Issue 5 - June 1, 2009 enews home

Irish zoologist returns for more of the Top End

Veronica French

PhD candidate Veronica French, hard at work
on her thesis on tropical savannas

By Row Booker

An Irish zoology graduate of Trinity College Dublin and former Charles Darwin University Masters exchange student has just returned to CDU to complete a PhD through the School for Environmental Research.

Veronica French first came to CDU in 2006 as part of her Masters studies with the Australian/European Student Exchange program – Sharing our Heritage.

She said she chose CDU rather than another Australian university because of its focus on natural heritage and biology units.

Veronica’s Master of Science research focused on the feasibility of the wetlands of the Daly River in the NT to be conserved under various frameworks.

She collaborated with the Australian World Wildlife Fund on the research.

“I completed a semester with CDU before travelling across to the east coast,” Veronica said. 

“I was lucky enough to be able to extend my exchange and continue with my Masters in Darwin, and after completing my thesis I conducted further weed research from June 2007.” 

Veronica said she reluctantly went back to Ireland in September 2007, but dreamed of returning.

That wish finally came true in April this year when she returned to Darwin after securing an ARC linkage grant scholarship to complete a PhD on the topic: “Assessing the viability of ecosystems processes in habitat fragments: lessons from land-clearing in the tropical savannas”.

Veronica will study at CDU for the next four years under the supervision of Associate Professor Mike Laws, from the School for Environmental Research and Leader of Wildlife and Landscapes Theme.