Former ILWS PhD student Dr David Dowell was back on familiar territory (CSU campus at Bathurst) March 9 to 13 where he caught up with his former supervisor Professor Mark Morrison and other colleagues from the School of Management and Marketing. David whose PhD topic was “Elements of trust in a business-to-business relationship” graduated in 2010. After leaving CSU, he moved to Wales as a lecturer at Aberystwyth University before taking up his current position as a Senior Lecturer at St Andrews University in Scotland in 2017.
While here he, Mark, Professor Kevin Parton and Dr Jodie Kleinschafer worked on a paper on climate change champions in households. He also gave a presentation on March 11 on a study he has done around household and family unemployment, volunteering and well-being
The Women in Trades team hosted the Minister for Women Bronwyn ‘Bronnie’ Taylor for an International Women’s Day afternoon tea during her visit to CSU’s campus at Bathurst on March 3.The Minister, a CSU alumni, joined in a lively discussion facilitated by Dr Donna Bridges where tradeswomen talked about their experiences in male dominated workplaces.Team members Dr Donna Bridges, Associate Professor Branka Krivokapic-Skoko and Elizabeth Wulff, CSU representatives Fiona Nash and Julia Andrews, local tradeswomen, business owners and stakeholders formed the group who met with the Minister.
Professor Ho Long Phi, from the Centre for Water Management and Climate Change, Vietnam National University, was a special international guest for a two day MOTA framework development workshop held at the Albury-Wodonga campus, February 20-21.Other international participants at the workshop were Rezki Antoni, from the Southeast Asia Fisheries Development Centre, Inland Fisheries Resources Development and Management Department, Indonesia and Chann Aun Tob from the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Cambodia.
The workshop was held to “kick start” a new project - Translating fish passage outcomes into policy and legislation across South East Asia. Professor Phi gave a presentation on the background of the Motivation and Ability (MOTA) framework that he developed and its application within an international context. Professor Phi, who helped lead different sections of the workshop, has been working with Vietnamese and Dutch colleagues using MOTA within several projects.
As part of the activities associated with the Improving groundwater management to enhance agriculture and farming livelihoods in Pakistan project, six visitors came from Pakistan for two weeks to attend the Australian Groundwater Conference (AGC) 2019, November 24-28, in Brisbane, participate in two field trips in Queensland before travelling to Albury to attend a four day journal article writing workshop at Charles Sturt University's Albury-Wodonga campus, December 2-5.
The visitors from Pakistan were Ms Kanza Javed, the project’s communications manager; Dr Saira Akhtar, Chairperson of the Rural Sociology Department at the University of Agriculture, Faisalabad; Dr Tehmina Mangan, Economics Professor at Sindh Agriculture University; Dr Syed Khair, Economics Professor at Balochistan University of Information Technology, Engineering and Management Sciences; Dr Muhammad Saeed Arian, Chief Engineer of the International Waterlogging and Salinity Research Institute in Lahore, Pakistan; Dr Mobushir Riaz Khan, formerly from Pakistan and now employed by Charles Sturt as a spatial scientist; and Mr Ghulam Zakir Hassan, who in addition to being an ILWS PhD candidate is also involved in the Pakistan project as Director of the Irrigation Research Institute at Punjab Irrigation Department.
Six wetland experts from around the globe got together in Yackandandah, North East Victoria, December 9 - 14, for a five day workshop to plan and begin writing a report on the drivers of global wetland loss and degradation and what can be done to slow down this loss. The report will build on the Global Wetland Outlook produced by the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands in 2018. Participants were:
1.Prof Roy Gardner, Stetson University, USA (ILWS adjunct) – management responses (legal and institutional processes) and former Chair of the Ramsar Convention’s technical advisory panel
2.Dr Matthew McCartney, IWMI, Sri Lanka (ILWS adjunct) – rivers and water, and member of CGIAR Land, Water & Ecosystem Program
3.Dr Ritesh Kumar, Wetlands International, India (ILWS adjunct) – management responses (economic and community), and member of the Intergovernmental Panel for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services
4.A/Prof Anne van Dam, IHE Delft, Netherlands (ILWS adjunct) – drivers of change, and fish/aquaculture
5.Prof Siobhan Fennessy, Kenyon College, USA – assessment of change, and member of Intergovernmental Panel for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, and USA national wetland assessment program
6. Professor Max Finlayson Aust (ILWS adjunct) – wetland ecology and management, including restoration; former Chair of Ramsar Convention’s technical advisory panel; member of the Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change, the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, and the Global Environment Outlook
Under the Australia-Germany Joint Research Co-operation Scheme, the Institute hosted two visitors, Dr Melanie Mueller and Josef Knott from Germany, in November last year as part of a higher lever bi-lateral exchange program with senior academics from Charles Sturt University and the Technical University of Munich. Dr Melanie Mueller was here for two weeks, from November 5 - 18; and Josef Knott, a PhD student was here for three weeks, November 5 – 30.
