I am examining the connectivity values of green roofs for urban biodiversity.
Green roofs are becoming more common in cities worldwide, aiming to improve urban climate, storm water retention, human wellbeing and to increase habitat for species. In highly urbanised areas, green roofs could serve as stepping-stones, connecting natural ground-level habitats and enabling plant dispersal and animal movement.
Compared to cities in Europe or North America, Australian cities are just at the beginning when it comes to the implementation of green roofs. Therefore, their explicit value for biodiversity in Melbourne is still unclear.
In my PhD, I will address this knowledge gap by undertaking surveys to assess which bird, bat, bee and butterfly species use Melbourne’s green roofs, including an assessment of the dispersal ability of key species. Green roofs’ local and landscape attributes will also be assessed to determine which factors affect the focal taxa colonisation.
This data will be used to develop a connectivity model that accounts for both horizontal and vertical isolation of roofs to source habitat. Results from this research will help to derive evidence-based management recommendations for green roof design and placement, enabling more connected, biodiversity-friendly cities.
A/Prof Nick Williams, Dr Caragh Threlfall and Dr Rodney van der Ree
Urban ecology, landscape ecology, biodiversity, plant ecology
2017 Master of Science in Urban Ecosystem Sciences, Technical University of Berlin, Germany. Thesis – ‘Native forest connectivity in agricultural and silvicultural modified landscapes’.
2012 Bachelor of Science in Landscape Ecology, University of Muenster, Germany. Thesis – ‘Review: Approaches to monitor Acacia stands via remote sensing’.