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Posts Tagged ‘Griffith University Environmental Sciences’

Wednesday, November 9th, 2016

Griffith environmental sciences student gets real world experience

A fairy tale and university study may seem an unusual pairing but for Griffith University student Tahlia Rossi a Heron Island field trip was just that.

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Tahlia Rossi at Heron Island (Photo: Griffith University)

There were no glass slippers to be found, but flippers were the footwear of choice for students diving on the Great Barrier Reef.

Tahlia is studying a double degree, Urban & Environmental Planning and Science with a double major in Marine Biology and Climate Change Adaptation, so real world experience that puts the skills she’s learning into action was the perfect environment for her.

The marine field course sees students embark on a week-long science experience at Heron Island on the reef where they undertake research projects as part of their degree.

Having been “deeply inspired by nature and learning of its intricate functions and beauty,” Tahlia has always been excited by the  concept of contributing knowledge through research.

She’s hoping to bring a science background to a career in urban planning to give her more credibility and the knowledge and ability to collaborate with people in other disciplines.

Her degrees have given her amazing opportunities as well as allowing her to work as a Research Assistant at Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games Corporation. Tahlia will also represent Griffith at the 2016 Advance Global Australian Summit at the Sydney Opera House as a mentee.

“It has been inspiring to be given so many opportunities like going on exchange to the University of Copenhagen for one year, attending a sustainability summit in Singapore, going on this research trip to Heron Island, receiving training in mentoring, resume writing, communication skills and presentation skills,” she says.

“I have been challenged by the length of my degree and the difficulty of some of the science subjects, but on the other hand, to overcome these challenges gives me confidence and strength.”

Advance is the preeminent global community of high achieving Australians and alumni abroad, with more than 40,000 connections in 90 countries. Advance forges connections with the one million Australian diaspora, drawing on their experience and networks to open doors and opportunities for Australia, Australian companies and Australians around the globe.
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Would you like to study environmental science at Griffith University? Contact OzTREKK Admission Officer Shannon Tilston at shannon@oztrekk.com for more information.

Friday, July 29th, 2016

Can you teach a koala new tricks?

Griffith University researchers have found that koalas are more clever than they thought them to be in a world-first study that tracked the Australian animal more comprehensively than ever before in suburban Brisbane.

The Griffith Environmental Futures Research Institute team, made up of Cathryn Dexter, Justin Scott and Professor Darryl Jones, verified 130 crossings by koalas involving a retrofitted structure or eco-passage over a 30-month period.

Sydney Dental School

Can a koala learn new tricks? Studies say absolutely! (Photo credit: Griffith University)

The findings were released in a paper titled Using complementary remote detection methods for retrofitted eco-passages: a case study for monitoring individual koalas in south-east Queensland published by the CSIRO July 26.

Professor Darryl Jones of the Griffith School of Environment said nobody knew whether the structures would actually keep koalas safe from being hit by cars or if they would work.

“We expected the animals to take a while to get used to them,” he said.

“To our great surprise they were using them three weeks into it. Can you teach koalas new tricks? You can; that’s the point. I was the first skeptical person to say they’re not that smart.”

The team used a range of technologies that allowed them to not just generically monitor whether koalas passed through the crossing but pinpointed individual koalas and the exact time they entered and left the tunnel.

Using camera traps, audio radio transmitters, RFID tags (similar to microchips in pets) and WIDs (wireless ID tags)—which act like RFID tags but can be detected from a much greater distance—they gathered more information than any previous research.

The WIDs were developed by two Griffith graduates Rob Appleby and Jason Edgar who now run their own wildlife monitoring company, Wild Spy, and were a part of the research.

“This is all about trying to make absolutely sure that koalas are using some of the structures we’ve put out for them to get safely under roads,” Professor Jones said.

“Knowing how they do that is really difficult. You can get photos but you don’t know if it’s the same animal each time.

“The essence of this you can get really import information using a range of technologies at the same time. That’s a world first. Nobody has done that so comprehensively before.

“We really wanted to know what individual koalas were doing, whether they crossed at the same time each day. We wanted more information than most people ever need and we did that using this range of technologies.”

Professor Jones said most people living in suburban Brisbane or parts of the Gold Coast did not realise koalas lived all around them and that these structures were keeping them safe in their backyards and off the roads.

The research was supported by funding from the Queensland Department of Transport and Main Roads, which was responsible for the structures.

