Potential projects


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Bachelor of Science (Honours)

Practice and Patient Safety

Supervisor: Sue Stewart
Contact: sue.stewart@cdu.edu.au

Supervisor: Dr Nasreena Waheed
Contact: nasreena.waheed@cdu.edu.au

Supervisor: Mel Lauva
Contact: mel.lauva@cdu.edu.au

Supervisor: Leena Panicker
Contact: leena.panicker@cdu.edu.au

Health services and private practitioners tend to focus on the individual when providing health care. However, families are often involved 24-hours a day in helping their child or relative to recover from a mental illness. What are the specific formal and/or informal resources families draw upon to help their child or relative recover from a mental illness?

Location:
Scholarship/Funding:
Supervisor:
Dr Brian Phillips
Contact: brian.phillips@cdu.edu.au

A substantial number of people access health services for support for mental illness including nursing staff. Frequently, nurses in primary health care settings, aged care, and general medical surgical wards are required to identify the issue and assist the person to access appropriate specialised services. What decision-making resources are available and utilised by enrolled and registered nurses to meet the person's needs?

Location:
Scholarship/Funding:
Supervisor:
Dr Brian Phillips
Contact: brian.phillips@cdu.edu.au


Leadership and Management

Supervisor: Mel Lauva
Contact: mel.lauva@cdu.edu.au

Supervisor: Mel Lauva
Contact: mel.lauva@cdu.edu.au

Supervisor: Jane Davies
Contact: jane.davies@cdu.edu.au

Supervisor: Jane Davies
Contact: jane.davies@cdu.edu.au


Culture, Health and Practice

Supervisor: Dr Colin Watson
Contact: colin.watson@cdu.edu.au

Supervisor: Dr Colin Watson
Contact: colin.watson@cdu.edu.au

Supervisor: Dr Colin Watson
Contact: colin.watson@cdu.edu.au

Supervisor: Dr Colin Watson
Contact: colin.watson@cdu.edu.au

Supervisor: Leena Panicker
Contact: leena.panicker@cdu.edu.au

This project will explore the potential of using sport as a tool to support remote Indigenous students to consider and/or support participation in further education.

This study will examine the co-benefits that engagement in sport can create to promote more equitable health and education outcomes for Indigenous secondary and/or potential higher education students.

It is envisaged this will be a qualitative research project aligned with the Higher Education Participation and Partnerships Program (HEPPP) – Whole of Community Engagement (WCE) initiative within the Office of Pro Vice Chancellor – Indigenous Leadership at CDU.

Supervisor: Associate Professor James Smith, Office of Pro Vice Chancellor Indigenous Leadership
Contact: james.smith3@cdu.edu.au
T: 0455 088 501
Location: Darwin (including potential field work in remote locations across the NT)
Timeframe: Jan-Dec 2015
Ethics clearance required: Approved
Ethics for the HEPPP-WCE initiative was approved on 16 October 2014 (H14070). Some amendments may need to be requested of the Human Research Ethics Committee to accommodate the abovementioned project.
Scholarship/funding: $5,000.00
Necessary skills or knowledge: An interest or qualifications in sport, health, education and/or Indigenous affairs. A GPA of 6 or above Indigenous students are strongly encouraged to apply.
Methodological approach: This will be a participatory action research project aligned with the HEPPP-WCE initiative. It is envisaged that interview and observational methods may be used.


Cancer and Palliative Care

Supervisor: Prof Marilynne N Kirshbaum
Contact: marilynne.kirshbaum@cdu.edu.au

Supervisor: Prof Marilynne N Kirshbaum
Contact: marilynne.kirshbaum@cdu.edu.au

Supervisor: Prof Marilynne N Kirshbaum
Contact: marilynne.kirshbaum@cdu.edu.au

Supervisor: Prof Marilynne N Kirshbaum
Contact: marilynne.kirshbaum@cdu.edu.au

Supervisor: Dr Nasreena Waheed
Contact: nasreena.waheed@cdu.edu.au

Supervisor: Dr Nasreena Waheed
Contact: nasreena.waheed@cdu.edu.au

This pilot study will examine the utility of the FFMQ in mindfulness management of symptoms. Mindfulness (the alpha brain state) is achieved through systematic meditation and has positive effects on symptoms such as fatigue, pain, sleep problems, anxiety, depression and stress. In the absence of an EEG to measure brain wave patterns the FFMQ shows promise as a measure of an individual's suggestibility and degree of attainment of a mindful state. This pilot study will examine the utility of the FFMQ in mindfulness management of symptoms.

Supervisor: Dr David Arthur
Contact: david.arthur@cdu.edu.au

This would be statistically based on using photos, but need to measure the blemishes using digital planimetry software first. There is literature available on modelling wound/blemish healing so it would be a matter of adapting these models according to what fits crocodiles best. There is also corticosterone and temperature data to accompany these photos. Crocodiles are checked at intervals until they are ready for harvest. Thus, there would be opportunities for the student to be in the field.

Location: Darwin
Scholarship/Funding:
Supervisor: Dr Natalie Milic
Contact: natalie.milic@cdu.edu.au

Small crocodileThis project involves modelling the way scales grow on the belly skins of crocodiles. There have scans from sets of ~250 crocodile hatchlings (hatch, three month, six month and soon nine months) and we would like to model the growth over 15 standardised scales on each animal (image shows an example of one animal at hatch three months). There are other morphometric measurements (head and total length) measurements to accompany these. There may be some wound modelling herein also.

Location: Darwin
Scholarship/Funding:
Supervisor: Dr Natalie Milic
Contact: natalie.milic@cdu.edu.au

The objective would be to develop a subjective but reliable score for assessing the way the scale pattern looks on a skin. This would also incorporate incubation data and, longer term, incubator manipulation experiments to try to achieve an "ideal" pattern. This could also be re-formatted to look at the multiple-ISOs.

Location: Darwin
Scholarship/Funding:
Supervisor: Dr Natalie Milic
Contact: natalie.milic@cdu.edu.au

Small crocodileHydrotalcite is produced during seawater neutralization of Bayer's liquor a bauxite refinery waste products. It has the capacity to remove other heavy metals such as As, Cr, V etc. present in Bayer's liquor, making it an Environmental Ameliorant. In this project Molecular modelling techniques combined with experimental techniques, will be used to predict the long-term stability of arsenate intercalated hydrotalcite.

Location: Casuarina
Scholarship/Funding:
Supervisor: Dr Vinuthaa Murthy and Dr Howard Smith
Contact:Vinuthaa.murthy@cdu.edu.au

Small crocodileMedicinal plants are of great importance to the health of individuals and communities and they contribute significantly to primary health care. Traditionally used, medicinal plants produce a variety of compounds of known therapeutic properties. The chief bioactive constituents present in the plants are: terpenes, alkaloids, tannins, flavonoids as well as steroids and phenolic compounds. Australian Indigenous people are believed to have occupied the Australian continent for at least 40,000 years. Their experimentation with plants and the passage of knowledge from one generation to the next resulted in the development of a vast knowledge about uses of medicinal plants. Traditional medicine is still practised by tribal Aborigines in Central and Northern Australia. A large number of different plant species have been utilised as traditional medicines by the Aboriginal peoples of Australia; however, little work has been done to establish the biologically active chemical constituents present in these Aboriginal medicinal plants. The present study proposes phytochemical and in vitro antimicrobial screening of Pterocaulon sphacelatum (Asteraceae). Pterocaulon species, particularly P. sphacelatum and P. serrulatum have been used in traditional medicine by Aboriginal people in different parts of Australia. They have been used for the management of conditions such as respiratory infections and skin sores. Some Pterocaulon species have been reportedly used as medicinal agents by indigenous peoples of South America. The antiviral activity of P. sphacelatum has been previously reported by a South Australian research group. However, so far no scientific studies have reported the antimicrobial potential of bioactive constituents present in the plant P. sphacelatum. This study aims to investigate the fundamental scientific bases of sphacelatum for use in skin infections by identifying the crude phytochemical constituents present in the plant, and qualitatively and quantitatively determining their antimicrobial activity against a battery of organisms comprising Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria, dermatophytes and yeast in comparison with standard antifungal and antibacterial drugs.