The program is being funded by CSU (Enhancing the environmental sustainability of hydropower projects, $25,000) and the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD). Their visit follows that of Professor Lee Baumgartner, Dr Wayne Robinson and Institute Adjunct Dr Craig Boys (NSW DPI)’s visit to Germany in October last year.
“While we were there we did some trials on a series of hydropower plants to understand the hydraulics of water as it goes through the plants,” says Professor Lee Baumgartner. “When we did those experiments we briefly analysed the data to look at what hydraulic conditions the fish might have experienced.”
While the visitors were here, these experiments were replicated at CSU’s new aquatic laboratory at Thurgoona. Replication of the experiments involved setting up a series of simulated hydropower facilities; sourcing brown trout (one year old trout and few month old trout) from NSW Government hatcheries; and borrowing a mobile barotrauma chamber from NSW DPI-Fisheries.
Hence, the current project is a multi-collaboration project between CSU, NSW DPI-Fisheries and Munich Institute of Technology. Brown trout were used for the experiments as they both native to Germany and are a popular recreational fish in Australia.
While the data is still to be analysed Lee says what they were hoping to discover was the susceptibility of the fish to injury in the three hydropower plants.
The research team aims to report back to the Bavarian State government as to which design is less likely to harm fish. The interest to Australia is that the three hydropower designs they are testing haven’t been applied to Australia before. They are very new and innovative and, if they find out that they are fairly safe for fish, there could be a potential market for them in Australia.
A joint funding application is now being prepared for a four year project to progress the research further.
The institute welcomed international visitors from the University of Mpumalanga, Mbombela and the Krueger National Parks, to Albury where they attended the Workshop on resilience in Semi-arid landscapes of South Africa and Australia October 8-9 with ILWS researchers and NSW Govt officers and then went on field trips October 10-12. Dr Mduduzi Ndlovu (UMP, Senior Lecturer, SBES), Danie Pienaar (KNP, Director Scientific Services SANPARKS), Robin Petersen (KNP, Scientific Services Scientist), Dr Sam M. Ferreira, large mammal ecologist at SANParks, and Dr Gordon O’Brien (UMP, Senior Lecturer, SBES).
The Institute hosted seven visitors from Pakistan in August as part of the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) scoping project Living with salinity in the Indus Basin: SRA 2. The project is developing a proposal for a four year project that could lead to a longer term program of works in the lower Indus Basin. The visitors were in Australia for two weeks, August 10 to 26, to fulfil a key component of the project which is exposure to the strategies and outcomes of Australia’s approach to salinity; and to further contribute to the collaborative development of the research proposal.
The visitors were from Mehran University of Engineering and Technology (MUET); Muhammad Nawaz Shareef University of Agriculture Multan (MNSUAM); and the Society of Facilitators and Trainers (SOFT), all partners in the scoping project.
They were Dr Bakhshal Lashari, Professor and Director, US-Pakistan Centre for Advanced Studies in Water (USPCAS-W), MUET; Dr Abdul Latif Qureshi, Professor and Sectional Head in Hydraulics, Irrigation and Drainage, USPCAS-W, MUET; Dr Altaf Ali Siyal, Professor and Sectional Head in Integrated Water Resources Management, USPCAS-W, MUET; Dr Irfan Ahmad Baig, Professor and Acting Dean, Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities, MNSUAM; Dr Tanveer ul Haq, Associate Professor and Chairman, Department of Soil and Environmental Sciences, MNSUAM; Dr Iftikhar Hussain, Chairman, SOFT; and Ms Fozia Memon, a project officer at SOFT.
The visit included meeting with representatives from the Murray-Darling Basin Authority, Commonwealth Environmental Water Office, ACIAR and CSIRO, attending the Crawford Fund’s annual conference in Canberra; meetings with the Holbrook Landcare Collective in Holbrook, Murray Irrigation Ltd in Deniliquin, Goulburn Broken CMA and Goulburn Murray Water in Shepparton, which included a tour of various sites across the Shepparton Irrigation District, the Western Murray Land Improvement Group in Barham, which included a visit to the Wakool salt interception scheme and a farm at Pental Island to see saltbush trials; an ecotour along the Barmah Choke; a visit to Mulwala Dam; an overnight stay at Philippa and Simon Noble’s farm at Brimin Lodge; and attending the Institute organised Murray Darling Basin Forum, a SEGRA pre-conference workshop.
The group were then based at Thurgoona for the rest of their stay where they took part in a two-day Indus Basin Salinity Program Systems Analysis Workshop and two-day workshop on transdisciplinary research. Two guest experts were brought in for the workshop on “Workshop to explore framings for transdisciplinary research in complex contexts” Professor Ray Ison, from the Open University, based in the UK; and Dr Mark Stafford-Smith, an Honorary Fellow with CSIRO. Ray is an expert in systems thinking, having worked and taught in that field for over 30 years. While based in the UK, he often spends time in Australia as his partner is a professor at Melbourne University. Mark, a dryland systems ecologist, spent 22 years in Central Australia at Alice Springs with CSIRO which included running a Desert Knowledge CRC. He has been in Canberra for the past 13 years mostly working on adaptation to climate change. Mark has also been involved in a number of organisations that try to co-ordinate research internationally; most recently Future Earth. He was also involved in the run-up to the Rio Plus20 conference in 2012 and development of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. Ray led a session on “Systemic co-inquiry” during the workshop, and Mark a session on “Integrating the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.”
