The Centre For Water Research

Seminars - 60 minute seminar recordings

PresenterSeminarDate
Novel imaging - Applications in Archaeology15/10/2014

Paul Bourke will present two novel imaging technologies and how they are being applied to recordings in archaeology. The first is high resolution photography, that is, acquiring images many tens of times higher resolution than any single camera can capture. The second is the reconstruction of 3 dimensional geometry solely by taking photographs. These techniques, while familiar in some disciplines, are both becoming more widely used and at the same time the algorithms and resulting quality is improving. A survey of the state of the art will be presented along with examples from archaeology and heritage. Bio Paul Bourke is the director of the iVEC facility at The University of Western Australia. He is also a visualisation researcher at UWA providing support and expertise to researchers within the University and to the other iVEC partners. During his career he has worked in organisations where he concentrated on architectural, brain/medical,and astronomy visualisation. Of particular interest are novel data capture and display technologies and how they may be used to facilitate insight in scientific research, increase engagement for public outreach and education, create immersive environments, and enhance digital entertainment. ***** Vicky Winton, will then discuss how the imaging technologies are being used by the federally funded Weld Range Web of Knowledge Project for cultural heritage management purposes. Bio: Vicky Winton is an archaeologist at UWA and Director of Research for the three year Weld Range Web of Knowledge Project. The project aims to undertake basic research of poorly documented Aboriginal sites at Weld Range (near Cue in the Mid West region of Western Australia) and assist Wajarri Traditional Owners in developing cultural heritage management protocols and skills. Vicky has been working closely with Wajarri Traditional Owners at Weld Range since 2009. She trained in the UK and has previously worked on archaeological projects in Europe and Africa, settling in Western Australia in 2008. Outside research, Vicky works as a consultant. PS* This seminar is free and open to the public & no RSVP required. ****All Welcome****


Bryan J BoruffDevelopment of a spatiotemporal assessment of the Wheatbelt's water vulnerability: a building block for examining the food-water-energy nexus08/10/2014

Water availability encompasses the physical reserves of water as well as the accessibility, use and sharing of water. Water, being the central node of the water, food, climate, and energy nexus, the resource plays a critical role in the sustainable development and livelihoods of a region. Varying socioeconomic and environmental conditions influence a system's vulnerability to water, with water availability. In an area of the state where effective management of water resources is vital for sustaining expanding populations, enabling livelihood diversification, and sustaining economic growth under increasingly adverse climate conditions, quantifying water vulnerability is key for generating effective adaptation responses and coping mechanisms. This research focuses on the water-climate connection whilst building upon existing approaches to measuring vulnerability through the development of a comprehensive framework to assess water vulnerability in Western Australia's Wheatbelt under changing climatic conditions. A follow on discussion will highlight how this work can be used as building block in examining the food-water-energy nexus. Bio Assistant Professor Bryan Boruff, is a Geographer and Assistant Professor in the School of Earth and Environment at the University of Western Australia. Assist Prof Boruff’s expertise lay in the application of GIS and Remote Sensing technologies to the study of environmental hazards. Recent collaborations have expanded Assist Prof Boruff’s research to encompass a range of environmental management issues including renewable energy production, population health, and rural development. Most recently, Bryan has been involved in several projects focused on the development of spatially enabled eResearch tools. PS* This seminar is free and open to the public & no RSVP required. ****All Welcome****


Kalina MakowieckiReorganising the brain with electromagnetic stimulation.24/09/2014

Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) uses electromagnetic pulses to change brain activity, and is a promising new treatment for many neurological and psychiatric disorders, including depression, schizophrenia, tinnitus, and epilepsy. However, what rTMS does to the brain and the mechanisms underlying its effects are still poorly understood. We examined rTMS effects on brain circuitry by applying rTMS to healthy mice and to mice born with abnormally organised brains and found that rTMS reorganised abnormal neural circuits. This research contributes greatly to understanding the cellular mechanisms of rTMS, and is important in determining how rTMS might be best applied to treat disorders and improve brain function. Bio: Kalina Makowiecki, is currently a PhD student in the department of Experimental and Regenerative Neurosciences (EaRN), School of Animal Biology at UWA. Kalina studied psychology and neuroscience at UWA and completed her honours year in 2011, where she conducted a study on electr omagnetic stimulation and behaviour, supervised by Dr. Jennifer Rodger and Prof. Geoff Hammond. Dr Jennifer Rodger, is an Associate Professor and NHMRC Senior Research Fellow at Experimental and Regenerative Neurosciences within the School of Animal Biology, University of Western Australia. She completed a BScHons in Biochemistry at the University of Bath, UK, followed by a PhD in Molecular Neuroscience at the University Pierre et Marie Curie, France. Dr Rodger subsequently moved to the University of Western Australia to work with Professors Lyn Beazley and Sarah Dunlop in the field of neural regeneration. She currently leads a research team investigating issues of brain plasticity relevant to brain disorders and employs various experimental models, especially the visual system, to ascertain how morphological and functional improvement can be achieved in the injured brain. Her most recent work focuses on the use of pulsed magnetic fields to promote neural circuit reorganisation and repair. Dr Rodger has published more than 75 peer-reviewed papers including key papers in the prestigious Journal of Neuroscience and FASEB Journal. She holds current funding from the NHMRC, ARC and Neurotrauma Research Program (WA). PS* This seminar is free and open to the public & no RSVP required.                    ****All Welcome****


Anne PlauzollesHCV adaptation to host immune responses during acute infection: relevance to infection and treatment outcomes10/09/2014

Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection is a global health problem with an estimated 170 million people infected world wide presenting a risk to develop end-stage liver diseases such as cirrhosis and liver cancer. Albeit the host’s immune responses developed against HCV and/or initiation of treatment aid in controlling the infection, the virus uses its plasticity and propensity to develop viral adaptations as an escape strategy to impair the host’s immune responses and compromise treatment efficacy thus resulting in chronic infection for the majority of people exposed to the virus. Understanding viral escape dynamics in HCV infection is of primary imp ortance for effective drug and vaccine design. BiographyAnne Plauzolles, currently a PhD student at the Forensic Centre at UWA. Ten years ago, she started to study molecular and cellular biology at the Faculty of Science in Montpellier. After obtaining her bachelor degree, she then undertook a Diploma of criminal sciences in the faculty of law in the same city. In 2006, she moved to Australia and continued her study at UWA with a diploma of forensic sciences. Following this diploma Anne specialised in virology through the study of HCV along with her master and current PhD. PS* This seminar is free and open to the public & no RSVP required. ****All Welcome****


Syed Gilani3D Facial Morphometric Analysis: Applications to Gender Classification and Scoring.20/08/2014

