Dr Ben Miller
- Senior Research Scientist (Ecologist)
Kings Park and Botanic Garden
Fraser Avenue West Perth Western Australia 6005
- (+61 8) 9480 3631
- (+61 8) 9480 3641
- Fire ecology
- Plant community ecology
- Plant population ecology
- Spatial ecology
- Seed dispersal
- Rare plant conservation
- Restoration ecology
- Ecology of SW WA shrubland and woodland communities
Studying at the University of Melbourne, I commenced my research career investigating patterns of plant community composition and richness in fire-prone heathy woodlands in western Victoria. In my PhD ('Life history variation in co-existing, Mexican rain-forest understorey palms'), I studied demographic and ecological strategies of Chamaedorea oblongata and C. pinnatifrons also at the UNAM tropical rainforest field stations Los Tuxtlas (Veracruz) and Chajul (Chiapas).
In 1999, I took up a research position at the University of Melbourne in the fields of plant population and community ecology, including studies of fire ecology, spatial ecology, restoration ecology, soil seedbanks, and local- and long-distance seed dispersal. These projects were located in diverse ecosystems - from Victorian Box-Ironbark forests and fire-prone, species-rich heathland communities in SW Australia (Eneabba) to hyper-arid limestone mountain systems in southern Pakistan (Kirthar National Park) and sub-tropical maquis shrublands and montane rainforests with emergent Araucaria and Agathis trees in New Caledonia.
I moved to Kings Park in 2007 to undertake research on the ecology of rare plant species Darwinia masonii and Lepidosperma gibsonii endemic to one Banded Iron Formation (BIF) range, now partially developed as an iron ore mine. In 2010 I commenced a period of project development and co-ordination and technical advice within Kings Park science. This involved restoration and conservation projects in Libya and Saudi Arabia, as well as restoration of threatened ecosystems and species in WA (BIF, Banksia woodlands). I also commenced providing scientific input towards management problems in the bushlands of Kings Park and Bold Park, focussing on fire risk and Banksia decline. The Banksia decline study has evolved into a large multi-disciplinary project. In late 2013 I was appointed to a new Fire Ecology research position in BGPA which is developing collaborations with research and bushland management organisations to improve understanding of the risk from fire to biodiversity, life and property in native vegetation remnants in the Perth region, specifically to develop scientific knowledge to improve urban bushland management.
(2013 – ongoing) Fire Ecology. This project has three components: 1) examining how Banksia woodland plant traits interact with elements of fire regime to influence plant community response to fire. 2) Identifying tolerable fire intervals by assessing how plant species abundance varies with fire interval. 3) Examining how fire management approaches effect subsequent fire risk and biodiversity values (including feedbacks with grassy weeds) in urban bushlands. With Murdoch University and the WA Department of Parks and Wildlife.
(2012 – ongoing) Understanding drivers of ecosystem change and tree decline in Banksia woodlands. With BGPA Bushland Management, Kings Park ecophysiologist Jason Stevens and UWA collaborators. The project aims to integrate numerous approaches – leaf, tree and stand level monitoring of tree ecophysiological function, geophysical survey for soil hydrological dynamics, and temporal and spatial analysis of tree death from remote sensing and spatial statistics – to interpret causes and appropriate management responses of tree death in urban woodlands. Supported (from 2014) by ARC funding as (CI Erik Veneklaas, UWA).
(2012 – ongoing) ‘Strategy for Preservation, Rehabilitation and Development of Native Plant Cover in Arriyadh Province.’ A conservation planning project with the Arriyadh Development Authority (Saudi Arabia). The project has completed a scoping/ recommendations phase, and a strategy and implementation planning phase is anticipated to soon commence. Overall the project aims to deliver a comprehensive landscape conservation program for central Arabia with programs including education, training, awareness, research, arid ecosystem restoration, rangeland management, protected area network design and management and biodiversity inventory.
