Areas of Expertise

Fire (bushfire), fire history, past climate change, climate variability, human impact

RESEARCH INTERESTS

  •  Environmental change of the post-glacial period
  •  Palaeoenvironmental reconstruction and palaeoecology
  • Using the past as a source of information for contemporary environmental issues

HUMAN IMPACT

My research currently concerns reconstructing the fire history of the humid environments of south-eastern Australia. This includes investigating:

  •  the Aboriginal use of fire, for example how frequently they used fire, whether it varied in different environmental settings (e.g. ridge tops versus valleys; coastal versus inland etc) and whether this use of fire varied through time;
  • fire in the post-European period, potentially answering questions such as how fire frequency has varied during this period.

In any explanation of how fire has varied through time both humans and climate must be considered (and potentially any complex inter-relationships between these factors). Aspects of climate can be reconstructed using pollen analysis (palynology) which allows vegetation and hence vegetation change to be examined. This means the research has obvious links with the palaeoclimate community, and with archaeology to examine changes in human systems in the prehistoric period.

Like all my research, the fire history project aims to provide a longer temporal perspective than what is afforded by historic (written) records. The research to date includes some surprising results, potentially questioning some of the 'accepted wisdom' behind 'fire-stick farming'. For example Mooney et al. (2001) found that in the pre-European period fire was not a regular occurrence in a coastal location in Royal National Park. This was in contrast to the period between about AD 1930-1960 when fire was extremely common. (Of note, good records of fires in Royal National Park only extend back to 1968!)

AFFILIATIONS

I am a member of the following professional associations:

  • the Institute of Australian Geographers;
  • AQUA (Australasian Quaternary Association);
  • and the American Geophysical Union.

I am also active in the IGBP PAGES Focus 5 program Human Impacts on Terrestrial Ecosystems (HITE) and the IGBP 'Fast-track Initiative' on Fire Regimes past, present, future.

