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Articles categorized as ‘JCU Environmental Sciences’

Friday, March 3rd, 2017

5 reasons to study marine biology at James Cook University

Here’s a James Cook University Student Blog about studying marine biology, and why JCU is such a fantastic choice!

Before I came to university, I had a hard time deciding which university to choose. Making a list and weighing all the advantages and disadvantages helped me to make my decision and I surely do not regret it now. Coming to JCU was the best decision I made. Here is a small list of why I think JCU is the best place in the world to study marine biology.

5 reasons to study marine biology at James Cook University

JCU marine biology student Kessia Virah-Sawmy (Photo: JCU Connect)

1. So close to the iconic Great Barrier Reef

I come from an island found in the tropics and my country is surrounded by fringing reefs. I wanted to study somewhere where I could learn about corals and reef fishes and where best to do it than right on the Great Barrier Reef, the largest reef on the planet and a world heritage. The location of the GBR was the main reason why I chose JCU. With the reef right at their doorstep, researchers and students at JCU can work very closely on coral reefs.

Being in the tropics also means that Townsville has hot summers and nice (not-so-cold) winters. It is like summer all year round which is very similar to my tropical home. It was thus not a problem for me to adapt to this new environment.

2. Best facilities and lecturers

Studying marine biology at JCU means that you have access to a wide number of facilities from live specimens in practical classes to research facilities in both marine biology and aquaculture. JCU has a marine research station on Orpheus island which is located just off the coast of Ingham, about 2 hours North of Townsville. With accommodation and research facilities on the island, students can go on the island for specific classes to study the incredible marine life that surrounds the island.

James Cook University is highly recognised in terms of research done in the marine field including coral reef research, shark research or fisheries work. For the past years that I have been at JCU, I have had the great privilege of having lecturers who are experts in their field and who are eager and passionate to pass on their knowledge to the next generation. It is always great to hear about their experience and how they became who they are today. It gives us a sense of pride when we read a paper written by one of our lecturers or seeing them on the news. The JCU lecturers are world-known scientists who work with different research bodies such as the ARC (Australian Research Council) Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies or the Australian Institute of Marine Science.

5 reasons to study marine biology at James Cook University

Diving is a given at JCU (Photo: JCU Connect)

3. Incredible field trips

As soon as I started first year, the lecturers were already getting us excited about field trips. Field trips are by far the most exciting part about studying marine biology. From going up Castle hill to look at rocks, to going down to the strand to count snails, or visiting fish farms, to snorkelling for hours around Orpheus island, I have been able to go on some incredible field trips so far.

Field trips makes the course even more interesting. You look forward to this one weekend where you get to spend 2 days on an island surrounded by the most beautiful coral reefs where you snorkel for hours and hours without getting tired of it. Or you get excited when you get to discover the breathtaking North Queensland while visiting fish farms. There are quite a few classes that have field trips to Orpheus island such as MB3160- Evolution and Ecology of Reef fishes, MB3190- Coral Reef Ecology, MB3210- Life History and Evolution of Reef Corals, MB3300- Coral Reef Ecosystems and EV3406- Coral Reef Geomorphology. I also enjoyed the AQ2002- Introduction to Tropical Aquaculture class where we got to visit different aquaculture farms in North Queensland.

4. Diving opportunities

The Great Barrier Reef offers amazing diving opportunities. From shallow reef diving off Cairns to the world-known shipwreck dive of Yongala, there is lots to see and discover. I had the chance to do get my Advanced PADI open water course on a liveaboard on the GBR. It was the best experience ever! We were able to dive with sharks, turtles and rays and see some amazing corals.

5 reasons to study marine biology at James Cook University

The iconic Great Barrier Reef (Photo: JCU Connect)

The JCU Dive Club also offers a number of trips throughout the semester ranging from day trips to 10-day trips on the reef. It is one of the most famous and active clubs on campus. They also offer courses such as Open divers, Advanced Divers, Rescue divers or CPR and First Aid courses.

