Building Community Resilience Through Digital Connectivity and Inclusion
Indicative funding: $22,000 administered by Northern Gulf Resource Management Group
The project will assist in bringing together Northern Gulf property owners, councils, development organisations, technical experts and service providers to collaboratively identify and define mobile, telecommunications and broadband failures during the 2019 monsoon trough and recovery phase, and devise novel technical solutions and systemic improvement options for the future.
Chief Investigator: Allan Dale with the help of Hurriyet Babacan and Jennifer A McHugh (Cairns Institute)
Improving performance of bioreactors for treating effluent from land-based aquaculture
Indicative funding: $50,000 over 2 years administered by James Cook University
Effluent from land-based aquaculture is problematic because of its nutrient content. This project aims to enhance the performance of ‘denitrification bioreactors’ designed to remove nitrogen from effluent. It will be carried out on a barramundi farm near Innisfail. Availability of carbon appears to limit bioreactor performance, so the effect of adding molasses will be tested, under different conditions of salinity and retention time. The ability of the bioreactors to eliminate algae and parasites will also be tested. The results will be applicable to aquaculture farms throughout the tropics, facilitating more effective treatment of water leaving farms or being recirculated.
Chief Investigators: Alex Cheesman, Paul Nelson and Kelly Condon with the help of Marty Phillips (College of Science & Engineering and Mainstream Aquaculture Pty Ltd)
in partnership with: Mainstream Aquaculture ($50,685)
Hookworm Anti-Inflammatory Pipeline
Indicative funding: $150,000 over 2 years administered by James Cook University
To generate a novel biologic derived from hookworm secreted proteins for the treatment of inflammation, and create a pipeline of related biologics with distinct mechanisms of action which can be potentially used for different indications.
Chief Investigators: Alex Loukas and Paul Giacomin (Australian Institute of Tropical Health & Medicine)
Do functional traits predict composition of ant communities attracted to different bait types in a Wet Tropics rainforest?
Indicative funding: $1,814 administered by Skyrail Rainforest Foundation
Native ants are a diverse and crucial part of rainforest ecosystems. My project aims to determine which functional traits of ants may predict the composition of any communities attracted to various bait types used in invasive ant management. The project includes field and lab components and the SRF grant will assist in paying for vehicle hire costs and other associated project costs. The results of the project will assist land managers to choose invasive ant control methods that minimize impacts of bait application on native ant communities. The results have application in the Wet Tropics and in tropical rainforests elsewhere.
Chief Investigators: Megan Kramer and Lori Lach (College of Science & Engineering)
Will pathogen transmission to native stingless bees be exacerbated by climate change?
Indicative funding: $1,000 administered by James Cook University
I will investigate the conditions under which the pathogen Nosema ceranae can remain viable on flowers, specifically whether temperature can affect virulence of N. ceranae in the Australian native stingless bee, Tetragonula hockingsi. As N. ceranae has been found to cause T. hockingsi to die at three times the normal rate, this could have landscape-scale effects if more native stingless bees are dying earlier, ultimately affecting biodiversity in the region.
Chief Investigators: Emma Carmichael and Lori Lach (College of Science & Engineering)
Developing innovative approaches to preventing diabetes-related foot disease
Indicative funding: $50,000 over 3 years administered by Townsville Hospital and Health Service
This project aims to obtain insight into stakeholders’ opinions and priorities regarding appropriate prevention methods for diabetes related foot disease (DFD) and how these are best delivered to effectively prevent it. Ultimately, this intends to achieve an enduring partnership between researchers and key stakeholders to facilitate the co-design of an effective DFD prevention program.
Chief Investigator: Jon Golledge with the help of Malindu Fernando, Aaron Drovandi, Rebecca Evans, Kunwargit Sangla, Ruth Connors, Valli Manickam, Victoria White and Peter Lazzarini (College of Medicine & Dentistry, Townsville University Hospital and Metro North Health Service Distrcit)
Acoustic Analysis Postdoctoral Salary
Indicative funding: $93,000 administered by James Cook University
We will be analysing acoustic data collected for the Australian Acoustic Observatory to assess biodiversity change.
