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Personal profile

Research interests

I head the Coastal Research Group at the School of Earth Atmosphere and Environment

Our principal research interest is in understanding how marine and coastal vegetated habitats function and how they are impacted by natural disturbance, anthropogenic impacts, and climate change. The insights gained from our research  provide important guidance for the effective management of these habitats into the future.

Coastal habitats will play a vital role in mitigating the effects of sea level rise, through increasing sediment accretion rates and thus surface elevation. In Australia, saltmarshes and mangroves are the primary vegetated coastal habitat and are widely distributed along the Australian coastline. Both geological evidence from the Holocene, when sea levels rose quickly and significantly, and models of contemporary sea level rise suggest that vegetated foreshores are able to keep pace with sea level rise when sediment supply is sufficient, thus protecting inland habitats from inundation. Vegetated foreshores are also very effective at attenuating wave energy during storm surges and are important carbon stores. These habitats are vital for a plethora of species, including dramatically declining migratory shore bird populations.

Our research group has a range of underwater sensors, current meters, plankton and vegetation sampling equipment, UAVs and a range of airborne sensors. We have access to boating and diving equipment at Monash, and access to the school’s extensive field work and sample analysis facilities and 4WD vehicles. We also have a well equipped molecular lab for environmental DNA studies and a lab for vegetation, sediment and water analyses.

Link to Ruth’s Google Scholar publications:  Ruth Reef

Specific Research Interests:

1) The coastal dynamics of vegetated foreshores and shallow water ecosystems

Biophysical interactions between vegetation, topography, wind & wave energy and sediment transport

The response of vegetated foreshores to sea level rise

Using biological markers to identify sources of sediment in coastal zones

2) Using environmental DNA to reconstruct sediment and water transport, to measure biodiversity and to reconstruct historic sea levels

Measuring agricultural runoff into the Great Barrier Reef

Identifying and quantifying sources of blue carbon

Quantifying fish species diversity in penguin feeding grounds

Reconstructing past sea levels and shoreline positions

3) The biogeographic response of marine and coastal vegetation to climate change

Modelling wetland area loss and expansion due to sea level rise

Species distribution modelling (mechanistic and correlative approaches)

Measuring the impact of previous land use on the growth of coastal vegetation following the introduction of inundation regimes (e.g. following sea level rise or coastal realignment)

Ecosystem services provided by temperate mangroves (fishery focus)

4) Greenhouse gas exchange and productivity of coastal and marine vegetation

Eddie covariance

The impacts of nutrient availability and heavy metal contamination on coastal plants

Monash teaching commitment

Teaching:

EAE2011: Environmental Problem Solving and Visualisation

EAE2322: Environmental Earth Science

EAE3311: Oceans and Coasts 

 

Network Recent external collaboration on country level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots.

Projects 2016 2021

The role of vegetated foreshores in stabilising Australia's shorelines

Reef, R., Kennedy, D., Wong, V. N. L., Spencer, T., Brooks, S. & Moller, I.

30/07/1829/07/21

Project: Research

An elemental hypothesis for sub-tropical refugee in reef corals

Reef, R., Pandolfi, J. & Lovelock, C.

1/01/1631/12/18

Project: Research

Research Output 2005 2018

  • 34 Article
  • 4 Review Article
  • 1 Chapter (Book)
  • 1 Encyclopaedia / Dictionary Entry

The effect of vegetation height and biomass on the sediment budget of a European saltmarsh

Reef, R., Schuerch, M., Christie, E. K., Möller, I. & Spencer, T., 5 Mar 2018, In : Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science. 202, p. 125-133 9 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Interactive effects of climate and nutrient enrichment on patterns of herbivory by different feeding guilds in mangrove forests

Feller, I. C., Ball, M. C., Ellis, J. I., Lovelock, C. E. & Reef, R., 1 Nov 2017, In : Global Ecology and Biogeography. 26, 11, p. 1326-1338 13 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Isotopic signatures of stem water reveal differences in water sources accessed by mangrove tree species

Lovelock, C. E., Reef, R. & Ball, M. C., 8 Mar 2017, (Accepted/In press) In : Hydrobiologia. p. 1-13 13 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Mangrove dieback during fluctuating sea levels

Lovelock, C. E., Feller, I. C., Reef, R., Hickey, S. & Ball, M. C., 1 Dec 2017, In : Scientific Reports. 7, 1, 8 p., 1680.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Open Access
File

Mangrove root biomass and the uncertainty of belowground carbon estimations

Adame, M. F., Cherian, S., Reef, R. & Stewart-Koster, B., 1 Nov 2017, In : Forest Ecology and Management. 403, p. 52-60 9 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleResearchpeer-review