Professor Karin Limburg
Professor Karin Limburg, a Professor of Fisheries and Ecosystem Science at the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry was in Australia in July for just over a week to assist PhD student Vu Vi An with preparing samples and analysing otoliths for his project In search of the elusive Mekong salmon. It included spending three days at the Australian Synchrotron in Melbourne with An, Associate Professor Lee Baumgartner, Dr Julia Howitt and ILWS Adjunct Dr Jason Thiem, analysing otoliths, using a technique called X-ray fluorescence. The otoliths were collected by An in the Mekong (Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam), and Irrawaddy (Myanmar) rivers to determine which ones moved between the sea and freshwater.
The analysis showed the life histories of some fish that has never been seen before. “It was the first time we’d seen some species move between the sea and freshwater which is pretty significant because it means, for those fish, that any dams on the main stems of the rivers are going to block their access to spawning grounds," says team leader Associate Professor Lee Baumgartner. "It gives us quite a bit of information that we can use to guide dam placement, to speak with developers about future mitigation options. But it was just the tip of the iceberg. An’s PhD will be really revolutionary for many species."
Professor Rick Shine, a guest of Charles Sturt University Post Doctoral Society, gave a fascinating talk on the invasion of cane toads in the Top End to 31 people at the Albury-Wodonga campus on Wednesday 19 June, with others joining via the videoconference on other campuses. Rick, an evolutionary biologist and ecologist at Macquarie University, has been using reptiles and amphibians as model systems to explore evolutionary processes. In more recent years Rick has switched his focus from snakes to cane toads.
A leading Kaupapa Māori educator and researcher, Associate Professor Leonie Pihama, visited CSU’s Wagga Wagga campus (Feb 18 to 20) and the Bathurst campus (Feb 21 to 22) for two public lectures, panel discussions, and research seminars/meetings.
Leonie, who is the Director of Te Kotahi Research Institute at the University of Waikato, New Zealand, and the Director of Māori and Indigenous Analysis Ltd, works in the intersecting fields of education, health, whānau wellbeing, Māori immersion education, policy analysis, Māori women’s issues and the politics of representation of Indigenous Peoples. Her visit was funded by the Faculty of Arts and Education’s Visiting Scholar Program as part of the Indigenous Knowledges Stream Initiative, a research initiative involving three ILWS members - Associate Professor Susan Mlcek, the research project lead; Associate Professor Dominic O’Sullivan, a group facilitator; and Professor Manohar Pawar, in a critical audience role. While here Leonie gave two public lectures, one on “Kaupapa Māori Theory: An Indigenous Theory of Transformation” at Wagga Wagga on February 18, and the other on “Historical trauma, Maori and healing the impact of family violence” at the Bathurst campus, Feb 21.
In February, the Institute hosted five members of partner organisations in the ILWS led Improving groundwater management to enhance agriculture and farming livelihoods in Pakistan project. The five, a group of Pakistani water management and technical experts, were in Australia to investigate water management techniques across the Murray-Darling Basin and to collaborate with ILWS researchers to develop models for sustainable use of groundwater for irrigated agriculture in Pakistan. The models, being developed within a series of case studies associated with the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) funded project, will show groundwater levels in response to intensification of pumping for irrigation and climate change. The five men were in Australia for two weeks. For the first week, they were out in the field, touring the Murray-Darling Basin. For the second week, they were at CSU’s Albury-Wodonga campus at Thurgoona where a special morning tea was held to welcome them and the project’s Scientific Director, Institute Adjunct Professor Jay Punthakey, gave an overview of the project.
Conservation biologist Dr Alex Bond, who is the Senior Curator in Charge of Birds at the Natural History Museum in London, visited the Institute and CSU's Albury-Wodonga campus in December and gave a talk on December 5 on "Trash Talk; The story of the Shearwater and the Bottle Cap."
Visiting the Institute twice in November for a couple of weeks at a time was PhD student Sam Perrin from the Norwegian University of Science and Techn ology. Sam, whose PhD is looking at the effect of climate change on freshwater fish communities, particularly invasive species, was here to write a collaborative paper with Dr Keller Kopf and to do some field work for a project Keller leads Native and invasive fish dispersal, spawning and trophic dynamics during a managed river-floodplain connection.