“The tunnels were an experiment,” Professor Jones said. “Nobody knew whether they would work or not. We really wanted to know what the local koala was doing so we got ridiculous amount of details of these animals.

“We needed to be clear on whether they were successful because the structures were so innovative and risky that we tried really hard to prove it. That’s why it was worth it.

“Although we don’t want the koalas to be disturbed, all over the place on the Gold Coast and in Brisbane there are special koala specific tunnels and ledges that are allowing them to cross. Those animals are not going to be hit anymore so that’s good news.

The crossings studied in Brisbane were within the jurisdictions of Brisbane City, Redland City and Moreton Bay Regional Council.

Traffic volumes for this region are predicted to increase by 19 per cent, or 2.8 million trips per day between 2006 and 2031.

The paper states: “The continuous clearing of koala habitat for development has placed a great deal of pressure on local koala populations and the risk of vehicle strike is recognised as a key threatening process for ongoing koala persistence in this region.

“The focus must shift from studies that simply assess how many species pass through an eco-passage (i.e., presence), to those that assess the utilisation level by individuals.

“Such information will represent a powerful step forward in providing road authorities with recommendations in relation to the design and placement of crossing structures, and ensuring that the costs equal the ecological benefit.”

Griffith School of Environment

The Griffith School of Environment was thought of as revolutionary; today it is more important than ever. Over that time the environment and sustainable practice has evolved from a fringe issue to a mainstream challenge to government, industry and even individual households. Griffith is helping society to face those challenges.

The university has expanded on their initial programs to offer not only environmental and natural sciences but also urban planning and architecture with a focus on sustainable development. Griffith University’s undergraduate and postgraduate degree programs include

  • architecture;
  • ecology;
  • environmental sciences;
  • environmental management;
  • marine science; and
  • urban and environmental planning.

The school has the largest group of environmental professionals in any university in Australia, and among the largest in the world.

Apply to Griffith University School of Environment!

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Would you like more information about studying environmental sciences at Griffith University? Contact OzTREKK’s Australian Environmental Sciences Admissions Shannon Tilston at shannon@oztrekk.com.

Thursday, April 14th, 2016

Griffith launches Green Labs program

Griffith Sciences and Griffith Health laboratories are going green.

Griffith University Green Labs program

Griffith Sciences Technical Manager Stephen Boyd, Eskitis Institute Director Professor Jennifer Martin and Sustainability Project Officer Kay Ollett at the launch of the Green Labs program at Nathan campus (Photo credit: Griffith University)

The Green Labs program aims to provide more sustainable practices in laboratory procedures and management.

“In laboratories sustainability offers real challenges and opportunities in minimizing energy, water consumption and chemical/biological waster,’’ says Stephen Boyd, Griffith Sciences Technical Manager.

“Compared to other work areas such as office space, laboratories are high-energy consumers and/or producers of these factors.

“Making even small changes in energy consumption or waste production will provide a significant benefit in reducing the carbon footprint and environmental load from laboratory operations.”

Green Labs objectives:

  • Reduce energy and water consumption
  • Improve waste disposal and recycling practices
  • Raise environmental impact and protection awareness in laboratories
  • Improve purchasing decisions in laboratories
Griffith University Green Labs program

Second-year Bachelor of Science student Clinton Carty-Lewis uses a lower fume cupboard hood sash height to conserve energy (Photo credit: Griffith University)

“Simple practices include switching off electrical appliances when not in use, reduction of fume cupboard hood sash heights which reduces waste of conditioned air, and appropriate sharing of chemicals to minimise duplication and accumulation in stock.

“Universities worldwide are implementing sustainability initiatives including similar Green Lab programs. Griffith University will continue to develop the program to be as comprehensive as possible.”

Griffith School of Environment

Since its inception, Griffith has had an ongoing commitment to the environment and sustainability. As a forerunner in the field, in 1975 Griffith launched Australia’s first environmental science degree and since then, has continued to lead in areas of environmental science, education, research and practices.

In 2010 Griffith reinforced its sustainability commitment when it signed up to the UN Global Compact—the world’s largest voluntary corporate and sustainability initiative. The Compact has 10 universally accepted principles in the areas of human rights, labour, environment and anti-corruption.

‘To be a sustainable university’ is one of five key goals in Griffith University’s Strategic Plan 2013–2017.