Chief Investigators: Lin Schwarzkopf and Slade Allen-Ankins (College of Science & Engineering)
Reducing End-of-Catchment Fine Sediment Loads and Ecosystem Impacts
Indicative funding: $23,910 administered by James Cook University
A wide range of NESP TWQ Hub projects have focused on the source, transport, fate and impact of sediments on estuarine, coastal and reef ecosystems. These projects have responded to the Reef 2050 Plan water quality targets and Water Quality Improvement Plan aiming to reduce the loss of sediments from catchments to the marine environment. To better manage sediment losses and prioritise remedial actions, it is important to be able to understand and contextualise all of the issues that are involved in this sediment story, from managing catchment sources to defining which types of sediment cause the most harm in the marine environment. The synthesis report will include a list of gully prioritisation tools and sampling methods for detecting sediment and bioavailable nutrients. This project will provide a narrative and synthesis to bring all these threads together. Synthesis of this new knowledge will provide advice on practical on-ground actions for land and sea managers, policy implications and identify remaining gaps for future research and management investments.
Chief Investigators: Johanna Johnson, Stephen Lewis, Zoe Bainbridge, Catherine Collier, Rebecca Bartley, Andrew Brooks, Barbara Robson and Katharina Fabricius with the help of Rachael Smith, Alexandra Garzon-Garcia, Joanne Burton and Jane Waterhouse (Reef and Rainforest Research Centre, TropWATER, Commonwealth Scientific & Industrial Research Organisation, Griffith University, Australian Institute of Marine Science, Department of Environment and Science (Qld) and C2O Consulting)
Restoring ecosystems from catchment to reef
Indicative funding: $23,115 administered by Reef & Rainforest Research Centre
A range of NESP TWQ Hub funded projects have delivered insights into improved ways of restoring and evaluating ecosystem restoration efforts, from catchments through to the reef and other marine environments. This work has mostly focused on sediments, nutrients and freshwater, estuarine and marine wetland restoration in a wide range of projects. The diversity of approaches and contexts in which restoration has occurred, make it very difficult for anyone not intimately associated with the work to appreciate the overall outcomes and learnings. This synthesis will provide the ability to see across this range of projects and outcomes. Synthesis of the outcomes across these projects will provide easy to access practical recommendations for land and sea managers.
Chief Investigators: Suzanne Long, Nathan Waltham, Ian McLeod, Catherine Collier, Rebecca Bartley, Bruce Taylor and Andrew Brooks with the help of Damien Burrows, Rachael Smith, Jessica Sabatino and Mike Ronan (Reef and Rainforest Research Centre, TropWATER, Commonwealth Scientific & Industrial Research Organisation, Griffith University, College of Science & Engineering, Department of Environment and Science (Qld) and Reef Catchments NRM)
Reducing nitrogen runoff without reducing industry productivity
Indicative funding: $14,805 administered by Reef & Rainforest Research Centre
Many NESP TWQ Hub projects have contributed to an improved understanding of nitrogen (N) management in sugarcane farming leading to reduced dissolved inorganic nitrogen (DIN) losses via improved management advice and practical solutions. The synthesis project will bring together a range of approaches that are addressing mechanisms for reducing N-losses, with a particular focus on real-time water quality monitoring, detection of N- loss hot-spots, on-farm N management, reef credit trading and other economic levers that incentivise improved farm management practices.
Chief Investigators: Johanna Johnson, Aaron Davis, Yvette Everingham, Jane Waterhouse, Jim Smart, Mike Bell, John Rolfe, Peter Thorburn, Tony Webster and Michael Warne with the help of Weijin Wang, Chris Johnson, Phil Moody and Sheridan Morris (Reef and Rainforest Research Centre, TropWATER, College of Science & Engineering, Griffith University, The University of Queensland, Central Queensland University, Commonwealth Scientific & Industrial Research Organisation and Department of Environment and Science (Qld))
Influencing agriculture practice behaviour change and trust frameworks.