Eduardo Brambilla, a student at Brazil’s São Paulo State University (UNESP), is in Australia for six months (August 2018 to February 2019). While here he has the opportunity to acquire ground-breaking new knowledge by being involved in the Institute’s research work for the Snowy 2.0 project, and other fish related research projects both in Australia and overseas. He is working with the Institute’s Dr Lee Baumgartner, Dr Luiz Silva and other members of the ILWS team. Eduardo is on a scholarship from the Brazilian Council of Higher Degree Programs (CAPES) via a program of the Brazilian Federal Government to provide for international exchange of higher degree students. Eduardo’s PhD project aims to understand the impacts of a cascade of three small hydropower plants on the reproduction and recruitment of migratory fish populations in South Eastern Brazil, by looking at the distribution, composition and abundance of fish eggs and larvae in the system.
Special guest at a one day workshop "Engaging with Sustainable Development Goals" at Albury-Wodonga campus on October 18 convened by Professor Manohar Pawar, was Ms Patricia Garcia, AO, National Program Manager UN Sustainable Development Goals, United Nations Association of Australia (UNAA). The aim of the workshop was to brainstorm potential ILWS engagement with the SDGs in terms of grants and interdisciplinary perspectives.
International academic scholar and First Nations Human Rights activist Professor Cindy Blackstock from Canada visited CSU Bathurst as a Visiting Scholar, August 27 to 31. While here Professor Blackstock, whose visit was funded by the Faculty of Arts & Education, gave a public lecture on “Indigenous ways of doing moral and respectful courage” on August 28. Her visit also provided an opportunity for CSU researchers to engage with Professor Blackstock to develop an “Indigenous Knowledges Stream” at CSU.
Jan du Preez, from JAD Systems, was in Australia in June for a week to work closely with ILWS staff to install, commission and train researchers to use his Fast transient Hyperbaric Chamber. This special piece of laboratory equipment, which Jan designed and built overseas (in the U.S. and South Africa) is being used for Snowy Hydro project, Predicting redfin survival through the Snowy 2.0 scheme. Assignment 2.
Five economists from the Institute's groundwater project in Pakistan were in Australia May 26 to June 3 to attend a training program in Sydney where they learnt how to use MAD (Mobile Acquired Data) applications for collecting survey data. While here they met with project team members Associate Professor Catherine Allan, Dr Michael Mitchell, Dr Jay Punthakey and Dr Richard Culas.
Dr Judy Dunlop, co-supervisor of ILWS PhD student Harry Moore, visited the Institute on Wednesday, March 21. Judy, who works for the WA Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions, was visiting the east coast for the historic release of 20 Eastern quolls into Booderee National Park at Jervis Bay on Tuesday, March 13 - marking the return of the mammal to mainland Australia for the first time in 50 years. Her time at the Institute included meeting with A/Prof Dale Nimmo, Harry's other supervisor, catching up with friends from early research days, and a presentation to members of the Institute on 'quolls and rockholes in the Pilbara region' at the Albury-Wodonga campus.
A group of water managers from Talanga and Andhra Pradesh, India visited Australia on a ICEWaRM technical tour in January. The NSW leg, led by Dr Kelvin Montagu, focussed on water management along the Murrumbidgee River. The group spent three days in Griffith talking to growers and water service providers to understand water entitlements, allocations and trading and how this improved water productivity.
The management of environmental water then became the group's focus as it followed the Murrumbidgee River up-stream and, on January 25, the group met up with ILWS member Dr Julia Howitt and CEWO’s Madeline Gorham at CSU's Wagga campus. The pair gave presentations that provided greater insight into the management and complexities of environmental water.
Dr Lee Baumgartner, Dr Luiz Silva and Mr Vu Vi An hosted a delegation of scientists from Indonesia who were interested in learning about fish passage and potential applications in tropical systems in December. The delegation included Dr Arif Wibowo and Dr Vipen Adisanh who were treated to a tour of Southern NSW and the ACT.The delegation stopped at the Yarrawonga fishlift, various fishway sites in Deniliquin, Narrandera Fisheries Centre, Charles Sturt University in Wagga and ACIAR in Canberra.
Visiting scholar André Vieira Galuch (pictured right next to Dr Paul Humphries) is a PhD student from Brazil based at CSU's Albury-Wodonga campus for four months. A student of the course of Freshwater Biology and Inland Fisheries (BADPI) at the National Institute of Amazonian Research (INPA), in Manaus, Amazonas, Brazil, André hopes to complete his PhD; to work with fish ecologist Dr Paul Humphries and to learn more about their mutual study area – the dispersal of larval drift in relation to flow.
His visit has been sponsored by Brazilian Federal Agency for Support and Evaluation of Graduate Education. His PhD is on "Larval fish and the impact of dams on the Madeira River," one of the largest tributaries of the Amazon River. He is studying the effect of the Santo Antonio Dam, building for which began in 2008 with the dam coming into operation in 2012 with two turbines, on larval fish in the river upstream and downstream of the dam.
Two of the Institute's Adjuncts Professor Nick Davidson and Mr Rob McInnes were in Australia in October for a week to work with other Institute researchers on an international citizen-science project on the state of the world's wetlands.