Location: Darwin
Scholarship/Funding: A scholarship may be available.
Supervisor:
Contact: Dr Martin Boland, martin.boland@cdu.edu.au

Given the tyranny of distance, less than reliable power supply and low stock turn at remote Aboriginal Health Centres; investigate how long medicines keep in the Northern Territory environment, when their stability is assessed for use in Australia and New Zealand climates, and not tropical conditions.  Explore the process of determining expiry dates in Australia and New Zealand, the International Conference on Harmonization of Technical Requirement for Registration of Pharmaceuticals for Human Use (ICH), and the degradation of active pharmaceutical ingredients in the presence of increased ultraviolet light, temperature and humidity.

Location:
Scholarship/Funding:
Supervisor:
Contact: Mary Madden, Lecturer - Pharmacy Practice, mary.madden@cdu.edu.au

Explore the mechanisms for minimising risk in the preparation, supply and administration of medication.  Indemnity insurance is now compulsory for pharmacists renewing their registration to practice in Australia, but every pharmacy business, hospital department and drug information centre has organically generated procedures and processes for minimising risk of iatrogenic disease, drug related problems and medication error.  Investigate the psychology of behaviour change and risk aversion to determine if lessons learnt in other disciplines can enhance the quality of service provided by pharmacists by minimising the risk of medication error.

Location:
Scholarship/Funding:
Supervisor:
Contact: Mary Madden, Lecturer - Pharmacy Practice, mary.madden@cdu.edu.au

Urban rates of remuneration for pharmacists have not kept pace with the Consumer Price Index (CPI) or the rate of remuneration increases in other professions.  Explore if this discrepancy is true for remuneration rates for rural and remote pharmacists, given the large number of longstanding unfilled rural positions.  Identify the barriers to seeking rural and remote employment for pharmacists given these economic issues.

Location:
Scholarship/Funding:
Supervisor:
Contact: Mary Madden, Lecturer - Pharmacy Practice, mary.madden@cdu.edu.au

Young crocodileCrocodile eggsRecent research has shown that crocodile hatchlings less than five month of age express more variable corticosterone ("stress") levels than the same animals at six and nine months of age. This situation has also been shown in birds hatchlings and there is evidence that the "stress" levels expressed by adult female birds is directly proportional to the levels expressed by their young due to transference in the egg yolk. The aim of this project will be to test this hypothesis in juvenile crocodiles. The student will need to validate the extraction of corticosterone from egg yolk and tissue using ELISA corticosterone kits and correlate these with juvenile serum levels at hatch, 4 and 6 months of age. Collecting female tissue/faecal samples will also be explored as a further correlate to understand this transference.

Location: Darwin
Scholarship/Funding:
Supervisor: Dr Natalie Milic, Dr Sally Isberg (Centre for Crocodile Research) and John Finger (University of Georgia, USA)
Contact: T: +61 8 8946 6036 E: natalie.milic@cdu.edu.au

Plants

Cycas armstrongiiCycas armstrongii occurs only in the top end of the Northern Territory. This species is listed as Vulnerable, reflecting its poor reservation status and declining population. Recovery of this species requires a better understanding of its reproductive biology. C. armstrongii has hard, round (2-4 cm diam.) single-seeded fruits. The dispersal vector of the seeds is unknown and possibly no longer exists. Fruits appear to accumulate around the base of the parent plant and are not dispersed. This study will examine the ecology of fruit production and seed dispersal and specifically whether this species is dispersal limited. Arising from the latter, an evaluation of the demography and recruitment will permit a reassessment of the status of Cycas armstrongii.

Location: Darwin region – tropical savanna
Timeframe: Jan-Sep – late wet into dry season
Necessary skills or knowledge: Willingness to work in the field and a general understanding of plant biology.
Methodological approach: Camera trapping to identify potential seed dispersers; monitoring of flowering and fruiting phenology; marking and tracking dispersal of fruits; quadrant based surveys of plant demography and density.
Supervisors: Prof. Mike Lawes, Dr Catherine Nano (DLRM)
Contact: Mike Lawes, T: 08 8946 6527; E: Michael.Lawes@cdu.edu.au, Catherine Nano T: 08 8951 8222; E: Catherine.Nano@nt.gov.au

Mine waste rock is often a challenging media to establish plants on. It can require various amelioration treatments. As well some species are better adapted than others for tolerating different media. This project would look at several native grass species, the physical and chemical properties of the media and how to achieve reliable rehabilitation success.

Location: Darwin
Scholarship/Funding: A scholarship may be available.
Supervisor: Sean Bellairs
Contact: T: 08 8946 6070; E: sean.bellairs@cdu.edu.au

Mimosa ProjectMimosa (Mimosa pigra L.) is an invasive thorny shrub from the Americas that has colonised large areas of floodplain and riparian habitat in the Northern Territory. A biocontrol program for mimosa started in 1979.

The Department of Land Resource Management's Weed Management Branch and collaborating partners have released 15 insect and fungal agents. A combination of biocontrol and native agents appear to have been successful in reducing plant growth, flower and seed production; and consequently soil seed bank. However, there is a shortage of data and published studies to confirm these observations.

A promising new line of enquiry for assessing biocontrol and other impacts on mimosa is a time-series comparison of soil seed bank. Because mimosa has a hard seed coat, seed banks are persistent and there can be a lag time of many years from the initial seed rain to a measurable response in the soil seed bank. The most recent measurements in 2009 of nine long-term monitoring sites reported an approximate 90% reduction in the soil seed bank to about 200 seeds m-2, reduced from historic levels of >2000 seeds m-2. In the mid-1980s as many as 12,380 seeds m-2 were reported (Lonsdale & Segura 1987).

(Lonsdale & Segura 1987 In: Proc.. 8th Australian Weeds Conference)

Project objectives

1. Measure the density and viability of the current soil seed bank in Mimosa pigra stands at a number of
long-term monitoring sites across the Top End.
2. Synthesise the results with historical data and present as a time-series.
3. Interpret results in the context of existing literature, field observations and local knowledge.

This project is based in Darwin within the Research Institute of Environment and Livelihoods, Charles Darwin University (CDU) with substantial project support provided by the Northern Territory's Department of Land Resource Management.

Location: Darwin
Timeframe: This project requires a mid-year start (commence Semester 2) because samples need to be collected between August and September due to limited site access in the wet season and to enable effective comparison with historic data.
Scholarship/Funding: Operational support and funding is available and CDU offers several scholarships for Honours students.
Supervisor:Sean Bellairs
Contact: T: 08 8946 6070; E: sean.bellairs@cdu.edu.au

Eucalyptus miniataIntroduced pastoral grasses have become major global drivers of ecosystem change, and transformers of native plant assemblages, often through facilitating changes in fire regimes or by direct competition. Far less is known about how invasive grasses affect more complex interactions within ecological communities, for example, whether shifts in abundance or behaviour of pollinators, seed dispersers and granivores in invaded areas can further impact the effective reproduction and recruitment of the plant species they rely on.

