SCU’s 2018 Excellence in Engagement Awards

The Barefoot Team just picked SCU’s 2018 Excellence in Engagement Awards for their work with water quality!

The Engaged Research award went to Prof. Isaac Santos, Mr Shane White, Mr Stephen Conrad, A./Prof. Christian Sanders “For community-driven water quality research to protect, rehabilitate and manage iconic streams, estuaries and the Solitary Islands Marine Park.”

   A./Prof. Christian Sanders, Mr Shane White, Mr Stephen Conrad, Prof. Isaac Santos.

A./Prof. Christian Sanders, Mr Shane White, Mr Stephen Conrad, Prof. Isaac Santos.

Here is a link to a video featuring our community-star PhD student Shane White explaining this work.

NMSC Hosting new PhD student visitors!

It is a pleasure to host our new PhD student visitors!

Mithra-Christin Hajati comes from Nils Moosdorf’s lab at the ZMT Germany and will further develop her SGD modelling work.

Xiaogang Chen comes from Jinzhou Du’s lab at the State Key Laboratory of Estuarine and Coastal Research Shanghai, China. He will work on geochemical tracers and carbon cycling in mangroves.

We look forward to hanging out with them and learning about their work!

 
  Xiaogang Chen

Xiaogang Chen

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 Mithra-Christin Hajati

Mithra-Christin Hajati

Great projects, great work, and great delivery!

Congrats to barefoot PhD student Kay Davis for winning the best presentation at SCU’s RISE Conference last week. Kay’s presentation was on “Short- and long-term drivers of coral reef ecosystem metabolism”.

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And congrats to another barefoot PhD student James Tucker for the third place with his talk “Tracing the leachate plume of whale carcass decomposition in beach groundwater”.

Great projects, great work, and great delivery!

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Getting into India

Isaac and Douglas just returned from a week in Kerala, India.

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Isaac is advising on the creation of a national network project on submarine groundwater discharge by colleagues from the National Centre for Earth Science Studies and other >20  Indian institutions. 

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 The crew performed initial investigations in beaches, mangroves, and enjoyed the local food and hospitality. They also trained Indian colleagues on some of the SGD techniques.

Further collaborative research is planned for the near future with the exchange of students     and research tools.  

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Rarotonga (Cook Islands) field work.

From the 1st to the 10th of February a small barefoot team consisting of Phd candidate Michael reading, IP student Kylie Maguire, Douglas Tait and Dirk Erler travelled to Rarotonga in the Cook Islands to investigate groundwater contribution to nutrient budgets and greenhouse gas emissions. The Lagoon has extensive eutrophication issues and as a result a coral to macro algae dominated phase shift is evident. The research will be used to identify potential mitigation measures as part of a larger international collaboration including both industry and other universities. 

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The team conducted time series sampling, spatial surveys and sediment incubations in the lagoon in addition to sampling creek surface water and groundwater at a range of monitoring wells adjacent to the lagoon. Radon and Radium isotopes were measured to quantify pore water exchange, fresh groundwater seepage and water residence time in the lagoon. Physiochemical parameters, nutrient and greenhouse gas levels were also measured in ground and surface waters and denitrification rates were measured in sediment using closed incubation chambers.  

  Michael Reading launching the pedal catamaran for a radon, nutrient and GHG spatial survey of the Muri Lagoon.

Michael Reading launching the pedal catamaran for a radon, nutrient and GHG spatial survey of the Muri Lagoon.

  Dirk Erler installing sediment incubation chambers in the Muri Lagoon.

Dirk Erler installing sediment incubation chambers in the Muri Lagoon.

  Kylie Maguire retrieving the last Radium soak sample. 

Kylie Maguire retrieving the last Radium soak sample. 

Overall, a lot of fun was had over the 8 massive days (and nights) in the field. All objectives were met despite some equipment issues (que the sinking kayak) and local tv and newspaper interviews. 

Big congratulations

Big congratulations to Jackie Webb, Mahmood Sadat-Noori and Marnie Atkins for finishing their PhD, and Luke Jeffrey for finishing his Honours degree. Luke and Jackie were given university medals for their Honours and PhD work – this is a very prestigious award reserved to only a few! The crew had a genuine barefoot celebration after removing fancy gowns - party at Lake Ainsworth with muddy kids, good swimming, and a typical Australian summer dinner – fresh prawns on the beach!

 

 Congrats to Mahmood, Marnie  and Jackie for finishing their PhD

Congrats to Mahmood, Marnie  and Jackie for finishing their PhD

  Congrats also to Luke for formalizing his Honours degree. 

 Congrats also to Luke for formalizing his Honours degree. 

 Great time at Lake Ainsworth with the Barefoot family.

Great time at Lake Ainsworth with the Barefoot family.

One Tree Island Fieldwork Trip

In November of 2017, members of Barefoot Biogeochemistry travelled to One Tree Island to investigate its coral reef metabolism and island groundwater effluent.

 Pictured left to right: James Archibald, Brendan Kelaher, Tom Glaze, Emily Shaw, Dirk Erler, Ashly McMahon, Kay Davis, and Isaac Santos.   

Pictured left to right: James Archibald, Brendan Kelaher, Tom Glaze, Emily Shaw, Dirk Erler, Ashly McMahon, Kay Davis, and Isaac Santos.

 

Researchers from three teams within Southern Cross University Lismore and National Marine Science Centre enjoying a sunset. Pictured left to right: James Archibald, Brendan Kelaher, Tom Glaze, Emily Shaw, Dirk Erler, Ashly McMahon, Kay Davis, and Isaac Santos.

 Kay Davis recording benthic transects

Kay Davis recording benthic transects

The metabolism study investigated ecosystem calcification/dissolution and photosynthesis/respiration by measuring variations in reef water chemistry during low-tide periods when the lagoon is isolated from the oceanic zone. We can quantify our target parameters by analysing the water for changes in total alkalinity, pH, dissolved oxygen, and dissolved inorganic carbon. Comparing our results to previous studies will determine whether this island’s reef has changed its metabolic activity in the last 50 years, allowing us to understand how  global and local stressors may have  impacted the corals at One Tree Island. 

We also quantified porewater exchange in the island’s lagoon using the radioactive isotope radon to investigate the influence of groundwater on local carbon, nutrient, phytoplankton, and CDOM dynamics.  We had long days, strange hours, equipment malfunctions, health issues, and a shortage of food, but we also had a lot of fun!

 Aerial view of time series station and Barefoot Biogeochemistry researchers to investigate groundwater effluent to lagoon. Left to right: a dancing Isaac Santos and laughing onlookers Kay Davis, James Archibald, Ashly McMahon.

Aerial view of time series station and Barefoot Biogeochemistry researchers to investigate groundwater effluent to lagoon. Left to right: a dancing Isaac Santos and laughing onlookers Kay Davis, James Archibald, Ashly McMahon.