Pamela Spencer

Undertaking the Master of Urban Horticulture at Melbourne University provided me with a depth of knowledge to compliment a varied background including environmental science, education curriculum development, agriculture, production and amenity horticulture with design and conservation through restoration.

Over this course, I developed a passion for exploring the role of ecology in contributing to the functional vegetation component of green infrastructure, and the improved city/urban livability that ensues.

Commonly this high quality vegetation component on green roofs is difficult to establish and declines over time, negatively impacting green roof function.  The perspective from which I view green roof vegetation is as a dynamic community, and look towards ecological niche theory to promote species co-existence and thus confer stability of vegetation quality.

Establishment of green roof vegetation through direct seeding methods with an engineered grassland plant mix could promote community co-existence.  My recently completed research explored the ability of direct seeding techniques for this engineered plant mix in green roof module conditions, to produce quality vegetation indicators of functional green roofs.

This establishment method showed rapid positive vegetative response, and has application in the development of green roof industry best practice.  I’m excited about extending this research across multiple types of green infrastructure with other local habitats as species pools.  Particularly, I see value in focusing research through the lens of engineered plant communities as a biodiversity conservation tool; having potential for insertion of targeted conservation species and as a seedbank source.

I completed my Master of Urban Horticulture in 2016.

Research project supervisors

A/Prof Nick Williams and A/Prof Stephen Livesley


Spencer, P.J.A., (2017) ‘Engineered co-existence of novel green roof habitat holds conservation promise.’ Proceedings of the 11thAustralasian Plant Conservation Conference, 14th – 18th November 2016, Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria, Melbourne. New Approaches to Plant Conservation Challenges in the Modern World. Australian Network for Plant Conservation Inc. ACT, Canberra (In press)

Conference presentation

“Direct seeding supports species rich high cover novel green roof grassland”. 11th Australasian Plant Conservation Conference. New Challenges, Emerging Ideas (2016)