Third year Freshwater Ecology students participated in a field camp to Calperun Station near Renmark in South Australia, approximately 250km east of Adelaide. The aim of the field camp was to expose students to a range of skills, equipment, concepts and ideas that are current in freshwater ecology with particular reference to the Lower Murray River. Students worked in groups rotating around several research areas associated with (1) carp mortality (e.g. associated with a viral biocontrol agent) and impacts on oxygen concentrations through time, (2) primary production, biological oxygen demand, photosynthesis (oxygen production) and respiration (oxygen consumption), (3) tree condition assessment, (4) fish sampling and fish metabolism, and (5) shrimp behaviour in response to low dissolved oxygen concentrations.
Calperun station was an amazing location for the field camp being situated close to freshwater. It is a pastoral lease comprising 242,800 ha that has been deeded to the Director of National Parks; it consists mostly of open mallee bushland and River Murray floodplains and forms part of the Riverland Biosphere Reserve. The region receives low rainfall. Approximately 80% of mallee scrubland has been previously cleared for agriculture with this type of habitat being one of the most endangered vegetation types in the world.
Students worked in small groups rotating around the various projects ensuring they managed their own data. They are now working in groups of 2-3 people bringing together and analysing the various datasets and will shortly present results in a seminar and report.
This was also an amazing place to see some awesome sunsets (and presumably sun rises).