Organisational units

Publications

Journal articles
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Zheng X; Amesbury MJ; Hope G; Martin LF; Mooney SD, 2019, 'Testate amoebae as a hydrological proxy for reconstructing water-table depth in the mires of south-eastern Australia', Ecological Indicators, vol. 96, pp. 701 - 710, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ecolind.2018.09.019
2019
Martin L; Goff J; Jacobsen G; Mooney S, 2019, 'The radiocarbon ages of different organic components in the mires of Eastern Australia', Radiocarbon, vol. 61, pp. 173 - 184, http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/RDC.2018.118
2019
Zissimos AM; Christoforou IC; Cohen DR; Mooney SD; Rutherford NF, 2019, 'Spatial distribution and controls on organic and inorganic carbon in the soils of Cyprus', Journal of Geochemical Exploration, vol. 196, pp. 95 - 104, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.gexplo.2018.10.005
2019
Zheng X; Harper J; Hope G; Mooney SD, 2019, 'A new preparation method for testate amoebae in minerogenic sediments', Mires and Peat, vol. 24, pp. 1 - 12, http://dx.doi.org/10.19189/MaP.2018.OMB.380
2019
McGlynn G; Lejju J; Dalton C; Mooney SD; Rose NL; Tompkins AM; Bannister W; Tan ZD; Zheng X; Rühland KM; Taylor D, 2019, 'Aquatic ecosystem changes in a global biodiversity hotspot: Evidence from the Albertine Rift, central Africa', Journal of Biogeography, vol. 46, pp. 2098 - 2114, http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/jbi.13643
2019
Thomas Z; Jones R; Fogwill C; Hatton J; Williams A; Hogg A; Mooney S; Jones P; Lister D; Mayewski P; Turney C, 2018, 'Evidence for increased expression of the Amundsen Sea Low over the South Atlantic during the late Holocene', Climate of the Past, vol. 14, pp. 1727 - 1738, http://dx.doi.org/10.5194/cp-14-1727-2018
2018
Tibby J; Barr C; Marshall JC; McGregor GB; Moss PT; Arnold LJ; Page TJ; Questiaux D; Olley J; Kemp J; Spooner N; Petherick L; Penny D; Mooney S; Moss E, 2017, 'Persistence of wetlands on North Stradbroke Island (south-east Queensland, Australia) during the last glacial cycle: implications for Quaternary science and biogeography', Journal of Quaternary Science, vol. 32, pp. 770 - 781, http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/jqs.2981
2017
Mooney SD; Ackerley D; Reeves J; Barr C; Bostock H; Fitzsimmons K; Fletcher M-S; Gouramanis C; McGregor H; Phipps S; Tibby J; Tyler J, 2017, 'Evaluation of PMIP2 and PMIP3 simulations of mid-Holocene climate in the Indo-Pacific, Australasian and Southern Ocean regions.', Climate of the Past, vol. 13, pp. 1661 - 1684, http://dx.doi.org/10.5194/cp-13-1661-2017
2017
Mooney SD; Martin L, 2016, 'The unique and surprising environments of Temperate Highland Peat Swamps on Sandstone (THPSS) in the Blue Mountains, NSW', Australasian Plant Conservation
2016
Sharples JJ; Cary GJ; Fox-Hughes P; Mooney S; Evans JP; Fletcher MS; Fromm M; Grierson PF; McRae R; Baker P, 2016, 'Natural hazards in Australia: extreme bushfire', Climatic Change, vol. 139, pp. 85 - 99, http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10584-016-1811-1
2016
Turney CSM; Jones RT; Fogwill C; Hatton J; Williams AN; Hogg A; Thomas ZA; Palmer J; Mooney S; Reimer RW, 2016, 'A 250-year periodicity in Southern Hemisphere westerly winds over the last 2600 years', Climate of the Past, vol. 12, pp. 189 - 200, http://dx.doi.org/10.5194/cp-12-189-2016
2016
Williams AN; Mooney SD; Sisson SA; Marlon J, 2015, 'Exploring the relationship between Aboriginal population indices and fire in Australia over the last 20,000years', Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, vol. 432, pp. 49 - 57, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.palaeo.2015.04.030
2015
Bostock HC; Lowe DJ; Gillespie R; Priestley R; Newham RM; Mooney SD, 2015, 'The advent of the Anthropocene in Australasia', Quaternary Australasia, vol. 32, pp. 7 - 16
2015
Martin L; Mooney S; Goff J, 2014, 'Coastal wetlands reveal a non-synchronous island response to sea-level change and a palaeostorm record from 5.5 kyr to present', Holocene, vol. 24, pp. 569 - 580, http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0959683614522306
2014
Long T; Qin J; Atahan P; Mooney S; Taylor D, 2014, 'Rising waters: New geoarchaeological evidence of inundation and early agriculture from former settlement sites on the southern Yangtze Delta, China', Holocene, vol. 24, pp. 546 - 558, http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0959683614522309
2014