Gender score is the cognitive judgement of the degree of masculinity or femininity of a face which is considered to be a continuum. Gender scores have long been used in psychological studies to understand the complex psychosocial relationships between people. Perceptual scores for gender and attractiveness have been employed for quality assessment and planning of cosmetic facial surgery. Various neurological disorders have been linked to the facial structure in general and the facial gender perception in particular. While, subjective gender scoring by human raters has been a tool of choice for psychological studies for many years, the process is both time and resource consuming. This study investigates the geometric features used by the human cognitive system in perceiving the degree of masculinity/femininity of a 3D face. It then proposes a mathematical model that can mimic the human gender perception. The results suggest that the human cognitive system employs a combination of Euclidean and geodesic distances between biologically significant landmarks of the face for gender scoring. It proposes a mathematical model that is able to automatically assign an objective gender score to a 3D face with a correlation of up to 0.895 with the human subjective scores. Biography:- Syed Zulqarnain Gilani Syed Zulqarnain Gilani is a PhD scholar in the Computer Science & Software Engineering Department at UWA. His research topic is 3D Morphometric Face Analysis: Applications to Syndrome Delineation. Mr. Gilani did his MS in Electrical Engineering from the National University of Sciences and Technology (NUST), Pakistan and secured the Presidents Gold Medal. Prior to joining UWA, he was an Assistant Professor in NUST. He is working with a multi-disciplinary team of scientists to find possible alternatives diagnosis of syndromes like Autism from 3D faces. His research interests include computer vision, 3D face analysis, pattern recognition and machine learning. Faisal Shafait Faisal Shafait is working as a Research Assistant Professor in the Computer Science & Software Engineering Department at The University of Western Australia. Formerly, he was a Senior Researcher at the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI), Germany and a visiting researcher at Google, California. He received his Ph.D. in computer engineering with the highest distinction from Kaiserslautern University of Technology, Germany in 2008. His research interests include machine learning and pattern recognition with a special emphasis on applications in document image analysis. He has co-authored over 100 publications in international peer-reviewed conferences and journals in this area. He is an Editorial Board member of the International Journal on Document Analysis and Recognition (IJDAR), and a Program Committee member of leading document analysis conferences including ICDAR, DAS, and ICFHR. He is also serving on the Leadership Board of IAPR’s Technical Committee on Computational Forensics (TC-6). Professor Ajmal Mian Professor Ajmal Mian completed his PhD from The University of Western Australia in 2006 with distinction and received the Australasian Distinguished Doctoral Dissertation Award from Computing Research and Education Association of Australasia. He received the prestigious Australian Postdoctoral and Australian Research Fellowships in 2008 and 2011 respectively. He received the UWA Outstanding Young Investigator Award in 2011 and the West Australian Early Career Scientist of the Year award in 2012. He has secured four Australian Research Councit grants worth over $2 Million. He is currently a Professor in the School of Computer Science and Software Engineering at The University of Western Australia. His research interests include computer vision, 3D shape analysis, pattern recognition, machine learning, multimodal biometrics, and hyperspectral image analysis. PS* This seminar is free and open to the public & no RSVP required. ****All Welcome****


Dr.Eng. Hiroshi YajimaCan we decrease turbidity by constructing an artificial shallow area in a lake?13/08/2014

Lake Shinji is a brackish shallow lake in Japan. Its surface area is 86.8 km2 and the average water depth is 4.5 m. In 2001 the Japanese government (MLIT) started a project to construct an artificial shallow area around the shoreline where concrete embankments had been constructed and the water depth became deeper. One of the main objects of the project is to reduce wave energy and inhibit the resuspension of bottom sediments, which is expected to decrease the turbidity in the lake.In order to reveal the effect of constructing an artificial shallow area on waves and turbidity, we performed field surveys of measuring waves, currents and turbidities at an artificial shallow area as well as an adjacent deeper area in the lake. Moreover wave analysis using a wave simulation model named SWAN was performed to evaluate the change of wave characteristics and bottom share stresses due to the water depth change. The field survey showed that significant wave heights in the artificial shallow area became smaller than the deeper area. But there were no significant turbidity differences between two areas. Why? I will discuss the tricky part of the project. PS* This seminar is free and open to the public & no RSVP required. ****All Welcome****


Sergei KatsevSediment geochemistry in freshwater seas: Lakes Superior and Malawi and comparisons with marine systems06/08/2014

Lakes are often referred to as “the test tubes of oceans”, but how much of the geochemical information is transferable between marine and freshwater systems? Should relationships such as those developed for the mineralization rates of marine organic carbon or marine rates of denitrification be applicable in freshwater? Can lakes help us quantify the processes in the Ocean? This talk will describe sediment geochemistry in two very different large lakes: cold and well-oxygenated Lake Superior and tropical meromictic Lake Malawi. It will explore the geochemical cycling of carbon and nutrients and will compare the results to metrics developed previously in marine systems. Bio, Sergei Katsev is an Associate Professor at the University of Minnesota Duluth where he is a faculty member at the Large Lakes Observatory, the only institution dedicated to studies of large lakes worldwide. He is a physicist and geochemist with interests in sediment and water-column geochemistry, lake hydrodynamics, and tropical limnology. His professional experiences include studies of marine coastal and deep sediments, the Great East African Lakes Kivu and Malawi, Indonesian Lake Matano, North American Lake Superior, and using lake systems as modern analogues for the ancient oceans of the Earth. Professor Katsev is a 2014 UWA Gledden Visiting Fellow. PS* This seminar is free and open to the public & no RSVP required. ****All Welcome****