Indicative funding: $13,500 administered by Reef & Rainforest Research Centre
The ecologically-determined water quality improvement targets for the Great Barrier Reef can only be met with significant improvement in farm management practices. Numerous programs over many years, utilising a variety of approaches, have worked with land managers and representative farmer groups, seeking to achieve high levels of uptake of recommended farming practices. However, these have only met with low-moderate success. There has been significant work encouraging and facilitating behaviour and practice change in recent years, including through, but certainly not limited to, the NESP TWQ Hub. Programs encouraging behaviour and practice change are set to remain a feature of contemporary reef funding programs. Thus it is timely to coordinate a synthesis of learnings in this domain. Increasing understanding of, and improving trust frameworks and behaviour change of land managers will lead to improved water quality to the Great Barrier Reef. Understanding the impetus, benefits and barriers of behaviour change for agricultural practice is a large step in improving water quality to the Great Barrier Reef.
Chief Investigators: Suzanne Long, Rachel Hay, Aaron Davis, Allan Dale, Norman Duke, Bruce Taylor, Marie Vitelli and Julie Carmody with the help of Damien Burrows, Peter Thorburn and Jim Smart (Reef and Rainforest Research Centre, College of Business, Law & Governance, TropWATER, Cairns Institute, Commonwealth Scientific & Industrial Research Organisation, College of Science & Engineering and Griffith University)
Improving coral condition through better-informed resilience-based management
Indicative funding: $8,150 administered by Reef & Rainforest Research Centre
Resilience-based management and integrated monitoring and reporting through the Reef Integrated Monitoring and Reporting (RIMRep) program are key initiatives for managing the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) ecosystem. A wide range of NESP TWQ Hub projects have focused on resilience-based management and decision making for maintaining and improving coral reef condition in the GBR. These projects directly contribute to the goals outlined in the Great Barrier Reef Blueprint for Resilience (2017) and support the development of RIMRep. Many of these research investments are in direct response to the 2016-17 mass thermal bleaching events. This synthesis will bring together the learnings of many research projects and initiatives driven by the same goals into a succinct coherent story.
Chief Investigators: Johanna Johnson, Sven Uthicke, Renata Ferrari, Katharina Fabricius, Andrew Negri, Catherine Collier, Peter Mumby, Kenny Wolfe and Amy Desbiens with the help of Clive Wilkinson, Rachael Smith, Damien Burrows, Ian McLeod, Morgan Pratchett, Scott Heron, Ross Jones, Russ C Babcock, David Westcott, Craig Steinberg, Line Bay and Frederieke Kroon (Reef and Rainforest Research Centre, Australian Institute of Marine Science, TropWATER, The University of Queensland, International Tropical Health and Environment Management, Department of Environment and Science (Qld), College of Science & Engineering, ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies and Commonwealth Scientific & Industrial Research Organisation)
Learnings from applied environmental research programs: Elements for success
Indicative funding: $3,000 administered by Reef & Rainforest Research Centre
The structure, governance and administration of large multidisciplinary applied environmental research hubs is critical to their ability to deliver new knowledge that funders and stakeholders need. While the MTSRF, NERP TE and NESP TWQ have differed in model and delivery since 2006, they have operated in the same region and delivered to similar stakeholders over that period of time. This is a unique opportunity to review and report on what has been learned about effective and efficient delivery of new knowledge for impact, for the benefit of future Commonwealth-funded applied environmental science programs.
