Project Summaries - 2012 Environmental Research - major grants

2012 Environmental Research - major grants
Organisation Category Project title Amount $

Centre for Australian National Biodiversity Research

Climate change - biophysical Polyploidy and the adaptation of native plants to climate change


CSIRO - Climate Adaptation Flagship

Climate change - biophysical Green infrastructure for climate adpatation in Western Sydney


CSIRO - Climate Adaptation Flagship

Biodiversity and conservation Vegetation dynamics and changing fire regimes in South East NSW


Environment Protection Authority

Biodiversity and conservation Grassland islands as a key to survival for Bristlebirds in North East NSW


NSW Department of Primary Industries

Resource efficiency and sustainability Potential use of animal waste for biofuel production


Office of Environment and Heritage

Biodiversity and conservation Do the Piliga Forests contain functioning refues of koala?


University of Sydney

Climate change - biophysical

Physiological effects of climate change stress on adults and offspring


University of Wollongong Biodiversity and conservation Assisted reproductive technologies (ART) for frog conservation  99,512

8 Projects




Centre for Australian National Biodiversity Research
Polyploidy and the adaption of native plants to climate change

Around 50 percent of all flowering plants contain more than two sets of chromosomes, a condition known as polyploidy. Polyploidy increases stress resistance, and so under increasingly severe future climates the adaptive capacity of polyploid species and populations will be of immense importance to biodiversity across Australia. This project will combine a review of polyploid advantage with a world-first experimental comparison of the adaptability of model diploid and polyploid plant populations in a new CSIRO climate facility to better understand whether knowledge of ploidy level can improve conservation and restoration of Australian vegetation under future climate regimes.

CSIRO Climate Adaptation Flagship
Green infrastructure for climate adaptation in Western Sydney

The 'Metropolitan Plan for Sydney 2036'; aims to locate 70 percent of new homes within existing urban areas, mostly in western Sydney. In the context of climate change, the risk is that more people will be exposed to extreme heat, and without the cool sea breezes experienced by those on the coast, will be heavily reliant on the quality of future urban development for protection. This project will quantify the role of 'green infrastructure' for climate adaptation to extreme heat, identifying the influence of urban form and testing scenarios of future urban planning and design.

CSIRO Climate Adaptation Flagship
Vegetation dynamics and changing fire regimes in South East NSW

Extensive vegetation survey data collected throughout NSW over many years for vegetation mapping has assumed that vegetation composition is static, despite increasingly compelling evidence from national and international research that fire regimes strongly influence both structure and composition, and even type in some cases. This study will combine existing vegetation datasets with a comprehensive fire history database available for National Parks in NSW to investigate the role that components of fire regimes play in vegetation dynamics. Projected changes in climate and fire regimes mean this understanding will be of critical importance to fire and land-managers in coming decades.


Environment Protection Authority
Grassland islands as a key to survival for Bristlebirds in North East NSW

Embedded in the rainforests of northern NSW and south-eastern Queensland are naturally-occurring islands of grassy woodlands, key habitat for the highly endangered northern eastern bristlebird (NEBB) and a range of other species. These islands appear to be declining in both condition and extent through insufficient fire, further endangering their dependant biota. This project will synthesise evidence of the distribution and attributes of grassy islands, apply targeted fire regimes and monitor the response in vegetation, NEBB and their key food resources. The project will lead to improved fire management of these unique communities and contribute to recovery of the NEBB.

NSW Department of Primary Industries
Potential use of animal waste for biofuel production

Most of the three million dry tonnes of livestock manure produced annually in Australia, is either stockpiled, composted or applied to soils. However, nutrient and microbial contamination of water and soil, generation of odours and green house gases (GHG) diminish its benefits and appeal. Manure contains up to 50 percent cellulose, making it an ideal feedstock for second generation biofuel production. This scenario presents the livestock industry with an innovative pathway towards a waste-to-energy solution and a means of mitigating GHG emissions. The proposed project investigates the utility of livestock manure for biofuel production within a biorefinery framework.

Office of Environment and Heritage
Do the Piliga Forests contain functioning refuges of koala?

The iconic Pilliga forests of north-western NSW were hailed in the 1990's as carrying the biggest population of koalas in NSW. Now, it is anecdotally thought by independent sources to have drastically declined to rarity, seemingly from the recent drought and the fire of 2006. This matter will gain an even higher profile as coal-seam gas extraction expands in these forests. This project will draw on past surveys to locate any refuge koala populations, refuges will be described, and we shall survey surroundings lands. We shall conclude with actions for managing refuge koala populations and publicise the results.

University of Sydney
Physiological effects of climate change stress on adults and offspring

Climate-driven ocean acidification and warming will impact vital marine resources of NSW. Preparation for these impacts relies on understanding temperature and acidification thresholds that have irreversible effects on ecologically and commercially important species. Understanding current conditions biota experience in coastal habitats is crucial to application of climate change scenarios. This project addresses this knowledge gap through field monitoring of temperature and pH/pCO2. Sub-lethal effects of ocean change stressors on health of adults and their progeny will be determined by use of biomarkers. Impacts of parental acclimation in climate change conditions on progeny performance will reveal if acclimation conveys cross-generational resilience.

University of Wollongong
Assisted reproductive technologies (ART) for frog conservation

Environmental change is causing unprecedented rates of species extinction, presenting a major threat to global biodiversity. Although high extinction rates have been reported for all vertebrate classes, amphibians have been the most severely affected. Of Australia's endangered and critically endangered frog species, over 45 percent (15 out of 33) are from NSW. Captive-breeding programs have played a key role in maintaining populations of several endangered species, but in most cases reproductive rates are too low to support long-term re-introduction programmes. To address this problem, this study will develop sophisticated Assisted Reproductive Technologies (ART) to enhance the propagation and genetic management of endangered NSW frog species. ART is a powerful new approach to ex situ conservation that will ensure the preservation of NSW unique amphibian biodiversity.

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Page last updated: 29 October 2012