William F. Laurance will deliver a free public presentation at the University of Adelaide on the 26th of June entitled: “Impacts of Explosive Road Expansion on Global Ecosystems and Biodiversity”.
William is Distinguished Research Professor at James Cook University, Cairns, and has received one of Australia’s highest scientific honours, the Australian Laureate Award. He also holds the Prince Bernhard Chair for International Nature Conservation at Ultrecht University, Netherlands.
Professor Laurance has authored eight books and over 400 scientific and popular articles. He is in the top 0.001% of cited scientists globally, in the fields of ecology and environmental science.
His scientific interests include assessing the impacts of deforestation, logging, hunting, bushfires, road expansion and climatic change on tropical ecosystems and biodiversity.
We live in an era of unprecedented road expansion, with new roads now penetrating into most the world’s surviving wildernesses. Such roads often unleash a Pandora’s Box of environmental problems, such as illegal colonisation, deforestation, hunting, and land speculation. By the year 2050, it is expected that Earth will have 25 million kilometres of additional roads and highways—enough to circle the planet over 600 times. Ninety percent of these new roads will be in developing nations that sustain the bulk of Earth’s biodiversity. I will highlight the impacts of rapid road expansion on native ecosystems and wildlife, and then describe an ambitious effort I am leading to devise a ‘Global Roadmap’–an innovative zoning scheme to define where on Earth future roads should and should not go.
Don’t miss the opportunity to hear from a world leading environmental scientist.
Read Professor Laurance’s most recent article for The Conversation: “Boycotts are a crucial weapon to fight environment-harming firms”
The Sprigg Geobiology Centre welcomes you to attend a seminar by Dr Nerilie Abram (ANU), entitled: “Warming and ice melt on the Antarctic Peninsula“
The Antarctic Peninsula has warmed faster than any other region of the southern hemisphere over the past 50 years. But the short observational records of Antarctic climate don’t allow for an understanding of how unusual this recent climate warming may be? In this seminar I will present reconstructions of temperature and melt history from a highly resolved ice core record from James Ross Island on the northeastern Antarctic Peninsula. The isotope-derived temperature reconstruction gives a statistical framework to assess the rapid recent warming of the Antarctic Peninsula, and in conjunction with a spatial network of proxy records provides insights into the underlying climatic drivers. Visible melt layers in the James Ross Island ice core also yield a unique insight into the response of ice melt to changing temperatures on the Antarctic Peninsula over the last 1000 years, with implications for future ice shelf and ice sheet stability in the region.
After her undergraduate degree at the University of Sydney, Nerilie studied for her PhD at the Australian National University where she used corals from Sumatra to learn about climate variability in the tropical Indian Ocean. She then worked for seven years as an ice core researcher at the British Antarctic Survey in Cambridge, which included fieldwork on James Ross Island on the Antarctic Peninsula and for the NEEM deep ice core in Greenland. In 2011 Nerilie returned to ANU as a QEII research fellow awarded by the Australian Research Council. Nerilie’s research focus now spans from the tropics to Antarctica with the goal of improving understanding of the climate processes that affect Australia’s rainfall patterns. Nerilie has recently returned from a two month field season in east Antarctica where she was involved in a multinational project lead by the Australian Antarctic Division to retrieve a new 2000-year ice core climate record from Aurora Basin.
When: Friday, May 30, 12:10pm
Where: Mawson Lecture Theatre, University of Adelaide
If you would like to meet with Nerilie during her visit, please contact her hosts: Jonathan Tyler jonathan.tyler[at]adelaide.edu.au or John Tibby john.tibby[at]adelaide.edu.au.
The global demand for energy will drive the exploitation of numerous forms of fossil fuel. Australia is well placed to supply some of these resources including currently explored unconventional gas. Unconventional gas includes shale gas, shale oil, coalbed methane, tight oil and tight gas, all classified as ‘natural’ gas or derivatives.
The media has highlighted concerns surrounding the extraction of some of these unconventional gases, particularly with respect to impacts on water resources. Are the risks real or perceived and how is the industry moving to mitigate these risks?
This forum will explore past learnings, current knowledge and future options for the sustainable management of alternative energy sources while ensuring minimal impact on water resources.
