A/Prof Tina Bell

A/Prof Tina Bell

A/Prof Tina Bell

Dr Tina Bell joined the Faculty of Agriculture and Environment as Senior Lecturer in Fire Ecology in March 2010. Prior to this appointment she worked in Victoria in the areas of fire ecology and plant physiology, firstly as a researcher with the Victorian Department of Environment and Sustainability and then as Senior Research Fellow in the School of Forest and Ecosystem Science at the University of Melbourne.

As an undergraduate she studied botany and zoology at the University of Western Australia. Her research career began with a PhD investigating the fire response and mycorrhizal associations of Australian heaths (Ericaceae). During postdoctoral studies at the University of Cape Town in South Africa, her research broadened to encompass the fire response of African heaths (Ericaceae) and nutrient acquisition of rushes (Restionaceae) and grasses (Poaceae). On her return to Western Australia she continued her postdoctoral studies by investigating mycorrhizal associations in pine plantations and nutrient exchange in parasitic plants.

Tina is a Project Leader in the Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC and was involved in the preceding Bushfire CRC. Current bushfire research being done by the Fire group explores the effect of fire size on carbon, water and vegetation structure and composition. Work is also continuing on quantifying the amount and type of emissions in smoke from bushfires and the production and consumption of pyrogenic carbon after prescribed fire.

Tina also contributes to other research groups that have attracted competitive funding in areas as diverse as increasing the productivity of cultivated button mushrooms and the control of Salmonella in chicken manure in small-scale farming systems. Tina currently supervises six postgraduate students and has had 11 students successfully complete their postgraduate studies. She has supervised over a dozen Honours and 4th year undergraduate research projects.

The highlight of Tina’s research career so far was the award of an American-Australian Fulbright Professional Scholarship in 2009. Her project explored changes to and recovery of key physiological processes of grapevines exposed to smoke through physiological measures under controlled laboratory conditions. She undertook this research at the University of California, Berkeley in late 2009 and she recently had a PhD student complete a study in this area of research. She was also awarded a travel scholarship in 2012 by the Gottstein Foundation. This award allowed her to travel to the west coast of the US to gather information about tertiary-level fire education to compare to what is on offer in Australia.

Project leadership

This research represents a concerted effort to understand the effect of prescribed burning on water quantity and carbon losses and gains in forested ecosystems in south eastern Australia. The research team collected empirical data from over 100 sampling sites treated with a recent prescribed burn, selected to accommodate as much site variability as possible and to take full advantage of prescribed burn plans. Data collected from the field was used in a variety of modelling assignments to capture the effect of prescribed burning on changes in water availability and transformation of carbon pools. Using a mixture of models and empirical sampling and analysis, the research showed that there are few risks to long-term carbon and water cycles when prescribed burning is conducted on cycles of 10 or so years.
Research team:
31 Aug 2020
Key findings: Optimisation of fuel reduction burning regimes for carbon, water and vegetation
27 Aug 2019
The Full Carbon Accounting Model (FullCAM) is a software tool developed by the Australian...
Understanding carbon pools to improve emission estimates from fires
19 Sep 2018
"Use of prescribed burning creates emissions and particulates. However, fire management can...
Assessing SWAT model sensitivity to fire-related soil organic carbon changes using digital soil mapping products
19 Sep 2018
"Biomass burning is one of the main causes of carbon loss in the soil and could lead to increased...
Assessing the impact of fire using soil and pyrolisis-GC-MS
30 Jun 2017
Soil organic matter has strong effects on soil properties such as water holding capacity, soil...
The effect of wildfire on forested catchment water quality: empirical versus mechanistic models
30 Jun 2017
Wildfire removes the surface vegetation, releases ash, increases erosion and runoff, and therefore...
Mana Gharun Conference Poster 2016
14 Aug 2016
This project focuses on improving the capability of land managers to use prescribed fire to reduce...
Mengran Yu Conference Poster 2016
14 Aug 2016
This research project will analyse the relationships among bushfires and prescribed fires, soil...
Spatial Variability After Prescribed Burning: Effects on Vegetation and Soil Properties
18 Aug 2015
Optimisation of prescribed burning requires a strong understanding of the underlying variability of...
Optimisation of fuel reduction burning regimes: Determining fire size
25 Aug 2014
Optimising fuel reduction burning at the landscape- or catchment-scale requires knowledge of the...

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