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Would you like to study environmental science at Griffith University? Contact OzTREKK Admission Officer Shannon Tilston at shannon@oztrekk.com for more information.

Monday, April 4th, 2016

Griffith School of Environment talks about urban greening strategies

Our cities are getting hotter, more crowded and noisier. Climate change is bringing more heatwaves, placing pressure on human health, urban amenity, productivity and infrastructure.

Urban residents naturally want to stay cool. Air conditioning is the usual choice, but it can be expensive to run. Air conditioning also adds carbon pollution, creates noise and can make outdoor spaces hotter.

Griffith University Environmental Sciences

Griffith School of Environment talks about urban greening strategies (Photo credit: Griffith University)

So what else can we do to manage increasing urban heat? And who has the ability to act?

Urban planners are increasingly involved in developing and delivering urban greening strategies. While it seems like a “no brainer” to green cities, our international research shows that planners are not always comfortable with this idea.

However, green infrastructure—including street trees, green roofs, vegetated surfaces and green walls—is emerging as a viable way to help cities adapt to increased heat. Uptake of these technologies is slowly increasing in many cities around the world.

The Australian government has recognised this trend. An agenda to green Australia’s cities is now in place. Stated aims include managing climate change impacts, reducing urban heat, improving urban well-being and increasing environmental performance.

This urban greening agenda is part of the Clean Air and Urban Landscapes hub, under the National Environmental Science Program.

Benefits of urban greening

The broadening appeal of green infrastructure is helped by the fact it offers multiple benefits.

For example, shading from strategically placed street trees can lower surrounding temperatures by up to 6℃, or up to 20℃ over roads. Green roofs and walls can naturally cool buildings, substantially lowering demand for air conditioning. Green infrastructure can also provide habitat for wildlife, recreational opportunities for people, better management of stormwater runoff and improved urban aesthetics.

Hard surfacing, including concrete, asphalt and stone, is common in cities. It can increase urban temperatures by absorbing heat and radiating it back into the air. Green infrastructure can minimise this difficulty as it better regulates ambient air temperatures. Foliage allows local cooling through evapotranspiration, where plants release water vapour into the surrounding atmosphere.

Why planners are cautious

Our research examined urban planners’ attitudes towards green infrastructure use in Australia, England and Ireland. We found that planners are broadly aware of green infrastructure as an urban intervention. They understand its use, application and capacity to provide multiple benefits, especially in terms of managing urban heat.

The planners we interviewed, while recognising the potential value of green infrastructure, strongly cautioned that delivering the technology can be an uncertain process. The biggest barrier cited was that planning departments are not experienced with green infrastructure.

Put simply, they tend to avoid it because it has not traditionally featured on urban planning agendas. Like any new planning endeavour, green infrastructure can create institutional, legal, economic, social and environmental challenges.

Some of the biophysical challenges associated with green infrastructure delivery are novel. Choosing appropriate forms of vegetation, for example, may be difficult. Decisions must be made based on prevailing climactic conditions, drainage capacity and species growth patterns.

Will root systems damage buildings or underground utility networks? Might trees topple during storms and damage houses? Are roofs strong enough to support a rooftop garden? Planners may not be able to answer these questions, which creates a need for external experts to advise them.

Our findings also highlight socio-political factors as barriers. These include governance concerns such as the political context in which planning decisions are made.

Management issues also feature. Chief among these are government commitments to budget for green infrastructure delivery and management.

Planners are also wary of public involvement. They know that public sentiment about green infrastructure can be influenced by perceptions of modified access, changed use, or loss.

What can be done?

The urgency for providing urban green infrastructure increases as climate change makes our cities hotter. Our research suggests the principal task for planners is to overcome embedded practices and to accept green infrastructure as an emerging but permanent urban feature.

This will not be easy. For example, a decision to use a road easement for green infrastructure may require multiple meetings with other government departments, utility companies and residents. Planners will need to coordinate these, manage stakeholder expectations and ensure cost sharing where necessary.

Legal, economic, social and environmental issues will require innovative solutions.

Planners will increasingly be tasked to deliver green infrastructure in cities. They will need to be clear on its value, be prepared to lead its delivery and learn from new challenges and solutions encountered along the way.

Urban residents all over the world stand to benefit if planners can successfully meet this challenge, particularly as hotter temperatures threaten urban comfort and habitability.

