Dr Jane Chambers
BSc (Hons), PhD

Senior Lecturer in Aquatic Ecology

About me

My research interests focus on wetlands, rivers and estuaries, primarily in the areas of ecosystem processes, management and restoration. The main focus of my research is the interaction between aquatic plants and their environment, at an ecosystem scale. I seek to determine the causal factors of environmental problems, for example investigating salinity and nutrient thresholds that change plant community composition.  Recently, I have coordinated a multidisciplinary research group to develop a risk assessment framework to appropriately manage groundwater dependent wetlands with declining water levels. I am also developing an interest in a holistic approach to urban ecology, combining ecological and social research to improve our understanding and management of wetlands in populated areas.

I have a strong commitment to facilitating best management of our aquatic ecosystems.  I served on the Swan River Trust between 2004-2010, as Deputy Chair in later years. I support community engagement, having written two user-friendly guides to enable people to restore riparian vegetation and understand the role aquatic plants play in our waterways. In 2012-3, I was the Chair of the Healthy Estuaries 2111 initiative, seeking to take on the challenges of climate change and human pressures and ensuring we have healthy estuaries 100 years from now.

My teaching reflects my broad interest and synthesis of research and management, providing training from broad ecological understanding at first year level, through to research to address management issues in late undergraduate and postgraduate studies. My teaching philosophy is that students learn by doing and I provide independent tasks on real world issues wherever possible.

Teaching area

I co-coordinate ENV311 Managing Wetlands and Water with Assoc Prof Belinda Robson

I co-coordinate BIO103 Environmental Biology with Assoc. Prof Mike Calver and Dr Barbara Bowen

I provide lectures and a practical in ENV102 Foundations of Environmental Science and ENV324 Environmental Restoration

I contribute lectures for ENV268 Ecology and ENV381 Coastal and Marine Management

 

Research areas

Ecology of aquatic plants (emergent and submerged macrophytes), nutrient dynamics and water quality management (eutrophication, salinisation), wetland creation and restoration, wetland nutrient filters,  riparian zone function and restoration,  ecological thresholds, climate change adaptation, integration of ecological and social research in urban ecology.

Current projects

Investigation of nutrient thresholds for ecological regime change in the Ramsar-listed Vasse-Wonnerup Lagoons in south-Western Australia. Investigates the drivers for dominance of different plant communities (phytoplankton, macroalgae, macrophytes) focusing on potential thresholds (P concentrations and N:P ratios). Funded by Geocatch, DoW, State NRM, DPAW.

Utilising wastewater to develop functional wetland ecosystems at Capel Wetlands Centre. This investigation will identify pathways of incorporation of incoming nutrients into water, sediment and biota, providing information on which to base adaptive management to direct nutrients into particular storages, assessing the effectiveness and mechanisms of nutrient uptake from the effluent, and model nutrient pathways. Funded by Water Corporation. PhD project: Kirsi Kauhanen. (co- supervised by Assoc Prof Belinda Robson)

The functionality of riparian zones in flat sandy catchments.  This project investigates 1) can riparian zones be effective in flat sandy catchments (with no slope and poor soils) and 2) do riparian zones on intermittent streams in flat sandy catchments provide a major influence on in-stream biological communities. Funded by the Swan River Trust and Caring for our Country.  PhD project : Peter O’Toole: Co-supervised with Prof. Richard Bell and Assoc Prof Belinda Robson

Distribution and ecological role of submerged macrophytes in south-west Australian rivers and potential use in restoration. PhD project: Robyn Paice. Co-supervised with Assoc Prof Belinda Robson

The role of ecological and social research in understanding population dynamics of freshwater turtles in an urban environment. PhD Project; Caitlin Bartholomaeus Co-supervised with Dr Catherine Baudains

Resilience and resistance of invertebrates to wetland drying. PhD project Scott Strachan co-supervised with Assoc Prof Belinda Robson and Dr Ed Chester

Awards and grants

2014-2017 Vasse Wonnerup Investigation Node 1: Funding for three PhD projects: 1. Identifying nutrient and organic matter sources in an impacted coastal wetland system, 2. Constructing a quantitative and predictive food web for the VWWS and 3. Identifying community values and perceptions towards the VWWS and the barriers and drivers for the adoption of ecosystem based management and associated measures for the conservation of Ramsar listed values’.with Fiona Valesini, Sue Moore and Glenn Hyndes (ECU)  and others from Murdoch University  West Catchment Council $136000

2011-2013 – National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility and National Water Commission. $311161. Chief investigator: Jane Chambers with Stephen Beatty, David Morgan and Belinda Robson & researchers from ECU, University of Western Australia, CSIRO, WA Departments of Water, and Parks and Wildlife, Subterranean Ecology and Ecotones and Assoc. Project title: Adapting to climate change: a risk assessment and decision framework for managing groundwater dependent ecosystems with declining water levels.

