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

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.

Research interests

Tina is interested in the effects of fire on a range of organisms and the ecosystem processes they are involved in. This includes nutrient uptake by plants and how fire may temporarily release nutrients for plant use. 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 soil biota as competition for nutrients, light, moisture and space is temporarily relieved.

As the saying goes, there is no smoke without fire. In the case of bushfires, Tina is interested in what compounds are in smoke and what effects some of these compounds might have on the natural and agricultural environment. 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 burn. This residue contains highly reduced 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.

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

Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC (2014–2017): Optimisation of prescribed burning regimes for fuel reduction, carbon, water and vegetation outcomes

ARC Linkage grant (2010–2014): Fires, black carbon, greenhouse gas emissions and the carbon balance of southern sclerophyll forests

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)

Other competitive grants include:

Horticulture Australia Limited (2011–2015): Improving consistency of mushroom compost through control of biotic and abiotic parameters

Center for Produce Safety, United States (2013–2015): Remediation and recovery measures to expedite plant or replant of vegetables following soil contamination by Salmonella enterica

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 Innovation Australia Limited (HIA)/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, Brian Fry and Ron Hateley (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. (2009). Smoke from wildfires and prescribed burning in Australia: Effects on Human Health and Ecosystems. In Andrzej Bytnerowicz, Michael Arbaugh, Allen Riebau, Christian Andersen (Eds.), Wild Land Fires and Air Pollution, 8, (pp. 289-316). New York: Elsevier.

Journals

  • Possell, M., Jenkins, M., Bell, T., Adams, M. (2015). Emissions from prescribed fires in temperate forest in south-east Australia: Implications for carbon accounting. Biogeosciences, 12(1), 257-268. [More Information]
  • Kasel, S., Bell, T., Enright, N., Meers, T. (2015). Restoration potential of native forests after removal of conifer plantation: A perspective from Australia. Forest Ecology and Management, 338, 148-162. [More Information]
  • Jenkins, M., Bell, T., Norris, J., Adams, M. (2014). Pyrogenic carbon: the influence of particle size and chemical composition on soil carbon release. International Journal of Wildland Fire, 23(7), 1027-1033. [More Information]
  • 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, 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. [More Information]
  • 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, 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. [More Information]
  • 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. [More Information]
  • 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. [More Information]
  • 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.

2015

  • Possell, M., Jenkins, M., Bell, T., Adams, M. (2015). Emissions from prescribed fires in temperate forest in south-east Australia: Implications for carbon accounting. Biogeosciences, 12(1), 257-268. [More Information]
  • Kasel, S., Bell, T., Enright, N., Meers, T. (2015). Restoration potential of native forests after removal of conifer plantation: A perspective from Australia. Forest Ecology and Management, 338, 148-162. [More Information]

2014

  • Jenkins, M., Bell, T., Norris, J., Adams, M. (2014). Pyrogenic carbon: the influence of particle size and chemical composition on soil carbon release. International Journal of Wildland Fire, 23(7), 1027-1033. [More Information]
  • 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, 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. [More Information]
  • Bell, T., Blackwell, P., Ashton, A. (2010). Foliage - the Victorian School of Forestry Herbarium. In Rob Youl, Brian Fry and Ron Hateley (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, 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. [More Information]

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. [More Information]
  • 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]
  • Bell, T., Adams, M. (2009). Smoke from wildfires and prescribed burning in Australia: Effects on Human Health and Ecosystems. In Andrzej Bytnerowicz, Michael Arbaugh, Allen Riebau, Christian Andersen (Eds.), Wild Land Fires and Air Pollution, 8, (pp. 289-316). New York: Elsevier.
  • 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. [More Information]

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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