Chief Investigators: Suzanne Long, Johanna Johnson, Allan Dale, Stan Lui and Bruce Taylor with the help of Chenae Neilson, Sheridan Morris, Damien Burrows and Karen Vella (Reef and Rainforest Research Centre, Cairns Institute, Torres Strait Regional Authority, Commonwealth Scientific & Industrial Research Organisation, Department of Agriculture and Water Resources, College of Science & Engineering and Queensland University of Technology)
The First Polynesians: Their origins, lifeways and environmental challenges
Indicative funding: $43,860 over 4 years administered by Australian National University
This project uses an interdisciplinary approach to examine the biological, cultural and environmental underpinnings of the Polynesian people through a study of their ancient homeland in Tonga. Early Polynesian society developed 2650-2350 years ago, but little is known about the people, their culture and how sea-level fall impacted subsistence and settlement. The proposed study's goal is to fill this gap in human knowledge about our Pacific neighbours using a unique skeletal assemblage, excavated cultural remains and advanced mapping of palaeo-sea-level markers that will enhance the international visibility of Australian research in human-environment systems.
Chief Investigators: Geoffrey Clark, Christian Reepmeyer and Frederique Valentin (Australian National University, College of Arts, Society & Education and Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique)
Validation of anti-viral efficacy of proprietary formulation on selected prawn species
Indicative funding: $52,667 over 2 years administered by James Cook University
Project will assess the efficacy of Proprietary substance as an antibacterial-antiviral substance in crustacean aquaculture. Expected outcomes of the project will deliver an indication of: • Efficacy of the substance as an antimicrobial treatment in a crustacean hatchery environment • Influence of the substance on the survival, growth and pathobiome of crustaceans, Artemia and Penaeus monodon.
Chief Investigator: Kelly Condon (College of Science & Engineering)
Innovations in COTS Control on the Great Barrier Reef
Indicative funding: $2,900 administered by Reef & Rainforest Research Centre
Innovations in COTS Control on the Great Barrier Reef. For decades, crown-of-thorns starfish (COTS) research effort has been fragmented and failed to inform improvements in the effectiveness of COTS control. However, under the NESP Tropical Water Quality Hub’s Integrated Pest Management (IPM) research program, a more collaborative and targeted approach has harnessed research effort and enabled delivery of significant improvements in effectiveness and efficiency of COTS control, while also looking to develop methods for the future. Wholescale adoption of this IPM approach by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA) and operators is already demonstrably saving live coral cover on the Great Barrier Reef (GBR).
Chief Investigators: Suzanne Long, Frederieke Kroon, Sven Uthicke, Jason Doyle, Russ C Babcock, Morgan Pratchett and Peter Mumby with the help of David Logan, Paulina Kaniewska, David Westcott, Cameron Fletcher, Eva Plaganyi and Scott Condie (Reef and Rainforest Research Centre, Australian Institute of Marine Science, Commonwealth Scientific & Industrial Research Organisation, ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, The University of Queensland and Parks Australia)
Emergency Examination Authorities and their Impacts on North Queensland Hospitals
Indicative funding: $92,979 over 2 years administered by James Cook University
Emergency Departments (EDs) receive persons suffering major disturbances in their mental capacities, detained and transported by police or ambulance. The proposed study will fill a gap in literature by providing basic information about the challenges ED clinicians face in these complex circumstances while also documenting the need for information to guide the difficult decisions required when treating such patients.
Chief Investigators: Richard Stone, Ulrich Orda, Rajesh Sehdev, Neale Thornton, Alan Clough, Kristy Grant and Jessica Watt (Childrens Health Queensland Hospital and Health Service, North West Hospital and Health Service, Townsville Hospital and Health Services, Mackay Hospital and Health Service, College of Public Health and Medical & Vet Sciences)
Revealing the hidden knowledge in pathology big data: Machine learning to support clinical decision making for unknown infectious diseases and recognise biosecurity incursions in tropical Australia
Indicative funding: $48,480 administered by James Cook University
Pathology departments generate massive data from the results of routine and targeted tests conducted to serve community health needs. With the availability of large pathology data collections, the application of sophisticated machine learning (ML) algorithms allows the detection of novel data patterns to characterise disease processes and monitor population health. We will apply recursive partitioning (trees and forests) and support vector machines (SVM) to large pathology data sets to: (a) investigate the biosecurity potential of linked community data, and; (b) assist early decision support for patients presenting with a tropical pyrexia of unknown origin (PUOs).