Ingrid JafariA comparative study of time-frequency masking approaches to blind source separation and source number estimation"30/07/2014

A remarkable skill that is often taken for granted is the ability of the human cognitive system to distinguish between multiple simultaneously active speakers. In fact, in 1953 a challenge was proposed to the engineering community: "How do we recognise what one person is saying when others are speaking at the same time? On what logical basis could one design a machine for carrying out such an operation?". Blind source separation (BSS) is one such approach to solve this problem, where BSS is the recovery of original source signals from a given set of mixed observations with minimal a priori information on the environment. There are numerous methods to BSS, from those with a highly statistical basis to those motivated by the human auditory system. In particular, the auditory phenomenon of masking, where components in the perceived speech mixtures with lower energy are suppressed whilst the higher energy components are emphasised, has been of interest to researchers of BSS. This phenomenon has been realised within the time-frequency masking approach to BSS, and this concept of masking for source separation has emerged into its own field of research. This seminar explores the clustering-based approach for estimation of such separation masks. We present a comparison between different clustering algorithms and investigate their suitabilities in a range of simulated and real-world environments. Furthermore, the majority of BSS methods assume that the number of sources is known to the system. As such, we also consider the automatic detection of the number of sources by introducing some novel clustering-based approaches to the problem. Short bio: Ingrid graduated from UWA in 2009 with a Bachelor of Engineering and went on to study a PhD with the Signal and Information Processing Group of UWA. She completed a research internship at Nippon Telephone and Telegraph Corporation in Kyoto, where she worked under the supervision of Dr. Tomohiro Nakatani in the Signal Processing Research Group of the Media Information Laboratory. Ingrid submitted her PhD thesis recently in 2014, where the focus of her thesis was on the clustering-based approaches to blind source separation and source number estimation. She is currently at the Centre for research experience, and she is working in the field of directional analysis for ocean waves. PS* This seminar is free and open to the public & no RSVP required. ****All Welcome****


Corioli SouterThe development of maritime archaeology in Sri Lanka18/06/2014

The development of maritime archaeology in Sri Lanka began in the early 1960s when a 17th century shipwreck carrying a cargo of silver coins was discovered. At that time, investigations were undertaken by interested parties in the ex-pat community and it was not until 1992 when a formal maritime archaeological programme was established. The Western Australian Museum was tasked with teaching Sri Lankan archaeologists to dive and excavate underwater. A long collaborative research and capacity building programme ensued and continues today. Sri Lanka is strategically located between Arabia and East Asia, at a natural crossroads of navigational routes, and has been a centre of trade and cultural exchange since ancient times. The shipwreck resource is diverse and of global significance. This lecture is an outline of the Museum's work in Sri Lanka as well as a potted history of Sri Lanka's maritime role in a broader Indian Ocean network. Bio Corioli Souter is Curator at the Department of Maritime Archaeology at the Western Australian Museum. During her employment with the Museum she has taken part in over 35 archaeological research projects. She has been invited to assist with a number of overseas survey projects including the survey of a 3rd century Roman Bridge in Maastrict, with the Netherlands Institute of Ship Archaeology (NISA), the excavation and survey of the 6th century BC wreck site Pabuc Burnu by the Institute of Nautical Archaeology and the Bodrum Museum of Underwater Archaeology, Turkey and the survey of the British sloop HMS Swift with Programa de Arqueologia Subacuatica, (PROAS) at the Instituto Nacional de Antropologia, Argentina. She has also participated in a number of field seasons in Sri Lanka examining wrecks dating from the 16th century through to the modern period. Trained as an historical archaeologist and gaining her excavation experience in the desert in the Northern Territory, she later pursued postgraduate qualifications in maritime archaeology. Her main research interests are in developing and utilising remote sensing survey techniques for the discovery and mapping of shipwreck sites; Western Australian shipwrecks; Indigenous/European terrestrial contact archaeology and most recently Museum exhibition projects. Corioli also has interests in the teaching of maritime archaeology at both a public, practitioner and academic level. She was the course co-ordinator for a Masters programme in Applied Maritime Archaeology taught at UWA in conjunction with WAM and also for the MA programmes in Maritime Archaeology at Flinders University of SA and James Cook University of QLD . PS* This seminar is free and open to the public & no RSVP required. ****All Welcome****