Story by Associate Professor Jason Byrne and Dr Tony Matthews, Griffith School of Environment

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Find out more about studying environmental sciences at Griffith University. Contact OzTREKK’s Australian Environmental Sciences Admissions Officer Shannon Tilston at shannon@oztrekk.com or call toll free in Canada 1-866-698-7355.

Monday, March 14th, 2016

Griffith climate change expert presents at World Science Festival Brisbane

Griffith climate change expert Brendan Mackey recently headlined the World Science Festival Brisbane as part of a panel discussion about ways to save Australia’s iconic reefs from decline.

Director of Griffith’s Climate Change Response Program Professor Mackey provided a policy perspective on how Australia, and the world, needs to adapt to climate change before it’s too late.

Griffith University Environmental Sciences

Professor Brendan Mackey (Photo credit: Griffith University)

“We are locked into climate change for thousands of years,” he said.

“Even if we stop burning fossil fuels tomorrow it will keep disrupting the climate system so we have to learn to live with it.

“Climate change adaptation is not something you do once; it needs to become part of our thinking and planning in all sectors and at the moment we are doing this very poorly.”

The panel discussion, led by the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection, focused on how to achieve a global approach to save the world’s reefs.

Professor Mackey’s latest research project explores the impact of climate change on the coastal zone of the Pacific Ocean in Melanesia.

“We are taking a multidisciplinary approach to this research by collaborating with social scientists, micro-economists, ecologists, ocean current modelers and system analysts,” he said.

“In the long term, sea levels will keep rising and ocean currents are changing with rising temperatures. All of this will lead to big changes in the coastal zones, so we are trying to understand what is happening.

“We will be providing solutions and approaches to help people adapt to these changes in ecologically and culturally appropriate ways.”

Griffith University was an academic partner of the World Science Festival Brisbane, which was held March 9 to 13.

The annual festival (this year held in Brisbane) takes science out of the laboratory and into the streets, parks, museums, galleries and premier performing arts venues of Brisbane’s Cultural Precinct in South Banks.

A range of Griffith’s experts joined international leaders from across science and the arts for four action-packed days of public science at its best.

A Griffith expert in 3D scanning was also featured as a key presenter at the festival when he uncovered the secrets behind the WWI German war tank Mephisto.

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Find out more about studying environmental sciences and other sciences at Griffith University. Contact OzTREKK’s Australian Environmental Sciences Admissions Officer Shannon Tilston at shannon@oztrekk.com or call toll free in Canada at 1-866-698-7355.

Tuesday, March 8th, 2016

Griffith helping to clean up the local environment

Griffith University played an important role for the local environment recently with its BeachCare group hosting not one, but two Clean Up Australia Day events.

Griffith University environmental sciences

BeachCare is a coastal community engagement initiative facilitated by the Griffith Centre for Coastal Management (Image: Griffith University)

BeachCare is a coastal community engagement initiative facilitated by the Griffith Centre for Coastal Management in partnership with the City of Gold Coast. The program aims to provide an opportunity for community members to participate in caring for their local coastal environments through the planting of native dune species, weed removal and litter collection and auditing.

Held March 6, the Clean Up Australia events aimed to inspire and empower communities to clean up, fix up and conserve our environment.

“Every year Australia-wide, hundreds of thousands of Australians get stuck in and clean up their local environment by collecting and removing rubbish,” says Beachcare co-ordinator Tegan Croft.

“The importance of the role of our dunes in the overall management of our beach can’t be overstated,” says Professor Rodger Tomlinson, Director of the Centre for Coastal Management. “A healthy dune means our beaches will recover faster after storm events. I really encourage the community to get involved in looking after our beaches through the BeachCare program.”

Griffith School of Environment

The Griffith School of Environment was thought of as revolutionary; today it is more important than ever. Over that time the environment and sustainable practice has evolved from a fringe issue to a mainstream challenge to government, industry and even individual households. Griffith is helping society to face those challenges.

The university has expanded on their initial programs to offer not only environmental and natural sciences but also urban planning and architecture with a focus on sustainable development. Griffith University’s undergraduate and postgraduate degree programs include

  • architecture;
  • ecology;
  • environmental sciences;
  • environmental management;
  • marine science; and
  • urban and environmental planning.

The Griffith School of Environment has the largest group of environmental professionals in any university in Australia, and among the largest in the world.