The project, a 'citizen-science' survey on the State of the World's Wetlands, was launched in May this year and ran for five months. The volunteer project is a collaboration between ILWS; the Society of Wetland Scientists, (particularly its Ramsar section of which Rob is a past chair and Nick the current chair); the World Wetland Network, a network facilitating engagement with local (mostly community based) wetland related NGOs world-wide; and the Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust.
The visit in October was Institute Adjunct Professor Nick Davidson second visit to Australia this year. He was also here in August primarily to attend a National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility (NCCARF) workshop in Brisbane.
Dr Gordon O'Brien a principal scientist from the University of Kwazulu-Natal, in South Africa, who specialises in fish ecology, visited Australia in September. While here Dr O'Brien visited the Yarrawonga Fish Lift, for the first lift of the season.
Seven Fishy Amigos - were at the CSU Albury-Wodonga Campus August 3, discussing experimental approaches for the Fishing for Answers project, which is funded by the NSW Recreational Fishing Trust. The objective of the meeting was to plan out their experimental approach and develop a workplan for the coming 12 months.
From left to right;
Lee Baumgartner (ILWS), Brett Pflugrath (NSW Fisheries), Luiz Silva (ILWS), Craig Boys (ILWS Adjunct and NSW Fisheries), Jason Thiem (ILWS adjunct – NSW Fisheries), Gavin Butler (NSW Fisheries), Cameron Westaway (NSW Fisheries)
Associate Professor Doug Bird, from Pennsylvania State University, U.S visited the Institute in May. While here A/Prof Bird gave gave a seminar at the Albury-Wodonga campus on May 17 on 'Livelihoods, fire regimes and novel ecosystems in Indigenous Australia.' A/Prof Bird is an Associate Professor of ecological anthropology, with broad interests in how social and ecological factors interact to influence patterns of resource use and their archaeological expressions. He and his wife Professor Rebecca Bird are collaborators on Dr Dale Nimmo's ARC Discovery Early Career Researcher Award project Can Indigenous land management forestall an extinction crisis? (2017-2020) which builds on the team's Hermon Slade Foundation funded project Can Indigenous fire management restore mammal communities? (2016-2019)
Visitor to the Institute in March for a couple of days was Associate Professor Martine Maron from the University of Queensland's School of Earth and Environmental Sciences. While here Associate Professor Maron presented a seminar on "Biodiversity offsetting and no net loss in dynamic landscapes" attended by about 30 people including staff and NRM agency representatives from the NSW Office of Environment & Heritage, and Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning, at the Albury-Wodonga campus on March 15.
Two international visitors to the Institute in February were Professor Ken Irvine, from Delft-IHE's Water Science and Engineering Department, is Chair of the Aquatic Ecosystems Group and Dr Doug Shaw, the Associate State Director for The Nature Conservancy in Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota, running its conservation programs in those states. The two were here to attend a he three day workshop "Myanmar Project Partnership Opportunities", held on CSUs Albury campus, February 7-9.
Institute adjunct Prof Nick Davidson was in Australia for a short visit in November during which time he attended a meeting of Associate Editors of the journal Marine and Freshwater Research in Melbourne, and met and worked with colleague Institute Director Professor Max Finlayson, Editor-in-Chief of the journal. One of the reasons he was in Australia, with support from the Institute, was to do some development of the Society of Wetland Scientists (SWS) Ramsar Section-led project, which includes developing a citizen science approach through a simple questionnaire. While here he also met with Institute adjunct Dr Mariagrazia Bellio to benefit from her experience of developing such qualitative questionnaires and how to analyse the responses.
Visiting Academic Professor Luiz Silva, from the Federal University of Sao Joao del-Rei (UFSJ) in Minas Gerais, Brazil, will be based at CSU's Albury-Wodonga Campus for 18 months. Luiz, a fish ecologist, has research interests in fish passage, fish mortality from hydro-turbines (hydropower), and the impacts on fish from water infrastructure in general. He will be working with colleague Dr Lee Baumgartner. The two are members of a global programme, the International Energy Agency Technology Collaboration Programme on Hydropower - Annex XIII: Hydropower and Fish - of which Australia and Brazil are both members.
Accompanying Luiz is his wife Lorena Nogueira, who is doing her PhD on fish eggs and larval drift, at La Trobe University, Wodonga.
L to R: Dr Lee Baumgartner with Lorena Nogueira and Professor Luiz Silva
Associate Professor Aida Abdullah from the National Defence University of Malaysia visited Bathurst on July 9 to discuss human and wildlife coexistence. Aida met Associate Professors Peter Simmons and Chika Anyanwu and Dr Michael Mehmet in the School of Communication and Creative Industries.
Peter, Michael and Aida are designing a study to explore and measure attitudes to coexisting with wildlife generally, with a focus on kangaroos in Australia and monkeys in Malaysia.