5. Meeting people from all over the world

JCU is well known for marine studies and therefore attracts students from all over the world. I am not lying when I say that most of my classmates are international students. From Asia, to Europe, to the USA, to Africa, I have met people from all over the place. It is great to see how multicultural the campus is. As an international, this provides a welcoming environment where you learn to accept each other’s culture. I have developed close and strong friendships with different people and I can’t wait to travel the world and visit all of them.

I have also met some amazing Australian people who are always so eager to make us discover their culture which is mainly Barbies and a “cool” attitude. They are by far the most welcoming people I have ever met. A few months in the country and the Aussies will have already taught you how to speak Australian, which is basically just shortening every word.

There are so many more reasons to why I chose JCU but those are my top 5. JCU is recognised worldwide as one of the best in marine research, more specifically in Coral Reef research and Tropical Aquaculture. Many of my friends back home were sceptic as to why I would come all the way to far North Queensland to study Marine Biology. Well now I can tell them that it is the best decision I have made and I would not have chosen a different university.

Story by Kessia Virah-Sawmy via JCU Connect

Master of Science in Marine Biology and Ecology

JCU is the leading education and research institution for Marine Biology in the Tropics. JCU’s unique location enables students from Australia and overseas to study in a diverse physical environment unparalleled by any university in the world.

The postgraduate degree program in Marine Biology and Ecology is internationally recognised. We focus on developing career professionals who can address the grand challenges for marine and coastal ecosystems, particularly in the tropical Asia-Pacific region. You will be researching and tackling issues such as

  • Climate change, ecosystem resilience and adaptation
  • Ecosystem restoration
  • Environmental and ecological sustainability
  • Biodiversity and conservation challenges for marine organisms and ecosystems
  • Sustainable marine resource management
  • Global and regional food security
  • Sustainable livelihoods for coastal and island based societies.

Program: Master of Science (Marine Biology and Ecology)
Location: Townsville, Queensland
Duration: 1.5 years
Semester intakes: February and July
Application deadline: January 30 and June 29 each year
Entry requirements: Completion of a recognised, appropriate undergraduate degree attaining a minimum of 65% or equivalent prior learning including appropriate professional experience.

Apply to the Master of Science at James Cook University!

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Are you interested in studying marine biology at James Cook University? Contact OzTREKK Admissions Officer Shannon Tilston at shannon@oztrekk.com for more information!

Thursday, January 12th, 2017

Deal opens Galapagos Islands to James Cook University

James Cook University staff and students will have the opportunity to study in the crucible of evolutionary theory, the Galapagos Islands, under a new agreement.

Deal opens Galapagos Islands to James Cook University

Signing the agreement in Quito. Left to right: Professor Diego Quioroga, Vice-President of Research and External Affairs, Universidad San Francisco de Quito; Professor Terry Magnuson, VC for Research, University of North Carolina; Professor Iain Gordon, Deputy Vice Chancellor, Tropical Environments and Societies, JCU (Photo credit: JCU)

The agreement allows JCU staff and students access to the Galapagos Science Centre: a world-class research and teaching facility on the Galapagos Island of San Cristobal, which is globally recognised as a pristine, unique ecosystem.

JCU’s Deputy Vice Chancellor of the Division of Tropical Environments and Societies, Professor Iain Gordon, signed the Galapagos Marine Science Consortium Agreement at a ceremony in Quito, Ecuador last month.

Professor Gordon said the intent is for JCU to collaborate with partner universities in areas of research and teaching with a focus on the Galapagos Islands.

“The Galapagos Islands are iconic for their part in shaping Darwin’s ideas on evolution. As with the Great Barrier Reef and the Wet Tropics, the Galapagos Islands are recognised by the United Nations as a World Heritage Area. Today, however, they are under unprecedented pressure from development and tourism.

“This partnership, with two world-class universities, will allow our researchers and students to study the human and environmental issues associated with conservation and sustainable development on the islands.

“We will also help build the capacity of Ecuador’s researchers and provide advice to the Ecuadorian Government as to how to manage this unique archipelago,” said Professor Gordon.

He said that, in the first instance, there is also great scope for JCU intensive courses to be run on San Cristobal and adjacent islands in the Galapagos group.

