Jack Koci is a PhD student within the Sustainability Research Centre, whose research concerns the protection of both the Great Barrier Reef and agricultural interests. The aim of Jack’s PhD research is to better understand the key factors and processes controlling hillslope gully erosion and associated fluxes of sediments and nutrients in grazed dry-tropical savannas draining to the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) World Heritage Area.
Jack’s research involves using new photogrammetric techniques to survey gullies and describe their morphology and morphologic change; analysing rainfall and runoff data; sampling and analysing soil, sediment and runoff to quantify nutrient loads; and assessing the influence of grazing land management.
“Growing up in a small farming community in far north Queensland, I’ve developed a great interest in the trade-offs between agriculture and the environment.”
Through his research, Jack is motivated to find solutions which not only have positive environmental outcomes, but also increase agricultural productivity.
Significance / impact
Australia’s natural treasure, the Great Barrier Reef, is in declining health with sediment and nutrient run off from farming and other industries posing a serious threat. The loss of sediment and nutrients through gully erosion in the region reduces the productivity and profitability of grazing enterprises, and negatively impacts the health of downstream riverine and marine ecosystems.
“A better understanding of the key drivers of gully erosion is needed to enable more targeted and effective land management strategies, which will help to reduce the flow of sediments and nutrients to the Great Barrier Reef and also improve on-farm productivity.”
Findings of Jack’s research can not only benefit farmers and help minimise the risk to the Great Barrier Reef, but could have far reaching environmental and economic benefits for similar grazing, waterway and coastal regions.