The Freshwater Crew
The late Emeritus Professor Richard Norris
Our group, as part of the Institute for Applied Ecology, is focused on assessing the ecological condition of rivers. Much of our work underpins decisions on the management of our rivers. We have closely linked research and consulting activities at small and large scales, upland and lowland. There has been an acceptance in Australia, as in many other countries, of the requirement to protect rivers and their ecology as fundamental to meeting society's needs for drinking, industry, agriculture, recreation and aesthetics.
As members of the Institute for Applied Ecology, we have strong affiliations with the eWater Cooperative Research Centre and the Australasian Invasive Animals CRC, both based at the University of Canberra. They provide great opportunities for postgraduate research on projects of immediate relevance to industry and the community in general. Our late group leader and former Institute Director, Richard Norris, also had strong international relationships in Canada and the United States.
Like Toad found in the book Wind in the Willows, there are few things that are as much fun as messing about around rivers. We have the pleasure of wonderful environments in which to work and finding out things river invertebrates, algae, fish, riparian zones and how they interact with their environment, that are intrinsically interesting and ultimately useful for managing the precious resource. The group has worked on mountain streams in the Kosciuszko National Park and ski resort areas for 20 years using water chemistry, microbiology and invertebrates to provide information for management. We have more than a decade of research on Canberra's water supply rivers and the management of environmental flows, effects of drought and fire. This work has also lead to many other studies on environmental flows around the country.
Nationally the team has played a central role in the development of Australia's National River Health Program and the AUSRIVAS website that supports the macroinvertebrate assessment methods and models is run from our laboratory. We also lead the Assessment of River Condition of 3.5 M km2 of Australia for the national Land and Water Resources Audit in 2000. The Audit lead to Snapshot of the Condition of Murray-Darling Basin Rivers that contributed to Government decision to retrieve water for the environment also in 2000. Members of the group are now leading a new project as part of Australia's $2 B National Water Initiative the first stage of which is due to be completed in at the end of 2006.
We have strong links to the School of Resource, Environmental and Heritage Sciences through undergraduate teaching and the Graduate Certificate in Envirostats. The undergraduate program provides opportunities for summer research projects for those interested in pursuing higher degree studies and a research career. Opportunities for volunteer work also exist for students from Australia and overseas.
Colleagues with whom we collaborate on many fronts are available to serve on a supervisory panel — Professor Bill Maher, Dr Will Osborne and Dr David Williams and of course each may be a point of contact for developing project opportunities as well. There are also our colleagues in the broader research group all of whom can bring special expertise to a supervisory panel.
Interested in joining our group? If you are an undergraduate, a prospective postgraduate student, or a prospective postdoc with strong interests in water science in the field or laboratory, we may be the home for you. We are always interested in new additions to our team, particularly if you have a strong academic record, enjoy a demanding but productive and collegial working environment, and have a strong interest in environmental health.
Scholarships are available for both domestic (including NZ) and international students, with a closing date of October 31 each year. You would need to discuss options with us well in advance of this date. These scholarships are highly competitive, and high academic performance with a publication record greatly improves your chances of success.
Support for Postdoctoral Fellowships is harder to come by. They are available through the Australian Research Council, the University of Canberra Postdoctoral Fellowship Scheme (advertised irregularly), the Cooperative Research Centres, and through negotiation with relevant industry. We would be happy to work with you to develop a competitive proposal on a topic of mutual interest.