2011-2013 – National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility and National Water Commission. $340735. With Ed Chester, Jane Chambers & researchers from Deakin University and the University of Western Australia. Project title: Novel methods for managing freshwater refuges against climate change in southern Australia.

2011-2013 Quantifying the effectiveness of riparian best management practices in reducing nutrients flows to Ellen Brook Swan River Trust and Caring for our Country. Chief Investigator: Jane  Chambers supervising PhD student Peter O’Toole $132,000

2010 – 2015  Utilising wastewater to develop functional wetland ecosystems at Capel Wetlands Centre.  Water Corporation Chief Investigator: J.M Chambers supervising PhD student Kirsi Kauhanen ($237,201)

2002-2006  - Determining water quality guidelines for the rivers of Sarawak, Malaysia. This project investigated the importance of land use and riparian vegetation to the water quality of rivers in Sarawak. International water quality guidelines were reviewed and recommendations were made for Sarawak.  Grantor: Malaysian government: Total grant $800,000 for multidisciplinary team from Environmental Science, Murdoch University. Chief Investigators for sub-project: J.A. Davis and J.M Chambers

Doctoral and masters supervisions

PhD

Robyn Paice: Distribution and ecological role of submerged macrophytes in south-west Australian rivers and potential use in restoration. Co-supervised with Assoc Prof Belinda Robson

Caitlin Bartholomaeus: The role of ecological and social research in understanding population dynamics of freshwater turtles in an urban environment. Co-supervised with Dr Catherine Baudains

Peter O’Toole: The functionality of riparian zones in flat sandy catchments. Co-supervised with Prof. Richard Bell and Assoc Prof Belinda Robson

Scott Strachan: Resilience and resistance of invertebrates to wetland drying. Co-supervised with Assoc Prof Belinda Robson

Kirsi Kauhanen: Utilising wastewater to develop functional wetland ecosystems at Capel Wetlands Centre. Co-supervised with Assoc Prof Belinda Robson

Alan Hill: Culture and wise use of wetlands. Co-supervised with Prof. A.J. McComb and Assoc Prof Jenny Davis

Lien Sim: Determining transition thresholds between alternative ecological states in saline waterbodies. Co-supervised with Dr Jenny Davis.

Juan Chen: Determination of the effectiveness of sediment amendments for midge control. Co-supervised with Dr Jenny Davis

Janette Nowell: Modelling biological responses to environmental variables in wetlands.  Co-supervised with Prof. A.J. McComb

 Masters

Tom Atkinson: The End of the Line: Managing Unplanned Changes in an Urban Stormwater Treatment Wetland

Judy Davies: The effect of allochthonous litter as a source of energy for the aquatic communities.  Can the aquatic community be altered by the translocation of allochthonous litter and macroinvertebrates in a Northern New South Wales stream?

Justine Jok Jau Emang and Paul Bond Ferdinand Chamberlin :The Impacts of Landuse on the Water Quality of the Bayong Water Catchment Area, Sarawak. (co-supervisor with Arthur McComb)

Eddy Cannella “Fauna use and water quality measures in six compensation basins located in the Perth metropolitan area and managed by Main Roads, Western Australia.”

Honours

Kristy Ward: The Role of Submerged Macrophytes in the Biodiversity of Artificial Wetlands. Co-supervised with Assoc Prof Belinda Robson

Stacey Chilcott: The impact of declining groundwater levels on Stygofauna communities in the Leeuwin Naturaliste Ridge Cave systems, Western Australia Co-supervised with Assoc Prof Belinda Robson and Dr Stefan Eberhard

Zuzanna Kania: What are the drivers of wetland plant community composition?

Caitlin Bartholomaeus: “Wetland connectivity: the role of the urban garden?”

