Current Projects

2018 Projects

Research Grants

Oh Deer - exploring the narratives of human-deer conflict in North Eastern Victoria

Abstract Human-deer conflict (HDC) has increased in recent years as a deer ‘population explosion’ has brought competition
between humans and deer for space and resources. Conflict issues include road safety, environmental degradation,
and loss of productivity on private land. Underlying HDC is human-human conflict, regarding what is and what should
be. Different stakeholders have different perspectives and values of how deer should be interacted with (i.e.
protected, eradicated, hunted etc.). It is important to understand the narratives through which these perspectives
and values are manifested in order to understand this underlying human-human conflict more holistically, and design
pubic consultation and policy process which are responsive. This study will address the following research questions:

  • What are the historical dimensions of human-deer interaction in Victoria?
  • How is human-deer conflict portrayed in the media and through social media?
  • How are the various narratives of human-deer interaction in North Eastern Victoria constructed and which
    narratives dominate?

Project Contact:  Dr. Jennifer Bond                                          Funding  $9,953

Artificial tree hollows—thinking outside the box

Abstract Tree hollows are a critical resource for animals worldwide, yet widespread habitat loss has drastically reduced the availability of large trees and tree hollows. Within Australia, tree hollows provide important habitat for more than 15% of vertebrate fauna as well as a rangeof invertebrates. Since these structures take a minimum of 80 years to form, populations of many animals are becoming increasingly reliant on nest boxes and other artificial structures. However, the effectiveness of nest boxes as even a short-term solution to tree hollow availability is questionabledue to short lifespan, high microclimate variation, limited understanding of species requirements, inappropriate nest box design and ongoing maintenance required. In this collaboration between ILWS and CSU Engineering, we will use in-depth knowledge of target species to prototype, field test and manufacture3D printed plastic hollows that are anticipated to have comparable thermal properties, longevity and internal dimensions as natural hollows.

Project Contact:  Prof. David Watson                                           Funding  $9,856

How does behaviour influence the survival and fitness of Murray Cod in the Murray-Darling river system?

Abstract This project will allow a new interdisciplinary research team to build a track record of innovative research linking individual animal behaviour to local biodiversity challenges. We will address the low rate of survival of juvenile Murray Cod. Juvenile mortality is the major contributor to the current population decline in this species. Animals, including fish, naturally adopt behavioural traits that help balance the need to avoid predation, yet acquire food necessary for growth and survival. These critical behavioural traits for survival are usually considered along a “bold/shy” spectrum. “Bold” traits allow animals to maximise food acquisition but are high risk, whereas “shy” traits reduce predation risk but also reduce food acquisition. Knowledge gained from this project will 1) inform decision-making on how rivers should be managed to maintain sustainable populations of Murray Cod and 2) contribute to the development of fish hatchery management practices which enhance post-release survival.

Project Contact: A/Prof. Raf Freire                                              Funding $7,320

A study of the biodiversity and abundance of free-living bioluminescent bacteria in coastal waters around Camden Haven and the Camden Haven river.

Abstract: Organisms producing light (bioluminescence) are common in nature and bioluminescent bacteria are common flora in the oceans, seas and estuaries of the world. Bioluminescent bacteria maybe biological indicators of water quality and can be free living or associated with marine organisms like fish and squid. To ensure sustainability of water (of oceans and rivers) biodiversity of organisms and their numbers need to be benchmarked for monitoring. Changes in biodiversity including reduction or changes in species can be indicators of changes in populations of predators, pollution or indeed climate change. This preliminary project is aimed at quantifying the abundance and biodiversity of this unique class of microorganism around the beaches and estuary of the Camden Haven River on the Mid North Coast. A survey of the organisms will be conducted by sampling water from beaches around North Haven and Dunbogan and at various locations in the Camden Haven river catchment. Identification of the species and number of bioluminescent bacteria will conducted using standard microbiological and molecular techniques.

