Research partnership to protect the Coorong
of Australia's most significant wetlands, the Coorong, at the mouth of the
River Murray, is the focus of a new multi–million dollar research
partnership that aims to improve the ecological health of the region and
protect threatened birds and fish. The CLLAMMecology collaborative research
program enables the skills of the wider Australian research community to be
applied to the major national challenges targeted by CSIRO's Flagship
Led by Dr Mike Geddes of The University of Adelaide, the
CLLAMMecology Research Cluster ultimately aims to evaluate water
management options for the region to secure and sustain the health of one of
Australia's most significant wetlands.
Addressing the guests at the launch, South Australian
Minister for the River Murray Karlene Maywald said "What this cluster will
bring to the table, is the information that we need to make the best
possible decisions with the water which we do have available to us."
"It will give us a better understanding of how ecology responds to various
water management regimes, which is very important in my role as Minister for
the River Murray, and how we make decisions about how we manage water."
CSIRO Research Scientist Dr Sébastien Lamontagne said "This will be the
first comprehensive ecological research program ever to have taken place in
the Coorong and Lower Lakes region, and largest Australian research project
looking at the response of estuarine waterbirds and fish to environmental
With a field component examining the ecological responses observed during
planned water regime manipulations, and in particular the release of water
from the Lower Lakes barrages to the Murray estuary, the Cluster aims to
develop improved models to predict ecological responses to future climate
and water management scenarios.
The Cluster will be involved in four key research activities, including
documenting the responses of key species to changes in aquatic environments
under different management regimes. The study will look at a range of
species, including those of conservation value (migratory waders), ecosystem
value (aquatic plant) or recreational value (black bream or mulloway) for
Linked to this will be examining the effects of increased water flows and
whether these lead to increased productivity in the food-chain. The research
will also examine food-webs and explore how energy is transferred through
estuarine invertebrates to fish and birds.
CSIRO Sustainable Energy & Environment Group Executive Dr Steve Morton
stated that the CLLAMMecology Research Cluster would be particularly
important for the Water for a Healthy Country Flagship, as the Coorong is
symbolic of the challenges we are facing in the Murray River.
"For me as a scientist," he added, "it is also a fantastic opportunity to
demonstrate that ecological science can move from describing problems, to
systemic analysis and prediction."
CSIRO expertise in hydrology, hydrodynamics, nutrient cycles and
socio-economics will help to decipher the relationships between ecosystem
drivers and water benefits, while other members of the partnership focus on
"Our partners at The University of Adelaide, Flinders University, South
Australian Research & Development Institute (SARDI) and the Department of
Environment and Heritage have outstanding ecological skills," he said.
"So it is just common sense that we form a relationship," said Dr Morton
"and bring these skills together in a way which maximises the chance that
science in a multidisciplinary, challenging environment will have an impact
in the world. That's what we want to do with this investment."
The partnership receives A$2.2 million from the CSIRO Flagship
with partner contributions taking the total investment to A$5.3 million over
Funding for the research was announced
recently by The Minister for Education, Science and Training, Julie Bishop,
under the Flagship Collaboration Fund Cluster funding.
The Collaboration Fund enables the skills
of the wider Australian research community to be applied to the major
national challenges targeted by CSIRO's Flagship Initiative.
Dr Mike Geddes: 61 8 8303 5934
Dr Sebastien Lamontagne: 61 8 8303 8713
IN THIS EDITION:
Message from the Director
International recognition for our WRON initiative
Research partnership to
protect the Coorong
Sharing the Waters of the
householder preferences to evaluate water supply
Study helps 'water down' community concerns
Designing environmental flows for the Murray
Can domestic bores help save our drinking water?
The Ring of Confidence - Incorporating Uncertainty into
Sediment Transportation Models
Community Engagement for the Reef's sake
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from the Water for a Healthy
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