It is hard to believe, but it’s already November! Our students here at Warrawee—the Center for Rainforest Studies—have completed their coursework in Rainforest Ecology, Forest Management, and Environmental Policy, have taken their final exams, and celebrated the end of a fantastic first two months of field studies with a spooky and fun Halloween extravaganza. So much has already happened, but in many ways the semester is just getting its second wind. Because yes, that’s right—it’s finally Directed Research time!
As an SFS alumna myself, I was particularly excited for DR to begin. I have such great memories of my time in Costa Rica three years ago—bonding with my DR group while we were out in the field, getting to know the Socioeconomics professor much better, and doing research that was both meaningful and challenging. I know just how great of an impact that aspect of my time abroad had on me, and I was excited for our students here in Australia to finally experience it as well.
All of the DR groups hit the ground running this past week, spending just one day making preparations at the field center before heading out into the field. The Forest Management group, led by Lecturer Catherine Pohlman, has a multi-faceted agenda, as they are both finishing up data collection on secondary succession on the Atherton Tablelands and beginning a new project focused on plant community dynamics and changing distributions of wet sclerophyll forests.
The Ecology group, under the guidance of Professor Siggy Heise-Pavlov, also has two projects on their plates, as half of the group is looking at colonization and use of a wildlife corridor by Lumholtz’s tree-kangaroos on the Atherton Tablelands, and the other half is studying social interactions and the use of habitats in a Lumholtz’s tree-kangaroo mother with her joey.
Lastly, the Socioeconomics group, with the help of Lecturer Justus Kithiia, is studying indigenous tourism in Tropical North Queensland and, specifically, the characterization of eco-cultural tourists.
It has been a whirlwind of a data collection-filled first week, and I have a feeling that things will not be slowing down for a while. But everyone seems to think that is just fine, as the days have been filled with completing important field work, inputting valuable data, enjoying the beauty that is Tropical North Queensland, and soaking in the last of what has been a great semester. At the end of the month, our students will be writing papers and giving presentations on their respective DR projects, and I cannot wait to see their finished products and the looks on their faces as they take pride in all that they will have accomplished here. Don’t forget to check back then to hear and see more about it!
Students Alyssa Veliz and Abby Benjamin examine a tree in the wet sclerophyll forest of Danbulla National Park
Students Gloria Miller and Cher Chow measure the amount of canopy cover in a quadrat of wet sclerophyll forest using a spherical densitometer
Students Brennie Radulski, Chris Clark, Luke Klein, Jason Oestreicher, Katie Gimbert, and Alexandra Meier attend a meeting in Cairns with the Wet Tropics Management Authority
Student Luke Klein practices his spear-throwing at Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park