March & April 2017 news update

The University is abuzz again with a new intake of undergraduate students, and we’re back into the swing of lectures. This semester I’m teaching second year Zoology, and 3rd year marine biology and freshwater ecology classes. All of our lectures are now automatically recorded (previously we had to setup them up to record and stop and upload them at the end of the class) and we have a new learning management system to familarise ourselves with.

The Honours students are well underway on their projects. Josh is investigating stock structure and connectivity of blue crabs in South Australia using genomic approaches. Jackson is investigating co-benefits of carbon sequestration in mangroves with a focus on fish diversity and fisheries, and Nina is looking at fish assemblages in marine protected areas. The Honours students have recently submitted their literature reviews and research proposals, and given their preliminary seminars. They are currently planning the next phase of their research.

We also welcome a new PhD student to the lab, Angela Russell – Angela completed her BSc Honours degree at the University of Newcastle. She will be based in New South Wales and is working on Connectivity of mulloway between estuaries and trawling grounds – a collaborative FRDC-funded project between University of Adelaide and NSW Department of Primary Industries – Fisheries. Angela will use ear bone (otolith) chemistry to investigate links between estuaries, inshore trawl closures and non-closure areas, and ocean trawl grounds.

Bronwyn recently attended the first Australia Singapore joint strategic dialogue on innovation and science, which was focused on marine science. The first day was a series of short presentations from Australian and Singapore marine scientists followed by a day where researchers broke out into thematic areas and planned potential joint projects. Our days culminated with some amazing dinners including peking duck!

We also welcome back Patrick Reis Santos, a postdoctoral researcher funded via the Portugal government. Patrick will be visiting for several months. Elliot Brown, a PhD student at the Technical University of Denmark, is also visiting preparing and analyzing otolith samples via LA ICP-MS.

April also brings the semester break for students. During the first week of the break third year Freshwater Ecology students will participate in a field camp. The field camp is held at Calperun Station near Renmark in South Australia. The aim of the field camp is 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 work in groups rotating around five research areas associated with (1) Carp mortality (e.g. associated with a viral biocontrol agent) and impacts on oxygen concentrations, (2) primary production, biological oxygen demand, photosynthesis (oxygen production) and respiration (oxygen consumption), (3) tree condition assessment, and (4) fish sampling and fish metabolism, and (5) shrimp behaviour in response to low dissolved oxygen concentrations. More on this once we return.