This honours project will explore how Cenchrus ciliaris, an introduced pasture species now ubiquitous through large areas of semi-arid Australia and other semi-arid areas globally, affects the provision of plant foods for birds (nectar, fruits or seeds), and visitation and use of these resources by the local avifauna. The project will focus on birds, but could also incorporate work on granivorous mammals and invertebrates (e.g. ants). It links to a larger project comparing change in long lived perennial vegetation in the presence and absence of buffel grass.

The student will be supervised by Dr Christine Schlesinger (School of Environment, CDU) and Dr Ben Gooden (University of Wollongong).

Timing: To commence in Semester 1, 2017 (full-time or part-time).
Location: Charles Darwin University, School of Environment, Alice Springs campus OR the student can be based in Darwin or interstate (external) if they are prepared to travel to and reside in Alice Springs during the field work period (approx. 2 months).
Funding: Funding is available to fully support this research (i.e. project costs). Funding is also available to cover travel to and from Alice Springs and accommodation in Alice Springs at the CDU campus during the field work period.

For further information contact Dr Christine Schlesinger:
T: 08 89595218; E: christine.schlesinger@cdu.edu.au

Photo © Clive Rosewarne

To revegetate mine sites with a range of native plants it is necessary to be able to collect viable seeds and then store, treat and germinate those seeds. To achieve this aim mining companies and revegetation companies need to know about the seed biology of the local flora. This project will investigate the seed biology of selected species.

Location: Darwin
Scholarship/Funding: A scholarship of $2,000 for living expenses, plus operational costs, is available.
Supervisor: Sean Bellairs
Contact: T: 08 8946 6070; E: sean.bellairs@cdu.edu.au


Animals

Parental care (PC) is unusually common in northern Australian freshwater fishes (~40%, compared to ~25% of fish families worldwide). PC ranges from simple guarding to sophisticated external or internal bearing of eggs and young. PC increases offspring fitness and survival; but comes at the cost of parental investment in other offspring. Levels of PC investment may not be fixed, potentially varying with condition of parents, offspring and the environment. However, little is known about their life history. This study will investigate variability in PC investment strategies in one test species, mouth almighty, across variable habitat qualities.

Location: Darwin
Scholarship/Funding: Some research funds available
Ethics clearance: submitted
Necessary skills or knowledge: Laboratory skills and fish sampling experience an advantage
Methodological approach: Detailed methodology developed, and will be explained upon application.
Supervisor: Professor Alison King
Contact: E: Alison.King@cdu.edu.au

Underwater video camera techniques are increasingly being used in marine and freshwater environments as a survey and monitoring method for freshwater fishes. However, filming techniques need to be validated for their efficiency in recording in northern Australian conditions and also fish species.

Reliably surveying fishes in wetlands and other freshwater habitats in the wet/dry tropics is difficult due to changing habitat conditions, boat access, increasing numbers of crocodiles and sharks in waterways. Surveying often requires handling of fish, costly and time intensive methods, and also has some issues of observer and sampling gear bias.

This project will assess the suitability of camera technology for conducting fish surveys, and if appropriate may replace some existing monitoring techniques in some situations.

Location: Darwin
Scholarship/Funding: Some research funding will be provided by CDU and Dept of Environment
Supervisor: Assoc. Prof. Alison King (CDU), Dr Amy George (Supervising Scientist, Dept of Environment)
Contact: T: (08) 8946 6754

Striated grass wrens occur over a large geographic range and on this basis are currently not classified as a vulnerable, although there is evidence that populations are decreasing at some locations. At Uluru Kata Tjuta NP, populations were known from 14 locations in the 90's, but ten years later they have only been recorded at one of these locations. This project would review the distribution of striated grass wren within the park, define the boundaries of the known population, and compare key aspects of habitat between the existing population and areas where the population no longer occupies. Another important aspect of this project will be to assess the significance of the local decrease in distribution by comparing with trends in other known populations.

Location: Alice Springs – Uluru-Kata Tjuta
Scholarship/funding: In kind support from Uluru Kata-Tjuta National Park (accommodation at Uluru and access to vehicles/transport around study sites)
Supervisor: Dr Christine Schlesinger
Contact: christine.schlesinger@cdu.edu.au

Habitat use and movements projectInformation on the types of habitat that fish require and the ways that they move between habitats is fundamental to our understanding of their ecology. This field-intensive project will use radio telemetry to track the habitat use and movements of barramundi within billabong habitats during the dry season. The student will work closely with our team of fish ecologists and will gain extensive experience in fish collection, surgery and tracking techniques.

Location: Darwin, Mary River
Scholarship/funding: Transmitters and operational support through ongoing external project.
Supervisor: Assoc. Prof. David Crook
David Crook
Principle Research Fellow, Research Institute Environment and Livelihood
Casuarina Red 1.3.28
Contact: 8946 6285 E: david.crook@cdu.edu.au

The project would add to and analyse 14 years growth data on the mounds of the harvester termite Amitermes scopulus on Cape York Peninsula to understand the population dynamics of a species that appears to be declining, to the detriment of golden-shouldered parrots, which use the mounds for nesting.

Location: Darwin
Scholarship/Funding:
Supervisor: Stephen Garnett
Contact: T: 08 8946 7115; E: stephen.garnett@cdu.edu.au

This project will use innovative chemical analysis of otoliths (fish earbones) to understand the migrations of riverine fish.

Location: Darwin
Scholarship/Funding:
Supervisor: Prof. David Crook
Contact:David.Crook@cdu.edu.au

Assessing the health and body condition of live fish can be used as a measure of their fitness under different conditions. This project will trial and validate a new technique for measuring lipid (fats) content in the body tissue of fish.

Location: Darwin
Scholarship/Funding:
Supervisor: Prof. Alison King, Assoc. Prof. David Crook
Contact: Alison.King@cdu.edu.au

agile wallabyThe Agile Wallaby (Macropus agilis) is protected by law, but is considered a pest species by pastoralists in northern Australia, particularly in the Top End.

In recent decades wallaby numbers and densities on pastoral lands have increased dramatically. In some agricultural situations wallaby densities are 1000 times greater (>5 animals ha-1) than the natural density. Properties with improved pastures are most severely affected by wallabies.

High density wallaby populations cause environmental degradation, significantly increase production costs (e.g. labour, fencing), and ultimately affect farm viability. The causes of the increase in wallaby numbers are not well understood.

Wallabies may have increased in density on pastoral stations either through increased rates of recruitment or by dispersal onto pastures from the surrounding savanna. There are few options to control their numbers.

Iagile wallabyn the wild, Agile Wallaby populations are controlled by food abundance and predator populations. Changes in predator densities in response to increased wallaby numbers have yet to be investigated.

Understanding the relationship between Agile Wallabies, their food source and their predators is critical for the development of a cost effective management plan.

Specific aims of this project are to examine the drivers of increased wallaby densities on pastoral stations, what population regulation mechanisms are operating, and to review and model the effectiveness of various methods of controlling Agile Wallabies – the latter will involve population harvesting models.

