Shorebirds, renewable fuels and fisheries will all benefit from successful bids by UQ Faculty of Science researchers in the latest round of ARC Linkage Project grants.

Researchers in the Schools of Biological Sciences and Geography, Planning and Environmental Management, and a researcher affiliated with the School of Chemistry and Molecular Biosciences, will collaborate with industry, government and community partners awarded $801,896 in the latest round of ARC Linkage Project grants.

Partner organisations will contribute further funding and in-kind support to the projects.

ARC Future Fellow Dr Richard Fuller and fellow School of Biological Sciences colleague Professor Hugh Possingham will work to help Australia’s shorebirds in a three year, $315,555 project.

Partner organisations are the Burnett Mary Regional Group for Natural Resource Management Inc.; the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection/Department of Environment and Resource Management; and the Queensland Wader Study Group. 

This project seeks to determine how Australia’s coastal environments can be managed to aid in the recovery of threatened shorebird species.

“Millions of migratory shorebirds arrive in Australia each year from their Arctic breeding grounds, yet many of these iconic species are in rapid decline, and two have recently been listed as Critically Endangered in Australia,” Dr Fuller said.

“Recovering these threatened species is an important priority.

“The project aims to discover when and where to act to recover declining migratory species.

“It also plans to assess the strength of protective mechanisms already in place in Australia and overseas to protect migratory species from extinction, and determine how to improve protection for migrants when they arrive on Australia’s shores.”

Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the School of Geography, Planning and Environmental Management Dr Carissa Klein, and colleagues in GPEM and the School of Biological Sciences will partner with the Wildlife Conservation Society in a project awarded $146,341 over two years.

The project aims to develop models that can determine the ecological and economic impacts of land-use changes (for example, agriculture) on fisheries.

It will also assess alternative land-use plans to maximise economic opportunity while protecting fisheries.

“Fisheries support the livelihoods of 12 per cent of the world’s population,” Dr Klein said.

“Land-based activities are among the most significant threats to coral reef fisheries because sediments and nutrients degrade reefs, yet they are often ignored in fisheries management.

“By improving the sustainability of coastal development, biodiversity conservation, and health of fisheries, the models developed by the project could deliver socio-economic and environmental benefits for millions of people reliant upon fisheries for their livelihoods.”

Collaborators involved in the project include Principal Research Fellow (GPEM) and Affiliate Associate Professor Centre for Biodiversity and Conservation Science (School of Biological Sciences) Associate Professor James Watson, Professor of Marine Ecology Peter Mumby (School of Biological Sciences), and Melanesia Director at the Wildlife Conservation Society Dr Stacy Jupiter.

Professorial Research Fellow in the Institute for Molecular Bioscience, and Affiliated Professor in the School of Chemistry and Molecular Biosciences Professor Ben Hankamer will partner with Kellogg Brown & Root Pty Ltd and Muradel Pty Ltd in a $340,000, three-year project.

This ARC Linkage Project aims to improve the efficiency of advanced single-celled green algae (microalgae) production systems that can produce a wide range of high-value products including renewable fuels and animal feeds.

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