- Finding and Developing Unconventional Gas Sources
Professor Martin Kennedy is the director of the Sprigg Geobiology Centre at the University of Adelaide. His research centres on the mechanisms and influence of carbon burial on the biogeochemical cycles of earth and its implication for the biosphere. He has 15 years of experience with hydrocarbon producing shales that comprise a broad class of unconventional gas systems dating back to the beginning of the gas shale revolution in the USA as a senior research geologist at ExxonMobil and extending to his present lead of an ARC – Industry supported consortium focused on improved prediction of gas shale distribution. His recent work is exploring another aspect of the unconventional boom, the potential effects on greenhouse gas contribution of fugitive emissions of methane lost during drilling operations. This work brings data from new, highly sensitive trace gas measurement equipment to the unconventional debate, placing these operations in context with other sources of methane produced by industrial and agricultural activities. Before returning to Australia in 2010, Martin was Professor of Sedimentary Geochemistry at the University of California and director of the Graduate Program for Global and Environmental Change. He has published extensively on the carbon cycle, biospheric triggers for animal evolution, and geologic mechanisms influencing climate change. Martin will provide a general geologic background of unconventional reservoirs and how they differ from standard oil and gas plays, what potential resources exist in South Australia and trends in shale gas development in the USA, and discuss the potential effects of fugitive emissions on sustainable development
- Finding Innovative Solutions for Viable Gas Extraction with Minimum Impact
Colin Cruickshank has over 29 years oil and gas exploration and production industry experience in a variety of technical and leadership roles, including drilling and completions, facilities, business planning, project engineering, reservoir engineering, producing operations and development planning. His current role is General Manager Unconventional Resources and Exploration for Santos’ Eastern Australia Business Unit where he is responsible for the exploration and appraisal of Santos’ onshore assets in South Australia, Queensland and Northern Territory for both conventional and deep unconventional hydrocarbons including shale and tight gas.
- Unconventional gas and groundwater: Challenges and Opportunities
Professor Craig Simmons is Schultz Chair in the Environment at Flinders University and Director of the National Centre for Groundwater Research and Training (Australia). One of Australia’s foremost groundwater academics, Professor Simmons has been a significant contributor to global advances in the science of hydrogeology for many years and has published widely in areas including variable density groundwater flow, surface water – groundwater interaction, fractured rock hydrogeology, aquifer storage and recovery, and groundwater flow and solute transport modelling. He is a member of the Statutory Independent Expert Scientific Committee on Coal Seam Gas and Large Coal Mining Development. His work has been recognised by numerous national and international research and teaching awards including the Anton Hales Medal for outstanding research contributions to the Earth Sciences by the Australian Academy of Science. Professor Simmons has served as an Editor and Associate Editor for numerous major international journals including Hydrogeology Journal (Editor), Water Resources Research, Environmental Modeling and Assessment, Journal of Hydrology, Groundwater and Vadose Zone Journal.
When: Wednesday 18th June 2014, 5:30pm – 7:00pm
Where: The Braggs Lecture Theatre, North Terrace, University of Adelaide.
Registration Essential by 16th June.
Please be seated by 5:30 pm.
There will be an opportunity for networking afterwards.
Download the Water Wednesday June 18 Flyer.
Download the May 2014 Water Research Centre Newsletter.
The Water Research Centre in conjunction with SA Branch of the Australian Water Association would like to invite you to the next Water Wednesday on Innovative water efficiency – next generation irrigation.
A cap on irrigation diversions in South Australia was introduced in 1978 and improved irrigation practices were launched in the South Australian Riverland in 1981, and the irrigation industry has continued to evolve efficiency options ever since. In the context of reducing availability of water and potential impacts of climate change, the next generation of irrigation management software will need to address the challenge of optimizing irrigation management to maximise net economic returns, while minimising extraction from stressed water sources.
An increasing range of analytical options is offered by software programs developed to assist with irrigation scheduling, ranging from simple irrigation scheduling programs to sophisticated irrigation planning and management programs. Smart scheduling and next generation monitoring systems are becoming part of everyday irrigation management. Better understanding of the factors affecting crop survival and production in the context of changing climatic conditions and water availability will be a vital input to sustainable irrigation management.
