Max Mallen-Cooper



PhD Candidate, University of New South Wales (2017-present)


Field of Research: 

Range limits, biocrusts, functional traits, biopedturbation



Level 5 West
Biological Sciences South (E26)
UNSW, Kensington 2052


Range limit dynamics in biocrusts

Biocrusts (biological soil crusts) are communities of non-vascular plants and microbes that form a living carpet in many of the world’s driest places. Confronted by a changing climate, biocrust species have four options: adapt, acclimate, move or die. My research focuses on option three. By identifying the climate variables that limit their current ranges, we can predict the movements of species as they attempt to track their optimum climate.

A lichen-dominated biocrust from the Riverina region of NSW, Australia.


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MallenCooper, M., Bowker, M. A., Antoninka, A. J., & Eldridge, D. J. (2019). A practical guide to measuring functional indicators and traits in biocrusts. Restoration Ecology

Mallen‐Cooper, M., Nakagawa, S., & Eldridge, D. J. (2019). Global meta‐analysis of soil‐disturbing vertebrates reveals strong effects on ecosystem patterns and processes. Global Ecology  and Biogeography. in press

Mallen-Cooper, M., Eldridge, D. J., & Delgado-Baquerizo, M. (2017). Livestock grazing and aridity reduce the functional diversity of biocrusts. Plant and Soil

Mallen-Cooper, M., & Eldridge, D. J. (2016). Laboratory-based techniques for assessing the functional traits of biocrusts. Plant and Soil, 406(1), 131-143.

Mallen-Cooper, M. (2015). Biological soil crust morphogroups: Function follows form. Australasian Plant Conservation: Journal of the Australian Network for Plant Conservation24(3), 16.