Joshua MylneHow a hijacked protein became a gateway to studying the evolution of proteins11/06/2014

A few years ago we stumbled upon an interesting peptide biosynthesis in sunflower seeds. A small peptide was buried inside another protein and the peptide emerged from its hiding place by hijacking the protein processing machinery of the 'host' protein. This system has become a lead-in to studying the evolution of proteins. It recently allowed us to trace the biochemical steps that we think led to the 'birth' or de novo evolution of a protein. With it for example, we can also ask how easily new proteins might be created and how they manage to mimic other proteins. We recently found the processing machinery that was hijacked has evolved a dual functionality. I will discuss the biosynthesis and what it's teaching us, but I promise not to get too detailed! Bio Assoc. Prof. Mylne (PhD, Botany) worked at the John Innes Centre in the UK (2001-2005), using molecular genetics to study proteins that accelerate flowering in response to prolonged cold (vernalization). In 2006 he moved to the Division of Chemistry & Structural Biology at The Institute for Molecular Bioscience (IMB, UQ) where he held a QEII Fellowship (2008-2012) and was the inaugural John S. Mattick Fellow (2010-2012). In 2013 he joined the faculty at The University of Western Australia and took up an ARC Future Fellowship in the School of Chemistry & Biochemistry and The ARC Centre of Excellence in Plant Energy Biology. His research interests are protein evolution and the molecular mechanisms underlying the biosynthesis of bioactive peptides PS* This seminar is free and open to the public & no RSVP required. ****All Welcome****


Professor Kadambot SiddiqueClimate change adaptation: water conservation and crop production in south-western Australia and the Loess Plateau of China04/06/2014

Climate simulation models suggest that mean temperatures on the Loess Plateau of China will increase by 2.5 to 3.75°C by 2050, while those in the cropping region of south-west Australia will increase by 1.25 to 1.75°C. The rainfall in south-west Australia rainfall is predicted to decrease by 20 to 60 mm, rainfall on the Loess Plateau of China is not expected to change. Farming systems in both regions differ markedly in scale, but both have adopted water conservation techniques that benefit crop yields. In south-west Australia zero tillage and adequate use of fertilizers have enabled farmers to increase their rainfall use efficiency and yields of cereals, canola and legumes, while on the Loess Plateau, mulching with plastic, gravel and residues, crop sequence, fertilizer/organic manure application and supplementary irrigation have improved precipitation use efficiency and yields of several crops and enabled the production of maize in areas of the Loess Plateau where temperatures limit its production. The implications of climate change and adaptation strategies such as agronomic management and crop breeding in the two regions will be discussed in relation to future improvements in water productivity and food production. Further reading: Turner, N.C., Li, F.-M., Xiong, Y.-C., and Siddique, K.H.M. (2011). Climate change and agricultural ecosystem management in dry areas (Guest editorial). Crop and Pasture Science 62: i-ii. Gan, Y., Siddique, K.H.M., Turner, N.C., Li, X.G., Niu, J.Y., Yang, C., Liu, L., and Chai, Q. (2013). Ridge-Furrow Mulching Systems - An innovative technique for boosting crop productivity in semiarid rain-fed environments. Advances in Agronomy. 117: 429–476. Chai, Q., Gan, Y., Turner, N.C., Zhang, R.Z., Yang, Y., Niu, Y. and Siddique, K.H.M. (2014). Water-saving innovations in Chinese agriculture. Advances in Agronomy 126: 149-201. Liu, C.A., Zhou, L.M., Jia, J.J., Wang, L.J., Xi, L., Pan, C.C., Siddique, K.H.M. and Li, F.M. (2014). Maize yield and water balance is affected by nitrogen application in a film-mulching ridge-furrow system in a semiarid region of China. European Journal of Agronomy 52:103-111. PS* This seminar is free and open to the public & no RSVP required. ****All Welcome***