The arrangement will run for the next two years.

James Cook University’s major partners in the Galapagos Marine Science Consortium are the University of San Francisco Quito (Ecuador) and the University of North Carolina (Chapel Hill). Minor partners are the University of the Sunshine Coast and University of Brunei daar Salam.

The partner universities will collaborate based on their specialities; i.e., UNC has advanced genomic facilities and USFQ has local knowledge of the biodiversity and logistics. Each year there will be collaborative cruises among the islands for researchers and students from the different universities.

JCU College of Marine and Environmental Sciences

As part of the Division of Tropical Environments and Societies, the College of Marine and Environmental Sciences promotes, fosters, supports and administers quality teaching and research at JCU in the areas of marine biology, environment, geography and sustainability, aquaculture and fisheries, and terrestrial ecosystems.

Marine science is the interdisciplinary study of the marine environment bringing together elements of marine biology, oceanography, marine geoscience and environmental management. Marine scientists explore the make-up and dynamics of the world’s oceans and use their skills to investigate and manage human impacts on the marine environment; understand and utilise ocean resources; and manage and protect our marine reserves.

JCU’s location in the tropics allows students and research staff ready access to a wide variety of tropical marine systems including coral reefs, tropical estuaries, mangrove habitats and seagrass beds. Links between research and teaching programs ensure that students are at the cutting edge of marine research.

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Are you interested in marine science? Contact OzTREKK Admissions Officer Shannon Tilston at shannon@oztrekk.com for more information about environmental sciences degrees available at James Cook University!

Wednesday, September 14th, 2016

JCU environmental researchers say world wilderness declining

A research team including environmental sciences Professor William Laurance from James Cook University has discovered there has been a catastrophic decline in global wilderness areas during the past 20 years.

Sydney Dental School

An altiplano wilderness high in the Colombian Andes. (Photo: William Laurance)

The team showed that since the 1990s, one-tenth of all global wilderness has vanished—an area twice the size of Alaska. The Amazon and Central Africa have been hardest hit.

The findings underscore an urgent need for international policies to recognise the value of wilderness and to address unprecedented threats to it, the researchers said.

“Environmental policies are failing the world’s vanishing wildernesses,” said Professor Laurance.

“Despite being strongholds for imperiled biodiversity, regulating local climates, and sustaining many indigenous communities, wilderness areas are vanishing before our eyes.”

The research team, led by James Watson of the Wildlife Conservation Society and the University of Queensland, mapped biologically and ecologically intact landscapes free of any significant human disturbance around the globe. The researchers then compared their current map of the wilderness to one produced by the same means in the early 1990s.

Their updated map shows that 30 million square kilometres (23 percent of the world’s land area) still survives as wilderness, with the majority being located in North America, North Asia, North Africa and Australia.

However, an estimated 3.3 million square kilometres of wilderness area was destroyed in the past 20 years. Losses have been greatest in South America, which suffered a 30 percent loss of its wilderness, and Africa, which experienced a 14 percent loss.

“The amount of wilderness lost in just two decades is both staggering and saddening. International policies are urgently needed to maintain surviving wilderness before it’s too late. We probably have just one or two decades to turn this crisis around,” said Professor Laurance.

Prof. Laurance said the United Nations and other international bodies have ignored globally significant wilderness areas in key multilateral environmental agreements, and that has to change.

“Once a wilderness is lost, it almost never comes back,” said Prof. Laurance. “The only option is to proactively protect the wilderness we have left.”

Reference: James Watson, Danielle Shanahan, Moreno Di Marco, James Allan, William Laurance, Eric Sanderson, Brendan Mackey, and Oscar Venter. 2016. “Catastrophic Declines in Wilderness Areas Undermine Global Environment Targets”.  Current Biology, http://www.cell.com/current-biology/fulltext/S0960-9822(16)30993-9 /  DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2016.08.049′

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Learn more about the interesting and challenging environmental sciences programs available at JCU. Contact OzTREKK’s Australian Environmental Sciences Admissions Officer Shannon Tilston at shannon@oztrekk.com.

