Dean’s research is focused on the ecology of plant species that colonise and succeed on green roofs without human intervention. While these ‘unintended’ species can be considered ‘weeds’ they may enhance ecosystem functionality in terms of biodiversity, community resilience and maintenance of plant cover. Determining the factors that influence community stability and productivity is a fundamental goal of ecology; by comparing the composition and community traits of unintended species, Dean hopes to identify the factors that underpin their success. This research can enhance green roof management for a multitude of outcomes, for example: informing trait-based plant selection for survival and water use as well as developing design and maintenance guidelines for low-maintenance green roofs.
Dean holds a Bachelor of Science from James Cook University and a Master of Urban Horticulture from the University of Melbourne. Dean has a background in ecology, landscape management and invasion biology, having consulted for horticultural industry, conservation groups and government agencies. Dean received the 2019 Maurice and Helen Wood Memorial Scholarship and the 2019 Dr Betty Elliott Horticulture Scholarship.