Dr Tina Louise Bell

Senior Lecturer, Department of Environmental Sciences

C02F - Centre for Carbon, Water and Food
The University of Sydney

Telephone +61 2 8627 1015
Fax +61 2 8627 1099

Biographical details

My research career began with a PhD at the University of Western Australia investigating the fire response and nutrient acquisition of southern heaths (Ericaceae, subfamily Styphelioideae). During postdoctoral studies at the University of Cape Town in South Africa, my research broadened to encompass the fire response of northern heaths (Ericaceae) and nutrient acquisition of rushes (Restionaceae) and grasses (Poaceae). I was appointed Senior Lecturer in Fire Ecology at the University of Sydney in March 2010. Prior to this I 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. I am currently a Project Leader in the Bushfire CRC and have been a member of this national research centre since its inception in 2002. Funding for the Bushfire CRC was extended until mid-2013 as a result of the Black Saturday fires in Victoria in 2009 and I continue to participate in carbon- and water-related research projects held by the University of Sydney. I am part of two research groups that have recently attracted ARC and HAL funding. I currently supervise five postgraduate students and have had 10 successfully complete their postgraduate studies. I have supervised over a dozen Honours and 4th year undergraduate research projects.

Research interests

I am interested in the effects of fire on a range or organisms and the ecosystem processes they are involved in. This includes nutrient uptake by plants and how fire may temporarily release nutrients for plant uptake. Fire not only combusts fuel and release nutrients in ash but it also heats soil surfaces. This may kill some fungi and bacteria that live in the leaf litter and surface soil but it also stimulates other biota as competition for nutrients, light, moisture and space is temporarily relieved.

Fires produce smoke and I am interested in firstly, what compounds are in smoke and secondly, what effects some of these compounds might have on the natural and agricultural environment, and more broadly on human communities. Volatile organic compounds, or VOCs, are a particularly interesting group of chemicals that are released naturally by plants but are produced in far greater variety and quantity when vegetation is burnt.

Fire also produces ash and charcoal when leaves, twigs, bark and logs combust. This residue contains carbon which can remain locked up for tens or hundreds of years. It is important that we know what role this type of carbon has in ecosystems, particularly as more and more fire is used in the landscape for management of risk to human life and property and maintenance of biodiversity.

To pursue these interests my research involves work in the field, in the laboratory and in the glasshouse. The range of techniques used includes chemical and isotopic analysis of combustion gases and plant and soil material; anatomical studies of roots, fungal hyphae and legume nodules; measurement of metabolic processes such as respiration, photosynthesis and nitrogen fixation; animal habitat assessment and measurement of plant diversity.

I am currently involved in a number of projects based around the themes of fire, carbon and nutrients:

  • ARC Linkage grant (2010-2014) Ð Fires, black carbon, greenhouse gas emissions and the carbon balance of southern sclerophyll forests
  • Bushfire Cooperative Research Center (2010-2014)
  • Fire in the Landscape
  • Hydrology of south-eastern forests and the 2009 fires
  • Greenhouse gas emissions from prescribed fires and their environmental effects
  • Ministry of Science and Innovation, Spain (2010-2014)
  • Global change and Mediterranean ecosystems: vegetation responses to the expected changes in UVB irradiation and water availability before and after a perturbation (pruning or fire)
  • American-Australian Fulbright Professional Scholarship (2009)
  • BacchusÕ lament: the effect of smoke from fire on grapevine physiology
  • NERC Urgency Grant NE/F00131X/1, United Kingdom (2009)

The catastrophic Victoria fires of 2009: reconstructing fire behaviour from soil, ash and seedbank survival data The highlight of my research career to date was being awarded an American-Australian Fulbright Professional Scholarship in 2009. My project explored changes to and recovery of key physiological processes of grapevines exposed to smoke through physiological measures such as leaf gas exchange and photosynthesis under controlled laboratory conditions. I undertook this research at the University of California, Berkeley in late 2009 and will continue it under the umbrella of the Bushfire CRC.

In the media

Research Bites: Dr. Tina Bell -- Agriculture and Environment: Up in smoke -- carbon balance and bushfires.

