There's been a considerable effort to find out how weed seeds enter Australia, and to assess the relative risks associated with their introduction. But very little research has been done to determine the pathways in which weed seeds spread once they're present in the landscape, and the relative importance of these different pathways.

Parthenium weed (Parthenium hysterophorus L.) is an internationally important invasive weed and one of the 20 Australian Weeds of National Significance. It has been accidentally introduced to more than 30 countries, and in Australia it covers about 60 million hectares. These populations are causing considerable economic loss to the pastoral and cropping industries, are a health hazard to the local communities and domesticated stock, and are a significant threat to the biodiversity of native communities.

The movement of parthenium weed seed is poorly understood. It's thought to include both human-induced (in feed and seed lots, attached or within domesticated stock, and attached to vehicles and agricultural machinery) and natural (wind and water) pathways.

The project will build on work undertaken on weed seed movement and spread prevention supported by Powerlink and the Queensland Murray Darling Committee.

We aim to find out: 

  • how much viable seed (with a focus on parthenium weed seed) is in three washdown facilities at the Queensland/NSW border. This study will look at all four seasons
  • the typical weed seed load on private sedan vehicles and where are those seeds found.

Location: St Lucia

Expected outcomes: an understanding of how weeds move in the landscape

Supervisors: Professor Steve Adkins

Before you apply: contact the primary supervisor for more details

Project members

Professor Steve Adkins

Principal Research Fellow
School of Agriculture and Food Sciences