Daniel Huston
Daniel Huston

Groundwater systems and little-known fish parasites will be investigated thanks to two new University of Queensland Moreton Bay Research Station scholarships supported by Sibelco Australia.

An independent panel of academics awarded the $2500 scholarships to UQ research higher degree students Daniel Huston, of UQ’s School of Biological Sciences, and ATM Jahangir Alam, of UQ’s School of Earth Sciences.

Their research will be undertaken at UQ’s Moreton Bay Research Station on North Stradbroke Island.

Mr Alam will study perched aquifers, which are underground water resources that occur above water tables, between impermeable layers of rock or sediment but below the surface of the land.

 “The results will be of great interest to the hydrological community, local community, water suppliers and local industry,” Mr Alam said.

“Regional groundwater systems on coastal islands are used for water supply.

“Connecting them with perched aquifers may result in fatal stresses to the ecosystems dependent on these localised perched systems, and unsustainable groundwater usage.

“Understanding the dynamics of both systems and the timescales involved provides the knowledge for more informed water management systems.”

Mr Huston will study a small and little known family of parasites found on grazing fish ‑ such as silver drummers - from the family Kyphosidae from Moreton Bay.

Among other things, grazing fish are important in maintaining the health of coral reefs as they remove algae from coral.

He will describe new parasite species and provide benchmarking records for the region. In addition, he will be the first to study the life-cycle for the parasite family Enenteridae.

Mr Huston said although parasites were ubiquitous, they continued to remain among the least known group of organisms.

“Substantial progress has been made in characterising the biodiversity of parasites in the Indo-West Pacific, but the study of most groups remains incomplete,” he said.

“The key outcome of this study will be a detailed description of the true species richness of the Enenteridae in Australian waters.”

The scholarships are available twice a year.  More details are available online.  

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