Dr Ben Miller

Associated Investigator, Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions

I use applied plant population and community ecology research to develop knowledge and support management in restoration ecology, threatened species conservation and land  management, especially in relation to fire.

For example, I am interested in: how plant traits interact with fire regime elements to drive ecosystem change; how spatial interactions among individual plants determine ecological processes (and vice versa), and; how plant demography and community ecology can be used to define targets for success in restoration.

Research Themes

  • Fire ecology – plant traits, fire regimes, management
  • Ecosystem management – urban ecology, weeds, ecosystem change, spatial interactions
  • Rare plant conservation – population ecology, distribution modelling, dispersal
  • Restoration ecology – community ecology, restoration targets and monitoring

Major Projects

  • Documenting seed and plant traits that enable ecological function in fire prone environments
  • Assessing impacts of varying fire and weed management approaches on native species diversity, weed cover and fuel loads in an urban Banksia woodland
  • Ecologically tolerable fire intervals for key Banksia woodland plant species
  • Season of fire impacts on Jarrah forest understorey regeneration
  • Documenting fire regimes in SW Australia
  • Understanding the presence and distribution of fire sensitive species in SW Australia

Selected Publications

Gosper CR, Miller BP, Gallagher RV, … and Yates CJ (2022) Mapping risk to plant populations from short fire intervals via relationships between maturation period and environmental productivity. Plant Ecology doi 10.1007/s11258-022-01229-6

Tangney R, Merritt DJ, Miller BP (2022) Environmental factors driving seed hydration status of soil seed banks and the implications for post-fire recruitment. Frontiers in Plant Science 12:795003. doi 10.3389/fpls.2021.795003

Miller RG, Tangney R, …, Merritt DJ, Ooi MKJ, Ruthrof KX and Miller BP (2019) Mechanisms of fire seasonality effects on plant populations. Trends in Ecology and Evolution 34:1104-117 doi 10.1016/j.tree.2019.07.009

Huss JC, Fratzl P, Dunlop JWC, Merritt DJ, Miller BP, Eder M (2019) Protecting offspring against fire: lessons from Banksia seed pods Frontiers in Plant Science, Plant Biophysics and Modelling March 2019 doi 10.3389/fpls.2019.00283

Saatkamp A, Cochrane A, Commander L, Guja LK, Jimenez‐Alfaro B, Larson J, Nicotra A, Poschlod P, Silveira FA, … Miller BP… (2018) A research agenda for seed‐trait functional ecology. New Phytologist. doi:10.1111/nph.15502

Miller BP and Murphy BP (2017) Fire in Australian Vegetation. In Keith D (ed) Australian Vegetation (3 ed). Cambridge Univ. Press. pp 113-134


Email: ben.miller@dbca.wa.gov.au