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Prawns a hit at thesis comp

By Louise Errington

From left: Associate Professor Steve Shanahan, PhD candidate Peter Novak, former Senator Trish Crossin and Emeritus Professor Charles Webb after the judging From left: Associate Professor Steve Shanahan, PhD candidate Peter Novak, former Senator Trish Crossin and Emeritus Professor Charles Webb after the judging

A postgraduate researcher investigating the lifecycles of a little-studied freshwater prawn species has won the Northern Territory Three Minute Thesis competition.

The Three Minute Thesis challenges PhD and Masters by Research students to consolidate their ideas and research discoveries in a compelling oration of just three minutes, which they present to a non-specialist audience.

Charles Darwin University PhD candidate Peter Novak of the Research Institute for the Environment and Livelihoods took out first place for the presentation of his research project, which studies the ecology of Cherabin in the Daly River.

Mr Novak said little was known about the ecological role and life history of the North Australian freshwater prawn, including whether they migrated, and where and when they bred.

“Through this research we now know Cherabin migrate in their millions from the estuary to the river, and by doing so, are likely to provide vital nutrients to northern rivers,” Mr Novak said.

“Developments that impede the migratory behaviour of Cherabin will not only cause massive declines in populations of these freshwater prawns, but also could have significant impacts at the ecosystem scale.”

Mr Novak was awarded $1500 prize-money, as well as the honour of representing the NT at the Trans-Tasman competition at the University of Western Sydney’s Parramatta campus on 18 October 2013, where he will compete for a share in $8000 in research grants.

PhD candidate with the Faculty of Law, Education, Business and Arts Deasyanti Adil was runner-up with the delivery of her thesis, entitled “A Happy School: is it just a dream?” which investigates the levels of happiness experienced by school children in Jakarta.

Menzies School of Health Research postgraduate student Evan McRobb won the People’s Choice Award for his presentation, entitled “Meliodosis: Piecing together the puzzle”.

Ms Adil and Mr McRobb both won $500 in prize-money.
 
This year’s competition was judged by former Senator Trish Crossin, Associate Professor Steve Shanahan and Emeritus Professor Charles Webb.