(2011 – Cancelled due to revolution) A program of studies on the population ecology, seed biology, propagation and restoration requirements of Juniperus phoenicea in Jebel Akhdar, Cyrenaica, NE Libya with complimentary studies investigating cause of the decline. This was to be a three-year project funded by the Libyan government and operated through the WA Department of Agriculture.
(2007 – 2010) An integrated research program into the ecology, conservation and restoration of the rare plant species Darwinia masonii and Lepidosperma gibsonii. Includes examination of their population ecology, fire response, species distribution patterns, environmental correlates and adaptations, soil water use, ecophysiology, seed dispersal, soil seed-banks and restoration requirements. With Matt Barrett, Kingsley Dixon and Jason Stevens at BGPA, funded by Asia Iron Holdings (Extension Hill Pty Ltd) and Mt Gibson Iron.
- Cameron Mounsey (2014) – Role of spatial and temporal patterns of in development of vegetation and soil hydrology as a determinant of restoration success following sand mining in SW WA.
- Sacha Ruoss (2013) – Conserving Rare Banded Ironstone Formation Endemic Plants in the Ecological Restoration of Iron Ore Waste Dumps in the Semi Arid Midwest of Western Australia.
- Vanessa Westcott (2010) – The effect of increased fire frequency on the high-diversity Eneabba Sandplain Shrublands, Western Australia.
- Kelly Hunt deBie (2009) – Herbivory, seedling defence and community composition; examining defence trade-offs as mechanisms of coexistence in the high diversity, Eneabba shrublands of Western Australia.
- Dulana Herath (2009) – Fire impacts on restored shrublands following mining for heavy minerals near Eneabba, southwestern Australia.
- Russell Miller (current) – The impact of increasingly longer fire intervals on the persistence and seed quality of serotinous non-sprouting plants in south-western Australia.
- Anthea Challis (2014) – Mortality patterns and physiological responses of the canopy tree, Banksia menziesii in relation to varying summer water availability in an urban remnant.
- Laura Folan (2013) – Seed biology and ecology of five weed species (Arctotheca calendula, Brassica tournefortii, Ehrharta calycina, Hypochaeris glabra, and Pelargonium capitatum) in south-west Western Australia and consequent implications for their management.
- Erin Picken (2012) – Identifying Species Richness & Community Types for Industry Restoration Targets and Evaluation of the Impacts of Scale, Effort and Altered Species Pool on Species Richness & Defined Community Types for a Mid-west Banded Iron Formation.
- Sarah Paul (2010) – Regeneration via spores and rhizomes of Cheilanthes ferns in semi-arid Western Australia.
- Liann Smithson (2009) – Physiological Strategies for Surviving Drought in Endemic Banded Iron Formation Habitats.
- Cameron Mounsey (2009) – The roots of shallow soil endemic species are not better adapted to enter smaller pores than the roots of closely related congeners.
- Allison Ritchie (2009) – Realized mating patterns of Banksia attenuata: contrasting restored and natural populations.
- Jemma Parry (2008) – Drought stress responses and root foraging strategies of two endemic BIF species: Darwinia masonii and Lepidosperma gibsonii and their closely related congeners.
Paul S, Dixon KW and Miller BP. (in prep). Longevity, germination and viability under temperature extremes of spores of three Cheilanthes fern species from semi-arid Western Australia.
Mounsey CM, Stevens JC, Renton MS, Dixon KW and Miller BP. (in prep). The influence of environmental drivers and intervention treatments on post-mine restoration trajectories.
Enright NJ, Fontaine JB, Lamont BB, Miller BP and Westcott VC. (accepted July 2014). Resistance and resilience to changing climate and fire regime depend on plant functional traits. Journal of Ecology.
Westcott VC, Enright NJ, Miller BP, Fontaine JB, Lade JC and Lamont BB. (2014 in press). Biomass and litter accumulation patterns in species-rich shrublands for fire hazard assessment. International Journal of Wildland.