Matt KilburnChemical and isotopic imaging at the sub-micron scale with NanoSIMS.21/05/2014

To understand large-scale phenomena, such as ecosystem health or ore mineral deposition, researchers are increasingly looking at the chemical processes occurring at the nano-scale. Mass spectrometry traditionally requires material to be extracted in bulk from samples, at the expense of information about the complex spatial relationships of the individual components. Nano-scale Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry (NanoSIMS), however, allows chemical imaging and analysis to be performed at the sub-micron scale, in situ. NanoSIMS is a highly versatile technique, able to turn its hand to a broad range of applications. This seminar will highlight several novel applications, including mineral-fluid interactions, nutrient transport in terrestrial and marine ecosystems, and how evidence of early life might be preserved in the rock record. Biography. Matt Kilburn is a Professor in the Centre for Microscopy, Characterisation and Analysis at UWA, He read Planetary Science at University College London, gained a PhD from the University of Bristol in geochemistry, and then went on to postdoc positions at the Max Planck Society in Germany, and Oxford. In 2006, Matt moved to UWA to lead the Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry (SIMS) group and head the Ion Probe Facility, which currently houses a CAMECA NanoSIMS 50 and an IMS 1280 large-radius ion microprobe. In 2014, the Facility will take delivery of a new $4M NanoSIMS 50L. Matt’s research revolves around developing SIMS applications across a wide range of disciplines, from biomedical research to nuclear safeguards. PS* This seminar is free and open to the public & no RSVP required. ****All Welcome****


Dr Clelia MartiImpact of physical processes on the spatial distribution of phytoplankton in a subalpine lake14/05/2014

An understanding of how the physical habitat influences phytoplankton behaviour is critical to the ecological health of deep lakes in the face of global warming and increased nutrient loading. In this talk I will present the phytoplankton concentrations observed in Lake Iseo, a deep subalpine lake located in northern Italy, during the July 2010 bloom season and derive a patch categorization and growth interpretation based on the time scale hierarchy of physical and biological processes. By estimating the time scales, I will develop a general framework of the spatial distribution of phytoplankton concentration in Lake Iseo and illuminate the characteristics of their ecological niches. Bio Research Associate Professor Clelia Luisa Marti is a field-oriented Physical Limnologist and provides scientific leadership to the Centre for Water Research real-time field investigation and modelling predictions in aquatic environments. Her research interests lie in transport and mixing processes in lakes, rivers, estuaries and coastal seas. PS* This seminar is free and open to the public & no RSVP required. ****All Welcome****


Mike PerringRestoration in a Changing Environment: The Ridgefield Multiple Ecosystem Service Experiment.30/04/2014

Multiple environmental changes challenge traditional notions of ecological restoration. One option for the future may be to plant mixtures of native species to achieve desired ecosystem functions such as tightly cycling nutrients, carbon sequestration, resistance against weed invasion and prevention of soil erosion. However, it remains unknown how best to do this. Are there trade-offs among functions? Do relationships depend on the traits of planted species? In this talk, Mike will present the theoretical and empirical foundations of the Ridgefield Experiment, which aims to shed light on these questions. He will present early results, and a broader meta-analysis of plant species effects on carbon storage led by his colleague Kris Hulvey. He will end by discussing implications for continued provision of ecosystem services into the future, and would be interested to discuss potential hydrological research questions that may be of interest to the Centre. Bio, Mike is an ecosystem ecologist interested in how continued system function depends on community composition and environmental change. He joined Richard Hobbs' Ecosystem Restoration and Intervention Ecology Research Group at UWA in April 2010. Together with colleagues, he established the Ridgefield Multiple Ecosystem Services Experiment in August of that year. Prior to his move west, he looked at modelled grassland response to environmental change in Tasmania, and for his PhD, back at Imperial College London in the UK, the response of phosphorus to increases in nitrogen supply in a coupled plant-soil analytical model. Throughout his work, he aims to build and test theory through experimentation, with the aim of improving management and restoration of ecosystems into the future. The slides for this presentation are available online. PS* This seminar is free and open to the public & no RSVP required. ****All Welcome****


