Australian Institute of Alpine Studies


dr Susanna Venn

I'm a plant ecologist with a keen interest in the processes that shape vegetation patterns in alpine areas.

I'm interested in how snow influences plant community patterns, processes and community (re)assembly. Snow is one of the most influential environmental factors in alpine areas. Snowpack depth, snow accumulation patterns, snow duration and the timing of snowmelt all interact to affect many levels of plant community organisation and functioning. For example, snowmelt acts as a phenological cue and as an insulating blanket over winter protecting plants from low temperatures and strong winds. Some plant communities exist only where snow lasts well into summer, others can cope with earlier snowmelt, exposure to frosts and strong winds. An understanding of how snow influences plant distribution, community structure and ecosystem functioning will give us clues as to how alpine vegetation will fare in future decades with climate change and declines in snow.


Photo: Mt McKay, Victoria, overlooking the Bogong High Plains

Right now, I’m interested in how snow influences plant community patterns, processes and community (re)assembly. Snow is one of the most influential environmental factors in alpine areas. Snowpack depth, snow accumulation patterns, snow duration and the timing of snowmelt all interact to affect many levels of plant community organisation and functioning. For example, snowmelt acts as a phenological cue and as an insulating blanket over winter protecting plants from low temperatures and strong winds. Some plant communities exist only where snow lasts well into summer, others can cope with earlier snowmelt, exposure to frosts and strong winds. An understanding of how snow influences plant distribution, community structure and ecosystem functioning will give us clues as to how alpine vegetation will fare in future decades with climate change and declines in snow.

affiliation

New South Wales National Parks and Wildlife Service, Snowy Mountains Region
Research Centre of Applied Alpine Ecology, Department of Botany, La Trobe University
http://susannavenn.wordpress.com

email

susanna.venn[at]gmail.com

contact details

NSW National Parks & Wildlife Service, PO Box 2228, Jindabyne NSW 2627, Tel: (02) 6450 5558

research interests

publications

For up-to-date citations, please visit my Google Scholar page

Higer Degree Theses

Doctor of Philosophy 2007 Plant recruitment across alpine summits in south-eastern Australia Department of Botany, La Trobe University

Bachelor of Science (Honours) 2001 Environmental determinants of vegetation patterns in snowpatch communities on the Bogong High Plains, Victoria. Department of Botany, La Trobe University

Book Chapters

Venn SE and Morgan JW (2005) Patterns in alpine vegetation across an altitudinal gradient in Victoria, Australia: an example of ‘space for time substitution’ in order to assess the potential effects of climate change. In ‘Global Change in Mountain Regions’. (Ed. MF Price). (Sapiens Publishing: Duncow, United Kingdom)

Reports

Pickering CM and Venn SE (2013) Increasing the resilience of the Australian flora to climate change and associated threats: a plant functional traits approach. National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility, Gold Coast.

Published Refereed Conference Papers

Venn SE and Morgan JW (2005) Patterns in alpine vegetation across an altitudinal gradient in Victoria, Australia: an example of ‘space for time substitution’ in order to assess the potential effects of climate change. In ‘Global Change in Mountain Regions’. (Ed. MF Price). pp 165-166 (Sapiens Publishing: Duncow, United Kingdom)

Venn SE (2014) How much does ‘transplant shock’ affect the results of your transplant experiment? In ‘Biodiversity and Vegetation: Patterns, Processes, Conservation’. (Ed. L Mucina, JN Price and JM Kalwij). p. 203 (Kwongan Foundation, Perth: Australia)

Magazine Articles

Venn SE (2015) Plant life in the snow country Australian Wildlife 12-16 Winter Edition (download from here)

Refereed Journal Articles

Venn SE, Pickering CM, Butler SA, Letten A (in review) Using a model based fourth-corner analysis to explain vegetation change following an extraordinary fire disturbance Ecology

Mark AF, Korsten AC , Guevara DU, Dickinson KJM, Humar-Maegli T, Pascale M, Halloy SRP, Lord J, Venn SE, Morgan JW, Whigham PA and Nielsen JA. (2015) Ecological responses after 52 years to an experimental snow fence in high-alpine cushionfield, Old Man Range, south-central New Zealand. Arctic, Antarctic and Alpine Research 47:751-772

