Innovative solutions to overcome north’s tough environment

Kathryn Dryden
July 29, 2016

Innovative solutions to overcome north’s tough environment

One of the research experts, Dr Renee Bartolo from eriss, holds a drone.

Story from the Northern Australia Environmental Resources Hub.

A number of Australia’s top experts in emerging environmental monitoring methods involving drones, underwater cameras and novel uses of DNA have brought their expertise to northern Australia.

The researchers shared their insights at a workshop as part of a Northern Australia Environmental Resources Hub  project investigating a range of high tech solutions to monitor northern Australia’s challenging landscapes.

“Managing environmental resources requires a sound understanding of how land, water and biodiversity are changing over time,” Project leader, Charles Darwin University Associate Professor Dr Alison King said.

“However this is made even more challenging in northern Australia, where remote areas are frequently isolated and inaccessible during the wet season. Crocodiles, cyclones and flooding only add to our region’s complexities.”

Dr King says researchers are always looking for more effective and efficient ways of monitoring the biodiversity and ecosystems of the north.

“Drones, for example, are a relatively cheap way of allowing us to cover large areas of inaccessible terrain,” she said.

“Cutting-edge ideas relating to aquatic biodiversity monitoring are also worth investigating. The presence of rare, threatened or exotic species can now be detected from the DNA they leave behind in the environment, while underwater cameras allow us to monitor freshwater species without disturbing them.”

The two-day workshop brought together both experts in a range of techniques and those who will put them into practice, such as state and territory government scientists, Indigenous rangers and other land managers.

“It was an opportunity for attendees to not only learn about the latest monitoring techniques, but to discuss their potential limitations in northern Australia,” Associate Professor King said.

You can view a number of the PowerPoint presentations from the researchers here