Bader M, Ehrenberger S, Bitter M, Stevens JC, Miller BP, Chopard J, Rueger S, Hardy G, Dixon KW, Poot P and Zimmermann U. (2014). Drought stress physiology of evergreen sclerophyllous broad-leaved trees assessed with the non-invasive magnetic turgor pressure probe. Physiologia plantarum. online March DOI: 10.1111/ppl.12170.
Perry GLW, Miller BP, Enright NJ, and Lamont BB. (2014). Stochastic geometry best explains spatial associations among species pairs and plant functional types in species-rich shrublands. Oikos. 123, 99-110.
Enright NJ, Miller BP, Perry GLW, Goldblum D, and Jaffré T. (2014). Stress-tolerator leaf traits determine population dynamics in the endangered New Caledonian conifer Araucaria muelleri. Austral Ecology. 39, 60-71.
Perry GLW, Enright NJ, Miller BP, and Lamont BB. (2013). Do plant functional traits determine spatial pattern? A test on species-rich shrublands, Western Australia. Journal of Vegetation Science. 24, 441-452.
Miller BP, Walshe T, Enright NJ, and Lamont BB. (2012). Grasstree stem analysis reveals insufficient data for inference of fire history. Journal of the Royal Society of Western Australia. 95, 95–102.
Fontaine JB, Enright NJ, Lade J, Miller BP & Westcott VC. (2012). Fire behaviour in southwestern Australian shrublands: evaluating the influence of fuel age and fire weather. International Journal of Wildland Fire. 21, 385-395.
Enright NJ, Fontaine JB, Westcott VC, Lade J, and Miller BP. (2011). Fire interval effects on persistence of resprouter species in Mediterranean-type shrublands. Plant Ecology. 212, 2071-2083.
Esther A, Groeneveld J, Enright NJ, Miller BP, Lamont BB, Perry GLW, Tietjen B & Jeltsch F. (2011). Low-dimensional trade-offs fail to explain richness and structure in species-rich plant communities. Theoretical Ecology. 4, 495-511.
Miller BP, Enright NJ, Perry GLW and Lamont BB. (2010). Contrasting spatial pattern and pattern-forming processes in natural versus restored shrublands. Journal of Applied Ecology. 47, 701–709.
Perry GLW, Groeneveld J and Miller BP. (2010). Development, application and place of neutral theory in ecology and biogeography. Geography Compass. 4(8), 904–918.
Esther A, Groeneveld J, Enright NJ, Miller BP, Lamont BB, Perry GLW, Blanki FB & Jeltsch F. (2010). Sensitivity of plant functional types to climate change: Classification tree analysis of a simulation model. Journal of Vegetation Science. 21, 447–461.
Herath D, Lamont BB, Enright NJ & Miller BP. (2009). Comparison of postmine rehabilitated and natural shrubland communities in southwestern Australia. Restoration Ecology. 17, 577–585.
He TH, Lamont BB, Krauss SL, Enright NJ & Miller BP. (2009). Long-distance dispersal of seed in the fire-tolerant shrub Banksia attenuata. Ecography. 32, 571–580.
Herath D, Lamont BB, Enright NJ & Miller BP. (2009). Impact of fire on plant-species persistence in post-mine restored and natural shrubland communities in southwestern Australia. Biological Conservation. 142, 2175–2180.
Perry GLW, Enright NJ, Miller BP, Lamont BB and Etienne RS. (2009). Dispersal, edaphic fidelity, and speciation in species-rich Western Australian shrublands: evaluating a neutral model of biodiversity. Oikos. 118: 1349–62.
Krauss SL, He TH, Barrett L, Lamont BB, Enright NJ, Miller BP & Hanley ME. (2009). Contrasting impacts of pollen and seed dispersal on spatial genetic structure in the bird-pollinated Banksia hookeriana. Heredity. 102, 274–285.