This forum will explore past learnings and future options to continue innovations in water efficiency and crop management into the next generation of irrigation technology and management.
- Mr Andrew Johnson, Group Executive Director, PIRSA, ‘Learnings in water efficiency from improved irrigation practices and survival in drought.’
- Prof Steve Tyerman, ARC Professorial Fellow & Professor of Viticulture, Wine 2030 Research Network, University of Adelaide. ‘Understanding drivers for crop survival and maintaining production in changing climatic conditions.’
- Mr Ben Haslett, Paringa, ‘Opportunities in next generation irrigation – the irrigator’s perspective on forward directions’.
When: Wednesday 9th April 2014, 5:30pm – 6:50pm
Where: Horace Lamb Lecture Theatre, North Terrace, University of Adelaide.
Register by 8th April and be seated by 5:30 pm. There will be an opportunity for networking afterwards.
Director of the Environment Institute, Professor Bob Hill will give a seminar entitled ‘The Decline of the Great Southern Rainforests: Cenozoic climate change and vegetation responses‘
Professor Hill’s botanical research research has made significant contributions to the areas of palaeobotany, plant systematics, plant ecophysiology and applying research from these areas to interpreting changed that have occurred to Australian flora through evolutionary time.
During his career, he has won many awards including the Clarke and Burbidge Medals for his research into the impact of long-term climate change on the evolution of Australian Vegetation. He is currently Editor-in-Chief of the Australian Journal of Botany.
His lifetime interest in the evolution of the vegetation of Australia and Antarctica has seen Prof. Hill widley published on this subject. He is best known for his research on the fossil history of the southern beech, Nothofagus, and the southern conifers.
Join us for the first in the series of Sprigg Geobiology Centre Seminars for 2014.
When: Friday, March 14, 12:10pm
Where: Mawson Lecture Theatre, University of Adelaide
Barbara Minsker is Professor and Arthur and Virginia Nauman Faculty Scholar in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. Her research uses information technology to improve understanding and management of complex environmental systems, with a focus on water and sustainability. She served as a policy consultant to the Environmental Protection Agency from 1986-1990, and has been at the University of Illinois since 1996. Barbara will be visiting the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering next week.
Prof Minsker’s seminar is entitled: ‘Sustainable and Resilient Urban Stormwater Management: Novel “Big Data” Approaches to Improving Human and Ecosystem Wellbeing’.
Abstract: Over half of the world’s population currently lives in urban areas, a number predicted to grow to 60 percent by 2030. Urban areas face unprecedented and growing challenges from population growth; increased flooding, droughts, and severe storms from climate instability; food, water, and energy insecurity; poverty and health issues; and loss of biodiversity.
The increasing stream of data and information (“Big Data”) can support rapid advances on these challenges through informatics- and systems-based methods. This talk will discuss research that demonstrates this potential, focusing on urban stormwater challenges. Ongoing research to reduce combined sewer overflows (CSOs) using an interactive knowledge discovery dashboard and model predictive control algorithms will be highlighted first.
Many major cities are launching initiatives to address CSOs and associated water quality problems through wide-scale implementation of green stormwater infrastructure (GI), such as rain gardens, permeable pavements, green roofs, and urban wetlands. Current design practices focus solely on stormwater criteria for designing GI, but significant co-benefits to human and ecosystem health can be achieved through a more holistic approach.
The second portion of the talk will present a novel computational GI design framework that integrates stormwater management requirements with criteria for human and ecosystem health. The framework enables crowd-sourced, collaborative design using numerical and machine learning models coupled with a service-oriented cyberinfrastructure. The framework will be tested in Baltimore and Chicago and the findings extended to 3 other cities through a national working group funded by the Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center at the University of Maryland.
When: Wednesday 19 March at 4 pm
Where: Ligertwood 333, Law Lecture Theatre.
Join the Water Research Centre and learn about some of the new and exciting technologies in Water Treatment being researched at the University.
Hear about the research of Assoc Prof Christian Doonan from the Centre for Advanced Nanomaterials and Assoc Prof David Lewis from Chemical Engineering.