Location: Douglas-Daly District, approximately 150 km South of Darwin
Scholarship/Funding: Funding is available for travel and field equipment. Accommodation and subsistence (meals) can be provided while in the field.
Supervisor: Clive McMahon (CDU), Miguel Bedoya-Pérez (CDU)
Timing: December 2013 – December 2014
Contact: T: (08) 8946 7728; E: miguel.bedoyaperez@cdu.edu.au

Sea turtle eggs are warmed by the sun as they sit in the nest some 50 cm beneath the sand. Yet we know so little about the sand and how it behaves as an insulator, an aerator and a provider of moisture. This is a laboratory based analysis of samples of beach sands for major sea turtle nesting beaches in northern Australia. For comparison sands for non turtle nesting beaches are included and well as desert sands. The sands will be described by their physical (colour, grainsize, porosity) and chemical (metal and non-metal content) and thermal behaviour under light and heat irradiance. (heat flux density and thermal conductivity). Impurities such as iron oxide and mineral sands will be added to simulate industrial runoff and the differences in the behaviour of the sands recorded. This follows a preliminary trial in 1995 by Roger Vanderlely's (MSc thesis).

Location: CDU Casuarina Campus
Scholarship/Funding: Support by the supervisor is available for equipment and chemical analysis.
Supervisor: Dr Mick Guinea (CDU)
Timing: 2015
Contact:mick.guinea@cdu.edu.au
Necessary skills or knowledge: This is laboratory base investigation using data loggers and sieves and will be conducted over a semester in the soils and ecology lab at Yellow 2. A working knowledge of Microsoft Excel is required.
Methodological approach: Laboratory based project.
Ethics considerations: This project does not require animal ethics approval.             

Bare Sand IslandFlatback hatchling heading to the waterWhen hatching flatback sea turtles leave the nest they fan out across the beach as they reach the sea. Being attracted to light and also avoiding dark objects and tending to crawl down the dune, their path is influenced by several factors. Alterations to the fan shaped tracks from the nest in the dunes to the water are considered to be an indicator of the influence of light pollution by industrial and port complexes. This project assesses the factors influencing the formation and shape of hatchling tracks. Assessment will be done under natural conditions using time-lapse photography at the time of hatching with environmental conditions such as horizon luminance, industrial light spill, and phase and elevation of the moon, wind strength, sand and air temperatures will be recorded remotely. The researcher will not be on the beach at the time of hatching. Analysis will include also dune topography and beach aspect and the length and width of the hatchling fan. Field work will be conducted at Cape Lambert in January 2015 and at Bare sand Island in June and July 2015.

Flatback hatchling headings to the waterLocation: Bare Sand Island NT and Cape Lambert, WA
Scholarship/Funding: Industry support for travel and accommodation is available. All equipment is supplied
Supervisor: Dr Mick Guinea (CDU), Dr Jason Rossendell (Rio Tinto)
Timing: 2015
Contact: mick.guinea@cdu.edu.au and jason.rossendell@riotinto.com
Necessary skills or knowledge: Must be able to pass basic fitness assessment required by Rio Tinto, participate in "Iron Ore Essentials" induction, be mentally prepared to work safely in hot, sandy and remote but safe locations. Be able to spend some weeks in the field.
Methodological approach: This project involves physical field work, and computer analysis of data.
Ethics considerations: This is low risk as the hatchlings will not be encountered or handled. Their movements are photographed under infrared light. Study will be conducted under existing permits.

Sea turtle eggsSea turtle eggs are sensitive to movement during incubation. This sensitivity is greatest after 8 hours of being laid. Cooling the eggs to about 10°C enabled them to be transported for 24 hours without any detrimental impact on hatching success. Over-zealous cooling and insufficient cooling have resulted in many sea turtle eggs failing to survive transportation to research facilities. Eggs in danger from environmental perturbations such as pile driving, oil pollution and coastal erosion need relocation but the guidelines for cooling and the length of time the eggs can be cooled remain unknown. This project address this lack of knowledge by cooling freshly laid sea turtle eggs under field conditions and holding them for varying periods of time before burying them in natural beach locations and recording the hatching and emergence success.

The hatchlings will not be handled because the success will be assessed by the eggshells remaining in the nest.

Sea turtle tracksLocation: Casuarina campus CDU, Bare Sand Island
Scholarship/Funding: Support by the supervisor is available for equipment
Supervisor: Dr Mick Guinea (CDU)
Timing: 2015
Contact:mick.guinea@cdu.edu.au
Necessary skills or knowledge: This is a field based project with several weeks of field work required in May, June and July. The student will need to be physically fit and mentally prepared to spend several weeks at a time in the field camp at Bare Sand Island.
Methodological approach: This is a field based project.
Ethics considerations: This project does require animal ethics approval and Northern Territory Parks and Wildlife permits.

 Are electrical exclusion devices the best method for examining fish/shrimp consumer effects in streams? Electrical exclusion devices (EEDs) are commonly used to examine whether macroconsumers (fish and shrimp) have important effects on macroinvertebrates and benthic algae in tropical river systems. It is thought that EEDs are a better method for examining this process because they don't incur 'cage effects'. Cage effects are when the presence of the cage itself alters the environment above and beyond the intended treatment effect of excluding macrocosumers (for example: shading, reducing water velocity, providing a substrate for growth of algae, etc). This assertion that EEDs are a better method compared to cages has never been tested in a published experiment.

Supervisor: Dr. Erica Garcia
Location: streams in Litchfield National Park
Timeframe: dry season field work
Scholarship/funding if available: experimental and camping equipment provided, possibility of some funding
Contact Details: Erica Garcia 08 8946 7445
E: erica.garcia@cdu.edu.au

The behaviour of prey species is typically impacted upon by their predators. Studies have shown that for some species the consequential effects of predation can be stimulated in the absence of the predator. This project will assess if fish behaviour and physiology is altered when it is exposed to water that has been impregnated with crocodile pheromones. The student undertaking this project will be expected to design, and execute controlled laboratory experiments with live animals. The student will learn how to develop and execute controlled laboratory animal experiments, predator-prey theory, statistical analysis, and scientific writing. All studies will be conducted at the Casuarina campus.

Supervisor: Hamish Campbell
Location: Casuarina Campus
Timeframe: 12 months
Contact Details:Hamish.campbell@cdu.edu.au
Necessary skills or knowledge: General Ecology and Biology
Methodological approach: Laboratory studies

Citizen science is a growing area of conservation biology. The advent of social media and smart phones means that nearly everyone has the capacity to locate, record, store, and distribute wildlife occurrence. This project will examine the current scientific literature and presence on social media around this topic. The project will be computer based so ideally suited for both on and off campus students.

Location: Movement and Landscape Ecology Lab, Darwin
Scholarship/Funding:
Supervisor: Dr Hamish Campbell
Contact: T: (08) 8946 6017 E: hamish.campbell@cdu.edu.au

The Magpie goose is a native water bird that inhabits the wetlands of Northern Australia. Mango growers in the Darwin agricultural area have been reporting the birds flocking into their orchards in ever greater numbers, however, the level of damage caused by the birds when in the orchards is unclear. This project will use camera trap technology to assess exactly what these birds are doing whilst in the orchard. The project will entail assessing camera trap imagery from camera’s deployed around the orchard to build a picture of bird behaviour and foraging ecology, plus assess what other fauna may be feeding within in the orchard.

Location: Movement and Ecology Lab, Darwin
Scholarship/Funding:
Supervisor: Dr Hamish Campbell
Contact: T: (08) 8946 6017 E: hamish.campbell@cdu.edu.au

Eucalyptus miniataIntroduced pastoral grasses have become major global drivers of ecosystem change, and transformers of native plant assemblages, often through facilitating changes in fire regimes or by direct competition. Far less is known about how invasive grasses affect more complex interactions within ecological communities, for example, whether shifts in abundance or behaviour of pollinators, seed dispersers and granivores in invaded areas can further impact the effective reproduction and recruitment of the plant species they rely on.