Reeves J; Barrows T; Cohen TJ; Kiem A; Bostock H; Fitzsimmons K; Jansen J; Kemp J; Krause C; Krause L; Phipps SJ; Oz-intimate M, 2013, 'Climate variability over the last 35,000 years recorded in marine and terrestrial archives in the Australian region: an OZ-INTIMATE compilation', Quaternary Science Reviews, vol. 74, pp. 21 - 34, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.quascirev.2013.01.001
2013
Mcglynn G; Mooney SD; Taylor D, 2013, 'Palaeoecological evidence for Holocene environmental change from the Virunga volcanoes in the Albertine Rift, central Africa', Quaternary Science Reviews, vol. 61, pp. 32 - 46, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.quascirev.2012.11.008
2013
Petherick L; Bostock H; Cohen TJ; Fitzsimmons K; Tibby J; Fletcher MS; Moss P; Reeves J; Mooney S; Barrows T; Kemp J; Jansen J; Nanson G; Dosseto A, 2013, 'Climatic records over the past 30ka from temperate Australia - a synthesis from the Oz-INTIMATE workgroup', Quaternary Science Reviews, vol. 74, pp. 58 - 77, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.quascirev.2012.12.012
2013
Wroe S; Field JH; Archer M; Grayson DK; Price GJ; Louys J; Faith JT; Webb GE; Davidson I; Mooney SD, 2013, 'Climate change frames debate over the extinction of megafauna in Sahul (Pleistocene australia-new guinea)', Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, vol. 110, pp. 8777 - 8781, http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1302698110
2013
Wroe S; Field JH; Archer M; Grayson DK; Price GJ; Louys J; Faith JT; Webb GE; Davidson I; Mooney SD, 2013, 'Reply to Brook et al: No empirical evidence for human overkill of megafauna in Sahul', Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, vol. 110, http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1310440110
2013
Chague-Goff C; Goff J; Nichol SL; Dudley W; Zawadzki A; Bennett JW; Mooney SD; Fierro D; Heijnis H; Dominey-Howes D; Courtney C, 2012, 'Multi-proxy evidence for trans-Pacific tsunamis in the Hawai'ian Islands', Marine Geology, vol. 299-302, pp. 77 - 89, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.margeo.2011.12.010
2012
Mooney SD, 2011, 'The analysis of charcoal in peat and organic sediments', Mires and Peat, vol. 7, pp. 1 - 18, http://www.mires-and-peat.net/map07/map_07_09.pdf
2011
Mooney SD; Harrison SP; Bartlein PJ; Daniau AL; Stevenson J; Brownlie KC; Buckman S; Cupper ML; Luly JG; Black M; Colhoun E; D''costa DM; Dodson J; Haberle S; Hope GS; Kershaw PA; Kenyon C; Mckenzie M; Williams N, 2011, 'Late Quaternary fire regimes of Australasia', Quaternary Science Reviews, vol. 30, pp. 28 - 46, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.quascirev.2010.10.010
2011
Power ME; Marlon J; Ortiz N; Bartlein P; Harrison SM; Mayle F; Ballouche A; Bradshaw R; Carcaillet C; Cordova C; Mooney SD; Moreno P; Prentice I; Thonicke K; Tinner W; Whitlock C; Zhang YD; Zhao Y; Ali A; Anderson RA; Beer R; Behling H; Briles C; Brown K; Brunelle A; Bush M; Camill P; Chu GC; Clark J; Colombaroli D; Connor S; Daniau A; Daniels M; Dodson JR; Doughty E; Edwards ME; Finsinger W; Foster DF; Frechette J; Gaillard M; Gavin D; Gobet E; Haberle S; Hallett D; Higuera P; Hope GA; Horn S; Inoue J; Kaltenrieder P; Kennedy L; Kong Z; Larsen C; Long C; Lynch J; Lynch E; McGlone M; Meeks S; Mensing S; Meyer G; Minckley T; Mohr J; Nelson DR; New J; Newnham R; Noti R; Oswald W; Pierce J; Richard P; Rowe C; Goni M; Shuman B; Takahara H; Toney J; Turney C; Urrego-Sanchez D; Umbanhowar C; Vandergoes M; Vanniere B; Vescovi E, 2008, 'Changes in fire regimes since the Last Glacial Maximum: an assessment based on a global synthesis and analysis of charcoal data', Climate Dynamics, vol. 30, pp. 887 - 907, http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00382-007-0334-x
2008
Denham T; Mooney SD, 2008, 'Human-environment interactions in Australia and New Guinea during the Holocene', Holocene, vol. 18, pp. 365 - 371, http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0959683607087926
2008
Black M; Mooney SD; Attenbrow V, 2008, 'Implications of a 14 200 year contiguous fire record for understanding human-climate relationships at Goochs Swamp, New South Wales, Australia', Holocene, vol. 18, pp. 437 - 447, http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0959683607087933
2008
Lynch A; Beringer J; Kershaw PA; Marshall AL; Mooney SD; Tapper N; Turney C; Van Der Kaar S, 2007, 'Using the paleorecord to evaluate climate and fire interactions in Australia', Annual Review of Earth and Planetary Sciences, vol. 35, pp. 215 - 239, http://dx.doi.org/10.1146/annurev.earth.35.092006.145055
