Research and engagement - University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

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Research and engagement

Building a coordinated research agenda on K’gari has become increasingly important for USC

Our infrastructure

USC manages the K’gari Research and Learning Centre (Fraser Island) at Dilli Village. Dilli Village provides accommodation for students and staff, and access to field study sites for primary, secondary and tertiary student groups.

The Centre at Dilli Village has bunkhouses, selfcontained cabins and camp sites.

There is a central dining area with commercial kitchen and large verandahs currently used for teaching. The site is surrounded by a dingo-proof fence. There is also a fresh water swimming hole and a foot bridge for easy access to the beach.

USC is currently proposing to develop a multipurpose Education Centre on the site that will provide a flexible weather proof space for activities such as teaching and learning, visitor information (interpretive materials), community activities, and disaster management.

Our relationships

USC has international linkages with Harvard Forest (Harvard University’s 3,500 acre laboratory and classroom); Bonne Bay Marine Station (operated by Memorial University of Newfoundland); and Florida Gulf Coast University (Fort Myers, Florida).

A partnership between USC and Harvard Forest (Harvard University) academics and USC academics and librarians has resulted in the development of a two-year research action plan. Key to the action plan is the K’gari-Fraser Island Research Archive, a project of the USC Library. The Collection includes digitised publications, data collected on research projects, ‘hard to get’ material, oral histories, photos, donated collections, research reports, and digitised data.

USC has Australian linkages with the Butchulla Aboriginal Corporation, Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service, K’gari (Fraser Island) World Heritage Unit, Fraser Island Defender Organisation (FIDO), Fraser Island Natural Integrity Alliance (FINIA), and Kingfisher Bay Resort.

Our expertise

Professor John Herbohn
Director, Tropical Forests and People Research Centre, Professor of Tropical Forestry

Research areas include Restoration and Dynamics of Tropical Forests; Forestry Economics; Tropical Mixed Species Plantations; Socioeconomic Aspects of Tropical Reforestation; Hydrological and Nutrient Impacts of Reforestation; Smallscale and  Community Forestry; Carbon Dynamics in Tropical Forests; Climate Change Policy and Forests; Multidimensional Reporting Systems; and Management of Tropical Forests.

Dr Gabriel Conroy
Post-doctoral Research Officer and Lecturer

Research and teaching areas include ecological genetics; conservation biology; field ecology; fire ecology; and population viability analysis and dynamic simulation modelling. Gabriel’s research includes the ecological and evolutionary genetics of threatened animal taxa, and has several projects underway relating to the dingo population.

Dr Vikki Schaffer
Lecturer, Tourism, Leisure and Events

Research areas include regional tourism and events; marinerelated tourism; artificial reefs, whale tourism; sustainable tourism (environmental, economic and social value); social media in industry, teaching and research; work integrated learning and visualisation in learning; social sustainability – social capital; leadership and mentoring.

Professor Thomas Schlacher
Professor, Marine Science

Research areas include ecology of ocean beaches; conservation of sandy shore ecosystems; deepsea biology; the ecology of ecological interfaces; trophic linkages and food web; environmental metrics; the ecology of scavengers; connectivity and cross-system coupling; seamounts and submarine canyons; connectivity and seascapes; and environmental fingerprints of sewage in coastal waters.

Dr Clare Archer Lean
Lecturer, English

Research includes Indigenous literature; Australian literature; Canadian literature; post-colonial literature; cross-cultural studies; eco-criticism; human animal studies. A recent project investigated how various stakeholders and the public value and expect to interact with the Island’s dingoes.

Dr Kim Walker
Adjunct Associate Professor, Environmental Education

Dr Walker is actively involved in the promotion of K’gari for research and education. Achievements include the establishment of a Research Archive, Synthesis paper of K’gari research (draft), K’gari Symposium (2018), and K’gari-Fraser Island Mobile App.

Dr Glyn Thomas
Senior Lecturer, Recreation and Outdoor
Environmental Studies

Research areas include outdoor environmental education; facilitation and facilitator education; experiential education; and fieldwork pedagogies.