School of Science, Engineering and Information Technology

Aquatic sciences

Campus: Gippsland

Discipline: Environmental Management, Environmental and Conservation Science

Research field: Aquatic Sciences

Key words: Wetlands, Ecology, Climate Change, Rehabilitation, Water Chemistry

Supervisor(s): Dr Jess Reeves (co-supervisors, dependent on project)

Contact details: Room 3W-252, Gippsland


Phone (optional): 5327 9049 or 0425 772 505

Brief Supervisor Bio

My research interests lie in long-term climate and environmental change. I am particularly interested in human impact on aquatic environments. I have been working on the Gippsland Lakes for the past three years and supervising projects in metal contaminants, acid-sulfate soils, fire history, salinity and climate change impacts, and social impacts on changes to fishing licenses. I also have an extensive research background in palaeoecology and palaeoclimate studies from around Australia.

Project Titles and Descriptions

Ecology and Water Chemistry of the Morwell Wetlands

This project will look at the seasonal water quality variability and ecology of the Morwell Wetlands. Depending on your interest, the project can either focus on the flora (aquatic vegetation, algal communities) or the fauna (invertebrate assemblages) of the wetlands. Sampling will be undertaken in March-April and again in August-September and related to both climatic events and discharge regimes of the local industries.

There is scope to improve the ecological values of Morwell Wetlands, so this project will provide a ‘before’ study, to determine the current condition and variability of the wetland system, prior to changes in the flow of the Morwell, in light of the mine site rehabilitation project.

Efficacy of Traralgon Artificial Wetlands

The Latrobe City Council has established a number of vegetated wetlands for treatment of both industrial and urban stormwaters. The council are interested to see how effective there design is. This will be tested by undertaking bi-monthly sampling of the wetlands for water quality, nutrients, invertebrates and vegetation. There are also parallel projects related to the construction of the wetland and flow regimes (engineering) and social value of the wetland sites (social science).

The project is funded by Latrobe City Council.

Perry River – Providence Ponds

The Perry River is one of the best examples in Australia of a Chain of Ponds – a series of waterholes, connected via a channel, the Perry River, in high flow times. The Perry River is the focus of a significant rehabilitation program, funded by the West Gippsland Catchment Management Authority. A project could be developed around: palaeoecology and geomorphology of the wetland system (was it always a chain of ponds?), impact of the rehabilitation works (baseline study on vegetation and invertebrates, with follow up at 3 and 6 months) or social values of the Perry River (Indigenous and pastoral history, current values).

This project is supported by West Gippsland CMA

Palaeoecology of Lake Reeve

This project will look at sediment cores from the Lake Reeve wetlands to look at changes in ecology and water quality over a longer (decadal-centennial) time scale. Depending on your interest, you may focus on sediment chemistry or preserved ecology, such as macroinvertebrates or diatoms. There is also the possibility to visit the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) to undertake iTRAX sediment chemistry sampling and dating of the core material.

This project will determine the natural conditions and variability of the wetland complex prior to major impacts in the catchment, such as channel diversion and the significant industrial and urban activity in the region. There is potential support for this project through the West Gippsland Catchment Management Authority

I would also be interested to supervise any other project in the areas of wetland ecology, water chemistry or palaeoecology.