We are committed to championing sustainability through teaching and research that creates the most significant and positive impacts for our regions and communities. Because what we do now, will significantly impact our future.
The only place in the world with three biospheres side-by-side
We’re the world’s only university with campuses on three UNESCO Biosphere Reserves and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This gives us an exceptional opportunity to use the wealth of environmental treasures surrounding us for learning, teaching and research, as we continuously work to champion sustainability.
At their fingertips, our students and researchers have access to the World Heritage Listed K’gari, the Great Sandy Biosphere at Fraser Coast, Noosa Biosphere Reserve and Sunshine Coast Biosphere Reserve, all ecologically fascinating places to learn about, and work on, conservation initiatives.
A lifeline for endangered sea turtles
Recently, the number of stranded, sick and injured sea turtles has risen dramatically. Flooding has smothered seagrass meadows with sediment and large amounts of plastic and rubbish has been swept into the sea from storm drains.
And since sea turtles can’t tell the difference between food and rubbish, they ingest plastic and other marine debris and become entangled in plastic loops and bags.
Now, they’re battling a mystery 'soft shell' syndrome, further endangering marine turtles in Queensland’s Fraser Coast region are in a tough fight for survival.
With sea turtles at the top of the world's most endangered animal list, UniSC is acting now to save them.
Helping protect endangered koalas
Koala populations have been devastated by habitat loss to development, road accidents and domestic animal attacks, as well as recent bushfires estimated to have claimed more than one billion animals.
Another significant threat is the impact of chlamydial infection. Without intervention, chlamydia could be the final deciding factor in the koala’s survival. UniSC scientists are on a quest to safeguard Australia’s iconic koala from extinction, with the development of a chlamydial vaccine.
Discovering the mysteries of manta rays
The world’s largest rays – the manta ray – is an iconic species, known as the ocean’s gentle giants.
They’re among the largest animals in the sea, and one of the most alluring, attracting worldwide interest as the stars of globally important ecotourism industries. Sadly, they are also listed as Threatened with Extinction, due to being targeted for fisheries in various parts of the world.
Now, a UniSC-based research collaboration called Project Manta engages scientists, industry partners and the public in a comprehensive study of manta rays and their relatives, to provide knowledge for their long-term conservation, while supporting economic and social benefits through ecotourism.
Harvesting the opportunities of seaweed
Seaweed isn’t the most glamorous of marine species, but it’s among the most versatile, and the most important. Our Seaweed Research Group works with communities, business and government across the world to develop seaweed as a resource that creates healthier people, and a healthier planet.
Just as forests on land are essential to the survival of their ecosystems, vast underwater seaweed forests support entire marine ecosystems, providing food and shelter to thousands of species of fish and invertebrates. Economically, seaweed is the largest aquaculture crop in the world and has enormous social value in terms of benefiting human health, wellbeing, and livelihoods.
Our researchers have found many great use cases for seaweed such as incorporating nutrient rich seaweed into food to improve the immune system of fish in aquaculture.
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