Symposium to focus on K’gari’s seascapes and iconic marine species | UniSC | University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

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Symposium to focus on K’gari’s seascapes and iconic marine species

Threats to K’gari’s sea turtles, migratory shore birds and coastal ecology are among key research insights and issues to be covered at a symposium examining challenges and opportunities for the UNESCO World Heritage-listed island.

The University of the Sunshine Coast is hosting the K’gari Land and Sea Country: djaa-ngarawinj 2023 Conference in partnership with K'gari defenders organisation FIDO on 9-10 November at UniSC’s Fraser Coast campus.

The third biennial conference expands its focus this year to include the seascapes that fringe the island and the iconic and threatened species living in those marine habitats. It is supported by the Butchulla Aboriginal Corporation (BAC) and the Butchulla Native Title Aboriginal Corporation (BNTAC).

UniSC Conference coordinator Dr Kim Walker said previous K’gari symposiums had concentrated on land-based issues and research and collaboration opportunities.

“It is exciting to have a range of academics and Butchulla elders sharing their insights and expertise on issues relating to both sea country and land country, as we bring together traditional custodians, researchers, students, environmental groups and other stakeholders committed to protecting the island now and into the future,” she said.

K'gari's western oceanside

Speakers include UniSC Associate Professor Andrew Olds who describes K’gari’s sea country as an ecological ‘hot spot’, where waters from the East Australian Current, continental shelf and Hervey Bay collide.

“The presentation will highlight how traditional owners, natural resource managers and researchers might work together to better understand and conserve species and their ecosystems across this dynamic seascape,” he said.

Butchulla Elder Uncle Glen Miller will provide observations of changes in the Great Sandy Strait because of silt build-up caused by flooding in the Mary River and the effects on mangroves, sea grass, shellfish, sea turtles, dugong and migrating sea birds.

A long-term view of the environmental change on K’gari since Butchulla arrival at least 60,000 years ago will be provided by University of Canterbury Professor Jamie Shulmeister,

Another presentation titled ‘Past in the future’ will be presented by Aunty Gayle Minniecon and Aunty Christine Royan from the BAC and Professor Ian McNiven from Monash University.

It will examine opportunities through the Butchulla people’s participation in the new co-designed ARC Centre of Excellence for Indigenous and Environmental Histories and Futures that aims to generate a new direction in knowledge creation based on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander-led approaches to managing Land and Sea Country.

Other topics include the latest research on turtle health, potential new manta ray congregation sites, climate adaptations, post fire recovery and insights into the island's unique fire-adapted peatlands.

More information and registration details here.


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