Opportunities - Special Research Projects (3922ESC)

3922ESC Special Research Project is a 10 credit point course involving a small independent research project offered to undergraduate Bachelors' students at Griffith University. It is usually undertaken over

1 trimester (approximately 12 weeks).

"Impacts of fire-fighting chemicals on endangered frogs: Implications for conservation and management"

Supervisors: Dr. Chantal Lanctot (ARI), Dr. Clare Morrison (EFRI and ESC), Dr. Laura Grogan, Prof. Hamish McCallum (EFRI, Griffith Wildlife Disease Ecology Group), and Dr. David Newell (Forest Research Centre, Southern Cross University)

 

Project: Wildland fires have been increasing in frequency and severity in recent years, and this trend is predicted to continue within projected climate change scenarios. Fire-fighting services use a variety of chemicals, including long-term retardants, foams and water enhancers, to aid in the suppression of fires. The impact of current firefighting chemicals on endemic wildlife is poorly understood.​ ​This project will investigate the impact of firefighting chemicals on endangered Fleay's barred frog tadpoles (Mixophyes fleayi) in the laboratory. 

The Erickson Air-Crane can fight fire with retardant or water. The pilots can select the mix as they make the drop. Red retardant is usually dropped ahead of the fire to keep flames from spreading (https://www.flyingmag.com/photo-gallery/photos/erickson-air-crane-photos/)

This project is part of more extensive research funded by an Australian Research Council Discovery Project grant and involves a team of researchers (including PhD candidates and post-docs) and a diverse network of collaborators. Please see our team website (The Frog Research Team: https://www.frogresearch.com/honours) for more information, or volunteer with us (https://www.facebook.com/groups/FrogWorkVolunteers/).

 

Start date: Trimesters 1, 2 or 3; Contact: c.lanctot@griffith.edu.au

Australian seasonal bushfire outlook, as of August 2019. Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC/Australasian Fire and Emergency Service Authorities Council

"Review of the impacts of environmental contaminants (including firefighting chemicals) on amphibians and other vertebrates"

Supervisors: Dr. Clare Morrison (EFRI and ESC), Dr. Chantal Lanctot (ARI), Dr. Laura Grogan, Prof. Hamish McCallum (EFRI, Griffith Wildlife Disease Ecology Group), and Dr. David Newell (Forest Research Centre, Southern Cross University)

 

Project: The recent unprecedented bushfire season that is emerging in eastern Australia this spring has seen firefighting chemicals being applied to otherwise pristine high-altitude forest environments, that are home to many native frog species, including range-restricted endangered species such as Fleay's barred frog (Mixophyes fleayi). Given the known sensitivity of amphibians to chemical contaminants, assessing the impacts of these fire-fighting chemicals on threatened amphibians is of high concern. This project will involve a systematic quantitative literature review investigating the impacts of various fire-fighting chemicals and other environmental contaminants on amphibians and other vertebrates.  

This project is part of more extensive research funded by an Australian Research Council Discovery Project grant and involves a team of researchers (including PhD candidates and post-docs) and a diverse network of collaborators. Please see our team website (The Frog Research Team: https://www.frogresearch.com/honours) for more information, or volunteer with us (https://www.facebook.com/groups/FrogWorkVolunteers/).

 

Start date: Trimesters 1, 2 or 3; Contact: c.morrison@griffith.edu.au

"Rainforest BioCondition Assessment"

Supervisors: Dr. Laura Grogan and Prof. Hamish McCallum (EFRI, Griffith Wildlife Disease Ecology Group), Dr. David Newell (Forest Research Centre, Southern Cross University)

Project: Rainforest ecosystems are among the most biodiverse environments on Earth. Although covering only 2% of the global surface area, they house 50% of the world’s plant and vertebrate species. However, there are numerous threats to the integrity of these ecosystems, including land-clearing, fragmentation, invasive species, pollution and climate change. The aim of this project is to examine the vegetation structure and condition of a range of subtropical rainforest sites around south-east QLD and north-east NSW, comparing sites with varying altitude, aspect, slope and proximity to cleared land, to better understand the characteristics affecting rainforest integrity.

 

This project will directly assist with understanding habitat characteristics of the endangered Fleay’s barred frog, as part of more extensive research funded by an Australian Research Council Discovery Project grant. This larger project involves a team of researchers (including PhD candidates and post-docs) and a diverse network of collaborators. The student will have the opportunity to assist with other aspects of this project (including amphibian surveys). Please see our team website (Griffith Wildlife Disease Ecology Group: www.mccallum-disease-ecology.com) for more information.

 

Start date: Trimesters 1, 2 or 3

Contact: l.grogan@griffith.edu.au

"Rainforest stream habitat assessment"

Supervisors: Dr. Laura Grogan and Prof. Hamish McCallum (EFRI, Griffith Wildlife Disease Ecology Group), Dr. David Newell (Forest Research Centre, Southern Cross University)

Project: Rainforest streams are highly variable environments providing important habitats for amphibians, fish, insects, and an important water source for animals on the forest floor. Characteristics of the topography, stream channel and underlying bedrock play an important role in determining vegetation growth, and in turn, animal diversity. The aim of this project is to examine these various characteristics at a range of subtropical rainforest stream sites around south-east QLD and north-east NSW. Streams across a range of altitudes and types of forest will be compared to better understand the characteristics affecting amphibian habitat selection.

 

This project will directly assist with understanding stream habitat characteristics of a range of rainforest amphibians including the endangered Fleay’s barred frog, as part of more extensive research funded by an Australian Research Council Discovery Project grant. This larger project involves a team of researchers (including PhD candidates and post-docs) and a diverse network of collaborators. The student will have the opportunity to assist with other aspects of this project (including amphibian surveys). Please see our team website (Griffith Wildlife Disease Ecology Group: www.mccallum-disease-ecology.com) for more information.

 

Start date: Trimesters 1, 2 or 3

 

Contact: l.grogan@griffith.edu.au

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