thrip obligate pollinator mutualism (2012 – 2015)
Species in obligate pollinator mutualism are potentially more vulnerable to environmental change as they are at risk directly and via changes to their host. Mutualism can be intricate; in cycads and their pollinators a finely tuned ‘push-pull’ system ensures pollinators visit both male and female plants. This system and the tolerances of each mutualist are highly temperature dependant. I continue to work with Assoc. Prof. Irene Terry (Utah) and Assoc. Prof. Gimme Walter (UQ) on assessing how cycad phenology, thrips behaviour and the resulting pollination success is affected by environmental conditions.
Working with rural and Indigenous students – aspirations to work in ecology (2007 – present)
Students in rural and Indigenous communities often have innate knowledge of surrounding ecosystems and are embedded in local communities but rarely fill positions in the sciences in those regions. Teacher turn-over in regional schools is often high, and access to professionals who work within the biological sciences may be limited. In this project, I work with Badjidi, Kooma, Kullilla and Mardgany communities centred in and around Cunnamulla in South-west Queensland alongside South West NRM and a range of South-west state schools (Primarily Cunnamulla State School). We present quarterly in-school workshops, host an annual Ecology camp for senior students and assist local teachers.
The role of invertebrate grazers in seagrass systems (2011 – present)
As part of a collaboration between Dr. Jose Rueda-Ruiz (I.E.O.), Assoc. Prof. Ian Tibbetts (U.Q.) and education abroad students from the University of California we have been assessing the potential role of small invertebrate grazers in contributing to seagrass dynamics. Generally, herbivory in seagrass systems is partitioned into two: direct predation upon seagrass by large roving vertebrates like Dugong and Turtle and the grazing of epilithic algae that parasitises seagrass by small invertebrates like crabs and snails. Generally speaking, invertebrates are thought to play a beneficial role for seagrass by keeping them clean, however numerous species in this ‘guild’ are obligate seagrass herbivores or damage seagrass in making nests. We are working together to shine some light on some of these little-known smaller seagrass herbivores.
Responses of intertidal invertebrate assemblages to climatic variation (2009 – 2011)
During this period I worked on a collaborative project between the M.E.E.U. (Assoc. Prof. Greg Skilleter) @ UQ and the E.I.C.C. (Emeritus Prof. Tony Underwood) concerned with predicting the potential changes in intertidal assemblages with predicted shifts in climate averages and currents. My research in particular focussed on assessing predator – prey dynamics within the system and how these vary due to natural heterogeneity in the environment (i.e. different conditions in the range of microhabitats) and may vary under projected scenarios.
Historical ecology of Great Artesian Basin springs (2012 – 2013)
During my time on this project I worked with Assoc. Prof. Rod Fensham and Dr. Jen Silcock to collate historical records from the early Anglo-European colonialists and present day interviews with property owners to assess the historical extent of Great Artesian Basin springs in the Flinders River and Springvale groups. Through this work our group has determined that up to 85% of springs in that region have become dormant since they were recorded by explorers in the 1800s. Those that persist are severely altered by physical manipulation and exposure to grazing ungulates.