Pic Visitors from Malaysia meet with ILWS members from the School of Communication and Creative Industries in Bathurst
Visting Academic Associate Professor Mingwei Li from the school of Business, Hebei Agriculture University (HAU), Baoding, China is based at the CSU's Orange Campus, School of Agricultural and Wine Sciences (SAWS) from December 2014 - November 2015. While in Australia, A/Prof Li is working with Dr Richard Culas on "performance evaluation of agricultural development project in relation to small scale irrigation projects in China".
Visiting from the University of Otago, New Zealand, Dr Bruce Robertson and his wife Fiona, spent a week in May catching up with colleague Institute member Dr Melanie Massaro. Bruce, a zoology lecturer, specialises in conservation genetics and wildlife management and he was in the Albury-Wodonga region catching silvereyes as part of a project funded by the Royal Society of New Zealand's Marsden Fund. Fiona is a Research Associate in the Robertson Conservation Genetics Lab at Otago University.
Making a quick visit to the Institute on March 16-17 was Cr Joan White from Goondiwindi Regional Council. Joan, who comes from Texas near the Queensland/NSW Border, was here as a representative of the rural communities in the northern part of the Murray-Darling Basin.
Pic from left Prof Max Finlayson, Dr John Rafferty, Cr Joan White
Joan, a member of the Border Rivers Environmental Water Network, is on the Interim Board of the Regional Centre of Expertise--Murray-Darling which met yesterday at the Albury-Wodonga campus to begin developing a strategy to engage with stakeholders across the Basin.
"We are losing the people who are looking after the land," says Joan. "Rural communities are really struggling. I'm here to look for ways that we can work together, to motivate others, so we can have social and economic sustainability, better land and water management, social cohesion and connectivity, and maintain general health. The RCE-MD can broker relationships and connections to make that happen."
Dr Tom Wengraf, Honorary Senior Research Fellow at the Birkbeck Institute for Social Research, London University and Dr Prue Chamberlayne Visiting Senior Research Fellow, Open University, United Kingdom were in Australia in February to run a five day intensive workshop (February 20-25) in Wagga Wagga for nine CSU researchers.
The pair are experts in a social research technique called Biographic Narrative Interpretive Method.
"This was a wonderful opportunity to hear from leaders in the field and is an example of how the University is working to develop new research skills and the capacity of our researchers with the help of world class trainers," said workshop organiser, Professor Manohar Pawar said.
Above: CSU academics and students Mr Arif Rohman, Dr Ndungi Wa Mungai,
Ms Ruth Bailey, Dr Fiona Douglas, Ms Carla Hogg, Professor Manohar Pawar,
Mr Jose Abalo, Mr Rodney Star and (sitting) Mr George Rafael, with Dr
Prue Chamberlayne and Dr Tom Wengraf from the UK.-pic CSU Media
Visitors to the Institute in January were Professor Victor Marin, his wife Professor Luisa Delgado, both of whom are from the University of Chile, Santiago, in South America, and their son Ignacio Marin, 16.
Left to right Ignacio Marin, ILWS PhD student Luisa Perez-Mujica, Professor Victor Marin and Professor Luisa Delgado
Professor Marin and his wife, who were in Albury for four days, are writing a paper with Institute Director Professor Max Finlayson, on the complexities and uncertainties in socio-ecological systems based on the example of the Rio Cruces wetland in Chile.
A group of Indonesian journalists visiting Australia as part of the Asia Pacific Journalism Centre 5-week fellowship came to ILWS on the morning of Thursday August 30 to learn more about business and environmental issues particularly on the theme of "Why water matters" with a discussion on food security and water management issues with Institute Director Professor Max Finlayson and Associate Director A/Prof Vaughan Higgins.
Their visit started with a Welcome to Country, followed by a talk on the Indigenous perspectives of environmental management by ILWS researcher and Wiradjuri elder Yalmambirra.
Institute visitor in August 2014 was Professor Guoqing Shi, an eminent social researcher from Hohai University, Nanjing, China. While here Professor Shi renewed a MOU between Hohai and CSU (he helped instigate the original MOU signed in 2007); gave a seminar on "Social, economic and environmental impacts of large scale water projects: Three Gorges Dam and South to North Water Transfer Project" at the Albury campus on Wednesday afternoon; and discussed potential collaborative research projects with Institute members including Institute Director Professor Max Finlayson and Sustainable Water Strategic Research Area leader A/Prof Robyn Watts. Professor Shi is also a co-supervisor of ILWS PhD student Ms Yinru (Ruby) Lei.
A visitor to the Institute for three weeks during July was Dr Mardiana Fachry (pictured with Dr Joanne Millar) from Hasanuddin University, Sulawesi, Indonesia.
Dr Fachry, a social scientist working in fisheries, conservation, gender and rural development is a colleague of the Institute's Dr Joanne Millar. They work together on an ACIAR funded project Diversification of smallholder coastal aquaculture in Indonesia (2011 to 2015) led by the University of Sydney, for which Prof Fachry did most of the social research in Sulawesi, and Dr Millar in Aceh.
