The project as detailed in the Media Release, is led by Dr Lee Arnold and Dr Liz Reed in the University’s Environment Institute and School of Physical Sciences, will provide a unique window into a key period of global climate change, animal extinctions and evolution of the modern Australian environment at the World Heritage-listed Naracoorte Caves.
“The Naracoorte Caves have preserved records of the local climate, flora and fauna for more than half a million years,” says Co-lead Chief Investigator Dr Reed. “Although scientists have been investigating these deposits for over 40 years, new multi-disciplinary studies and technological advances are now allowing us to look at these records in new ways. We have literally just scratched the surface.”
The project will integrate all aspects of the cave deposits, employing new approaches in geochronology, palaeontology and geochemistry to produce comprehensive ancient ecological and climate histories.
“This project will have significant implications for understanding megafauna extinctions and will inform future conservation and climate change adaptation strategies,” says Co-lead Chief Investigator Dr Arnold. “It will also transform the scientific profile of Naracoorte Caves, ensuring socioeconomic benefits to regional communities through education, ecotourism and knowledge marketing.”
The time span and exceptional preservation of the fossils make the Naracoorte deposits significant on a global scale.
They have also received coverage on ABC Radio South East and were approached to write a Conversation article.
The Linkage Grant has further support from their the industry partners Naracoorte Lucindale Council, DEWNR, SA Museum, Terre a Terre, Wrattonbully Wine Regions Association and DST Group.