Tuesday, June 7th, 2016

JCU says new thinking needed on environmental campaigns

James Cook University researchers are fine-tuning better ways to motivate people to look after the environment.

They say that current social marketing techniques have little impact on changing people’s behaviour towards the environment.

JCU says new thinking needed on environmental campaigns

JCU says new thinking needed on environmental campaigns (Photo credit: Tangaroa Blue)

The JCU research team ran surveys of visitors to Reef HQ in Townsville measuring people’s intentions—and then six months later surveyed them on how environmentally friendly their actions actually were.

The researchers identified waste plastics as a major threat to marine life and focused their questions on whether and how people were going to reduce their use of plastic bags.

“People had good intentions, but six months later we found that life had often gotten in the way and they had not followed up with effective action,” said JCU marketing expert, Professor Lynne Eagle.

Professor Eagle said the research showed that just providing information was not effective and that people both needed and wanted to be regularly reminded that rubbish that goes into drains or landfills often ends up in rivers and oceans.

They also identified the need for businesses to provide environmentally friendly alternatives and communication at the point of sale to encourage positive behaviours.

Professor Eagle said marketing theory had more sophisticated techniques available to encourage people to care for the environment.

“There have been very successful social marketing campaigns with clear theoretical underpinnings—the 2007 campaign to reduce water use in drought-struck southeast Queensland and ended up reducing the region’s water use by more than 22 per cent,” she said.

Professor Eagle said fishers in Victoria were also reached with the successful ‘seal the loop’ campaign that encouraged the disposal of old fishing gear in an environmentally friendly way.

The researchers are currently designing a new test campaign for ferry passengers travelling to Townsville’s Magnetic Island, with the aim of convincing the island’s more than 2,000 permanent residents, as well as visitors, to become plastic bag free.

  • Plastic waste makes up 80 percent of marine and coastal waste.
  • Ten percent of that is whole or fragmented plastic bags.
  • 4–5 trillion plastic bags are produced each year.

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Study environmental sciences at JCU. Contact OzTREKK’s Australian Environmental Sciences Admissions Officer Shannon Tilston at shannon@oztrekk.com for more information.

Monday, May 30th, 2016

JCU research leader wins top science honour

One of James Cook University’s top researchers has received Australia’s most prestigious science honour, the fellowship of the Australian Academy of Science.

JCU research leader wins top science honour

Australian Academy of Science Fellow, Distinguished Professor David Bellwood (Photo: Richard Davis, JCU Media)

The Academy announced the election of Distinguished Professor David Bellwood as Fellow for his sustained and significant contributions to Australian science.

Professor Bellwood is the fifth JCU professor to be elected to the Academy. He said it’s an honour to join the elite, 500-strong Fellowship.

“It’s a wonderful feeling. I’m delighted to be part of a fellowship that includes so many people that I admire and respect. It’s an absolute treat!”

Professor Bellwood is a leading expert on the evolution and ecology of reef fishes. The central theme of his research is to understand the functional role that fishes play on coral reefs, and how reefs have changed through evolutionary time.

David Bellwood said he has always been fascinated by marine life.

“Coral reefs are one of the most important ecosystems in the world. In Australia they’re worth billions of dollars to our economy, and around the world millions of people rely on coral reefs for a source of nutrition and income.

“For me, I like to look at fishes as machines. I like to see the way they operate and this gives us a new understanding of how reefs are working.”

He said one of the best parts of his job is to teach the next generation of scientists.

“The world is changing and we’ve got a lot of environmental problems and coral reefs are particularly vulnerable. What we need to be able to do is to give the next generation the tools that they’re going to need to be able to cope with these changes.

“One of my main goals is to give future students, future researchers, the confidence to question and to think for themselves because we’re going to need to be innovative, imaginative and bold if we’re going to address the problems that we currently face,” Professor Bellwood said.

JCU College of Marine and Environmental Sciences

As part of the Division of Tropical Environments and Societies, the College of Marine and Environmental Sciences promotes, fosters, supports and administers quality teaching and research at JCU in the areas of marine biology, environment, geography and sustainability, aquaculture and fisheries, and terrestrial ecosystems.