Themes

Plant and crop physiology; Climate Change

Selected grants

2014

  • Remediation of soil contaminated by Salmonella enterica to expedite plant or replant of vegetables; McConchie R, Bell T, Wilkinson K, Groves P, Phan-Thien K; Horticulture Australia Limited/Research & Development Industry.
  • CRC: Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC (BNHCRC) - Project C4C5 - Optimisation of fuel reduction burning regimes for fuel reduction, carbon, water and vegetation outcomes - Tina Bell; Bell T, Adams M, Possell M, Turnbull T, Buckley T; Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC Ltd/CRC.

2012

  • Improving consistency of mushroom compost through control of biotic & abiotic parameters; Bell T, Kertesz M; Australian Mushroom Growers Association/Alternatives & Fundamentals Program.

2011

  • Maintenance of HighFire research sites (2011-2013); Ingram L, Bell T; Bushfire Cooperative Research Centre/Research Support.

2010

  • Fire in the Landscape - Greenhouse gas emissions from fire and their environmental effects; Bell T; Bushfire Cooperative Research Centre/Research Support.

Selected publications

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Book Chapters

  • York, A., Bell, T., Weston, C. (2012). Fire regimes and soil-based ecological processes: implications for biodiversity. In Ross A. Bradstock, A. Malcolm Gill and Richard J. Williams (Eds.), Flammable Australia Fire Regimes, Biodiversity and Ecosystems in a Changing World, (pp. 4-14). Melbourne, Australia: CSIRO Publishing.
  • Bell, T., Blackwell, P., Ashton, A. (2010). Foliage – the Victorian School of Forestry Herbarium. In Rob Youl (Eds.), Circumspice: One hundred years of forestry education centred on Creswick, Victoria, (pp. 125-140). Port Melbourne, Victoria: Forest Education Centenary Committee.
  • Bell, T., Adams, M. (2008). Smoke from wildfires and prescribed burning in Australia: health and environmental issues. In Andrzej Bytnerowicz, Michael Arbaugh, Allen Riebau, Christian Andersen (Eds.), Wild Land Fires and Air Pollution, 8, (pp. 289-316). UK and US: Elsevier.

