Grant battles mozzies! 

Grant Williamson commenced as a research associate with SER on May 1

Grant Williamson commenced as a research associate with the School for Environmental Research (SER) at Charles Darwin University on May 1.

Grant will be working on the ARC funded mosquito project Modelling and control of mosquito-borne diseases in Darwin using long-term monitoring, a collaborative project between SER, Menzies School of Health Research and the Northern Territory Government.

The project involves analyzing a 20-year long dataset of weekly variation in mosquito species population numbers to understand changes in mosquito density and species composition in response to rainfall patterns, tides and landscape change (including engineering works designed to destroy mosquito habitats).

The project will also investigate the link between mosquito numbers and mosquito-borne diseases using advanced statistics to evaluate the effectiveness of past control programs (spraying/engineering works) and predict the threat of mosquito populations and diseases in the future.

Grant will be involved in mapping engineering works and information on mosquito spraying programs; determining what changes have occurred in the vegetation community in the Leanyer swamp; and in collating environmental and infrastructure data for the greater Darwin area into a unified GIS database to help understand the patterns of mosquito occurrence in the region.

Grant’s main interests are in plant ecology; environmental heterogeneity and climatic influences on plant function. He is about to submit his PhD thesis titled Climate and root distribution in Australian perennial grasses; implications for salinity mitigation at Adelaide University.