Dr Fachry established seven farmer groups in Sulawesi who trialled three complementary species to shrimp: tilapia, crabs, and lawi-lawi (a seaweed). She then evaluated how the groups organised themselves and interviewed members on the pros and cons of diversifying commodities.
The two have also worked together on another ACIAR funded project, Informing productivity and profitability of small-holder shrimp aquaculture and related agribusiness in Indonesia (2009-2011) and run training courses for fisheries scientists in qualitative and quantitative social research methods in Sulawesi and Aceh.
Dr Fachry is a lecturer in socio-economics with the Faculty of Fisheries and Marine Science, and while here she presented a seminar with Dr Millar on the Albury campus and worked on a journal paper from her survey results. "We are hoping to get three journal articles out of the research, two on the surveys in Sulawesi, and one on the research done in Aceh," says Dr Millar.
While in Australia, Dr Fachry spent a week at the University of Sydney, discussing a new ACIAR project looking at grouper hatcheries (sea cages) on the north coast of Bali.
This was her fifth visit to Australia. For her first visit, in 2002, she spent six months at the University of Adelaide working on gender mainstreaming (ensuring women are included) research for a Sulawesi government program.
Dr Fahry says she is hoping for further collaboration between the Institute and her university's Environmental Studies Centre.
Four biologists from Papua New Guinea gave a fascinating and informative presentation today on their various research projects in PNG in the School of Environmental Sciences' tea room on campus at Albury-Wodonga.
The four visited CSU to participate in a wildlife health & disease training program being run by the School of Animal & Veterinary Sciences at Wagga.
The four, three (Tania Areori, Daniel Okena and Heather Taitibe) from the PNG Institute for Biological Research, and one (Wallace Takendu) from the Wildlife Conservation Society, are working on some very cute species including the Silky Cuscus and the Long Beaked Echidna. They provided an excellent insight into some of the challenges facing wildlife conservationists in PNG.
Charles Start University and the New South Wales Department of Primary Industries hosted a visit by Dr Malavanh Chittavong, from the National University of Lao to Albury campus on Thursday 27th March 2014.
Dr Chittavong, a senior academic in the Faculty of Agriculture was awarded the John Dillon Fellowship by the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) to spend six weeks in Australia learning about research management and fisheries research.
Dr Chittavong has been involved in an ACIAR project in Laos that has installed the first ever fish passage designed specifically for Mekong River fish species.
Whilst at CSU Albury campus, Dr Chittavong and Jarrod McPherson from the Narrandera Fisheries Research Centre met with ILWS social researcher, Dr Joanne Millar.
Dr Millar is conducting surveys of villagers around the fishway in Laos to determine the social and economic benefits from fish returning to a wetland from the Mekong River (see project profile).
The next survey will be conducted in November 2014 to see if villagers have observed any increase in fish numbers or species over two years as a result of the fish passage.
Natural Resource Management issues faced in Canada are not that dissimilar to those in Australia according to Randy Milton, Manager of Wildlife Resources with the Ecosystems and Habitats Program, with the Department of Natural Resources in Nova Scotia, Canada, who visited Prof Max Finlayson in March.
Randy first met Max in 1999 at a Ramsar meeting in Costa Rica. Like Max he is a member of the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands' Scientific and Technical Review Panel (STRP). The two have worked together on the United Nations Environment Program's Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, a couple of academic papers, and, as STRP members, on documents for various resolutions. His week- long visit to Australia in March was a social one – to catch up with Max for his 60th birthday and "to get away from two metres of snow back home."
Visitor to the Institute on Monday December 9 at the Albury-Wodonga campus was CSU adjunct A/Prof Andrew Rawson (pictured with Institute Associate Director A/Prof Vaughan Higgins). A/Prof Rawson was here to discuss plans for a major Food Security Conference next year and a proposal for a new CSU research hub with a focus on agro-ecological sustainability and food security. A/Prof Rawson, an adjunct with CSU's School of Agriculture and Wine Sciences, said the proposed new hub cuts across research interests and goals for ILWS and the Graham Centre for Agricultural Innovation as well as faculties and schools
Professor Cui Lijuan, who is the Director of the Institute of Wetland Research, Chinese Academy of Forestry. Professor Cui, who attended a Ramsar Workshop on Detecting Change in Ecological Character held at Queenscliff last week, has spent a few days in North-East Victoria during November catching up with Institute Director Professor Max Finlayson. The pair are working on a paper about a wetland monitoring network Professor Cui has established in China.
Catching up with our Japanese visitor Tomomi Maekawa on October 23 at the Albury-Wodonga campus was Karen Brisbane, a Victorian Landcare Corporate Partnerships Facilitator based in Shepparton with the Goulburn Broken Catchment Management Authority. Tomomi, a visiting student scholar and PhD student with the Tokyo Institute of Technology, is studying Landcare in Australia.