Journals

  • Duff, T., Bell, T., York, A. (2014). Recognising fuzzy vegetation pattern: The spatial prediction of floristically defined fuzzy communities using species distribution modelling methods. Journal of Vegetation Science, 25(2), 323-337. [More Information]
  • Huber, E., Bell, T., Adams, M. (2013). Combustion influences on natural abundance nitrogen isotope ratio in soil and plants following a wildfire in a sub-alpine ecosystem. Oecologia, 173(3), 1063-1074. [More Information]
  • Duff, T., Bell, T., York, A. (2013). Managing multiple species or communities? Considering variation in plant species abundances in response to fire interval, frequency and time since fire in a heathy Eucalyptus woodland. Forest Ecology and Management, 289, 393-403. [More Information]
  • Duff, T., Bell, T., York, A. (2013). Predicting continuous variation in forest fuel load using biophysical models: A case study in south-eastern Australia. International Journal of Wildland Fire, 22(3), 318-332. [More Information]
  • Bell, T., Stephens, S., Moritz, M. (2013). Short-term physiological effects of smoke on grapevine leaves. International Journal of Wildland Fire, 22(7), 933-946. [More Information]
  • Possell, M., Bell, T. (2013). The influence of fuel moisture content on the combustion of Eucalyptus foliage. International Journal of Wildland Fire, 22(3), 343-352. [More Information]
  • Santin, C., Doerr, S., Shakesby, R., Bryant, R., Sheridan, G., Lane, P., Smith, H., Bell, T. (2012). Carbon loads, forms and sequestration potential within ash deposits produced by wildfire: new insights from the 2009 'Black Saturday' fires, Australia. European Journal of Forest Research, 131(4), 1245-1253. [More Information]
  • Meers, T., Enright, N., Bell, T., Kasel, S. (2012). Deforestation strongly affects soil seed banks in eucalypt forests: Generalisations in functional traits and implications for restoration. Forest Ecology and Management, 266, 94-107. [More Information]
  • Bell, T., Adams, M. (2011). Attack on all fronts: functional relationships between aerial and root parasitic plants and their woody hosts and consequences for ecosystems. Tree Physiology, 31(1), 3-15. [More Information]
  • McMullan-Fisher, S., May, T., Robinson, R., Bell, T., Lebel, T., Catcheside, P., York, A. (2011). Fungi and fire in Australian ecosystems: a review of current knowledge, management implications and future directions. Australian Journal of Botany, 59(1), 70-90. [More Information]
  • Duff, T., Bell, T., York, A. (2011). Patterns of plant abundances in natural systems: is there value in modelling both species abundance and distribution? Australian Journal of Botany, 59(8), 719-733. [More Information]
  • Huber, E., Bell, T., Simpson, R., Adams, M. (2011). Relationships among microclimate, edaphic conditions, vegetation distribution and soil nitrogen dynamics on the Bogong High Plains, Australia. Austral Ecology: a journal of ecology in the Southern Hemisphere, 36(2), 142-152.
  • Meers, T., Kasel, S., Bell, T., Enright, N. (2010). Conversion of native forest to exotic Pinus radiata plantation: Response of understorey plant composition using a plant functional trait approach. Forest Ecology and Management, 259(3), 399-409. [More Information]
  • Meers, T., Bell, T., Enright, N., Kasel, S. (2010). Do generalisations of global trade-offs in plant design apply to an Australian sclerophyllous flora? Australian Journal of Botany, 58(4), 257-270.
  • Huber, E., Bell, T., Simpson, R., Adams, M. (2010). Relationships among microclimate, edaphic conditions, vegetation distribution and soil nitrogen dynamics on the Bogong High Plains, Australia. Austral Ecology: a journal of ecology in the Southern Hemisphere, 36(2), 142-152. [More Information]
  • Miehs, A., York, A., Tolhurst, K., Di Stefano, J., Bell, T. (2010). Sampling downed coarse woody debris in fire-prone eucalypt woodlands. Forest Ecology and Management, 259(3), 440-445.
  • Maleknia, S., Bell, T., Adams, M. (2009). Eucalypt smoke and wildfires: temperature dependent emissions of biogenic volatile organic compounds. International Journal of Mass Spectrometry, 279(2-3), 126-133.
  • Pfautsch, S., Rennenberg, H., Bell, T., Adams, M. (2009). Nitrogen uptake by Eucalyptus regnans and Acacia spp. – preferences, resource overlap and energetic costs. Tree Physiology, 29(3), 389-399. [More Information]
  • Maleknia, S., Vail, T., Cody, R., Sparkman, D., Bell, T., Adams, M. (2009). Temperature-dependent release of volatile organic compounds of eucalypts by direct analysis in real time (DART) mass spectrometry. Rapid Communications in Mass Spectrometry, 23(15), 2241-2246. [More Information]
  • Oliveras, I., Bell, T. (2008). An Analysis of the Australian Literature on Prescribed Burning. Journal Of Forestry, 106(1), 31-37.
  • Bell, T., Adams, M. (2008). Chapter 14 Smoke from Wildfires and Prescribed Burning in Australia: Effects on Human Health and Ecosystems. Developments in Environmental Science, 8, 289-316.
  • Meers, T., Bell, T., Enright, N., Kasel, S. (2008). Role of plant functional traits in determining vegetation composition of abandoned grazing land in north-eastern Victoria, Australia. Journal of Vegetation Science, 19(4), 515-524.
  • Maleknia, S., Bell, T., Adams, M. (2007). PTR-MS analysis of reference and plant-emitted volatile organic compounds. International Journal of Mass Spectrometry, 262(3), 203-210. [More Information]
  • Bell, T., Oliveras, I. (2006). Perceptions of Prescribed Burning in a Local Forest Community in Victoria, Australia. Environmental Management, 38(5), 867-878. [More Information]
  • Bell, T., Tolhurst, K., Wouters, M. (2005). Effects of the fire retardant Phos-Chek on vegetation in eastern Australian heathlands. International Journal of Wildland Fire, 14(2), 199-211.
  • Walters, J., Bell, T. (2005). Growth of Eucalyptus obliqua regeneration following overstorey removal. Forest Ecology and Management, 219(2-3), 185-198. [More Information]
  • Walters, J., Bell, T., Read, S. (2005). Intra-specific variation in carbohydrate reserves and sprouting ability in Eucalyptus obliqua seedlings. Australian Journal of Botany, 53(3), 195-203.
  • Stock, W., Ludwig, F., Morrow, C., Midgley, G., Wand, S., Allsopp, N., Bell, T. (2005). Long-term effects of elevated atmospheric CO2 on species composition and productivity of a southern African C4 dominated grassland in the vicinity of a CO2 exhalation. Plant Ecology, 178(2), 211-224. [More Information]
  • Bell, T., Adams, M. (2004). Ecophysiology of ectomycorrhizal fungi associated with Pinus spp. in low rainfall areas of Western Australia. Plant Ecology, 171(1-2), 35-52.
  • Mappin, K., Pate, J., Bell, T. (2003). Productivity and water relations of burnt and long-unburnt semi-arid shrubland in Western Australia. Plant and Soil, 257(2), 321-340.

