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Human holding two finches in hands

RIEL works across four cross-cutting areas of research – Biodiversity Conservation, Communities and Livelihoods, Savanna and Arid Ecology and Water and Catchments.

We have extensive scientific and technical expertise in these areas as well as excellent laboratory and field capabilities.

Our research in these areas is achieving positive impacts for, for example, threatened species, ecosystem services, industry, employment, climate change mitigation/adaptation, and community health and wellbeing.


Our research areas

Biodiversity conservation

Communities and livelihoods

Savanna and arid ecology

Water and catchments

Research Institute for Northern Agriculture (RINA)

Research snapshots

  • Red gum tree hollows

    Investigating tree hollows

    In the Red Centre, red river gums (Eucalyptus camaldulensis) are an important habitat for Australian wildlife. Although there are other hollow-bearing trees, red river gum woodlands are the only trees that grow in a density and distribution broad enough to provide widespread hollow resources. Our PhD candidate, Erin Westerhuis, is investigating the characteristics of tree hollows used by 27 bird and 10 bat species.

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  • Open cut mine filled with water

    Improving minesite rehabilitation

    Knowing where trees get their water from, and their sensitivity to magnesium sulphate, is informing the closure of the Ranger uranium mine.  RIEL researchers led by Dr Lindsay Hutley are investigating the uptake of groundwater by riparian plants to help predict contaminant impacts. They’re also studying their sensitivity to changes in groundwater levels, which is improving our understanding of surface water–groundwater interactions and can be applied in other contexts such as irrigated agriculture developments or climate change.

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  • Oyster image by Anna Padovan

    Ensuring seafood quality

    RIEL researchers, Dr Anna Padovan, Dionisia Lambrinidis and Zarah Hockey, have joined the NTG’s Tropical Rock Oyster Development (TROD) project investigating low technology, sea-based aquaculture systems for remote coastal communities. The team is sampling wild blacklip oysters from eight locations across the NT, assessing shellfish quality, heavy metals and vibrio testing.

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