Marine science is the interdisciplinary study of the marine environment bringing together elements of marine biology, oceanography, marine geoscience and environmental management. Marine scientists explore the make-up and dynamics of the world’s oceans and use their skills to investigate and manage human impacts on the marine environment; understand and utilise ocean resources; and manage and protect our marine reserves.

JCU’s location in the tropics allows students and research staff ready access to a wide variety of tropical marine systems including coral reefs, tropical estuaries, mangrove habitats and seagrass beds. Links between research and teaching programs ensure that students are at the cutting edge of marine research.

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Are you interested in marine science? Contact OzTREKK Admissions Officer Shannon Tilston at shannon@oztrekk.com for more information about environmental sciences degrees available at James Cook University!

Monday, April 11th, 2016

JCU studies how climate change will affect your diet

The great Australian favourite—red meat—may be under threat as climate change continues to hit food-growing areas.

And while scientists think kangaroo and seafood could become the new staple diet, poorer Australians will still likely be worse off.

JCU agricultural sciences

Kangaroos could be the new staple diet

James Cook University’s Dr Tobin Northfield was part of a multi-disciplinary team examining what would happen to Australia’s food supply if temperatures increase by 0.6 to 1.3°C by 2050, as predicted.

Dr Northfield said all food groups would be affected, as agricultural regions were hit with warmer, drier conditions, more frequent, intense droughts and other extreme events.

The team expects the northern boundary of Australia’s wheat growing area to contract as the heat increases.

“Wheat is a major component of the Australian diet,” said Dr Northfield. “And it’s highly sensitive to climate variations, with higher temperatures leading to lower yields.”

Fruit and vegetable production would be hit by an increased number of pests and a reduction in pollination.

“In some cases, vegetables may actually grow faster, but will be less nutritious and more expensive. Recent models suggest that by 2050, global consumption of fresh fruit and vegetables will have dropped by around four per cent,” said Dr Northfield.

Beef production may also be under threat, with the heat affecting both the quality and availability of cattle through stress, lower quality feed and more parasites.

Dr Northfield said dairy herds would not be spared, with milk production dropping everywhere except Tasmania by 2050.

The scientists said that for most Australians, and particularly those already struggling to stretch their budget, increased prices will lead to consumption of cheaper and lower quality foods, exacerbating health issues.

But there may also be an upside, with consumers switching to cheaper white meats or substituting kangaroo or fish for red meat.

“Kangaroo need less food and water and, incidentally, produce almost no methane. They are a sustainable product,” said Dr Northfield.

He said that while ocean acidification was an issue, aquaculture would not be hit as hard by climate change. “There will always be something in the ocean to eat, as long as we’re not picky,” he said.

Dr Northfield said people who are a little better off and able to substitute expensive red meat for something more nutritious may even find their diet becomes healthier.

He said the big lesson of the study, apart from the need to reduce carbon emissions, was that Australians were going to have to become a lot less fussy about their food.

“The average Australian household wastes one fifth of their food. In other words, a family of four generally buys and wastes enough food for an extra person. With better meal planning, and maybe being a little less rigid ‘with best if used by’ dates, that could be improved,” he said.

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Learn more about climate change and other environmental sciences programs at JCU. Contact OzTREKK’s Australian Environmental Sciences Admissions Officer Shannon Tilston at shannon@oztrekk.com.

Wednesday, February 17th, 2016

JCU survey shows Aussies’ love and concern for their Great Barrier Reef

A James Cook University researcher has found more than three quarters of Australians regard the Great Barrier Reef as part of their national identity and nearly 90 per cent believe it is under threat from climate change.

JCU’s Jeremy Goldberg commissioned two professional surveys of around 1,000 people each as part of his PhD, conducted at JCU and CSIRO.

James Cook University

Survey shows Aussies feel climate change threatens the Great Barrier Reef (Picture by Matt Curnock)

He said the survey’s results were surprising. “We expected people to care about the Reef, but the strength of that connection was a revelation.”

