Cassia Read will be the guest speaker at next Castlemaine Field Naturalist meeting on Friday 14 September. Her presentation is entitled Miniature wonderlands of the dry country: What you miss when you don’t walk on your knees.
Cassia has been studying and working in the field of ecology for the last 15 years, starting out with a botany degree at Melbourne Uni and followed by a range of jobs including Fungimap coordinator, researching the evolution of plant architecture, and reporting on the impact of climate change on biodiversity in national parks. She is currently doing a PhD at Melbourne Uni on biological soil crusts of the Mallee and Wimmera.
Cassia is a member of a local group of moss enthusiasts who regularly go on short field trips. The group is working towards producing a guide to mosses in the area. More information on this can be found on the Friends of the Box-Ironbark Forests website.
The following is an abstract of her upcoming CFNC talk.
Arid lands across the world share a common ecology with low rainfall, few trees and shrubs, and intriguing carpets of cryptogams protecting the soil (mosses, lichens, fungi and more). Otherwise known as biological soil crusts, these communities of cryptogams are full of interest; they exist at the soil surface in harsh environments and act as ecosystem engineers. Follow me on an exploration of these intriguing microcosms, around the globe and in our own arid lands of north west of Victoria to see their beauty, discover more about their importance and to understand how we can use this knowledge to manage our dry country.
All are welcome and encouraged to attend. The meeting commences at 7.30pm, and is being held in the hall behind the Uniting Church in Lyttleton St, Castlemaine.
For those interested there will be a short excursion the next morning. The group will meet at the Octopus building on Duke St (opposite the Castle Motel) at 9.30am.