We are delighted to have had four Environment Institute members/teams as finalists at the SA Science Excellence and Innovations Awards 2021.
Congratulations to Echidna CSI, winner of the SA Citizen Science and Engagement Awards – Outstanding Science and Research.
The Echidna Conservation Science Initiative (Echidna CSI) brings together world-leading ecological and molecular researchers, students, and the Australian community to address fundamental questions about echidnas to aid in their conservation.
Project partners include the University of Adelaide and Pelican Lagoon Research and Wildlife Centre, along with all the contributing citizen scientists. This citizen science initiative has been largely driven by PhD and Honours students.
Congratulations to the following finalists:
SA Citizen Science and Engagement Awards – Outstanding Community Engagement
iBandi – a pop-up conservation citizen science project in the Adelaide Hills improving protection for endangered southern brown bandicoots by discovering suitable – but unoccupied – habitats.
A diverse range of project partners have made this a success, including the University of Adelaide Environment Institute, South Australian Department for Environment and Water, Hills and Fleurieu Landscape Board, Trees for Life Inc. and a large number of community groups, organisations and individuals.
South Australian Tall Poppy of the Year award.
Dr Dominic McAfee is developing new techniques for accelerating the restoration of oyster habitats by boosting natural restoration processes. He aims to recruit baby oysters by creating positive interactions between oysters and kelp, and playing natural marine sounds that attract baby oysters.
Dr McAfee has presented at five public forums, reaching hundreds of coastal residents and resulting in increasing public support for the South Australian Government’s oyster restoration program. He has written three articles for The Conversation and has presented a TEDx Talk on “Restoring the reefs we never knew we lost”, leading to multiple radio interviews and presentations at schools.
PhD Research Excellence
Dr Tahlia Perry is a postdoctoral researcher, award-winning scientist and science communicator who is passionate about conserving Australia’s wildlife using innovative methods to engage the public.
In 2017, she launched the Australia-wide citizen science project, EchidnaCSI, which relies on public input to submit echidna sightings and scat samples to better understand wild echidna populations for conservation purposes.
Tahlia has developed molecular techniques to analyse the gut microbiome and diet of echidnas from scats submitted through EchidnaCSI, bringing together areas of genetics, microbiology, and bioinformatics with ecology, public engagement and conservation.
Findings from her research are being used to inform conservation management practices and policies of endangered Australian monotremes, and to build extensive international collaborative networks to further conservation research.
Winners at the 2021 Awards.