Apply to Griffith University School of Environment!

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Would you like more information about studying environmental sciences at Griffith University? Contact OzTREKK’s Australian Environmental Sciences Admissions Shannon Tilston at shannon@oztrekk.com.

Friday, February 26th, 2016

Griffith asks if ecotourism save threatened species

Ecotourism can provide the critical difference between survival and extinction for endangered animals, according to new research from Griffith University.

Using population viability modelling, the Griffith team of Professor Ralf Buckley, Dr Guy Castley and Dr Clare Morrison has developed a method that for the first time quantifies the impact of ecotourism on threatened species.

Griffith University ecotourism

Griffith researchers, from left, Dr Guy Castley, Dr Clare Morrison and Professor Ralf Buckley (Photo credit: Griffith University)

The findings are published in the journal PLOS ONE.

“We know that ecotourism is increasing on a global scale, with visitor numbers to many protected areas expanding each year. We also know that such activities can have negative as well as positive impacts,” said Professor Buckley, Griffith’s International Chair in Ecotourism Research.

“Until now, however, there has been no way to evaluate the net effect of ecotourism in increasing or decreasing the risk of extinction for endangered species, which is the key parameter for conservation efforts.”

Population viability models are widely used in practical wildlife management. They estimate cumulative population changes by simulating births and deaths iteratively, one generation at a time. Final predictions are based on thousands of repeated simulations.

The Griffith University scientists used the models to calculate future population changes for nine threatened species for which data exists: orangutan, hoolock gibbon, golden lion tamarin, cheetah, African wild dog, New Zealand sealion, African penguin, great green macaw and Egyptian vulture.

“We converted all ecotourism effects—positive and negative—to ecological parameters and found that for seven of the species involved, ecotourism provides net conservation gains through factors such as private reserves, habitat restoration, reduction in habitat damage, removal of feral predators, anti-poaching measures or captive breeding and food supplementation,” said Professor Buckley.

Dr Castley, from Griffith’s Environmental Futures Research Institute, said the research demonstrates how the net effects of tourism differ among species and sub-populations and that these effects are influenced by local circumstances.

“For example, they depend on the scale and intensity of ecotourism, the size of initial populations, rates of predation and on the impacts of other industries such as fishing and logging,” he said.

“Other factors, including poaching, are also important.”

Griffith School of Environment’s Dr Morrison said the research confirms that ecotourism is not always successful.

“In a few cases, this can have a net negative effect on threatened species,” she said. “However, for most of the rare and endangered bird and mammal species analysed, ecotourism makes the critical difference between survival and extinction.”

Griffith School of Environment

When Griffith University introduced the first environmental science degree in Australia, it was revolutionary. Griffith has expanded on their initial programs to offer not only environmental and natural sciences but urban planning and architecture with a focus on sustainable development.

In 1971, establishing a School of Environment was thought of as revolutionary. Over time the environment and sustainable practice has evolved from a fringe issue to a mainstream challenge to government, industry and even individual households.

Griffith University has expanded on their initial programs to offer not only environmental sciences and natural sciences but urban planning and architecture with a focus on sustainable development.

Program: Master of Environment
Location: Nathan Campus, Brisbane, Queensland
Semester intake: February and July
Duration: 2 years

Apply to the Griffith University Master of Environment!

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Find out more about studying environmental sciences at Griffith University. Contact OzTREKK’s Australian Environmental Sciences Admissions Officer Shannon Tilston at shannon@oztrekk.com or call toll free in Canada 1-866-698-7355.

Tuesday, January 26th, 2016

Natural born killers: is warfare in our bones?

Skeletal remains of a group of hunter-gatherers massacred around 10,000 years ago are raising questions about humankind’s propensity for warfare.

Griffith University environmental sciences

Skeleton of a man found lying prone in lagoon sediments. The skull has multiple lesions on the front and on the left side, consistent with wounds from a blunt implement. (Image: Dr Marta Mirazon Lahr)

The fossilised bones of the Stone Age victims were unearthed at Nataruk — 30km west of Kenya’s fossil-rich Lake Turkana – and are believed to be the earliest scientifically dated historical evidence of human conflict.

The new Director of Griffith University’s Research Centre of Human Evolution, Professor Rainer Grün, was part of the Nataruk research team led by the University of Cambridge’s Leverhulme Centre for Human Evolutionary Studies (LCHES).