Ms Tomomi Maekawa, who is a fellow with ILWS and PhD student with Tokyo Institute of Technology, was joined by her supervisor Professor Toshio Kuwako from Tokyo Institute of Technology, Professor Michael Seigel from Nanzan University and another Japanese expert, as well as the chair of Australian Landcare International Mr Rob Youl. During their stay on the Border in mid September, the visitors met with local Landcare groups and ILWS research professor Allan Curtis, Australia's leading expert on the Landcare movement. Photo from Left Dr Kazuki Kagohashi, Research Fellow from Nanzan University ; Rob Youl, President of Australian Landcare International; Prof Toshio Kuwako, Tokyo Institute of Technology (and Tomomi's supervisor); Prof Allan Curtis, ILWS; Tomomi Maekawa, a visiting student scholar (Doctoral) from Tokyo Institute of Technology, and in Australia for a year based here at CSU's Albury-Wodonga campus; and Prof Michael Seigel, from the Nanzan Institute for Social Ethics, Nanzan University.
In August Dr Tashi Samdup from Bhutan took the opportunity to discuss the progress of two Bhutanese PhD student researchers Kuenga Namgay and Karma Tenzing — Photo from left Karma Tenzing, Tashi Samdup and Kuenga Namgay at CSU Thurgoona.
Research details : Transhumant agropastoralists in Bhutan. Do they have a place in the 21st century? Kuenga Namgay
Common Property Resource Management in Bhutan: improving livelihoods and governance of rangelands. Karma Tenzing
Independent environmental consultant Robert McInnes from the UK dropped in briefly at the Albury-Wodonga campus on Tuesday, April 30 where he met with ILWS PhD student Paul Amoateng to discuss their shared interest in urban wetlands in Ghana.
Rob has just spent a couple of days with Institute Director Prof Max Finlayson, a fellow member of the Ramsar Convention's Scientific and Technical Review Panel. The two are co-editing a book on constructing wetlands for multiple benefits and are co-editors of a on-line virtual encyclopaedia on wetlands. Rob, who is doing work for UNESCO on water and natural resource management in the Lake Chad Basin in Africa, was also investigating parallels with the Murray Darling Basin and the lessons learnt that could be adapted to the Lake Chad Basin.
More about Rob's company at http://www.rmwe.co.uk/
The Institute's new Advisory Board had the opportunity to meet with the University's Vice-Chancellor, Professor Andrew Vann, and Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) Professor Sue Thomas at its first meeting held at the Albury-Wodonga campus, on Thursday, March 14.
The Board, chaired by Dr John Williams, were also given updates on some of the latest research being undertaken by ILWS members across a number of the Institute's Strategic Research Areas.
After each presentation, Board members were invited to share their ideas and insights as a way of encouraging and guiding ILWS members.
"I was invigorated by the day," said Dr Williams.
"I so enjoyed hearing good science both social and biophysical, meeting with keen minds and engaged staff."
Dr Williams said the Board's intention is to add value to ILWS's work and strategic positioning. It will produce a report from the meeting for the Institute and CSU management.
Institute Director Professor Max Finlayson said Dr Williams' response illustrated a successful first up meeting. "I felt that the AB members felt welcomed and part of ILWS, and were certainly keen to listen and engage....a good start."
Caption: Left to right (back row) Paul Ryan, Dr John Williams AO, Professor Max Finlayson, Professor Andrew Vann (front row) Barbara Hull, Professor Sue Thomas, Professor Kathleen Bowmer, Cathy McGowan AO, Lorne Butt, Nikki Scott
Visitors to the Institute at the Albury-Wodonga campus on Thursday, March 7, were two representatives from the Lachlan Catchment Management Authority, Fin Martin, the CMA's Acting Program Manager, and Joanne Lenehan, its Acting Water Theme Leader.
While here the two attended a special ILWS morning tea and then had a meeting with researchers and new Institute PhD students to discuss the projects underway in the Lachlan catchment in NSWs Central West.
These projects include:
Caption: (left to right) Amelia Walcott, Adrian Clements, Saideepa Kumar, Dr Catherine Allan, Dr Anna Lukasiewicz, Jess Shoeman, Sha Sha ( Xioying Liu), Joanne Lenehan (Lachlan CMA), Dr Andrew Hall, Carmen Amos, and Fin Martin (Lachlan CMA)
The Institute's PhD student from Mexico, Luisa Perez Mujica held a morning tea at the Albury-Wodonga campus on Wednesday, March 13 to introduce her parents, Tere Mujica and Luis Perez, who are from Mexico City and in Australia for three weeks, to her ILWS colleagues and friends.
"So far, they love Australia, even though it is a bit too dry for them," says Luisa. "They enjoy the calm and tranquillity Albury provides and are thankful for not being woken up by car horns every morning. They love the local produce and how warm and friendly people in Albury have been towards them."
From left Mother Tere Mujica, Luisa Perez Mujica and her father Luis Perez