2014

  • Duff, T., Bell, T., York, A. (2014). Recognising fuzzy vegetation pattern: The spatial prediction of floristically defined fuzzy communities using species distribution modelling methods. Journal of Vegetation Science, 25(2), 323-337. [More Information]

2013

  • Huber, E., Bell, T., Adams, M. (2013). Combustion influences on natural abundance nitrogen isotope ratio in soil and plants following a wildfire in a sub-alpine ecosystem. Oecologia, 173(3), 1063-1074. [More Information]
  • Duff, T., Bell, T., York, A. (2013). Managing multiple species or communities? Considering variation in plant species abundances in response to fire interval, frequency and time since fire in a heathy Eucalyptus woodland. Forest Ecology and Management, 289, 393-403. [More Information]
  • Duff, T., Bell, T., York, A. (2013). Predicting continuous variation in forest fuel load using biophysical models: A case study in south-eastern Australia. International Journal of Wildland Fire, 22(3), 318-332. [More Information]
  • Bell, T., Stephens, S., Moritz, M. (2013). Short-term physiological effects of smoke on grapevine leaves. International Journal of Wildland Fire, 22(7), 933-946. [More Information]
  • Possell, M., Bell, T. (2013). The influence of fuel moisture content on the combustion of Eucalyptus foliage. International Journal of Wildland Fire, 22(3), 343-352. [More Information]

2012

  • Santin, C., Doerr, S., Shakesby, R., Bryant, R., Sheridan, G., Lane, P., Smith, H., Bell, T. (2012). Carbon loads, forms and sequestration potential within ash deposits produced by wildfire: new insights from the 2009 'Black Saturday' fires, Australia. European Journal of Forest Research, 131(4), 1245-1253. [More Information]
  • Meers, T., Enright, N., Bell, T., Kasel, S. (2012). Deforestation strongly affects soil seed banks in eucalypt forests: Generalisations in functional traits and implications for restoration. Forest Ecology and Management, 266, 94-107. [More Information]
  • York, A., Bell, T., Weston, C. (2012). Fire regimes and soil-based ecological processes: implications for biodiversity. In Ross A. Bradstock, A. Malcolm Gill and Richard J. Williams (Eds.), Flammable Australia Fire Regimes, Biodiversity and Ecosystems in a Changing World, (pp. 4-14). Melbourne, Australia: CSIRO Publishing.

2011

  • Bell, T., Adams, M. (2011). Attack on all fronts: functional relationships between aerial and root parasitic plants and their woody hosts and consequences for ecosystems. Tree Physiology, 31(1), 3-15. [More Information]
  • McMullan-Fisher, S., May, T., Robinson, R., Bell, T., Lebel, T., Catcheside, P., York, A. (2011). Fungi and fire in Australian ecosystems: a review of current knowledge, management implications and future directions. Australian Journal of Botany, 59(1), 70-90. [More Information]
  • Duff, T., Bell, T., York, A. (2011). Patterns of plant abundances in natural systems: is there value in modelling both species abundance and distribution? Australian Journal of Botany, 59(8), 719-733. [More Information]
  • Huber, E., Bell, T., Simpson, R., Adams, M. (2011). Relationships among microclimate, edaphic conditions, vegetation distribution and soil nitrogen dynamics on the Bogong High Plains, Australia. Austral Ecology: a journal of ecology in the Southern Hemisphere, 36(2), 142-152.