This honours project will explore how Cenchrus ciliaris, an introduced pasture species now ubiquitous through large areas of semi-arid Australia and other semi-arid areas globally, affects the provision of plant foods for birds (nectar, fruits or seeds), and visitation and use of these resources by the local avifauna. The project will focus on birds, but could also incorporate work on granivorous mammals and invertebrates (e.g. ants). It links to a larger project comparing change in long lived perennial vegetation in the presence and absence of buffel grass.

The student will be supervised by Dr Christine Schlesinger (School of Environment, CDU) and Dr Ben Gooden (University of Wollongong).

Timing: To commence in Semester 1, 2017 (full-time or part-time).
Location: Charles Darwin University, School of Environment, Alice Springs campus OR the student can be based in Darwin or interstate (external) if they are prepared to travel to and reside in Alice Springs during the field work period (approx. 2 months).
Funding: Funding is available to fully support this research (i.e. project costs). Funding is also available to cover travel to and from Alice Springs and accommodation in Alice Springs at the CDU campus during the field work period.

For further information contact Dr Christine Schlesinger:
T: 08 89595218; E: christine.schlesinger@cdu.edu.au

Photo © Clive Rosewarne


Ecosystems

Small crocodileSedimentation of rivers has caused river widening and shallowing, exacerbating flooding. Sedimentation at the coast has buried seagrass, mangroves and coral reefs. While these conclusions are known from studies of individual catchments, the regional pattern is not known. That is, which catchments have been most affected by land use? The proposed project will map short term and long term ST-LT erosion rates for the catchments of the region based on a Digital Elevation Model (from SRTM data which is freely available) and equations derived by Dr Nawaz. The interpretation of the spatial pattern of ST-LT will be the major new intellectual contribution of this project, and will be publishable.

Location: Darwin
Scholarship/Funding:
Supervisor: Dr Muhammad Nawaz
Contact: T: 08 8946 6738; E: muhammad.nawaz@cdu.edu.au

Over the next 20 years a large proportion of the sand sheets near Darwin are likely to be mined. They contain threatened flora species including Utricularia, a genus of carnivorous plant species. This project will investigate how the mined areas recover after mining by assessing the vegetation and the soil seed bank. It will also assess the tolerances of the sand heath species to flooding and how earthworks modifications improve rehabilitation.

Location: Darwin
Scholarship/Funding: A scholarship of $2,000 for living expenses, plus operational costs, is available.
Supervisor: Sean Bellairs
Contact: T: 08 8946 6070; E: sean.bellairs@cdu.edu.au

Tropical savannas are a globally significant biome that accounts for approximately 30% of global primary productivity. Accurate assessments of the stores and fluxes of carbon in this biome, including the potential alteration of these stores and fluxes in the face of land use change, are therefore crucial. Weed invasion, changed fire regimes and/or plantation forestry have unknown ramifications on the soil organic carbon (SOC) pool of savanna ecosystems.

The large degree of discrimination of carbon isotopic ratios (δ13C) between C3 (tree; –28‰) and C4 (grass; –12‰) photosynthesis can be usefully applied to savannas. Land use change can be considered in terms of a tree–grass continuum, with intact savanna a C3–C4 mixture that can be transformed to ‘end-member’ states of either C3-dominant (forestry) or C4-dominant (weed infestation). Previous work has suggested that the SOC derived from C4 plants decomposes at a faster rate than the SOC derived from C3 plants. This project will test the assumption that soil carbon retains the carbon isotopic signature of its photosynthetic pathway during later stages of decomposition.

Soil cores will be collected in both undisturbed and transformed savannas. They will be incubated for measurement of heterotrophic respiration and carbon isotopic composition of respired CO2 over a 1-year period. As the cores receive no additional carbon input, loss of SOC and depletion of δ13C over time will be tracked to measure differences in decomposition rates of SOC derived from C3 and C4 biomass. These data will be used to address the relative contribution of C3 and C4 plants to respired CO2 and to determine the impacts of land use change on.

Supervisors: Prof Lindsay Hutley, Dr Clément Duvert, Prof Jonathan Wynn (U. of South Florida)
Location: Yellow 2, Casuarina Campus
Timeframe: Feb-Oct 2017, June – June 207/18
Scholarship/funding if available: ARC Discovery Grant 2016-2018 Hutley et al.
Contact Details: Prof Lindsay Hutley
Necessary skills or knowledge: Environmental science, ecology, soil science (not essential)
Methodological approach: Field based sampling and laboratory incubation of soil cores from savanna sites with contrasting land use history and use of carbon isotope analyser.


Fire

Impact of fire regimes on plant diversity in graxed tropical savannasThe NT Department of Primary Industry and Fisheries have a potential honours project for a student to look at floristic diversity on our long term fire experiment at Kidman Springs. The replicated fire experiment has been in place for 20 years now, yet we have never assessed plant diversity at the site, which remains a significant knowledge gap. The study would provide important knowledge on how fire impacts plant diversity in grazed tropical savannas.

The study sites are located on the NT DPIF Victoria River Research Station (VRRS, also known as 'Kidman Springs') in the Victoria River District. Two sites located 4km apart in separate grazed (by cattle) paddocks of native pastures on a calcareous red earth and on an alluvial grey cracking clay.

There are six treatments comprising combinations of a burn frequency (burnt every second, fourth and sixth year) and season of burn (early dry and late dry season) which are replicated twice with four control (unburnt) plots. This year the fire sites have been excluded from grazing by cattle over the wet season, so it is an excellent opportunity to investigate plant diversity. This is a well-studied site

Location: Kidman Springs
Supervisors and assistance: Adjunct Professor Jeremy Russell-Smith (CDU) and Dr Alaric Fisher
Contact: Adjunct Professor Jeremy Russell-Smith, E: jeremy.russell-smith@cdu.edu.au

A number of project opportunities exist for examining fire patterning in savanna landscapes in the broader Asian region, using remotely sensed data and associated GIS analyses. Prospective projects include (a) broad regional assessment using available MODIS fire mapping products, 2000 to present, (b) more localised assessments of fire patterning, e.g. eastern Indonesia, Timor Leste. The underlying purpose of these projects is to assess the potential for implementing carbon offsets projects in different Asian settings such as now being undertaken in northern Australia. It is anticipated that such projects could readily form the basis for higher level degrees.

Supervisors: Jeremy Russell-Smith, Cameron Yates, Andrew Edwards, Rohan Fisher
Location: Darwin Centre for Bushfire Research, RIEL
Timeframe: from October 2014, ongoing
Contact Details: in first instance email jeremy.russell-smith@cdu.edu.au
T: 0447200927

Many shrub species occurring in Arnhem Plateau heath communities (a formally listed Endangered Community) regenerate solely from seed once adult plants are killed by fire. Such species are referred to as obligate seeders. While some information is available concerning the time required for obligate seeder species to develop new seed crops, little is known about soil-stored seedbank properties, especially (i) the longevity of associated seedbanks and (ii) whether soil-stored seeds are actually available or whether they have been harvested or otherwise destroyed by seed predators. The study would be based on long-term monitoring sites with known fire histories, and glass-hose germination trials. A number of projects are possible. It is anticipated that such projects could readily form the basis for higher level degrees.

