Students’ research fired up by awards

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Students’ research fired up by awards


Published on 20 December 2013

Two University of the Sunshine Coast students have caught the attention of state and national environmental bodies for their fire management and ecology research.

Final-year Science students Brett Parker, 28, of Sippy Downs, and Ross Waldron, 36, of Alexandra Headland, were recently recognised for their separate studies into the effects of fire mapping and management on the Sunshine Coast.

Brett, who will start his Honours degree in 2014, received a highly commended and runner-up award from Australia’s peak body for spatial scientists, the Surveying and Spatial Sciences Institute Australia.

He said he was thrilled to have his research acknowledged by the organisation and was looking forward to further investigating fire ecology.

“My research used state-of-the art remote sensing techniques to map and study burnt land in the Currimundi Lake Conservation Park,” Brett said.

“Remote sensing helps to provide an accurate geographical outline and profile of the burnt area, including the impact on inhabitants (animal and human).

“These techniques analysed ecological factors such as the intensity, frequency, seasonality and patchiness of the burn including whether the fire was naturally started or deliberately lit.”

He also received a special commendation and $1,500 towards his Honours from the South-East Queensland Fire and Biodiversity Consortium.

Ross was awarded a full scholarship valued at $2,500 from the same consortium for his research on the effects of enforced fire regimes over a period of 30 years.

He also plans to complete his Honours degree at USC in 2014 and said research into the complexity of fire management was critical for the Sunshine Coast.

“Much of the region’s vegetation is highly reliant on fire. However, it also is located closely to properties and key infrastructure,” Ross said.

“If we can examine how fire management strategies contribute to or help to avoid losses of species as well as property, it could make a big difference to the overall impact fire has on the Sunshine Coast.”

Brett’s supervisor at USC, Lecturer in Geospatial Analysis Dr Sanjeev Kumar Srivastava congratulated both students on their awards.

To have both their research projects recognised by such highly respected and accredited organisations while studying as undergraduate students is a significant achievement,” Dr Srivastava said.

“Their success is a credit to their hard work at USC and I am very pleased we will have them both studying their respective Honours at the University in 2014.”

Jessica Halls

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