Project summaries - 2012 Environmental Research - seeding grants
Invasive and non-invasive lineages in the mussel Xenostrobus securis
The small black mussel Xenostrobus securis is invading the upper reaches of estuaries around the world. Genetic lineages known to invade overseas environments have been found in Port Jackson and the Georges River, but most NSW populations consist solely of lineages not found elsewhere. This project will define research priorities for X. securis by investigating: (1) the range of the invasive lineages; (2) the species status of invasive and non-invasive lineages; (3) the effect of invasive lineages on estuarine biodiversity; and (4) whether invasive or non-invasive lineages act as reservoirs of infection for important protistan parasites of mussels and oysters.
The project aims to assess the carbon sequestration potential of a large floodplain wetland receiving environmental water. We will measure plant biomass production and carbon burial in the soil across an inundation gradient in the Macquarie Marshes, during and following an environmental watering event. These measures will be taken in the core reed beds of the northern nature reserve. The measures will be used to help calibrate remotely sensed estimates of biomass production, and also estimate the quantity of carbon sequestered in the soil of the wetland following an environmental flow.
University of New South Wales
Using stable isotopes to understand weed invasion processes
Why is Pittosporum undulatum taking over in Sydney's urban bushland? Bush regeneration manuals recommend removing the native shrub Pittosporum undulatum because it creates shady conditions which suppresses regeneration of other native plants. However, we have found this species dominating in bushland with relatively high soil nutrients. We propose using stable isotope analysis to compare the water use efficiency and nutrient cycling processes of Pittosporum with other plant species to determine why it has a competitive edge in urban bushland.
University of Sydney
Metabolic profiling as an indicator of ecosystem function and health
Metabolic profiling of ecosystems shows great promise as a non-destructive means of assessing ecosystem function. Ecosystem metabolism is possibly one of the best predictors of ecosystem health because metabolism (of an ecosystem or its constituent species) is affected well before species have been gained or lost. Recent advances in technology mean that it is now theoretically feasible to obtain metabolic profiles of key ecosystem components such as soil. This project will develop methods for metabolic profiling and investigate feasibility of using ecosystem metabolism as an indicator of ecosystem function and health. To test the effectiveness of metabolic profiling for indicating ecosystem health we will contrast areas with different land uses.
University of Technology Sydney
Hybrid solar air-conditioning systems: modelling and control
Buildings are responsible for about half of the total energy consumption of our modern society. Summer air-conditioning represents a growing market world-wide for both commercial and residential buildings. New installations with small capacity, although economically attractive, do not usually achieve the expected energy savings due to unreliable controls. This project aims to identify operational characteristics of a direct expansion hybrid solar air conditioning system that has been recently developed at the University of Technology Sydney, to model its components and optimally control its performance. The research outcomes will be a thorough proof-of-concept to minimise the energy cost and to maximise the greenhouse gas emission savings for air-conditioning residential buildings using green automation technologies.
Page last updated: 12 July 2012