Supervisors: Jeremy Russell-Smith, Sean Bellairs
Location: Darwin Centre for Bushfire Research, RIEL
Timeframe: from October 2014, ongoing
Contact Details: in first instance email jeremy.russell-smith@cdu.edu.au
T: 0447200927

Little detailed vegetation / habitat mapping is currently available for any of these National Parks. Such mapping is required at relatively large spatial scales (~1:50 000) for informing both the implementation and monitoring of the effectiveness of management programs. A number of remote sensing and associated field-based validation projects are available in respective parks, focusing on (a) mapping discrete vegetation / habitat types (e.g. monsoon rainforest patches, riparian communities, Callitris stands, woodland communities), and (b) allied assessments of their condition. It is anticipated that such projects could readily form the basis for higher level degrees.

Supervisors: Andrew Edwards, Dominique Lynch, Jeremy Russell-Smith
Location: Darwin Centre for Bushfire Research, RIEL
Timeframe: from October 2014, ongoing
Contact Details: in first instance email andrew.edwards@cdu.edu.au
T: 0427270835

Bushfires NT volunteers undertook a planning exercise at the end of 2013 whereby they mapped potential prescribed burning activities across the greater Darwin region for the 2014 fire season. Prospective projects include(a) mapping burnt areas for 2014 using Landsat 8 satellite imagery and undertaking a comparison of the areas affected by fire for each of the volunteer regions. Report the findings to Bushfires NT and the volunteer brigades, (b) use the 2014 Landsat 8 derived burnt area mapping to characterise the seasonality and severity of fires in various major habitats, particularly with respect to Gamba grass density mapping and in major conservation reserves, reporting back to NT Parks and Wildlife.

Supervisors: Cameron Yates, Andrew Edwards, Andrew Turner, Mark Ashley
Location: Darwin Centre for Bushfire Research, RIEL
Timeframe: from October 2014, ongoing
Contact Details: in first instance email andrew.edwards@cdu.edu.au
T: 0427270835

Fire severity until recently has been characterised by seasonality, with more severe fires typically occurring under late dry season conditions. New research has developed remotely sensed algorithms for describing fire severity which have been applied to MODIS satellite imagery across northern Australia. A number of prospective projects applying satellite-derived fire severity include (a) Landsat-derived fire severity mapping for Kakadu National Park and Western Arnhem Land, (b) comparison of MODIS- and Landsat-derived fire severity mapping products, (c) comparison of fire severity under different fire management regimes, e.g. between Kakadu National Park and Western Arnhem Land.

Supervisors: Andrew Edwards, Cameron Yates, Jay Evans, Rohan Fisher
Location: Darwin Centre for Bushfire Research, RIEL
Timeframe: from October 2014, ongoing
Contact Details: in first instance email andrew.edwards@cdu.edu.au
T: 0427270835

Assessment of long term ecological plots in northern savannas has shown that fire frequency and severity have significant impacts on woody vegetation density diversity and structure.  To date there has been limited study into fire effects on associated non-woody groundcover vegetation. A variety of studies could be conducted to examine fire regime effects on the response of different groundcover species, or guilds of species (e.g. annual vs perennial grasses), utilise the long term Three Parks monitoring plot database (assembled since 1994/95).

Supervisors: Dominique Lynch, Jay Evans, and Jeremy Russell-Smith
Location: Darwin Centre for Bushfire Research, RIEL
Timeframe: from October 2014, ongoing
Contact Details: in first instance email dominique.lynch2@cdu.edu.au
T: 0408926163


Livelihood

A number of national map products are available publicly that are derived from MODIS and LANDSAT satellite imagery.  These products (persistent greenness, fractional cover, Dynamic Land Cover) provide information on the changing phenology of vegetation cover. A number of studies are possible for assessing the application of such products for mapping vegetation attributes (e.g. habitat structure, seasonal deciduousness in woody layers, seasonal differences in the response of dominant tussock and hummock (spinifex) grasses) in north Australian savannas.

Supervisors: Dominique Lynch, Andrew Edwards, Cameron Yates
Location: Darwin Centre for Bushfire Research, RIEL
Timeframe: from October 2014, ongoing
Contact Details: in first instance email dominique.lynch2@cdu.edu.au
T: 0408926163

Capacity building is now a standard feature of natural resource management. For selected case studies this project would look at what trainers and students think capacity building entails, what benefits they see accruing to themselves or the community, what happens to those whose capacity has been built, and what improvements occur in natural resource management. Ultimately it would aim to help the capacity building process to meet both the needs of land managers and the needs of the land being managed.

Location: Darwin
Scholarship/Funding:
Supervisor: Stephen Garnett
Contact: T: 08 8946 7115; E: stephen.garnett@cdu.edu.au

A range of threatened species need active management if they are to persist in northern Australia. This project would review all current threatened species programs, estimate the nature, location, cost of the work required, the skills needed, sources of funding and policies of funding bodies. It would then review existing capacity in selected Indigenous communities, and review the costs, benefits and policy impediments to Indigenous engagement in threatened species management.

Location: Darwin
Scholarship/Funding:
Supervisor: Stephen Garnett
Contact: T: 08 8946 7115; E: stephen.garnett@cdu.edu.au

Birdwatchers travel the globe to see birds, particularly those bird species that are not found in their home country. In doing so they can contribute to the economies of remote areas where birds live. The Northern Territory has both bird species and bird spectacles that occur nowhere else, and bird tourism is considered a potential source of income for remote communities. This study would examine bird tourist numbers and expectations, the capacity of the Northern Territory, particularly Indigenous communities, to meet those expectations, and identify ways in which the region can benefit from this tourist market.

Location: Darwin
Scholarship/Funding: The CRC for Sustainable Tourism and/or Tourism NT are expected to contribute towards this research.
Supervisors: Stephen Garnett and Dean Carson
Contact: T: 08 8946 7115; E: stephen.garnett@cdu.edu.au

Magpie geeseMango production is a vital industry in the Top End. By direct damage to mango crops and irrigation systems, magpie geese are thought to be responsible for a loss of 5-25% of mango production. The extent of damage caused by magpie geese varies depending on a number of factors including mango variety, size and proximity of orchards to roosting sites and timing of fruit set.

From September to October magpie geese invade mango orchards in large numbers. Their arrival is coincident with the start of the hunting season which has been suggested to displace magpie geese from their natural feeding grounds. While this is plausible, hunting does not entirely explain the large number of geese returning every year to orchids.
This project will aim to understand the dynamics between magpie geese, their food sources and roosting sites which will later be used to develop a cost-effective management plan for magpie geese on mango orchids.

Location: Darwin region
Scholarship/Funding:Honours – no stipend
PhD – APA plus top-up
~$50K in operating funds
Supervisors: Stephen Garnett
Contact: Stephen Garnett
T: 08 8946 7115
E: stephen.garnett@cdu.edu.au


Energy

The solar reflectance of paint will determine its effectiveness when used to improve the energy performance of buildings. This project will study comparative performance of several brands of reflective paints available in the market.

Location:
Scholarship/Funding:
Supervisors: Dr. Edward Halawa and Ms Robin Knox (CoolMob)
Contact: T: (08) 8946 6249; Edward.Halawa@cdu.edu.au

There have been anecdotal evidences that thermal set points in office buildings in many parts of the world are too low, within the range 22 – 26°C, which is found in existing Standard such as ASHRAE Standard 55 adopted in many countries including Australia. This is due to the restricted range of values of other thermal comfort parameters such as clothing insulation and air speeds imposed when devising the Standard. This project will investigate acceptability of high set points, i.e. 26-28°C range in a number of offices in Darwin.

Location:
Scholarship/Funding:
Supervisors: Dr. Edward Halawa and Ms Robin Knox (CoolMob)
Contact: T: (08) 8946 6249; Edward.Halawa@cdu.edu.au

This project will investigate the impacts of turning off electric hot water during the period of long periods of low or no hot water requirement on the thermal performance of the overall system. Other related aspects such as health issues when turning off hot water will also be investigated.

