17 December 2003

A research project on the flowering behaviour of bellyache bush will help determine the potential rate of spread for the destructive northern weed.

UQ Gatton graduate Kirsty Wild completed her Bachelor of Agricultural Science honours research at the Tropical Weeds Research Centre in Charters Towers, with the help of a scholarship from the Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) for Australian Weed Management.

She was one of three recent UQ Gatton honours graduates to complete honours projects in cooperation with Natural Resources and Mines weed specialists at Charters Towers.

UQ Gatton lecturer in pastures and rangelands Len Bahnisch has fostered close links between the University and the Weeds Research Centre.

“Weed control is an important issue to the future sustainability of our rangelands, and students at UQ Gatton are making meaningful contributions through their research projects,” Dr Bahnisch said.

Ms Wild, who comes from Mackay, studied the emerging threat to northern rangelands posed by bellyache bush, which originated in South America.

She worked with potted specimens of the prolifically-flowering plant and also studied a roadside infestation south of Charters Towers.

Linda Anderson, from Theodore, also secured a CRC scholarship to examine the effect of moisture and temperature on the germination of five species of woody weed.

The invasive weeds compete with native grasslands and can form dense thickets impenetrable to livestock.

Information from her laboratory experiments will help develop predictive population models of each weed species.

Tanya Robertson, who works as a Landcare facilitator at Inglewood, also completed a weeds research project in her agricultural science honours year at UQ Gatton.
She will present details of her research of the effect of temperature on germination of the exotic weed calotrope at the 2004 Australian Rangelands Conference.

Media: For more details, contact Dr Len Bahnisch at UQ Gatton (telephone 0409 897 422) or Anthony Smith (telephone 0409 265 587).