2007
Mooney SD; Webb M; Attenbrow V, 2007, 'A comparison of charcoal and archaeological information to address the influences on Holocene fire activity in the Sydney Basin', Australian Geographer, vol. 38, pp. 177 - 194, http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00049180701392774
2007
Black M; Mooney SD; Haberle S, 2007, 'The fire, human and climate nexus in the Sydney Basin, eastern Australia', Holocene, vol. 17, pp. 469 - 480, http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0959683607077024
2007
Black M; Mooney SD, 2007, 'The response of aboriginal burning practices to population levels and El Nino-Southern oscillation events during the mid- to late-Holocene: a case study from the Sydney basin using charcoal and pollen analysis', Australian Geographer, vol. 38, pp. 37 - 52, http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00049180601175857
2007
Turney C; Haberle S; Fink D; Kershaw PA; Barbetti M; Barrows T; Black M; Cohen T; Correge T; Hesse P; Huang Q; Johnston R; Morgan V; Moss PA; Nanson GC; Van Ommen T; Rule S; Williams NK; Zhao JX; D Costa D; Feng YX; Gagan M; Mooney SD; Xia Q, 2006, 'Integration of ice-core, marine and terrestrial records for the Australian Last Glacial Maximum and Termination: a contribution from the OZ INTIMATE group', Journal of Quaternary Science, vol. 21, pp. 751 - 761, http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/jqs.1073
2006
Black M; Mooney SD, 2006, 'Holocene fire history from the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area, New South Wales, Australia: the climate, humans and fire nexus', REGIONAL ENVIRONMENTAL CHANGE, vol. 6, pp. 41 - 51, http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10113-005-0003-8
2006
Mooney SD; Maltby E, 2006, 'Two proxy records revealing the late Holocene fire history at a site on the central coast of New South Wales, Australia', Austral Ecology, vol. 31, pp. 682 - 695, http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1442-9993.2006.01594.x
2006
Black M; Mooney SD; Martin HA, 2006, 'A > 43,000 year vegetation and fire history from Lake Baraba, New South Wales, Australia', Quaternary Science Reviews, vol. 25, pp. 3003 - 3016, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.quascirev.2006.04.006
2006
Gergis JL; Braganza K; Mooney SD; Risbey J, 2006, 'Reconstructing El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) from high-resolution palaeoarchives', Journal of Quaternary Science, vol. 21, pp. 707 - 722, http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/jqs.1070
2006
Mooney SD; Geiss C; Smith MA, 2003, 'The use of mineral magnetic parameters to characterize archaeological ochres', Journal of Archaeological Science, vol. 30, pp. 511 - 523, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0305-4403(02)00181-4
2003
Mooney SD; Black M, 2003, 'A simple and fast method for calculating the area of macroscopic charcoal isolated from sediments', Quaternary Australasia, vol. 20, pp. 18 - 20
2003
Bennett P; Mooney SD, 2003, 'A palynological reconstruction of pre-European riparian vegetation at Wollombi, New South Wales and its application to stream bank management and revegetation', Ecological Management and Restoration, vol. 4, http://dx.doi.org/10.1046/j.1442-8903.4.s.9.x
2003
Dobson JR; Mooney SD, 2002, 'An assessment of historic human impact on south-eastern Australian environmental systems, using late Holocene rates of environmental change', Australian Journal of Botany, vol. 50, pp. 455 - 464, http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/BT01031
2002
Mooney SD; Radford K, 2001, 'A simple and fast method for the quantification of macroscopic charcoal from sediments', Quaternary Australasia, vol. 19
2001
Mooney SD; Radford K; Hancock G, 2001, 'Clues to the `burning question`: Pre-European fire in the Sydney coastal region from sedimentary charcoal and palynology', Ecological Management and Restoration, vol. 2, pp. 203 - 212, http://dx.doi.org/10.1046/j.1442-8903.2001.00085.x
2001
Mooney SD; Dodson JR, 2001, 'A comparison of the environmental changes of the post-European period with those of the preceding 2000 years at Lake Keilambete, Soth-western Victoria', Australian Geographer, vol. 32, pp. 163 - 179, http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00049180125614
2001
Mooney SD, 2000, 'Workshop report: BIOME 300', Quaternary Australasia, vol. 18, pp. 10 - 11
2000