Perry GLW, Enright NJ, Miller BP and Lamont, BB. (2009). Nearest-neighbour interactions in species-rich shrublands: the roles of abundance, spatial patterns and resources. Oikos. 118, 161–174.
He TH, Lamont BB, Krauss SL, Enright NJ, Miller BP & Gove AA. (2008). Ants cannot account for inter-population dispersal of the arillate pea Daviesia triflora. New Phytologist. 181, 725–733.
He TH, Lamont BB, Krauss SL, Enright NJ & Miller BP. (2008). Covariation between intraspecific genetic diversity and species diversity within a plant functional group. Journal of Ecology. 96, 956–961.
Perry GLW, Enright NJ, Miller BP and Lamont, BB. (2008). Spatial patterns in species-rich Mediterranean-type shrublands of south-western Australia. Journal of Vegetation Science. 19: 705–716.
Esther A, Groeneveld J, Enright NJ, Miller BP, Lamont BB, Perry GLW, Schurr FM and Jeltsch F. (2008). Assessing the importance of seed immigration on coexistence of plant functional types in a species rich ecosystem. Ecological Modelling. 213: 402–416.
Miller BP, Enright NJ, and Lamont BB. (2007). Record error and range contraction, real and imagined, in the restricted shrub Banksia hookeriana in south-western Australia. Diversity and Distributions. 13: 406–417.
Miller BP, Walshe T, Enright NJ, and Lamont BB. (2007). Error in the inference of fire history from grasstrees. Austral Ecology. 32: 908–916.
Enright NJ and Miller BP. (2007). Livestock Grazing Impacts on Desert Vegetation, Khirthar National Park, Pakistan. Rangeland Ecology & Management. 60: 680–684.
Enright NJ, Mosner E, Miller BP, Johnson N and Lamont BB. (2007). Patterns of soil versus canopy seed storage and plant species coexistence in species-rich shrublands of southwestern Australia. Ecology. 88: 229–2304.
Perry GLW, Miller BP and Enright NJ. (2006). A comparison of methods for the statistical analysis of spatial point patterns in plant ecology. Plant Ecology. 187: 59–82.
Enright NJ, Lamont BB and Miller BP. (2006). Commentary: Anomalies in grasstree fire history reconstructions for southwestern Australian vegetation: Reply from Enright N. J., Lamont B. B. and Miller B. P. Austral Ecology. 31: 792–793.
Krauss SL, He TH, Lamont BB, Miller BP, and Enright. (2006). Late Quaternary climate change and spatial genetic structure in the shrub Banksia hookeriana. Molecular Ecology. 15: 1125–1137.
Enright NJ, Lamont BB and Miller BP. (2005). Anomalies in grasstree fire history reconstructions for south-western Australian vegetation. Austral Ecology. 30: 668–673.
Enright NJ, Miller BP and Akhter R. (2005). Desert vegetation and vegetation-environment relationships in Khirthar National Park, Sindh, Pakistan. Journal of Arid Environments. 61: 397–418.
Comino E, Miller BP and Enright NJ. (2004). Soil seedbanks in natural and restored box ironbark forests at Stawell Gold Mine, Victoria. Pacific Conservation Biology. 10: 9–20.
He, TH, Krauss SL, Lamont BB, Miller BP, and Enright NJ. (2004). Long distance seed dispersal in a metapopulation of Banksia hookeriana inferred from a population allocation analysis of AFLP data. Molecular Ecology. 13: 1099–1109.
Enright NJ, He T, Krauss SL, Lamont BB and Miller BP. (2003). Genetic variation and biogeographic history in the restricted southwestern Australian shrub, Banksia hookeriana. Physical Geography (special issue on Geogenetics). 24: 358–77.
Chiarucci A, Enright NJ, Perry GLW, Miller BP and Lamont, BB. (2003). Performance of non-parametric species richness estimators in a high diversity plant community. Diversity and Distributions. 9: 283–295.