Williams RJ, Wahren C-H, Stott KAJ, Camac JS, White M, Burns E, Harris S, Nash M, Morgan JW, Venn SE, Papst WA, Hoffmann AA. (2015) An International Union for the Conservation of Nature Red List ecosystems risk assessment for alpine snow patch herbfields, South-Eastern Australia Austral Ecology 40:433-443. DOI: 10.1111/aec.12266

Pickering CM, Green K, Barros AA, Venn SE (2014) A resurvey of late-lying snowpatches reveals changes in both species and functional composition across snowmelt zones Alpine Botany DOI:10.1007/s00035-014-0140-0

Kirkpatrick JB, Green K, Bridle KL, Venn SE (2014) Patterns of variation in Australian alpine soils and their relationships to parent material, vegetation formation, climate and topography. Catena 121:186-194

Venn SE, Pickering CM and Green K (2014) Spatial and temporal functional change in alpine summit vegetation is driven by increases in shrubs and graminoids. AoB PLANTS 6: plu008; DOI:10.1093/aobpla/plu008

Hoyle GL, Venn SE, Steadman KJ, Good RB, McAuliffe EJ, Williams ER and Nicotra AB. (2013) Soil warming increases diversity but decreases germination from an alpine soil seed bank. Global Change Biology 19:1549-1561. DOI: 10.1111/gcb.12135

Venn SE, Morgan JW and Lord JM (2013) Foliar freezing resistance of Australian alpine species over the growing season. Austral Ecology 38:152-161 DOI:10.1111/j.1442-9993.2012.02387.x

Venn SE, Grover SPP, Morgan JW (in prep) Alpine shrub leaf litter decomposition varies predictably across an altitudinal gradient in south-eastern Australia. To be sent to Plant and Soil

Venn SE, Pickering CM and Green K (2012) Short-term variation in species richness across an altitudinal gradient of alpine summits. Biodiversity and Conservation 21:3157-3186 DOI:10.1007/s10531-012-0359-2 (IF 2.238)

Green K and Venn SE (2012) Alpine tree ribbons in the Snowy Mountains, Australia: characterization and potential mechanisms for treeline advance. Arctic, Antarctic and Alpine Research 44:180-187 (IF 1.6)

Myers-Smith I, Forbes, BC, Wilmking M, Hallinger M, Lantz T, Blok D, Tape KD, Macias-Fauria M, Sass-Klaassen U, Léversque E, Bourdreau S, Ropars P, Hermanutz L, Trant A, Siegwart Collier L, Weijers S, Rozema J, Rayback SA, Martin Schmidt NM, Schaepman-Strub G, Wipf S, Rixen C, Ménard CM, Venn SE, Goetz S, Andreu-Hayles L, Elmendorf S, Ravolainen V, WelJ, Grogan P, Epstein HE and Hik DS (2011) Shrub expansion in tundra ecosystems: Dynamics, impacts and research priorities. Environmental Research Letters. 6:045509 (IF 3.049)

Venn SE, Green K, Pickering CM and Morgan JW (2011) Using plant functional traits to explain community composition across a strong environmental filter in Australian alpine snowpatches. Plant Ecology 212:1491-1499 (IF 1.88)

Venn SE and Morgan JW (2010)Soil seedbank composition and dynamics across alpine summits in south-eastern Australia Australian Journal of Botany 58:349-362 (IF 1.681)

Venn SE, Morgan, JW and Green PT (2009) Do facilitative interactions with neighboring plants assist the growth of seedlings at high altitudes in alpine Australia? Arctic, Antarctic and Alpine Research,41:381-387 (IF 1.6)

Venn SE and Morgan JW (2009) Germination characteristics of Mountain Celery Aciphylla glacialis (F. Muell.) Benth. (Apiaceae). The Victorian Naturalist 126:4-12

Venn SE and Morgan JW (2009) Patterns in alpine seedling emergence and establishment across a stress gradient of mountain summits in south-eastern Australia. Plant Ecology and Diversity 2:5–16 (IF 2.053)