Location:
Scholarship/Funding:
Supervisors: Dr. Edward Halawa and Ms Robin Knox (CoolMob)
Contact: T: (08) 8946 6249; Edward.Halawa@cdu.edu.au


Micorbial Ecology

Life persists in virtually every microenvironment on earth, and the most extreme of these have been studied to enhance our understanding of, and search for, extraterrestrial life. In the 1960's NASA funded research examining the primitive organisms associated with desert rocks, crusts and soil. The greatest diversity of organisms in these harsh environments was found under rocks (hypolithic) that have a component of quartz and chalcedony. Not only do these crystalline microenvironments provide sufficient light, but they also retain moisture and accumulate material compared to the surrounding soil. In a study of primitive life under quartz rocks in the southern Mojave Desert, researchers found that the majority of organisms were cyanobacteria, including five groups that were previously unknown. The organisms could survive under very low light conditions (0.08% of sunlight), in extremely high temperatures (90°C), and extreme desiccation. During the course of fieldwork in the Victoria River District (VRD), we have found areas with large amounts of diaphanous rock with substantial masses of hypolithic slime. The honours project will be to use molecular techniques to culture and characterise selected hypolithic organisms of the VRD, all of which are new species. The project will allow a more thorough study of these little-known, primitive, and possibly ecologically important organisms.

Selection criteria: standard academic entry requirement for honours and laboratory skills in a relevant discipline
Location: Darwin
Scholarship/Funding:
Supervisor: A/Professor Karen Gibb, A/Prof Keith Christian, Dr Chris Tracy
Contact: E: karen.gibb@cdu.edu.au

Microbial Ecology Environmental HealthTidal creeks, drains, recreational ponds and lakes carry run-off, stormwater and seawater. Some of these water bodies are affected by diffuse or point source pollution and carry high levels of bacteria. There are ongoing issues around water quality, particularly what, when and how we should be monitoring these sites.

Routine testing involves culture based approaches and standard guidelines currently only recommend testing for the so-called faecal indicator bacteria (FIB) E. coli and enterococci. The problem is that these bacteria grow well in the environment even in the absence of human faeces, and the need to culture means samples cannot be stored for more than a few hours before testing. Internationally there is a move to molecular tests without a culturing step, but with any new approach there are reservations. The advantage of these molecular tests is that samples can be stored for weeks or months before testing, they are cost effective and high throughput – plus the stored DNA can be used to test a whole suite of pathogens and FIBs. This honours project involves validating molecular tests already developed in our lab. Bacteria in samples for which we already have conventional test results will be measured using the molecular tests to compare both approaches. Recovery efficiency will also be tested by spiking water with known amounts of E. coli and enterococci to determine how much is lost during DNA extraction. The optimised test will be deployed in a real situation to test hypotheses about water quality and variation in bacteria counts in relation to possible sources of pollution and/or water flow rates and flushing. Depending on progress the student may also have the opportunity to develop and use molecular tests for a range of other pathogens.

Location: Darwin
Funding: School of Environment and research project funds
Supervisors: Professor Karen Gibb and Dr Anna Padovan
Contact: E: karen.gibb@cdu.edu.au; anna.padovan@cdu.edu.au

Melioidosis is a serious infectious disease affecting humans and animals in tropical Australia. It is endemic in the Top End and caused by the soil bacterium Burkholderia pseudomallei. Various field studies have established a range of environmental variables associated with the habitat of B. pseudomallei in the soil of the Top End including irrigated residential gardens. This study will use spatial information layers to predict the presence of B. pseudomallei in the environment of the greater Darwin area.

Supervisors: Karen Joyce and Mirjam Kaestli
Location: Darwin
Contact: Karen Joyce and Mirjam Kaestli

Freshwater musselsUnionid mussels (pictured) are important bush-tucker for Aboriginal communities of Kakadu National Park, including communities downstream of the Ranger uranium mine. Ecotoxicology research using North American unionids have reported that this family of mussels are especially sensitive to ammonia exposure. Ammonia is contaminant of potential concern for Ranger because it is present in high concentrations in process water and the concentrated brines that will be deposited in Pit 3 during the mine's rehabilitation. Consequently, there is a need for a site-specific ammonia water quality Guideline Value (GV) for Magela Creek, which should include toxicity estimates for a unionid mussels. This project will determine if the unionids inhabiting Magela Creek show sensitivity to ammonia similar to exotic species. It will involve the development of a standardised toxicity test for a local freshwater mussels species and the generation of toxicity data. Toxicity estimates calculated during this project will be used to inform a site-specific GV for Magela Creek and ensure that this important family of mussels is protected.

Supervisors: Andrew Harford (ERISS), Karen Gibb (CDU) and Rick van Dam (ERISS)
Location: Darwin
Timeframe: July 2015 – July 2016
Scholarship/funding if available: $2000
Contact Details: Andrew Harford, PhD.
A/Program Leader, Ecotoxicology Program
Environmental Research Institute of the Supervising Scientist (eriss)
Department of the Environment
Cnr Pederson Rd and Fenton Crt, Eaton, Northern Territory 0820
GPO Box 461, DARWIN NT 0801
T: 08 8920 1173

We have detected Vibrio parahaemolyticus in shellfish in Darwin Harbour. To understand the ecology of this potentially human pathogenic bacterium, the student will measure the concentration of total V. parahaemolyticus and virulent strains in seawater and sediment from different times and locations with varied physicochemical parameters, in particular, seawater temperature, salinity, rainfall events and nutrients. Multivariate analysis will be performed to determine if there are conditions likely to lead to the proliferation of V. parahaemolyticus, particularly virulent strains.

Supervisors: Anna Padovan
Location: Yellow 2 Molecular/Micro Labs2.54/2.46 and associated labs
Timeframe: February 2017-November 2017 (or part-time)
Contact Details: Anna Padovan, E: anna.padovan@cdu.edu.au, T: 8946 6555
Necessary skills or knowledge: Microbiological techniques (culturing, plating); molecular techniques (DNA extractions, gel electrophoresis, PCR, qPCR); understanding of and ability to work with biohazards; well-organized.
Methodological approach:Take replicate seawater and sediment samples from key sites in Darwin Harbour to (1) culture V. parahaemolyticus to enumerate and identify strains using PCR or qPCR; (2) measure key physicochemical parameters. Use multivariate analysis to determine if there is a relationship with vibrio abundance with particular parameters.

Traditional indicators such as E. coli and enterococci are used to assess the microbiological quality of water. However, monitoring for these indicators is not always effective for determining effluent contamination as indicators can occur naturally in the environment and may even multiply under certain conditions. Sand and sediment have been implicated as a bacterial source in tropical and subtropical regions. This project will look at concentrations of traditional faecal indicators in the environment and assess whether alternative organisms such as bifidobacteria or bacteroides are better indicators of human faecal pollution.

Supervisors: Anna Padovan
Location: ellow 2 Molecular/Micro Labs2.54/2.46 and associated labs
Timeframe: February 2017-November 2017 (or part-time)
Contact Details: Anna Padovan, E: anna.padovan@cdu.edu.au, T: 8946 6555
Necessary skills or knowledge: Microbiological techniques (culturing, plating); molecular techniques (DNA extractions, gel electrophoresis, PCR); understanding of and ability to work with biohazards; well-organized.
Methodological approach: Replicate seawater and sediment samples from key sites in Darwin Harbour in different seasons will be taken to enumerate traditional faecal indicators by culturing. Key physicochemical parameters will also be measured. Multivariate analysis will be used to determine if there is a relationship between faecal indicators in water or sediment and physico-chemical parameters or weather events (e.g. season, wind, tides, rainfall, human recreational activity (e.g. surf life saving events, Beer Can Regatta etc). DNA markers targeting human gut microbes such as bifidobacteria and Bacteroides will be tested on water from a creek receiving wastewater and a control creek (no wastewater) to evaluate their suitability as alternative indicators of water quality.