Mario Schmack: “Biological Control of Algal Blooms in the Swan-Canning River System, Western Australia: Evaluation of a Novel Bacterial Treatment”

Michael Seitz: “The potential use of wastewater for the development of functional wetland ecosystems at Capel Wetlands Centre”

Alison McGilvray: “Vegetation type classification and condition assessment for the lower-mid Swan and Canning Rivers” Funded by the Swan River Trust. Co-supervised with Dr Phil Ladd.

Naomi Kerp: “The influence of salinisation on the juvenile stages of invertebrates in jarrah forest streams ” Funded by ALCOA. Co-supervised with Assoc. Prof. Jenny Davis.

Thomas Staveley: ‘Factors influencing water quality in selected catchments in Sarawak, Malaysia. Co-supervised with Assoc. Prof. Jenny Davis.

Emma Ligtermoet: “Riparian zones in Sarawak, Malaysia: extent, condition and impact on water quality in eight water supply catchments. Co-supervised with Assoc. Prof. Jenny Davis and Dr Halina Kobryn.

Renee Kruger: “The impact of annual rainfall on the water quality of Bibra Lake: relative contribution of internal and external nutrient sources” Externally funded by City of Cockburn $5000. Co-supervised with Assoc. Prof. Jenny Davis.

Peter Novak: The potential use of submerged macrophytes to limit phytoplankton blooms in the lower Vasse River, WA.

Victoria Hartill: The effect of salinity on germination from riparian seed banks in wetlands affected by secondary salinisation. Co-supervised with Jenny Davis.

Meranda Toner: The impact of four different substrates on the growth and nutrient uptake of the emergent macrophyte Schoenoplectus validus. Externally funded by ALCOA (Aust.)

Christina Mykytiuk: Re-establishment of submerged macrophytes in urban wetlands. Co-supervised with Jenny Davis.

 Lynette da Silva: Comparison of natural and artificial gilvin on wetland productivity and community structure. Co-supervised with Jenny Davis.

Mieke Bourne: The impact of Typha orientalis on Lake Powell. Externally funded by the Water and Rivers Commission, Albany WA

Leah Delfs: The effectiveness of MIEX regenerant in wetland restoration. Co-supervised with Jenny Davis.

Deborah Cronin “The effectiveness of “Streamlining” in improving the water quality of agricultural drains in the Peel-Harvey Catchment, Western Australia. 

Current PhD

2011 –        Robyn Paice: Distribution and ecological role of submerged macrophytes in south-west Australian rivers and potential use in restoration. Co-supervised with Assoc Prof Belinda Robson

2011 –        Caitlin Bartholomaeus: The role of ecological and social research in understanding population dynamics of freshwater turtles in an urban environment. Co-supervised with Dr Catherine Baudains

2011 –        Peter O’Toole: The functionality of riparian zones in flat sandy catchments. Co-supervised with Prof. Richard Bell and Assoc Prof Belinda Robson

2011 –        Scott Strachan: Resilience and resistance of invertebrates to wetland drying. Co-supervised with Assoc Prof Belinda Robson

2010 –        Kirsi Kauhanen: Utilising wastewater to develop functional wetland ecosystems at Capel Wetlands Centre. Co-supervised with Assoc Prof Belinda Robson

Completed PhD

2008-13     Alan Hill: Culture and wise use of wetlands. Co-supervised with Prof. A.J. McComb and Assoc Prof Jenny Davis

2002-05     Lien Sim: Determining transition thresholds between alternative ecological states in saline waterbodies. Co-supervised with Dr Jenny Davis.

2001–04    Juan Chen: Determination of the effectiveness of sediment amendments for midge control . Co-supervised with Dr Jenny Davis

1997-99     Janette Nowell: Modelling biological responses to environmental variables in wetlands.  Co-supervised with Prof. A.J. McComb

Current Masters

2009-14     Tom Atkinson: Investigation of anoxic sediment and its relationship to declining emergent macrophyte growth in the Liege St Constructed Wetland, Cannington WA.

Completed Masters

2009          Judy Davies: The effect of allochthonous litter as a source of energy for the aquatic communities.  Can the aquatic community be altered by the translocation of allochthonous litter and macroinvertebrates in a Northern New South Wales stream?

2002- 03    Justine Jok Jau Emang and Paul Bond Ferdinand Chamberlin :The Impacts of Landuse on the Water Quality of the Bayong Water Catchment Area, Sarawak. (co-supervisor with Arthur McComb)

1997-         Eddy Cannella “Fauna use and water quality measures in six compensation basins located in the Perth metropolitan area and managed by Main Roads, Western Australia.”

