Fifteen science students from across Australia have completed a field trip traversing 1500 km from the centre to the Top End of Australia as part of a field unit from Charles Darwin University’s environmental science (management) degree.
The unit, Field studies in tropical and desert landscapes, was originally developed as a joint activity under the CDU/Australian National University Memorandum of Cooperation and has been running for three years.
Students from other universities can also take part in the course through cross-institutional enrolment with several students from University of Tasmania joining the group this year.
A high level of support from community, industry and government representatives enhanced student insights into the physical, biological and human environments across central and northern Australia with presentations from local experts occurring on location along the transect.
Students collected field data at sites along the gradient of increasing rainfall between Alice Springs and Darwin and made use of facilities at the Alice Springs, Katherine and Palmerston CDU campuses on the way.
Co-taught by Dr Guy Boggs and Dr Christine Schlesinger, the unit comprises perspectives of physical and ecological systems in arid and tropical environments.
Dr Boggs is a senior lecturer in spatial information systems based in the tropical north at CDU’s Casuarina campus, whose research interests in geomorphology and landscape ecology also extend into the drier parts of the continent.
Dr Schlesinger is an arid zone ecologist who teaches environmental science from CDU’s Alice Springs campus.
‘It’s great to collaborate with staff from other CDU campuses, industry, government and community,’ she said. ‘The guest speakers give students an incredibly broad and varied insight into the complexities of landscapes here in the Territory.’
Dr Schlesinger and Dr Boggs extend their thanks to guest speakers:
Grant Allan – Bushfires Council, NRETA
Coral Allan – Pastoral Production Division, DPIFM
Gary Bastin – CSIRO Centre for Arid Zone Research
Adam Liedloff – CSIRO Tropical Ecosystems Research Centre
Clive Rosewarne – Public Health Consultant
Vincent Forrester – Luritja/Arrernte man and long term resident of Alice Springs
Graeme Horne – Trephina Gorge National Park, NRETA
Brad Green – Nitmulik National Park, NRETA
David Lindner – Nitmulik National Park, NRETA
Angela Estbergs – Vegetation and Land Management Branch, NRETA
Brett Easton – Vegetation and Land Management Branch, NRETA
Lindsay Hutley – School of Science and Primary Industries, CDU
Dimity Boggs – School of Science and Primary Industries, CDU
Andrew Edwards – PhD candidate, CDU