The time of our Directed Research in Australia is approaching fast. Faculty introduced students at SFS’ Center for Rainforest Studies to the Directed Research topics on the 9th of October 2017.

The Natural Resource Management faculty is planning to continue research on the concept of wet sclerophyll forests. What is actually a wet sclerophyll forest? Is it a separate and well-defined forest type or rather a transition to dry sclerophyll forest or to rainforest? Several functional traits of various species commonly present in wet sclerophyll forests will be measured and compared to those of species in dry forests and rainforest. A very challenging project that uses also data from previous DR research.

The Ecology/fauna faculty will pick up on an SFS crowdfunded project on the Yellow-bellied glider (YBG). Money raised via crowdfunding was used to build a prototype of a call-recording device that records the various calls of the YBG at a high sensitivity. The recorded calls are then analysed using specific software with the aim to select those calls and call components which show the highest variability between individual gliders. This will help us get an idea on how many gliders are actually in an area, information that is essential for the conservation of this species.

The socio-economic faculty will continue to explore people’s attitudes toward climate change. Past interviews of people in various towns on the Atherton Tablelands and along the coast of North-Queensland showed a very variable and sometimes lacking understanding of this topic. Projects during this semester’s Directed Research projects will conduct interviews in new locations and will specifically analyse the effect of various factors such as gender, education, work, and experiences with natural disasters such as flooding and cyclones on people’s opinions on different aspects of climate change.

These are all interesting topics and it will not be easy to favour one over another. But regardless of what topic students end up with, what matters is doing a good research project and gaining some experiences in field research and presentation of results.

→ Rainforest Studies in Australia