Chief Investigators: Jeffrey Warner and Damon Eisen with the help of Emma McBryde, Catherine Rush and Brett Lidbury (College of Public Health, Medical & Vet Sciences, Australian Institute of Tropical Health & Medicine and Australian National University)
Glutathione biosynthesis in the amphibian fungus, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis.
Indicative funding: $3,000 administered by James Cook University
What makes a successful fungal pathogen? In this project we aim to determine the role of glutathione in fungal pathogenesis. In doing so we will develop and optimise gene knockdown protocols, which can be used more broadly to assess other virulence factors. Specifically, we will: 1: Explore glutathione biosynthesis in virulent and less- virulent strains of Bd, both in vitro and in vivo. 2: Characterise the role of glutathione in pathogenesis using knockdown techniques.
Chief Investigators: Rebecca Webb, Catherine Rush and Alexandra Roberts with the help of Lee Berger and Lee Skerratt (College of Public Health and Medical & Vet Sciences)
Interactions between fish and coral reefs: the influence of habitat degradation on fish communities
Indicative funding: $26,100 over 3 years administered by James Cook University
This project will study the mechanisms underlying community shifts from habitat degradation, by exploring its effects on speciose families such as cardinalfishes. It will also investigate the mechanisms by which algal-dominated reefs interrupt the sensory information presented to coral reef fishes, including the specific active components of degraded reefs which prevent fishes from learning and updating predation threats. It is unclear how widespread this major problem is taxonomically. Moreover, it is unknown whether survivors of habitat degradation have found a way around this sensory problem, or whether it will dramatically impact their persistence in degraded habitats.
Chief Investigator: Makeely Blandford (ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies)
Acoustics for Large Scale Biodiversity Assessment
Indicative funding: $560,082 over 5 years administered by James Cook University
Aims: This project will investigate using automated acoustic recording to efficiently census biodiversity assessment at a continental scale. Significance: To generate new techniques for analysing environmental acoustic data and assessing Australian biodiversity, verified empirical estimates of biodiversity, an understanding of causes of variation in biodiversity. Expected outcomes: methods for large-scale and accurate assessment of biodiversity, enhanced capacity to detect causes of variation in biodiversity, open-source software tools for analysing environmental audio data, biodiversity datasets. Benefits: measuring and understanding biodiversity change, allowing enhanced management, conservation, and use of Australian natural resources.
Chief Investigators: Lin Schwarzkopf, Richard Fuller, Paul Roe, David Watson and Paul McDonald (College of Science & Engineering, The University of Queensland, Queensland University of Technology, Charles Sturt University and The University of New England)
Community led development, climate resilience and conservation in East Malaita
Indicative funding: $400,000 administered by James Cook University
Baru Conservation Alliance (BCA) was established a registered Non-Government Organisation in 2019 by leaders from East Kwaio, Malaita, Solomon Islands to coordinate ecological and cultural conservation in their tribal lands. This includes the holistic health and wellbeing of plants, animals and people living in prescribed conservation areas. This project, funded by the Australian High Commission in Solomon Islands allows JCU and the Australian Museum to build sustainable scientific and management capacities with the fledgling organisation. The project will support a series of local JCU supported projects within conservation areas that include TB, water and sanitation, reproductive health, community education and reforestation.