The site was discovered on the western side of Lake Turkana in 2012 when researchers found the partial remains of 27 individuals, including at least eight women and six children.

Of these, 12 skeletons were relatively complete and 10 revealed clear signs of violent death, including extreme blunt-force trauma to crania and cheekbones; broken hands, knees and ribs; arrow lesions to the neck; and stone projectile tips lodged in the skull and thorax of two men.

Several skeletons were found face down, with four—including a woman in the final stages of pregnancy—in positions indicating their hands had probably been bound.

Griffith University environmental sciences

A woman, found reclining on her left elbow, with fractures on the knees and possibly the left foot. The position of the hands suggests her wrists may have been bound.

While the bodies were not buried, some had fallen into a lagoon that has long since dried, with the bones preserved in sediment.

The research is published in the latest edition of the prestigious journal Nature.

“The findings are one of the earliest indications of humankind’s propensity for group violence,” said Professor Grün, who joined Griffith’s Environmental Futures Research Institute from the Australian National University in October. He used laser ablation technology to examine and date the fossils.

“Not only does this broaden our knowledge of early human behaviour, it raises questions about whether the capacity for organised violence is elemental to our nature or a product of circumstances and opportunity.”

One adult male skeleton was found with an obsidian bladelet still embedded in his skull. Another suffered two blows to the head, both crushing his skull at the point of impact.

Meanwhile, the remains of a 6- to 9-month-old fetus were recovered from within the abdominal cavity of its mother, who was discovered in an unusual sitting position.

A woman, found reclining on her left elbow, with fractures on the knees and possibly the left foot. The position of the hands suggests her wrists may have been bound.

Now scrubland, 10,000 years ago the area around Nataruk was a fertile lakeshore sustaining a substantial population of hunter-gatherers. It may also have been a location coveted by others.

Griffith University environmental sciences

Professor Rainer Grün, from Griffith’s Environmental Futures Research Institute (Photo: Griffith University)

Project leader Dr Marta Mirazon Lahr, from LCHES, said the victims may have been members of an extended family who were attacked by a rival group of hunter-gatherers in an ancient precursor to what we call warfare.

“The deaths at Nataruk are testimony to the antiquity of inter-group violence and war,” she said.

“These remains record the intentional killing of a small band of foragers with no deliberate burial, and provide unique evidence that warfare was part of the repertoire of inter-group relations among some prehistoric hunter-gatherers.”

Professor Robert Foley, also from Cambridge’s LCHES, summarised the implications of the research by saying, “I’ve no doubt it is in our biology to be aggressive and lethal, just as it is to be deeply caring and loving.

“A lot of what we understand about human evolutionary biology suggests these are two sides of the same coin.”

About the Griffith University Environmental Futures Research Institute

The Environmental Futures Research Institute is a leading university research organisation that combines science, innovation and local Australian experience, to expand new knowledge through fundamental research and deliver effective solutions to significant global environmental problems.

Griffith University aims to be a national and international institute of excellence and a global leader in environmental research. Their vision is to be recognised as a leading research institute throughout Australia, the Asia-Pacific region, and ultimately, the world and to undertake excellent fundamental and multidisciplinary research to aid the understanding of critical environmental issues, and develop solutions that will facilitate clean, resilient and sustainable futures for Australian and global environments.

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Find out more about studying environmental sciences at Griffith University. Contact OzTREKK’s Australian Environmental Sciences Admissions Officer Shannon Tilston at shannon@oztrekk.com or call toll free in Canada at 1-866-698-7355.

Tuesday, December 8th, 2015

Master of Environment at Griffith University

The Master of Environment at Griffith University provides training for people who wish to help to make society more sustainable. It also provides opportunities for those who want to move into more senior management positions. You will develop the ability to work in multidisciplinary teams, to contribute to policy-making processes and to run environmental management systems.

Master of Environment at Griffith University

Study the Master of Environment at Griffith University

The following specialisations are available and prepare graduates who are focused on creating a more sustainable society through their work in and across business, government and industry.