Goran AlibegoviceWater Related Spatial Information.23/04/2014

The Department of Water has an extensive State-wide network of monitoring bores and gauging stations that has records going back to the early 1900’s. The types of projects that Department’s water information was used for in 2013 was wide ranging including: infrastructure proposals, foreshore management plans, Local Government planning strategies, coastal vulnerability studies, drainage modelling, 3D modelling for urban developments, urban water management planning, and academic research. Goran Alibegovic, Manager Spatial Services & GIS at the Department of Water and Geospatial Analysts Timothy Fardon and Andrew Watson will cover what spatial information is available from the Department, custodianship, who is using it and how do you get hold of it for your research. The access to aspatial information such as water flow, water level, water quality etc. will also be covered. An overview of the Department’s role in floodplain management (FPM) in Western Australia, with a focus on its GIS functions will also be discussed. The overview will include a background on who we are, the aims of floodplain management, the types of activities undertaken, a description of the FPM datasets, the users of FPM data and a display of historical flood events images. PS* This seminar is free and open to the public & no RSVP required. ****All Welcome****


Dr Richard SilbersteinUsing atmospheric eddy covariance measurements to estimate recharge through Banksia woodland over Gnangara groundwater mound.09/04/2014

Banksia woodland coves half the recharge area to the Gnangara Mound, Perth’s most important water resource. To help understand the water balance and carbon balance of this native woodland we have installed an eddy covariance system measuring the atmospheric turbulence and scalar fluxes above the vegetation. It is coupled to soil moisture monitoring and a piezometer network to enable closing the water balance. The site, 70 km north of Perth, has been selected as representative of the recharge area and its ecological value. These measurements enable a better calculation of recharge to the groundwater under this ecosystem than previously available, and will monitor how the vegetation is responding to changes in climate and other influences. We now have nearly two years of measurement that enable estimation of recharge and the dynamics of carbon assimilation in the woodland. This work comes from a site in the OzFlux network of atmospheric flux stations around Australia, and is supported by the Terrestrial Ecosystem Research Network (TERN) of the National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy (NCRIS) of the Australian Government, and CSIRO under its Climate and Atmosphere Theme. Biography, Dr Richard Silberstein is a catchment hydrologist investigating interactions between vegetation and surface and groundwater, particularly in the context of a drying climate. He is the Groundwater-Vegetation interactions Team Leader in CSIRO Land and Water. His research interests include modelling vegetation response to climate, soil, water and salt conditions, field and modelling studies of catchment forest dynamics and water yield, recharge under changing land use and climate, and ecosystem function and landscape water balance through multiple techniques, including atmospheric fluxes, soil and vegetation monitoring and remote sensing. Dr Silberstein currently leads the surface water modelling in the Pilbara Water Resources Assessment of CSIRO’s Water for a Healthy Country National Research Flagship. He previously led a similar component of the South-west Western Australia Sustainable Yields Project and a Water Foundation Project 'Vegetation dynamics and water yield under changing climate and management' which studied the interactions between catchment vegetation growth and stream flow in the context of changing climate and historical forestry. PS* This seminar is free and open to the public & no RSVP required. ****All Welcome****


Professor Christopher BrennenThe Enchantment of Remote Islands and Their Peoples.19/03/2014