Venn SE and Morgan JW (2007) Phytomass and phenology of three alpine snowpatch species across a natural snowmelt gradient Australian Journal of Botany 55:450–456 (IF 1.681)

Morgan J, Venn S, Wearne L, Bartley M and McMillan S (2003) Small-scale patterns of occurrence of Snow Pratia Pratia gelida at Hospice Plain, Mount Buffalo National Park. The Victorian Naturalist 120:4-9

Conference Submissions

Venn SE, Mark, A, Korsten A, Pollock L, Morgan J (2012) Trait-mediated responses of alpine plants to experimentally altered snow cover Spoken paper, Ecological Society of Australia, Melbourne

Venn SE, Good, M, Korsten A, Pickering C, Morgan, J (2011) Testing a functional traits approach over environmental gradients for understanding and predicting alpine ecosystem function. Spoken paper, Ecological Society of Australia Conference, Hobart.

Venn SE and Green K (2010) Alpine tree ribbons in the Snowy Mountains, Australia: characterization and potential mechanisms for treeline advance. Spoken paper, Global Change and World’s Mountains Conference, Perth Scotland, United Kingdom.

Venn SE and Green K (2010) Marching up the mountain? Mechanisms of woodland expansion into the Australian alpine zone Spoken paper, New Zealand Ecological Society Conference, Dunedin

Venn SE and Green K (2010) Determinants of woodland expansion into the Australian alpine zone Spoken paper, Ecological Society of Australia Conference, Canberra

Venn SE, Morgan JW, Pickering CM, Green K (2009) Using plant traits to predict functional shifts in snowpatch communities with climate change Spoken paper, INTECOL and Ecological Society of Australia joint conference, Brisbane

Venn SE, Morgan JW, Pickering CM, Green K (2009) How can plant traits predict functional shifts in snowpatch communities? Spoken paper, Australian Institute of Alpine Studies Conference, Albury-Wodonga

Venn SE and Green K (2009) Zebras in the alps: what are these parallel bands of trees? Invited Spoken speed talk. Australian Institute of Alpine Studies Conference, Albury-Wodonga

Venn SE, Morgan JW, Lord JM (2008) Left out in the cold. Can alpine plants get tough against frost in early spring? Spoken paper, Ecological Society of Australia Conference, Sydney

Venn SE and Morgan JW (2007) Plant recruitment across alpine summits in Victoria. Spoken paper, Ecological Society of Australia Conference, Perth. (Best oral paper presentation by a student 2007)

Venn SE (2007) Germination curiosities of the Mountain Celery, Aciphylla glacialis. Poster presentation, Department of Botany, La Trobe University Mini Conference

Venn SE, Morgan JW (2006) Facilitation is an important plant-plant interaction at high altitudes in Victoria, Australia. Spoken paper, Ecological Society of Australia and New Zealand Ecological Society joint conference, Wellington, New Zealand (Student prize winner, sponsored by Australian Flora Foundation).

Venn SE and Morgan JW (2006) Plant interactions across an altitudinal gradient. Spoken paper, Australian Institute of Alpine Studies Conference, Jindabyne.

Venn SE and Morgan JW (2005) Patterns in alpine vegetation across an altitudinal gradient in Victoria, Australia: an example of ‘space for time substitution’ in order to assess the potential effects of climate change. Poster paper, Global Change in Mountain Regions Conference, Perth, Scotland, United Kingdom.

Venn SE and Morgan JW (2005) Alpine seedling regeneration and distribution: predicting changes using a natural gradient and ‘space for time’ approach. Spoken paper, Ecological Society of Australia Conference, Brisbane (Student prize winner, sponsored by Australian Flora Foundation).

Venn SE and Morgan JW (2005) Plant interactions across an altitudinal gradient. Spoken paper, Australian Institute for Alpine Studies Conference, Jindabyne, NSW.

Venn SE and Morgan JW (2004) Patterns in seed germination across an altitudinal gradient. Spoken paper, Ecological Society of Australia Conference, Armidale, NSW

Venn SE and Morgan JW (2003) The alpine challenge: examining plant recruitment processes over altitudinal and environmental gradients. Poster paper, Ecological Society of Australia Confernce, Cairns.

current research or projects

Current research topics


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