Chief Investigators: David MacLaren, Michelle Redman-MacLaren and Tommy Esau with the help of Paul Flemmons, Dorothy Esau and Esau Kekeubata (College of Medicine & Dentistry, Australian Museum and Baru Conservation Alliance)
The extent, cause and direct healthcare costs of non-fatal deliberate self-harm in Far North Queensland
Indicative funding: $5,000 administered by James Cook University
This project aims to perform a retrospective epidemiological analysis of hospital-treated self-harm episodes to determine the incidence, prevalence, characteristics and healthcare costs of self-harm in Far North Queensland.
Chief Investigators: Christopher Rouen, Caryn West, Daniel Lindsay and Natalie Conley (College of Healthcare Sciences, College of Public Health and Medical & Vet Sciences)
Investigation of neutralization, kinetics and stability of Chironex fleckeri antivenom, the lethal box jellyfish.
Indicative funding: $5,000 administered by James Cook University
C. fleckeri envenomings have a direct impact on Far North Queensland communities public health, recreation, and tourism. The primary treatments for C. fleckeri envenomation is opioids and antivenom (Queensland Health). Treatment with antivenom would hopefully prevent effects seen in severe envenomation by neutralizing causative toxins in the venom. The Common Serum Laboratories (CSL) produce the antivenom, but its efficacy has been called into question by the research and medical community. Furthermore, it was reported in multiple clinical cases to be of little therapeutic benefit, with fatalities even after antivenom administration.
Chief Investigators: Melissa Piontek and Yide Wong (College of Medicine & Dentistry and Australian Institute of Tropical Health & Medicine)
Application of a machine learning approach for effective stock management of abalone
Indicative funding: $115,649 over 3 years administered by James Cook University
Determining the number and size distribution of abalone present at various stages of production is critical information for effective stock management. Currently the Australian abalone aquaculture industry spends in the order of $25,000 per annum, per farm, gathering this information by hand. However, the resulting data is of mediocre quality, is limited in its scope, and collecting the data causes stress to the animals which can compromise growth and survival. Automated counting and measuring of abalone will increase farm efficiency and productivity in the short term and, in the longer term, will provide an advanced platform for further R&D improvements. Artificial intelligence and machine learning has now matured to a point that accurately counting and measuring abalone is possible using this approach. This project would involve the development, training and validation of a machine learning model to identify, segment and measure quantitative abalone traits in production systems, and render the product data to be accessible and applicable for farmers.
Chief Investigators: Jan Strugnell, Marcus Sheaves, Carlo Mattone, Ickjai Lee, Joanne Lee, Jason Holdsworth and Art (Hemmaphan) Suwanwiwat (College of Science & Engineering)
Importance of Solitary and Structurally Complex Sponges as shelter and Feeding Substratum for Coral Reef Fishes
Indicative funding: $1,788 administered by James Cook University
To present findings from my second data chapter, which considers the importance of sponges as an important source of structure, or as a source of food for coral reef fishes, at the 14th International Coral Reef Symposium in Bremen, Germany. Initially scheduled for 5-11 July 2020, this has now been postponed until 18-23 July 2021 due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Recognising the role of other space-holding organisms on coral reefs is particularly prevalent in light of the current global threats toward coral reefs. As the primary international conference for coral reef science, this is a key symposium for communicating data.
Chief Investigators: Amy Coppock, Geoff Jones and Mike Kingsford (College of Science & Engineering)
Supporting Participatory Evidence generation to Control Transmissible diseases in our Region Using Modelling (SPECTRUM)
Indicative funding: $268,793 over 6 years administered by James Cook University
SPECTRUM is a centre for research excellence in decision science and includes chief investigators from the University of Melbourne, Australian National University and University of Adelaide. It focusses on data synthesis for policy decision making, particularly in relation to pandemic planning, emerging infectious diseases and other infectious dieases threats.
Chief Investigators: Jodie McVernon, Iadine Chades, Emma McBryde, ross andrews and Joshua Ross (The University of Melbourne, Commonwealth Scientific & Industrial Research Organisation, Australian Institute of Tropical Health & Medicine, Australian National University and University of Adelaide)