Bob Black

Party Typeperson
Access PrivilegesLong Term Ecological Research Network
Given NameBob
Brief DescriptionBob Black is a marine biologist who recently retired from the University of Western
Australia, where he studied the population dynamics of sessile intertidal organisms.
Full DescriptionRocky intertidal areas and rainforests are both dominated by sessile organisms whose
population dynamics can be described by tracking marked individuals, and Bob has
always enjoyed taking short breaks from his marine research to work with Joe Connell
in the Connell Rainforest Plots. Bob’s association with Joe goes back several decades
to when Bob was a postdoctoral fellow with Joe at the University of California at Santa
Barbara. Bob’s contribution to the plots dates at least as far back as 1976, and yet he
has never had his name on a publication arising from the rainforest work. Instead, he
has been content in his role as ‘a friend of the plots’.

One consequence of his long involvement with the Connell Rainforest Plots is that he’s
now one of just two people who know the ins and outs of monitoring them. In fact,
in 2006 he re-censused both plots single-handedly when I couldn’t get away from
teaching and hadn’t been successful in getting funds to work on the plots. This was
a monumental effort—Bob took some sabbatical time, drove his own vehicle across
from Western Australia, and spent several months alone in the field in Queensland
measuring and counting seedlings, saplings and large trees, all without external
funding. Essentially, Bob single-handedly ensured that the plots were monitored at a
critical stage when no one else was in a position to do so. Forward planning
can take us only so far. When all those carefully laid plans fall through
despite the best of intentions, it sometimes takes an extraordinary act
of dedication like this to maintain the schedule of censuses.
Postal AddressDepartment of Ecology, Environment and Evolution
La Trobe University
Bundoora. Vic 3086
Fields of Research0602 - Ecology
Status: Published
Published To:
- Australian National University
- Australian National Data Service
Identifier: anudc:5565
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