2010

  • Meers, T., Kasel, S., Bell, T., Enright, N. (2010). Conversion of native forest to exotic Pinus radiata plantation: Response of understorey plant composition using a plant functional trait approach. Forest Ecology and Management, 259(3), 399-409. [More Information]
  • Meers, T., Bell, T., Enright, N., Kasel, S. (2010). Do generalisations of global trade-offs in plant design apply to an Australian sclerophyllous flora? Australian Journal of Botany, 58(4), 257-270.
  • Bell, T., Blackwell, P., Ashton, A. (2010). Foliage – the Victorian School of Forestry Herbarium. In Rob Youl (Eds.), Circumspice: One hundred years of forestry education centred on Creswick, Victoria, (pp. 125-140). Port Melbourne, Victoria: Forest Education Centenary Committee.
  • Huber, E., Bell, T., Simpson, R., Adams, M. (2010). Relationships among microclimate, edaphic conditions, vegetation distribution and soil nitrogen dynamics on the Bogong High Plains, Australia. Austral Ecology: a journal of ecology in the Southern Hemisphere, 36(2), 142-152. [More Information]
  • Miehs, A., York, A., Tolhurst, K., Di Stefano, J., Bell, T. (2010). Sampling downed coarse woody debris in fire-prone eucalypt woodlands. Forest Ecology and Management, 259(3), 440-445.

2009

  • Maleknia, S., Bell, T., Adams, M. (2009). Eucalypt smoke and wildfires: temperature dependent emissions of biogenic volatile organic compounds. International Journal of Mass Spectrometry, 279(2-3), 126-133.
  • Pfautsch, S., Rennenberg, H., Bell, T., Adams, M. (2009). Nitrogen uptake by Eucalyptus regnans and Acacia spp. – preferences, resource overlap and energetic costs. Tree Physiology, 29(3), 389-399. [More Information]
  • Maleknia, S., Vail, T., Cody, R., Sparkman, D., Bell, T., Adams, M. (2009). Temperature-dependent release of volatile organic compounds of eucalypts by direct analysis in real time (DART) mass spectrometry. Rapid Communications in Mass Spectrometry, 23(15), 2241-2246. [More Information]

2008

  • Oliveras, I., Bell, T. (2008). An Analysis of the Australian Literature on Prescribed Burning. Journal Of Forestry, 106(1), 31-37.
  • Bell, T., Adams, M. (2008). Chapter 14 Smoke from Wildfires and Prescribed Burning in Australia: Effects on Human Health and Ecosystems. Developments in Environmental Science, 8, 289-316.
  • Meers, T., Bell, T., Enright, N., Kasel, S. (2008). Role of plant functional traits in determining vegetation composition of abandoned grazing land in north-eastern Victoria, Australia. Journal of Vegetation Science, 19(4), 515-524.
  • Bell, T., Adams, M. (2008). Smoke from wildfires and prescribed burning in Australia: health and environmental issues. In Andrzej Bytnerowicz, Michael Arbaugh, Allen Riebau, Christian Andersen (Eds.), Wild Land Fires and Air Pollution, 8, (pp. 289-316). UK and US: Elsevier.

2007

  • Maleknia, S., Bell, T., Adams, M. (2007). PTR-MS analysis of reference and plant-emitted volatile organic compounds. International Journal of Mass Spectrometry, 262(3), 203-210. [More Information]

2006

  • Bell, T., Oliveras, I. (2006). Perceptions of Prescribed Burning in a Local Forest Community in Victoria, Australia. Environmental Management, 38(5), 867-878. [More Information]

2005

  • Bell, T., Tolhurst, K., Wouters, M. (2005). Effects of the fire retardant Phos-Chek on vegetation in eastern Australian heathlands. International Journal of Wildland Fire, 14(2), 199-211.
  • Walters, J., Bell, T. (2005). Growth of Eucalyptus obliqua regeneration following overstorey removal. Forest Ecology and Management, 219(2-3), 185-198. [More Information]
  • Walters, J., Bell, T., Read, S. (2005). Intra-specific variation in carbohydrate reserves and sprouting ability in Eucalyptus obliqua seedlings. Australian Journal of Botany, 53(3), 195-203.
  • Stock, W., Ludwig, F., Morrow, C., Midgley, G., Wand, S., Allsopp, N., Bell, T. (2005). Long-term effects of elevated atmospheric CO2 on species composition and productivity of a southern African C4 dominated grassland in the vicinity of a CO2 exhalation. Plant Ecology, 178(2), 211-224. [More Information]

2004

  • Bell, T., Adams, M. (2004). Ecophysiology of ectomycorrhizal fungi associated with Pinus spp. in low rainfall areas of Western Australia. Plant Ecology, 171(1-2), 35-52.

2003

  • Mappin, K., Pate, J., Bell, T. (2003). Productivity and water relations of burnt and long-unburnt semi-arid shrubland in Western Australia. Plant and Soil, 257(2), 321-340.

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