Current Honours

2014          Kristy Ward: The Role of Submerged Macrophytes in the Biodiversity of Artificial Wetlands. Co-supervised with Assoc Prof Belinda Robson

Completed Honours

2012          Stacey Chilcott: The impact of declining groundwater levels on Stygofauna communities in the Leeuwin Naturaliste Ridge Cave systems, Western Australia Co-supervised with Assoc Prof Belinda Robson and Dr Stefan Eberhard

2011          Zuzanna Kania: What are the drivers of wetland plant community composition?

2010          Caitlin Bartholomaeus: “Wetland connectivity: the role of the urban garden?”

2008-09     Mario Schmack: “Biological Control of Algal Blooms in the Swan-Canning River System, Western Australia: Evaluation of a Novel Bacterial Treatment”

2007 -08    Michael Seitz: “The potential use of wastewater for the development of functional wetland ecosystems at Capel Wetlands Centre”

2005 -06    Alison McGilvray: “Vegetation type classification and condition assessment for the lower-mid Swan and Canning Rivers”  Co-supervised with Dr Phil Ladd.

2005-06     Naomi Kerp: “The influence of salinisation on the juvenile stages of invertebrates in jarrah forest streams ” . Co-supervised with Assoc. Prof. Jenny Davis.

2005          Thomas Staveley: ‘Factors influencing water quality in selected catchments in Sarawak, Malaysia. Co-supervised with Assoc. Prof. Jenny Davis. Grade 1st class

2005          Emma Ligtermoet: “Riparian zones in Sarawak, Malaysia: extent, condition and impact on water quality in eight water supply catchments. Co-supervised with Assoc. Prof. Jenny Davis and Dr Halina Kobryn.

2005          Renee Kruger: “The impact of annual rainfall on the water quality of Bibra Lake: relative contribution of internal and external nutrient sources”  Co-supervised with Assoc. Prof. Jenny Davis.

2003-04     Peter Novak: The potential use of submerged macrophytes to limit phytoplankton blooms in the lower Vasse River, WA.

2003-05     Victoria Hartill: The effect of salinity on germination from riparian seed banks in wetlands affected by secondary salinisation. Co-supervised with Jenny Davis. Awarded Luke Pen Scholarship and Men of the Trees Award.

2003          Meranda Toner: The impact of four different substrates on the growth and nutrient uptake of the emergent macrophyte Schoenoplectus validus.

2002-03     Christina Mykytiuk: Re-establishment of submerged macrophytes in urban wetlands. Co-supervised with Jenny Davis.

2002-03     Lynette da Silva: Comparison of natural and artificial gilvin on wetland productivity and community structure. Co-supervised with Jenny Davis.

2002          Mieke Bourne: The impact of Typha orientalis on Lake Powell.

2001-02     Leah Delfs: The effectiveness of MIEX regenerant in wetland restoration. Co-supervised with Jenny Davis.

1997-98     Deborah Cronin “The effectiveness of “Streamlining” in improving the water quality of agricultural drains in the Peel-Harvey Catchment, Western Australia. 

Publications

Books

  • Boulton, A., Brock, M., Robson, B., Ryder, D., Chambers, J., Davis, J., (2014),Australian Freshwater Ecology: processes and management.,Wiley and sons.
  • Chambers, J., Nugent, G., Sommer, B., Speldewinde, P., Neville, S., Beatty, S., Chilcott, S., Eberhard, S., Mitchell, N., D'Souza, F., Barron, O., Braimbridge, M., Close, P., Robson, B., Pinder, A., Morgan, D., McFarlane, D., Froend, R., Horwitz, P., Cook, B., Davies, P., (2013),Adapting to climate change: a risk assessment and decision making framework for managing groundwater dependent ecosystems with declining water levels. Development and case studies.,National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility.
  • Robson, B., Chester, E., Allen, M., Beatty, S., Chambers, J., Close, P., Cook, B., Cummings, C., Davies, P., Lester, R., Lymbery, A., Matthews, T., Morgan, D., Stock, M., (2013),Novel methods for managing freshwater refugesagainst climate change in southern AustraliaFinal Report,National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility.
  • Nugent, G., Chambers, J., Speldewinde, P., (2013),Adapting to climate change: a risk assessment and decision making framework for managing groundwater dependent ecosystems with declining water levels. Supporting document 1: Literature review,National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility.
  • Chester, E., Robson, B., Chambers, J., (2013),Novel methods for managing freshwater refugesagainst climate change in southern AustraliaSupporting document 3: Anthropogenic refuges for freshwater biodiversity,National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility.
  • Chambers, J., (2005),Scum Book: A Guide to Common Algae and Aquatic Plants in Wetlands and Estuaries of South-western Australia,Deptartment of Environment.