Seventy-seven per cent of people felt the Great Barrier Reef was part of their identity as Australians and 43 per cent of people listed it as the most inspiring Australian icon, more than five times the level of Uluru, the second most inspiring icon.

Mr Goldberg said the results produced another surprise too, with a huge number of Australians concerned about the effect of climate change on the Reef.

“Eighty-nine per cent of people thought climate change was a threat to the Reef and fifty-four per cent said they would be personally affected if the health of the Great Barrier Reef declined,” he said.

“There seems to be a difference between the level of concern the public has for the health of the Reef due to climate change and the level of concern expressed in the media.”

It was the first nationally representative poll about the Great Barrier Reef in terms of location, gender, age and other demographic variables. “We sought to have a solid representation of the Australian public, not just Queensland stakeholders or capital cities as other studies have done,” said Mr Goldberg.

Mr Goldberg said the connection between people and special places is rarely quantified, and policymakers find it difficult to incorporate human dimensions into decision-making processes.

“We’ve described the personal concern and connection Australians have with the Great Barrier Reef and discuss how the results may help with its management,” he said.

“Now we have a clearer understanding of how deeply people do connect. It seems that people see it as much more than just a Reef, but think of it as part of the culture and protecting the Reef may be part of what it means to be Australian, or that letting it continue to decline would be un-Australian.”

The study forms part of a social and economic long-term monitoring program (SELTMP) for the Great Barrier Reef, established by JCU and CSIRO scientists, funded by the Australian Government’s National Environmental Research Program.

Other key points from the survey

  • 86% of Australians were proud that the Great Barrier Reef is a World Heritage Area, and most agreed that it was the responsibility of all Australians to protect it (81%).
  • 77% were concerned about the impacts of climate change on the Great Barrier Reef.
  • 44% of Australians have visited the Great Barrier Reef and 8% visited within a year before survey.
  • Nearly half of the respondents (49%) had never been to the Great Barrier Reef but would like to at some stage.

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Want to learn more about studying climate change and other environmental sciences programs at JCU? Contact OzTREKK’s Australian Environmental Sciences Admissions Officer Shannon Tilston at shannon@oztrekk.com.

Thursday, February 4th, 2016

JCU works on sugar crop prediction

James Cook University scientists are on their way to predicting sugarcane crop size long before harvest—a process that could save farmers money and deliver environmental benefits with better soil health.

JCU environmental sciences

JCU researchers are looking for ways to improve the efficiency of sugar cane farming (Photo credit: JCU)

JCU’s Dr Yvette Everingham said researchers found there was triple the chance of an extremely low-yield crop in a La Niña year compared to an average year.

La Niña is a meteorological phenomenon featuring periods of below-average sea surface temperatures across the east-central Equatorial Pacific. La Niña years are associated with extremely wet years leading to restricted crop growth and increased run-off.

Dr Everingham said scientists could predict the effect La Niña had on a crop in September the year before harvest, which typically begins the following June.

“Normally there is a one in ten chance of a bad crop, but during La Niña this increases to a three in ten chance,” she said.

She said the research, funded by Sugar Research Australia, was not a perfect planning tool, but it was much better than having no system at all, which was the current situation.

“Without crop forecasts, growers must assume climatic conditions will be favourable in the forthcoming season to grow a large crop, and have to apply fertiliser rates accordingly. If we can predict a small crop, then the opportunity exists to reduce fertiliser use, help the environment and increase profits.”

On the strength of their work so far, the JCU researcher and her team of scientists have been granted more than half a million dollars by Sugar Research Australia and the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection to continue their research.

“If we can predict the crop will be small well before harvest time, it will mean a reduced need for applied fertiliser and more certainty for farmers, millers and marketers as they plan for staffing and even forward selling of the crop,” said Dr Everingham.

The new project will begin this year.

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Find out more about environmental sciences degrees at JCU. Contact OzTREKK’s Australian Environmental Sciences Admissions Officer Shannon Tilston at shannon@oztrekk.com.