When: Wednesday 12th March from 12.30 – 1.30pm
Where: Engineering North, level 1, Room N123b – Robert WF Tait Room.
Workshops to discuss the progress on the Spencer Gulf Ecosystem and Development Initiative (SGEDI) are being conducted in regional areas and Adelaide over the next four weeks.
This is a four year program, led by the Environment Institute at the University of Adelaide. The program aims to provide all stakeholders with access to independent and credible information. We seek to enable positive environmental decision making for groups and individuals associated with the Gulf.
Cumulative Impact and the Spencer Gulf System
· Port Augusta – Tuesday 18 February – Charles Chappell room, Standpipe Golf Motor Inn, Corner Eyre and Stuart Highways from 1.30pm until 4.30pm
· Whyalla – Tuesday 11 March – Training Room, Whyalla Library, 7-9 Ekblom Street from 1.00pm until 4.30pm
· Wallaroo – Tuesday 25 February – Supper Room, Wallaroo Town Hall, Section 1634 Irwine St from 1.00pm until 4.30pm
· Port Lincoln – Wednesday 26 February – Lecture Theatre, Lincoln Marine Science Centre, 1 Hindmarsh St from 1.00pm until 4.00pm
· Adelaide – Friday 7 March – Seminar Room West, Masonic Hall, North Terrace TBC.
The aim of these workshops is to discuss the work that has been undertaken in the last twelve months. This includes:
- a summary of the findings from the last series of stakeholder workshops that were conducted at the end of 2012
- a review of the scientific knowledge about the Spencer Gulf’s marine environment
- an assessment of key knowledge gaps
- pathways for the next period of research
In order to cater, we would be pleased if you could RSVP with your chosen location before 14 February by email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Feel free to contact the Environment Institute for more information on (08) 8313 0543.
Date: February 13th & 14th, 2014
Time: 4:30pm – 5:30pm
Venue: The Science Exchange, 55 Exchange Place, Adelaide
Cost: $250 for two day registration including dinner. Student discounts apply.
RSVP: – Click here to register your attendance.
You will hear the latest in climate science research and also how practitioners from around South Australia are working at the local level to determine the best response for their region.
The expert panel:
– Roger B Street from the UK Climate Impacts Programme at Oxford University (UKCIP)
Roger is a leading international adaptation expert and will be hosted (via live-feed) from the UK. He leads the technical and scientific work at UKCIP aimed at guiding risk, vulnerability and adaptation assessments.
– Dr Karl Braganza, Director of Climate Monitoring Section, Bureau of Meteorology
Karl’s research is centred on understanding climate variability and change using climate modelling, instrumental observations and palaeo-climate evidence.
– Dr Susannah Eliott, CEO, Australian Science Media Centre (AusSMC)
The AusSMC works with the news media to inject more evidence-based science into public discourse.
– Dr Peter Hayman, Principal Scientist in Climate Applications, South Australian Research and Development Institute (SARDI)
Peter has been recently working on impacts and adaptation to climate change in the irrigated wine grape and low-rainfall grains industries.
– Professor Will Steffen, Climate Council
Peter’s research interests span fields of climate and Earth System science, with an emphasis on sustainability and climate change.
– Dr Russell Wise, Sustainability Economist, CSIRO
Russell’s work is focussed on understanding the interplay between institutions, values and knowledge to enable communities in Australia and overseas to adapt to climate change.
Learn from the experts how to translate the science into action!
For more information, view the program.
The latest Research Tuesdays presentation “Where will we source our energy?“ is now online. This was a special end of year event featuring five panellists, including Professor Barry Brook, Director of Climate Science at the Environment Institute.
The topic of this presentation is particularly pertinent after last weeks heatwave, during which blackouts were experienced across the country due to high demand for power. The cost of running air-conditioning in what are predicted to be more frequent heatwaves is an issue that will inevitably also focus our attention further to exactly where we will source our energy from in the future.
Other members of the expert panel included Professor Graham “Gus” Nathan, mechanical engineer and founding Director of the University of Adelaide’s Centre for Energy Technology as well as Associate Professor David Lewis (PhD CEng FIChemE), a chemical engineer in the University of Adelaide’s School of Chemical Engineering.