Enright NJ, Miller BP and Perry, GLW. (2003). Demography of the long-lived conifer Agathis ovata in maquis and rainforest. New Caledonia Journal of Vegetation Science. 14:625–636.
Brown J, Enright NJ and Miller BP. (2003). Seed production and germination in two rare and three common, co-occurring Acacia species from SE Australia. Austral Ecology 28: 271–280.
Lamont BB, He TH, Enright NJ, Krauss SL and Miller BP. (2003). Anthropogenic disturbance promotes hybridization between Banksia species by altering their biology. Journal of Evolutionary Biology. 16: 551–557.
Rigg LS, Enright NJ, Perry GLW and Miller BP. (2002). The role of cloud combing and shading by isolated trees in the succession from maquis to rain forest in New Caledonia. Biotropica. 34: 199–210.
Enright NJ, Miller BP and Crawford A. (1994). Environmental correlates of vegetation patterns and species richness in the northern Grampians, Victoria. Australian Journal of Ecology. 19: 159–168.
Miller BP and Dixon KW. (2014 in press). Natural history of fire in the Kwongan. In Lambers H (ed) Plant life on the sandplains in southwest Australia, a global biodiversity hotspot. UWA Press.
Enright NJ, Clarke M, Keith D and Miller BP. (2012). Australian sclerophyllous shrubby ecosystems: heathlands, heathy woodlands and mallee woodlands. In: Bradstock, R., Gill, A. & Williams, R. (eds) Flammable Australia: Fire Regimes and Biodiversity in a Changing World. CSIRO Publishing. Melbourne.
Enright, NJ, Miller, BP & Jaffré, T. (2009). Ecology and population dynamics of the endemic New Caledonian conifer, Araucaria muelleri (Araucariaceae). In: Wilcox MD. & Bieleski R. Araucariaceae: Proceedings of the 2002 Araucariaceae Symposium, Araucaria-Agathis-Wollemia. Touchwood Books. Auckland.
Enright NJ, Groeneveld J, Lamont BB and Miller BP. (2005). Grasstree reconstructions of pre-European fire regimes and models Banksia (Proteaceae) species co-existence in the northern sandplain shrublands of southwestern Australia: are they compatible? In Walshe TV and Williams JE (editors) 2005. Variability in fire interval. How important is it and how do we manage for it? Proceedings of a workshop held 26 September 2003, Albany Western Australia. University of Western Australia, Crawley, Australia.
Miller BP, Dudley N, Webb M, Forrest A, Mounsey C, Williams A, Miller A and Al-Shaye I. (2013). Preservation, rehabilitation and development of native plant cover in Arriyadh Province. Report for the Arriyadh Development Authority (Riyadh, Saudi Arabia) 227pp.
Miller BP. (2010). A Survey of Combustible Biomass in Kings Park and Bold Park, August 2010. Report for WA Botanic Gardens and Parks Authority 34pp.
Miller BP and Barrett M. (2010). Darwinia masonii and Lepidosperma gibsonii Conservation and Restoration Research: An integrated research program into the ex situ and in situ conservation, restoration and translocation requirements of Darwinia masonii and Lepidosperma gibsonii May 2007- June 2010. Report to Mount Gibson Iron and Extension Hill / Asia Iron. October 2010. 136pp.
Enright NJ and Miller BP. (2000). Khirthar National Park Baseline Environmental Study: Flora. Report submitted to Sind Wildlife Department 128pp.
Stevens, J, Miller BP and Bader, M. (2012). Understanding tree decline in Kings Park. For People & Plants; Friends of Kings Park Magazine. Winter
Miller BP and Dixon KW. (2011). Cyrenaican Juniper forest decline and the 2011 Libyan civil war. Field Report for the Marjan Centre for the Study of Conflict & Conservation. Department of War Studies, Kings College London.
Miller BP. (2009). Why do rare plants live where they do? For People & Plants; Friends of Kings Park Magazine. Winter