Chapters

  • Chambers, J., Davis, J., McComb, A., (2009),Inland aquatic environments II - the ecology of lentic and lotic waters,In: Environmental Biology, Cambridge University Press, pages 481 to 500.
  • Chambers, J., Davis, J., McComb, A., (2009),Inland aquatic environments I - wetland diversity and physical and chemical processes,In: Environmental Biology, Cambridge University Press, pages 452 to 480.
  • Sim, L., Davis, J., Chambers, J., Strehlow, K., (2007),Understanding thresholds in the transition from saline to hypersaline aquatic ecosystems: south-west Western Australia,In: Salt, Nutrient and Interactions: Findings from the National River Contaminants Program, Land and Water Australia, pages 29 to 40.
  • McComb, A., Chambers, J., (2003),The Ecology of Wetlands Created in Mining-Affected Landscapes,In: Modern Trends in Applied Aquatic Ecology, Springer, pages 247 to 268.

Journals

  • O'Toole, P., Robson, B., Chambers, J., (2017), Riparian vegetation condition is associated with invertebrate assemblage composition in intermittent and humic streams., Aquatic Sciences: research across boundaries, 79, 2, pages 277 - 289.
  • Paice, R., Chambers, J., Robson, B., (2017), Native submerged macrophyte distribution in seasonally-flowing, south-western Australian streams in relation to stream condition, Aquatic Sciences: research across boundaries, 79, 1, pages 171 - 185.
  • Paice, R., Chambers, J., Robson, B., (2017), Potential of submerged macrophytes to support food webs in lowland agricultural streams, Marine & Freshwater Research, 68, 3, pages 549 - 562.
  • Paice, R., Chambers, J., Robson, B., (2016), Outcomes of submerged macrophyte restoration in a shallow impounded, eutrophic river, Hydrobiologia: the international journal on limnology and marine sciences, 778, 1, pages 179 - 192.
  • Novak, P., Chambers, J., (2014), Investigation of nutrient thresholds to guide restoration and management of two impounded rivers in south-western Australia, Ecological Engineering, 68, , pages 116 - 123.
  • Schmack, M., Chambers, J., Dallas, S., (2012), Evaluation of a bacterial algal control agent in tank-based experiments, Water Research, 46, 7, pages 2435 - 2444.
  • Davis, J., Sim, L., Chambers, J., (2010), Multiple stressors and regime shifts in shallow aquatic ecosystems in antipodean landscapes, Freshwater Biology, 55, Supplement s1, pages 5 - 18.
  • Ligtermoet, E., Chambers, J., Kobryn, H., Davis, J., (2009), Determining the extent and condition of riparian zones in drinking water supply catchments in Sarawak, Malaysia, Water Science and Technology: Water Supply, 9, 5, pages 517 - 531.
  • Sim, L., Davis, J., Chambers, J., Strehlow, K., (2006), What evidence exists for alternative ecological regimes in salinising wetlands?, Freshwater Biology, 51, 7, pages 1229 - 1248.
  • Sim, L., Chambers, J., Davis, J., (2006), Ecological regime shifts in salinised wetland systems. I. Salinity thresholds for the loss of submerged macrophytes, Hydrobiologia: the international journal on limnology and marine sciences, 573, 1, pages 89 - 107.
  • Sim, L., Davis, J., Chambers, J., (2006), Ecological regime shifts in salinised wetland systems. II. Factors affecting the dominance of benthic microbial communities, Hydrobiologia: the international journal on limnology and marine sciences, 573, 1, pages 109 - 131.
  • Strehlow, K., Davis, J., Sim, L., Chambers, J., Halse, S., Hamilton, D., Horwitz, P., McComb, A., Froend, R., (2005), Temporal changes between ecological regimes in a range of primary and secondary salinised wetlands, Hydrobiologia: the international journal on limnology and marine sciences, 552, 1, pages 17 - 31.

Conference

  • O'Toole, P., Chambers, J., Robson, B., Bell, R., (2012),Quantifying nutrient removal by riparian vegetation in flat sandy systems,In: Australian Limnology Conference.