Thursday, January 7th, 2016

JCU engineering team wins innovation award for “green” concrete

Research by JCU scientists that looks set to drastically reduce the environmental cost of concrete has won a prestigious innovation award.

JCU Engineering School

L to R: Tony Collister, Fibercon; Shi Yin, JCU; Rabin Tuladhar, JCU and Andrew Smith, Country Chair Shell (Photo credit: JCU)

The technology, developed at JCU through PhD student Shi Yin’s research under the supervision of Dr. Rabin Tuladhar from the JCU School of Engineering and Physical Sciences and in collaboration with Queensland-based company Fibercon, has won the Manufacturing, Construction and Innovation category at this year’s Australian Innovation Challenge.

“We’ve produced recycled polypropylene fibres from industrial plastic wastes. With our improved melt spinning and hot drawing process we now have plastic fibres strong enough to replace steel mesh in concrete footpaths,” said Dr Tuladhar.

He said that the use of recycled plastic waste in concrete makes the building product much more environmentally friendly.

“Using recycled plastic, we were able to get more than a 90 per cent saving on CO2 emissions and fossil fuel usage compared to using the traditional steel mesh reinforcing. The recycled plastic also has obvious environmental advantages over using virgin plastic fibres.”

Concrete is second only to water as the material most commonly used by humankind, with 24 billion tonnes poured globally every year.

Use of recycled plastic fibres in concrete eliminates the need for steel mesh and saves significant amounts of CO2 associated with steel production. Comprehensive life cycle assessment shows the production of recycled plastic fibre produces 90% less CO2 and eutrophication (contamination of water bodies with nutrients) compared to the equivalent steel.

Plastic fibre has already been used in the construction of a 100m-long concrete footpath at James Cook University and pre-cast concrete drainage pits designed by Fibercon.

Dr Tuladhar said the next phase of the research will examine enhancing the mechanical and bond properties of fibres using surface modification and looking into broader applications of recycled plastic fibres in other pre-cast concrete elements.

Learn more about engineering degrees at JCU. Contact OzTREKK’s Australian Engineering Schools Officer Shannon Tilston at shannon@oztrekk.com.

Friday, December 11th, 2015

James Cook University’s world-class research report card

James Cook University has strengthened its research credentials, more than doubling the number of research fields that receive the highest possible rating for research excellence.

A definitive report card of Australian university research quality has been published, rating JCU “world class or better” in 35 areas of research.

JCU Environmental Sciences

Find out more about environmental sciences at JCU

The Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA) evaluates the quality of research in each field at every Australian university.

Universities are rated on a scale of one to five for each research field, with a rating of three representing “at world standard,” a rating of four is considered “above world standard,” and a rating of five represents “well above world standard.”

Of the 35 fields of research in which James Cook University is rated world class or above, the university received the highest possible rating (“well above standard”) in eight research areas—more than double the number it received when the ERA assessment was last published in 2012 (three in 2012 and eight in 2015).

JCU received the highest possible rating (“well above world standard”) in the following research fields:

  • Environmental sciences and management
  • Ecology
  • Geology
  • Physical geography and environmental geoscience
  • Ecological applications
  • Plant biology
  • Medical microbiology
  • Neurosciences

The university was found to be “above world standard” in another 11 areas including public health, fisheries science, materials engineering, and archaeology. JCU was rated “at world standard” in another 16 areas of research.

JCU Senior Deputy Vice Chancellor, Professor Chris Cocklin said the results confirm James Cook University’s research excellence, particularly in the fields of environmental science and management, ecology, geology, and public health.

“JCU’s goal is to create a brighter future for life in the tropics worldwide through graduates and discoveries that make a difference, and these results clearly show we are delivering world-class research that improving the lives of those who reside in the tropics.”

ERA is a comprehensive quality evaluation of all research produced in Australian universities against national and international benchmarks. The ratings are determined and moderated by committees of distinguished researchers, drawn from Australia and overseas.

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Would you like to learn more about studying environmental sciences or public health programs at James Cook University? Contact OzTREKK Admissions Officer Rachel Brady at rachel@oztrekk.com or call toll free at 1-866-698-7355.