Spatial Science

The project will make use of already-compiled NASA-MODIS and European Space Agency ESA-MERIS satellite datacubes, as well as NASA’s Giovanni, to elucidate a) the environmental factor(s) that lead to the onset of this striking algal bloom and b) map its evolution over more than 10 years of satellite data.

Location: Charles Darwin University/RIEL
Scholarship/Funding:
Supervisor: Dr David Blondeau-Patissier and Dr Ian Leiper
Contact: E: david.blondeau-patissier@cdu.edu.au or ian.leiper@cdu.edu.au

This research project will provide an assessment of the impacts of the seasonal and tidal effects on Darwin Harbour’s water quality. The student will analyse satellite imagery from ocean colour sensors collected over the region of interest. In addition, data from the Bureau of Meteorology rain gauges may be used in this project. Some statistical analysis may be required, and it is expected that the student produce a final report.

Location: Charles Darwin University/RIEL
Scholarship/Funding:
Supervisor: Dr David Blondeau-Patissier and Dr Ian Leiper
Contact: E: david.blondeau-patissier@cdu.edu.au or ian.leiper@cdu.edu.au

Location: Darwin
Scholarship/Funding:
Supervisor: Associate Professor Lindsay Hutley
Contact: E: Lindsay.Hutley@cdu.edu.au

This project is computer based and will suit both on and off-campus Honours students. The project will assess the spatial distribution of species currently listed as threatened under the Commonwealth’s EPBC Act 1999 (Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation). The project will model species distributions in GIS, and assess how these distributions are influenced by social and environmental factors, such as population, urbanisation, agriculture. Students will require knowledge of GIS and application of the ESRI ARCGIS software, and will learn geostatistics.

Location: Anywhere
Timeframe: 12 - 24 months
Supervisor: Hamish Campbell
Contact: E: Hamish.campbell@cdu.edu.au
Necessary skills or knowledge: GIS skills
Methodological approach: Spatial modelling

Most members of the pubic now permanently carry a high resolution digital camera on their smartphones. Like-minded conservation concerned citizens are using their devices to photograph animals in the wild, upload, and share these images through social media. Collectively, these images are a treasure trove of information about threatened species and where they occur. This project will explore how useful citizen collected wildlife images are for generating pragmatic conservation and management advice through the application of the scientific process. This project is computer-based and does not have a field work component. It will therefore be suitable to honours students seeking to complete their entire honours project either off or on campus. The student will be expected to engage with a conservation community through Facebook and will develop skills in database management, spatial analysis, and the statistical techniques relevant to processing citizen science data.

Location: Anywhere
Timeframe: 12 - 24 months
Supervisor: Hamish Campbell
Contact: E: Hamish.campbell@cdu.edu.au
Methodological approach: Web based data collection and analysis

Security features provided by the operating system is one of the most important parameters for analysing the performance of multiple operating systems. IT industries need to build network security to prevent and monitor unauthorized access. As network security covers a variety of computer networks (both public and private) the right choice of operating systems in the server side is crucial in setting up the desired security based on company's IT infrastructure.

Location:
Scholarship/Funding: n/a
Supervisors: Sami Azam & Charles Yeo
Contact:sami.azam@cdu.edu.au; charles.yeo@cdu.edu.au

Cloud computing is an emerging technology which brings numerous benefits with its use. It is the use of configurable computing resources (e.g. networks, servers, storage, and software applications) that are delivered as a service over the internet. Cloud computing is changing the current IT landscape and opening the door for many new opportunities for companies in various industries. There are different sectors where the benefits and the drawback of the cloud computing can be analysed.

Location:
Scholarship/Funding: n/a
Supervisors: Sami Azam & Charles Yeo
Contact:sami.azam@cdu.edu.au; charles.yeo@cdu.edu.au

Routers, switches, firewall, DNS service, servers, etc have to properly configured to ensure appropriate security for network behind these devices. There are a number of security tools to identify misconfiguration and known vulnerabilities. The tools have different capabilities. Your research will be to classify the capabilities of the tools to identify various vulnerabilities
Location:
Scholarship/Funding: n/a
Supervisors: Krishnan Kannoorpatti Sami Azam & Charles Yeo
Contact:krishnan.kannoorpatti@cdu.edu.au; sami.azam@cdu.edu.au; charles.yeo@cdu.edu.au

Software production is generally a cottage industry with little rigorous testing done to check if all the known vulnerabilities are covered. Some of the vulnerabilities are SQL injection attack, Cross-site scripting, Buffer overflow, etc. As the size of software increases, it becomes difficult to identify these vulnerabilities manually. There are a number of security testing tools that could be used to identify the vulnerabilities. The tools have different capabilities. Your research will be to classify the capabilities of the tools to identify various vulnerabilities.

Location:
Scholarship/Funding: n/a
Supervisors: Krishnan Kannoorpatti Sami Azam & Charles Yeo
Contact:krishnan.kannoorpatti@cdu.edu.au; sami.azam@cdu.edu.au; charles.yeo@cdu.edu.au

The project investigates positive psychology (PS) and how it focuses on identifying the individual's positive strengths rather than on nurturing the weaknesses of individuals. Based on this identification the project will investigate how the concepts in PS help in organizational learning. Organizational learning is a process where the organization makes the most of what its individuals know, how this knowledge is shared within groups and consequently within the organization. The main question is practically by improving the strengths of individuals through nurturing what they know most we improve the learning process in the organization.

Location:
Scholarship/Funding: n/a
Supervisors: Jamal El Den
Contact:jamal.el-den@cdu.edu.au

"Knowledge is Power" is a statement that is currently the logo of most organizations. Many researchers believe that knowledge is another name for information and that so far all organizations do is use the new name "knowledge" instead of information. The literature demonstrates that knowledge and information are not the same even though both are vital to organizations. The project will investigate the above dilemma and deliver a clear distinctive document demonstrating that knowledge is "real" and that it is the "only" wealth for today's organizations. In doing so, the project will also demonstrate the importance of information to organizations.

Location:
Scholarship/Funding: n/a
Supervisors: Jamal El Den
Contact: jamal.el-den@cdu.edu.au

The PCRU in conjunction with Menzies School of Health Research are working to determine factors that influence school attendance. The aim of this project is to assist in this research and implement a number of analytical tools for the purpose of analysing this data.

Location:
Scholarship/Funding: n/a
Supervisors: Peter Shaw
Contact:peter.shaw@cdu.edu.au

Description: In this project the student will develop and evaluate the performance of new heuristics with FPT subroutines against existing heuristics for a variety of problems.

Location:
Scholarship/Funding: n/a
Supervisors: Peter Shaw
Contact:peter.shaw@cdu.edu.au

 

As the nation's leader in Indigenous and tropical health research, Menzies discoveries are being used to better prevent, treat and diagnose disease. Our researchers make a difference by showing how the social and physical environments in which we live and deliver health care can be improved for better health outcomes. Undertaking an Honours research project through Menzies is an opportunity to study under the supervision of acclaimed health research experts.

Menzies has a range of projects available for the Bachelor of Science (Honours) and a list of current projects can be found on the Menzies website.