Harle K; Colhoun EA; Dodson JR; Haberle S; Hope GA; Kershaw A; Picket L; Boyd B; Hantoru WS; Head L; Liu T; Karkgraf V; Mooney SD; Morris A; Ono Y; Semah A; Shulmeister J; Simpson H; Suparan P, 1998, 'BIOMES and plant functional types for Australia, New Guinea and Indonesia', Quaternary Australasia, vol. 16, pp. 38 - 42
1998
Mooney SD, 1997, 'A fine resolution paleoclimatic reconstruction from Lake Keilambete, southeastern Australia', Holocene, vol. 7, pp. 139 - 149, http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/095968369700700202
1997
Mooney SD; Watson J; Dodson JR, 1997, 'Late Holocene environmental change in an upper montane area of the Snowy Mountains, New South Wales', Australian Geographer, vol. 28, pp. 185 - 200, http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00049189708703192
1997
DODSON JR; FRANK K; FROMME M; HICKSON D; McRAE V; MOONEY S; SMITH JD, 1994, 'Environmental Systems and Human Impact at Cobrico Crater, South‐western Victoria', Australian Geographical Studies, vol. 32, pp. 27 - 40, http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-8470.1994.tb00658.x
1994
Ackerley D; Reeves J; Barr C; Bostock H; Fitzsimmons K; Fletcher M-S; Gouramanis C; McGregor H; Mooney S; Phipps SJ; Tibby J; Tyler J, 'Evaluation of PMIP2 and PMIP3 simulations of mid-Holocene climate in the Indo-Pacific, Australasian and Southern Ocean regions', Climate of the Past, vol. 13, pp. 1661 - 1684, http://dx.doi.org/10.5194/cp-13-1661-2017
Book Chapters
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Connor S; Herries A; Mooney S, 2018, 'Palaeoecology of the middle Tundzha Plain', in Ross S; Sobotkova A; Tzvetkova J; Nekhrizov ; Connor S (ed.), , Oxbow Books Limited, pp. 134 - 145
2018
Mooney SD; Sniderman K; Kershaw AP; Haberle SG; Roe J, 2017, 'Quaternary Vegetation in Australia', in Keith D (ed.), Australian Vegetation, Cambridge University Press, pp. 63 - 88
2017
Mooney SD; Martin HA, 2009, 'Environmental Conditions of the Past in the Blue Mountains', in Blue Mountains Dreaming The Aboriginal Heritage, pp. 23 - 40
2009
Mooney SD, 1999, 'Plants and animals', in Geographica:the complete illustrated reference to Australia and the World, edn. Original, Random House, Sydney, pp. 34 - 35
1999
Mooney SD, 1999, 'Earth`s biosphere', in Geographica:the complete illustrated reference to Australia and the World, edn. Original, Random House, Sydney, pp. 36 - 37
1999
Conference Papers
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Mooney SD; Black MP, 2004, 'Investigating past fire regimes: implications from the Holocene fire history of the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area', in Baker A (ed.), NCC Bushfire in a Changing Environment, Ecologically Sustainable Bushfire Management, Sydney University, presented at Ecologically Sustainable Bushfire Management, Sydney University, 24 June 2004 - 25 June 2004
2004
Mooney SD; Radford K; Hancock G, 2000, 'Late Holocene fire in the Sydney coastal region from sedimentary charcoal and palynology', in Magee J; Craven C (ed.), Quaternary Studies Conference, Quaternary Studies Conference, Canberra, pp. 77 - 78, presented at Quaternary Studies Conference, Canberra, 07 February 2000 - 09 February 2000
2000
Mooney SD, 2000, 'Climatic variability over the last 2000 years in SE Australia', in Magee J; Craven C (ed.), Quaternary Studies Conference, Quaternary Studies Conference, Canberra, pp. 74 - 76, presented at Quaternary Studies Conference, Canberra, 07 February 2000 - 09 February 2000
2000
Mooney SD, 1999, 'A comparison of the historic fire record and several methods for the reconstruction of fire using the sediments of Lake Keilambete, western Victoria, Australia', in Lord B (ed.), Bushfire 99, Australian Bushfire Conference, Albury, NSW, pp. 44 - 44, presented at Australian Bushfire Conference, Albury, NSW, 07 July 1999 - 09 July 1999
1999
Mchugh G; Cohen DR; Dixon EN; Mooney SD; Rutherford NF, 1998, 'The geochemistry of pond sediments in Centennial Park, Botany Basin', in McNally GH; Jankowsky J (ed.), Environmental Geology of the Botany Basin, Geological Society of Australia, Springwood NSW, pp. 58 - 69, presented at Environemtal Geology of the Botany Basin, Sydney, 03 December 1998 - 04 December 1998
1998
Mooney SD, 1998, 'Environmental change over the last 2000 years at Thirlmere Lakes: climatic oscillation and European-induced change', in Roy Jones (ed.), Institute of Australian Geographers Conference 1998, Institute of Australian Geographers Conference 1998, Fremantle, WA, pp. unpaged, presented at Institute of Australian Geographers Conference 1998, Fremantle, WA, 29 June 1998 - 02 July 1998
1998