Lab success at the Postgraduate Research Forum

Congratulations Katelyn!  Awarded the 2013 Best PhD Thesis from the School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences.



And further to that success, Keryn Bain received the Best Ecology Presentation Award. Well done Keryn!

Congratulations SEE lab Honours students

As of 12 noon today, our honours students will be released from their desk shackles and allowed back into the sunlight after 10 months hard work in the field and lab to produce excellent theses on a variety of topics.  A wonderful achievement by all.

Aria Lee – Reproductive strategy and gamete development in an invasive fanworm, Sabella spallanzanii at Gulf St Vincent, South Australia.




Tyson Haddad – A manipulative field experiment to measure the effects of organic enrichment on soft sediment ecosystem functioning and structure.

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Environmental monitoring studies have frequently focused on understanding changes in community structure as a result of human activities, but the functional consequences of these changes are poorly understood. Organic enrichment associated with anthropogenic sources has the potential to significantly alter the structure of soft-sediment communities and this has been largely documented in observational studies. However, few studies have implemented manipulative field experiments and fewer still have considered both the effect of organic enrichment on benthic community composition and the associated changes to important ecosystem functions such as productivity and nutrient cycling. Benthic recruitment containers were deployed in a six-week manipulative field experiment to investigate changes to benthic community functioning over time as a result of organic enrichment. Community respiration increased in enriched sediments while primary productivity was reduced. Developing communities also exhibited changes to important biogeochemical processes through time, including shifts between aerobic and
anaerobic respiration as a response to enrichment. Sediment-water nutrient fluxes also differed in response to enrichment. Functional changes were assessed with respect to a biological endpoint; the infaunal community structure at the end of the six-week deployment. Organic enrichment significantly increased infaunal abundances and biomass and the polychaete family of Capitellidae was the most successful colonisers, representing > 90 % of the total abundance of enriched sediment communities. These findings suggest that there are not only significant
consequences for community structure, but also for respiration, productivity and nutrient cycling in estuarine ecosystems significantly enriched by human induced changes in organic loadings.

MSCI2001 Fieldtrip 2013

The 2013 fieldtrip for the Introductory Marine Science course took place in early October at SIMS, Chowder Bay.  It was an early start in the water with Rochelle Johnston and Penny McCracken taking groups for a snorkel induction before sampling.

Jaz Lawes led her team of snorkellers to the Chowder Bay swim net to investigate changes in fish habitat associations related to artificial structures.

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Natalie Rivero prepared her team for a day on the SIMS vessel to sample fouling assemblages on seawalls.

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My group were investigating the effects of a simulated stormwater pulse on fouling assemblages with lab treatments of copper contamination in conjunction with freshwater.  We found some colourful assemblages under the Chowder Bay pier which we added to our lab microcosms…. more commonly known as “ice cream tubs”.

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Students in Ben Harris‘ group also headed out on a SIMS vessel to sample plankton in Sydney Harbour and sorted through thousands of copepods and salps on their return.

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Not every observation was marine and we also had visits from the local wildlife.

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As well as vessels arriving for the spectacular naval review including tall ships, submarines and destroyers.

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Each night we were taken on a culinary adventure by Rochelle…

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And entertained with careers talks from demonstrators or research presentations from each of the groups.

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Paul Spence made his debut as our presentation night MC and honours went to “Is a picture really worth a thousand words? Or is that just Barnacles!” for best scientific presentation.