Knight, S, Leigh, A, Davila, Y, Martin, L & Krix, D 2019, 'Calibrating Assessment Literacy Through Benchmarking Tasks', Assessment and Evaluation in Higher Education, vol. 44, no. 8, pp. 1121-1132.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
In calibration tasks students assess exemplar texts using criteria against which their own work will be assessed. Typically these tasks are used in the context of training for peer assessment. Little research has been conducted on the benefits of calibration tasks, such as benchmarking, as learning opportunities in their own right. This paper examines a dataset from a long-running benchmarking task ( 500 students per semester, for four semesters). We investigate the relationship of benchmarking performance to other student outcomes, including ability to self-assess accurately. We show that students who complete the benchmarking perform better, that there is a relationship between benchmarking performance and self-assessment performance, and that students appreciate the support for learning that benchmarking tasks provide. We discuss implications for teaching and learning flagging the potential of calibration tasks as an under-explored tool.
Murray, BR, Martin, LJ, Brown, C, Krix, DW & Phillips, ML 2018, 'Selecting low-flammability plants as green firebreaks within sustainable urban garden design', Fire, vol. 1, no. 1, pp. 1-4.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
In response to an increasing risk of property loss from wildfires at the urban–wildland interface, there has been growing interest around the world in the plant characteristics of urban gardens that can be manipulated to minimize the chances of property damage or destruction. To date, considerable discussion of this issue can be found in the ‘grey’ literature, covering garden characteristics such as the spatial arrangement of plants in relation to each other, proximity of plants to houses, plant litter and fuel reduction, and the use of low-flammability plants as green firebreaks [1,2,3,4]. Recently, scientific studies from a geographically wide range of fire-prone regions including Europe , the USA , Australia , South Africa , and New Zealand  have been explicitly seeking to quantify variation among plant species with respect to different aspects of their flammability and to identify low-flammability horticultural species appropriate for implementation as green firebreaks in urban landscapes. The future prospects of this scientific work will ultimately depend on how successfully the results are integrated into the broader context of garden design in fire-prone regions at the urban–wildland interface. Although modern design of urban gardens must consider more than just the issue of green firebreaks, we and others [10,11] believe that selection of low-flammability plants should be high on the priority list of plant selection criteria in fire-prone regions.
Krix, DW, Hingee, MC, Martin, LJ, Phillips, ML & Murray, BR 2017, 'Ecological impacts of fire trails on plant assemblages in edge habitat adjacent to trails', Fire Ecology, vol. 13, pp. 95-119.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
Murray, BR, Martin, LJ, Phillips, ML & Pyšek, P 2017, 'Taxonomic perils and pitfalls of dataset assembly in ecology: A case study of the naturalized Asteraceae in Australia', NeoBiota, vol. 34, pp. 1-20.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
Small Australian skinks (< 10 g) are often described as
generalist invertebrate predators (Greer 2001; Manicom
and Schwarzkopf 2010). This view has been influenced by
studies of stomach contents revealing a wide variety of prey
items (Crome 1981; Taylor 1986; Greer 1989; Lunney et al.
1989; Brown 1991; Wapstra and Swain 1996). While these
studies provide important information on the diet of small
skinks, they do not indicate how prey was selected (Greer
2001; Manicom and Schwarzkopf 2010). Arthropods found
in skink stomachs may have been taken opportunistically in
proportion to their availability. Alternatively, skinks may
have actively selected certain prey types over others that
are equally or more readily available. For example, three
sympatric skink species of the genus Carlia selectively
consume prey types that are not abundant in their habitat
(Manicom and Schwarzkopf 2010).
Optimal foraging theory (MacArthur and Pianka 1966)
predicts that animals will concentrate feeding on the best
types of food available. It might be expected therefore,
that even within a broadly generalist diet, skinks will
select prey with the highest nutritional value. Selectivity is
even possible at the intraspecific level of prey items. Greer
(2001) reported observations of seven Elegant Snakeeyed
Skinks Cryptoblepharus pulcher preying selectively
upon winged alates of small ants of the Iridomyrmex
rufoniger group while actively avoiding worker ants.
In this note I present observations of selective foraging on
alates by the Garden Skink Lampropholis guichenoti, a small
(adult SVL 48 mm) scincid lizard occurring in eastern
Australia (Wilson and Swan 2013).
Martin, LJ & Murray, B 2013, 'A preliminary assessment of the response of a native reptile assemblage to spot-spraying invasive Bitou Bush with glyphosate herbicide', Ecological Management & Restoration, vol. 14, no. 1, pp. 59-62.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
During recent work examining the effects of Bitou Bush (Chrysanthemoides monilifera ssp. rotundata) invasion on native reptile assemblages in coastal heathland vegetation in Eastern Australia, unplanned spot-spraying of glyphosate occurred at some of our
Martin, LJ & Murray, B 2011, 'A comparison of short-term marking methods for small frogs using a model species, the striped marsh frog (Limnodynastes peronii)', Herpetological Journal, vol. 21, no. 4, pp. 271-273.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
We compared three methods of marking individual small frogs for identification in short-term studies (several days) using a model species, Limnodynastes peronii (the striped marsh frog). We performed a manipulative experiment under laboratory conditions to compare retention times of gentian violet, mercurochrome and powdered fluorescent pigment. Gentian violet produced the most durable marks with retention times between two and four days. Mercurochrome was retained for at least one day by all treated frogs. Fluorescent pigment was either not retained at all or for one day at most, which suggests that this marking method may not be reliable for short-term studies where identification is required. No adverse reactions to any of the marking methods were detected in our study. Our findings indicate that gentian violet represents a promising alternative as a minimally invasive marking technique for studies of small frogs requiring only shortterm retention of identification marks.
Martin, LJ & Murray, B 2011, 'A predictive framework and review of the ecological impacts of exotic plant invasions on reptiles and amphibians', Biological Reviews, vol. 86, no. 2, pp. 407-419.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
The invasive spread of exotic plants in native vegetation can pose serious threats to native faunal assemblages. This is of particular concern for reptiles and amphibians because they form a significant component of the worldâs vertebrate fauna, play a pivotal role in ecosystem functioning and are often neglected in biodiversity research. A framework to predict how exotic plant invasion will affect reptile and amphibian assemblages is imperative for conservation, management and the identification of research priorities. Here, we present a new predictive framework that integrates three mechanistic models. These models are based on exotic plant invasion altering: (1) habitat structure; (2) herbivory and predator-prey interactions; (3) the reproductive success of reptile and amphibian species and assemblages. We present a series of testable predictions from these models that arise from the interplay over time among three exotic plant traits (growth form, area of coverage, taxonomic distinctiveness) and six traits of reptiles and amphibians (body size, lifespan, home range size, habitat specialisation, diet, reproductive strategy). A literature review provided robust empirical evidence of exotic plant impacts on reptiles and amphibians from each of the three model mechanisms. Evidence relating to the role of body size and diet was less clear-cut, indicating the need for further research. The literature provided limited empirical support for many of the other model predictions. This was not, however, because findings contradicted our model predictions but because research in this area is sparse. In particular, the small number of studies specifically examining the effects of exotic plants on amphibians highlights the pressing need for quantitative research in this area. There is enormous scope for detailed empirical investigation of interactions between exotic plants and reptile and amphibian species and assemblages.