Specialisations

  • Climate Change Adaptation
  • Economics and Policy
  • Education for Sustainability
  • Environmental Planning
  • Environmental Protection
  • Sustainable Business
  • Water Resources

Career opportunities

  • Climate Change Adaptation: You will be equipped with the skills and knowledge needed to work in the areas of environmental climate change and policy-making. You may find work in the public sector, business or community organisations as an environmental assessment officer, project officer, project manager or policy officer.
  • Economics and Policy: Addressing the challenge of sustainability has created employment opportunities in environmental economics and policy making across the business, government and community sectors. You may find work as a policy officer, policy advisor, environmental assessment officer or management consultant.
  • Education for Sustainability: You will be prepared for work as a community education officer, environmental education teacher, education and communication officer or program developer.
  • Environmental Protection: You will be equipped with the essential skills in environmental protection policy and practice needed to work in consulting firms and in government agencies. Your work will be focused on improving environmental management, quarantine and biosecurity outcomes in careers such as environmental monitoring and compliance officer, environmental assessment officer or project officer.
  • Water Resources: You will be prepared for work in local councils and state government departments dealing with water resources and planning issues and in private consulting companies. You may find work as an environmental consultant, project officer, groundwater scientist, catchment management specialist or urban waterway specialist.

Program: Master of Environment
Location: Nathan Campus, Brisbane, Queensland
Semester intake: February and July
Duration: 1 – 2 years (depending on candidate’s background)

Apply to the Griffith University Master of Environment!

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Would you like more information about studying the Master of Environment at Griffith University? Contact OzTREKK Australian Environmental Sciences Admissions Officer Rachel Brady at rachel@oztrekk.com or call toll free at 1-866-698-7355.

Monday, October 26th, 2015

Loss of ocean predators impacts climate change

Continued unsustainable harvesting of large predatory fish, including the culling of sharks, can have far-reaching consequences for the way we tackle climate change.

Professor Rod Connolly, a marine scientist from Griffith University’s Australian Rivers Institute, is the co-author of new research that says keeping populations of larger fish intact is critical to carbon accumulation and long-term storage in vegetated coastal habitats such as saltmarsh, mangroves and seagrass.

Griffith University Environmental Sciences

To cull or not to cull: new research reveals the link between ocean predators and carbon capture and storage (Photo credit: Griffith University)

A paper, Predators help protect carbon stocks in blue carbon ecosystems, is published in the journal Nature Climate Change and identifies the urgent need for further research on the influence of predators on carbon cycling, and improved policy and management with regard to blue carbon reserves.

The research comes as Australia in particular, in response to a recent spate of shark attacks—some fatal—engages in fierce public debate over shark culling.

Professor Connolly warns the loss of top order predators through excessive culling or over-fishing has serious environmental ramifications.

“Altering the numbers of top ocean predators has major consequences for the way we tackle climate change,” says Professor Connolly.

“These predators have a cascading effect on the food web and the ecosystem generally that ultimately changes the amount of carbon captured and locked up in the seabed.”

Coastal wetlands play a crucial role in this process, extracting carbon from the atmosphere and burying it in the mud for hundreds and even thousands of years.

“When we change the abundance of higher order predators, this affects the number of smaller animals living in the mud, and that has flow-on effects for carbon storage in coastal wetlands,” says Professor Connolly.

“We are already aware of the need to manage how many fish we take and from where. But we should also know that our decisions affect climate change.”

Professor Connolly says the coastal wetlands that fringe the world’s continents are doing a power of environmental good, taking a quarter of a trillion kilograms of carbon out of the atmosphere every year; however, that efficiency can be easily compromised.

“Predators play an important and potentially irreplaceable role in carbon cycling. The effect of the disproportionate loss of species high in the food chain cannot be underestimated.”

About the Griffith University Australian Rivers Institute

The Griffith University Australian Rivers Institute is Australia’s largest university aquatic ecosystem research groups with globally recognised expertise in river, catchment and coastal ecosystems and the interaction with these systems in society. The institute brings together 130 staff and post-graduate students at the Nathan and Gold Coast campuses.

Research focuses on a “source to sea” philosophy delivering through six themes:

  • Catchment and river ecosystem processes
  • Rehabilitation science and environmental flows
  • Coastal and estuarine ecosystem processes
  • Aquatic biodiversity and conservation
  • Integration, modelling and catchment management
  • Aquatic ecosystem monitoring and assessment

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Learn more about climate change and other environmental sciences programs available at Griffith University. Contact OzTREKK’s Australian Environmental Sciences Admissions Officer Rachel Brady at rachel@oztrekk.com or call toll free at 1-866-698-7355.