Associate Professor Mark Hovenden


Mark is originally from the far west of Sydney, out near the Blue Mountains, where he grew up loving being in the bush, finding plants and bird-watching. Mark did his undergraduate degrees at the University of Sydney before working as a research assistant, also at Sydney Uni, investigating the way that changes in sea level influence growth and survival of mangroves. After a couple of years, Mark moved to Hobart, Tasmania, to work at the Australian Antarctic Division, where he stayed for the next five years. Mark travelled to Casey Station in Antarctica and studied terrestrial lichen communities, being awarded his PhD in 1997. Next he worked on how low temperatures affected the growth of eucalypts in high altitude plantations in Tasmania for a year before becoming an Australian Research Council Postdoctoral Fellow, based in the School of Plant Science at the University of Tasmania in 1998. Mark has remained at the  Uni of Tasmania since then and has broadened his research interests over the years with the aim of understanding the way that ecosystems work and will respond to the changing global conditions.

Kate Stevenson

Kate has recently been appointed as the person in charge of everything we do! Kate came to the UTas Plant Ecology group from La Trobe University in Melbourne. Kate started Honours in August 2016 and examined whether carbon dioxide concentrations affect the ability of ryegrass plants in the TasFACE2 experiment to assimilate nitrogen. Kate used several lines of evidence to examine this essential aspect of potential climate change impacts with great success.

Kate is now in charge of running TasFACE2 and overseeing all of our other experimental endeavours. Kate is also the key person for getting our discrete analyser, Bertha, to do what she’s told!

Zach Brown

Zach Brown

Zach commenced studying for a PhD in August 2015, so is now nearing completion. His project examines how rainfall timing and soil water content influences soil nitrogen transformations and the release of nitrous oxide and carbon dioxide from the soil. Zach trained at the Indiana University at Bloomington, IN, USA.


Rose Brinkhoff


Rose is a PhD candidate studying the costs and benefits of “excess” leaves in eucalyptus trees. Rose completed her undergraduate degree in Plant Science in 2014 and then obtained a Dean’s Summer Research internship to work in the Plant Ecology Group over the 2014/15 summer where she worked side by side with Meagan to establish the Warming-Species Removal (WSR) experiments. Rose then worked nearly full time in the Plant Ecology group, being responsible for the maintenance and regular collection of data from the TasFACE2 experiment while Meagan was on maternity leave. Rose commenced her Honours project in August 2016, still working in the TasFACE2 experiment, and investigated the impacts of carbon dioxide concentration on ryegrass water relations. Rose started her PhD in December 2017.

Travis Britton




These people have worked or studied in the Plant Ecology Research Group over recent years and made large contributions to our understanding of Plant Ecology.

Meagan Porter and Anna Flittner


Meagan plotting Silver Plains sites



Anna on the road to Silver Plains

For several years, Meagan and Anna were the two core workers of the Plant Ecology group; they were in charge of the laboratories and were responsible for the maintenance of ALL our experiments. Together, Meagan and Anna controlled the smooth running of our group, made sure our students got the support they needed both in the field and the lab and managed the field experiments, keeping everything running and ensuring our data are all archived.

Meagan is originally from the Dandenong Ranges in Victoria but moved to Tasmania in 2010 where she studied Plant Science. Along with Rose (see above) Meagan led the establishment of TasFACE2 and the Warming-Species Removal (WSR) experiments during the 2014/15 summer and was also deeply involved in the establishment and first round of measurements in the AFEX experiment. Meagan now works in the Centre for Forest Value, also at the University of Tasmania.

Anna has a first class Honours degree in Plant Ecology and has lived and worked in several different places from Hobart to the Torres Strait via Launceston and Brisbane.

Amanda Sinclair


Anna, Rose and Amanda processing ion exchange membranes in our analytical lab

Amanda was a Master of Applied Science student who has concentrated on measuring how elevated carbon dioxide levels affect soil nitrogen availability. This means using hundreds of ion exchange membranes, battling with the Bertha, our SmartChem discrete analyser, as well as measuring nitrogen inputs into the ecosystem. Amanda is originally an outdoor education teacher who returned to University to further her interest in biology with immense success. Amanda headed to Antarctica but has since returned to Tasmania and is now investigating carbon dynamics in tropical peatlands, based at RMIT University in Melbourne.

Other past members of the Plant Ecology group

Ruth Mallett  – Honours student 2012, Research Assistant 2013.

Yui Osanai – Honours student 2009, PhD candidate

Amity Williams

Jasmine Janes

Karen Wills

Jacquie Vander Schoor

Adam McKiernan – Honours student 2010, PhD candidate 2011 – 2015