Project Contact: Dr. Nigel Urwin                                                     Funding $8,300

Project Grants

Purchase of Winery Pallet Sheets

Objective: Current work practices in the winery see wines filled, labelled and boxed, then moved to either the Warehouse for storage or to Cellar Door (approx. 200m) where they are then unboxed for use or sale. These boxes are then thrown away, creating unnecessary waste. The pallet sheeting intended to be purchased via this grant is reusable, with an expected life span of at least 15 years.
Benefits of implementing Cella-Stac into our production cycle include reduced wastage, improved OH&S and labour savings. Another possible option of reusing the boxes is not ideal as boxes are bulky and subject to damage by dust and rodents when not in
use. The continual re-use of boxes would see them become shabby over time and discarded. These plastic pallet sheets are a much more compact, easily stored and durable, long term solution for continual reuse.

For more information contact CSU Winery                                 Project Funding $5,000

Albury Wodonga Campus Historical Photos

Objective: This project will digitise and catalogue a series of historically significant photographs that document the development of the Albury-Wodonga Campus at Thurgoona, covering the period c. 1996-2004.Charles Sturt University's adjunct Professor David Mitchell was instrumentalin supporting the innovative design of the university's Albury. Wodonga campus grounds and buildings at Thurgoona, and in particular the wetlands that enable grey water to be reused on campus. These award-winning wetlands are widely lauded, as is the sustainable design of the campus buildings.Prof Mitchell has a unique and incredibly valuable collection of photographs which date back to the beginning of the campus in 1996. Once digitised and catalogued, these images, along with the oral history already recorded with Prof Mitchell will be available to CSU staff and students, (including as part of the School of Environmental Sciences subjects relating to wetlands management), and the wider community in Albury-Wodonga.

For more information contact Wayne Doubleday                          Project Funding: $5,000

360° Immersive Biodiversity Project

Objective: This project builds on CSU Green’s photopoint monitoring work conducted by student Luke Gregory between 2015-17. The aim of this project is to provide 360° video vision that shows a snapshot of vegetation and landscape changes over time (three years) in the conditions the selected points in the CSU Wagga Wagga biodiversity zones. In particular three sites will be chosen at the top, middle and bottom of the catchment to highlight the seasonal changes in the landscape in the middle of summer (Dec-Feb) in contrast to the middle of winter (June-July). Vision will provide vital monitoring evidence over time. There’s potential for this methodology to be replicated on other campuses in an effort to monitor the effectiveness of management strategies in maximising biodiversity values.

For more information contact Andrew Hagan                               Project Funding: $14,784

Port Macquarie Sustainability Showcase

Objective: The Port Macquarie Campus Environmental Committee in collaboration with the Port Macquarie Sustainability Network (PMHSN) would like to host a Regional Sustainability Expo and Showcase on March 1st and 2nd 2019 at the Port Macquarie Racecourse. The PMHSN is a group composed of local people who champion various aspects of sustainability. The event will be auspiced by Charles Sturt University (CSU). It is supported by the Port Macquarie Hastings Council. We are inviting local and regional organisations and businesses to display at the expo and contribute to conference sessions and workshops throughout the two days on how they are contributing to sustainability. The expo will have multiple themes including Food, Climate, Transport, Social, Land Management and Waste Management. The target audience is the general public and entrance will be by gold coin donation. The Campus Environmental Committee will run the Food and Agriculture part of the expo and play a major role in the organisation and financial management of the rest of the showcase.

For more information contact Nigel Urwin                                     Project Funding: $5,100

Grass Roots Grants

Coles Reusable Bag Racks Port Macquarie $444
Boomerang Bags Wagga Wagga $1,000
David Mitchell Wetlands Video Albury-Wodonga $800
Stargazing live  Port Macquarie $1,000
BioQuest Albury-Wodonga $900
Campus Gardens and Organic Waste Wagga Wagga $1,000
PM Return and Earn Port Macquarie $720
Trialing battery operated garden tools Bathurst $868

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