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Dr Christina Birnbaum

Dr Christina Birnbaum
Name Christina Birnbaum
Position Lecturer (Terrestrial Ecology)
Section School of Agriculture and Environmental Science
Office T331
Location Toowoomba Campus
Phone +61 7 4631 2646
Extension 2646
Qualifications BNatSci , MNatSci , PhD Macquarie
The views expressed on staff homepages may not reflect the views of the University.

Between 2020 - 2022, Christina was a Research Fellow with the Blue Carbon Lab at School of Life & Env. Sciences at Deakin University and Samantha Grover in the School of Science at RMIT University, Australia. Before joining RMIT and Deakin, she was a Postdoctoral Research Fellow with Emily C. Farrer at Tulane University, USA (2017-2018) and a Postdoctoral Research Fellow (2014-2017) and Research Assistant (2013) with Neal J. Enright at Murdoch University, Australia. Prior to that she did a PhD with Michelle Leishman (2008 - 2012) at Macquarie University, Australia; and a MSc and BSc with Tiiu Kull at the Estonian University of Life Sciences, Estonia (2002-2007). Between 2005 – 2008, she also worked as a project manager and national representative for Estonia at NOBANIS (European Network on Invasive Alien Species) being responsible for compiling and updating Estonian alien species information on plants, mammals, invertebrates and birds, compiling specific fact-sheets on the top invasive species in the region.

Fields of Research (FoR)

  • Terrestrial Ecology ( 310308 )
  • Other Biological Sciences ( 319900 )
  • Microbial Ecology ( 310703 )
  • Global Change Biology ( 319902 )
  • Ecology ( 310300 )
  • Microbiology ( 310700 )

Research interests
Christina is an ecologist interested broadly in plant ecology and plant-microbe-soil interactions. Christina uses field observations, combined with experimental manipulations and molecular tools to explore questions pertaining plant-microbe interactions in diverse ecosystems, including shrublands, saltmarshes, mangroves and peatlands, to inform invasive species management, restoration ecology and plant-microbial dynamics.
She serves on the Editorial Board of international peer-review journal Plant Ecology. In 2016, Christina co-founded the inaugural Ecological Society of Australia Plant-Soil Ecology research chapter (RC), where she now serves as a lead-convener.

USQ Research affiliations

  • Centre for Crop Health (CCH)

Currently teaching courses/programs
BIO1011 Biology
REN2201 Ecological Methods
REN3301 Biodiversity and Conservation
REN3302 Sustainable Resource Use
REN8203 Sustainability Science

Administrative responsibilities
Major Convenor (Ecology and Conservation)

Research most recent
Birnbaum, C., Waryszak, P., Farrer, E.C. (2021) Direct and indirect effects of climate change in coastal wetlands: Will climate change influence wetlands by affecting plant invasion? Wetlands
Farrer, E., Birnbaum, C., Waryszak, P., Halbrook, S., Brady, M., Bumby, C., Candaele, H., Kulick, N., Lee, S., Schroeder, C., Smith, M., Wilber, W. (2021) Plant and microbial impacts of an invasive species vary across an environmental gradient. Journal of Ecology.
Schroeder, C., Halbrook, S., Birnbaum, C., Waryszak, P., Wilber, W., Farrer, E.C. (2020) The microbial ecology of a widespread invader: Phragmites australis harbors fungal communities characterized by high diversity and pathogen abundance. Diversity.