Issue 12
Monday, 31 July 2017
Charles Darwin University
Ecology student Emily Moyes throws a cast net during an aquatic survey
Ecology student Emily Moyes throws a cast net during an aquatic survey

Ecology students gain new field skills

By Patrick Nelson

Top End science student Emily Moyes has a new appreciation for the Territory’s natural beauty after completing a Desert Field Ecology trip in the Red Centre.

Emily, an ecology major, was one of nine students who recently surveyed the Finke River and its tributaries in the West MacDonnell National Park, as part of the annual five-day intensive.

“Arid ecology is so vastly different to the savannas and monsoons that we have in the north,” Emily said.

“We set up trigger cameras, conducted daily bird surveys, and aquatic surveys, which involved learning how to throw a cast net to catch fish.”

Emily said one of her colleagues reaped a particularly good throw, catching 80 fish, including seven of the nine species known to inhabit the Finke system.

She said she had always had a strong affinity for animals, having lived at the Territory Wildlife Park for six years of her childhood.

“It was a big part of my life. Dad (Lee Moyes) was the first curator at the Park. In a way, with my interest in fauna, I’m following in his footsteps.”

Emily said she rated the “hands on experience” as the highlight of the field trip.

“Having already done a lot of lab work I was keen to do field work and to collect data and learn new skills. It’s a really important part of being a scientist.”

Emily said she planned to enrol in a field trip to Java during her final year as a Bachelor of Science student next year.