April 2016 news

Where is the year going! We’re already 3 months through the year so what’s been happening?

We (Bronwyn Gillanders and Pablo Munguia) met Bayden Russell (Hong Kong University) in Hong Kong before flying up to Xiamen in China to meet Yun-Wei Dong (Xiamen University). We visited aquaculture farms for prawns, abalone and fish (including sea horses) and as we were driving along saw seaweed harvesting so stopped to investigate that as well – many thanks to Wei Wei (Chris) You for arranging all the aquaculture visits. We visited a reserve of natural mangroves and saw vast expanses of shrimp ponds, the two separated by a large wall. Early one morning we visited the fish markets in Xiamen – amazing to see the diversity of organisms and products available. The great food and rice wine capped off our experience in China! Following China we spent time in Hong Kong exploring the mangroves, fish markets, SWIRE Institute for Marine Science, as well as taking a ride across the harbour, seeing how much land has been reclaimed. Many thanks to Yun-Wei Dong and Bayden Russell for the great hospitality!

Our Spencer Gulf Ecosystem Development Institute project focused around integrated marine management using ports and shipping as a case study is progressing well. This is a collaborative project involving researchers from University of Adelaide (Bronwyn Gillanders, Phill Cassey, Zoe Doubleday, Alice Jones, Tom Prowse, Sally Scrivens), SARDI Aquatic Sciences (Tim Ward, Marty Deveney, Simon Goldsworthy, Fred Bailleul, Alice Mills, Kathryn Wiltshire) and Flinders University (Charlie Huveneers). The shipping component is complete showing current, future and peak shipping pathways to the region. We are still working on a habitat-based risk assessment and map of cumulative impacts, biosecurity, and iconic/threatened species components. Alongside this work is an Eyre Peninsula NRM project investigating barriers to movement of coastal habitats as well as priority areas for species of conservation concern. Bronwyn Gillanders and Simon Divecha presented on this work following the local government association conference in Ceduna. Further workshops are planned for April in Port Lincoln and Whyalla.

Besides the presentation to those attending the local government association conference in Ceduna in February, Bronwyn Gillanders has also presented to:

  • Lakes and Coorong fishery – on the work we are conducting in this region

  • PIRSA and Marine Fishers Association – on the ARC Linkage project on whaler sharks

Coming up in April (13-15 April) several current or recent past members of the lab will present at the NRM Conference – Tom Barnes, Zoe Doubleday, Bronwyn Gillanders and Alice Jones.

Bronwyn also spent a day down at Naracoorte Caves chairing the Research subgroup and attending the IRG meeting in February. It is such an amazing place – World Heritage listed, but barely known by a large number of people.

This year Bronwyn has officially taken over as Associate Head Research in the School of Biological Sciences – this brings an increase in meetings but also the opportunity to contribute to the strategic directions of the School. She is also back in a traditional academic position meaning that she now also picks up an additional teaching load – first semester began in late Feb/early March. Our annual freshwater ecology (3rd year course) field camp will run towards the end of April.

We would like to welcome several new students to the broader group: Mandy Shao (Honours) and Briony Chamberlayne (PhD) have commenced studies enrolled through the School of Physical Sciences with Bronwyn as a co-supervisor and Troy Rogers (PhD) has commenced through School of Biological Sciences. He has Tony Fowler and Mike Steer (both SARDI Aquatic Sciences) as co-supervisors. Also in mid April Zoe Doubleday will move to Professor Sean Connell’s lab group as a postdoctoral researcher. Zoe has been a member of the Gillanders Aquatic Ecology lab for the past 4.5 years – I’m sure we will continue some collaborations and still see Zoe as she’ll stay on in the same office.

At the end of April are the University of Adelaide Graduation ceremonies – the marine group is looking forward to having a significant presence! Besides our BSc (Marine Biology) and Hons graduates the broader group will have six PhDs graduating (Heidi Alleway, Tom Barnes, Judith Giraldo, Gretchen Grammer, Nastaran Mazloumi, Chloe McSkimming) and four staff attending (Sean Connell, Zoe Doubleday, Bronwyn Gillanders, Chris Izzo). It should be a good one – I’ll add a photo of everyone once it has been!

Happy researching!