In part, this seminar is a travelogue and, in part, it is an amateur study in comparative anthropology. While exploring many small, remote and near-isolated islands around the world I became fascinated by the history and sociology of the small human communities that occupied those corners of the world. In this seminar I tell many of their stories, mostly tragic, often uplifting and sometimes heroic but almost always the result of clashes with the larger world. At the same time I had the pleasure of photographing and then exhibiting the scenic grandeur of these ocean-bound patches of ground. In the process I will march through time from the remarkable remains of the Neolithic village of Skara Brae in the Orkneys to the dramatic pinnacle of Skellig Michael off the southwest coast of Ireland, a place that Sir Kenneth Clark credited with contributing to the survival of civilization during Europe’s Dark Ages. From there we will move halfway around the world to the murderous story of the Batavia shipwreck on the Abrolhos Islands off the coast of Western Australia and back again to the British Isles for a visit to the remote island of St.Kilda and its ill-starred people. I finish with the current story of Tory Island off the northwest corner of Ireland whose people, persecuted in the past, are struggling to retain a viable existence on their island. (See “The Far Side of the Sky” at http://www.dankat.com/mstory/mstory.htm) PS* This seminar is free and open to the public & no RSVP required. ****All Welcome****


Scott LudlamWA 2.0 - A plan to reboot Western Australia12/03/2014

WA 2.0 is a comprehensive set of initiatives that show how Greens policies can be implemented here in Western Australia now. What could our state look like if we created a more resilient, connected and prosperous community that cares for our environment and for people? Australian Greens Senator Scott Ludlam will deliver a presentation on how we can upgrade our state to meet the challenges and opportunities of our time. For a preview visit. http://scott-ludlam.greensmps.org.au/WA2.0 Bio: Scott Ludlam was born in Palmerston North, New Zealand and subsequently moved to Western Australia. He was previously a film-maker, artist and graphic designer. He studied Design at Curtin University and then Policy Studies at Murdoch University. Scott is an Australian Greens Senator for Western Australia. Elected in November 2007, he is one of ten Australian Greens in the current Parliament and is the spokesperson for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, Housing, Nuclear Issues and Infrastructure and Sustainable Cities. Senator Scott Ludlam Australian politician and Greens member of the Australian Senate, representing the state of Western Australia. PS* This seminar is free and open to the public & no RSVP required. ****All Welcome***


Roman StockerMicrobes and turbulence05/03/2014

Microbes have been studied forever. So has turbulence. In a broad range of environments, microbes are routinely exposed to turbulence, yet physicists have ignored microbes and biologists have ignored turbulence. In this talk I will illustrate the fascinating dynamics that unfold when microbes are considered in the context of turbulent flow. I will focus on motile microbes and will use microfluidic experiments and mathematical modeling to show how turbulence affects the swimming of microbes, un-mixes them counter to one's intuition, and shapes their competition for nutrients. In addition to representing a new class of problems in active physics, these processes are broadly important for environmental dynamics including trophic interactions and biogeochemical cycling in natural ecosystems such as oceans and lakes. Bio blurb Roman Stocker is an Associate Professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at MIT, where he heads the Environmental Microfluidics Group. Roman's research focuses on microscale biophysical processes in the environment, with a special interest in the ocean. His group develops original microfluidic technology and image analysis techniques to understand microbes in the context of their physical (e.g., flow), chemical (e.g., nutrients) and ecological (e.g., other organisms) landscape, by directly observing microbes and making them 'come to life' for the non-microscopist. This approach has resulted in a broad range of fundamental new insights on microbial dynamics, particularly motility and chemotaxis. PS* This seminar is free and open to the public & no RSVP required. ****All Welcome****


Dr. James CullisEconomic impacts of climate change on the water supply sector in South Africa and stream ecosystem dynamics in the McMurdo Dry Valleys of Antarctica.26/02/2014

James will be presenting on two recent studies that reflect his range of interests and diversity of experience in the water resources field. The first presentation is based on his PhD research on the dynamics of benthic algae growing in the meltwater streams of the McMurdo dry valleys and how this relates to our understanding of the factors controlling the management of stream ecosystem, particularly with regards to the requirements for flushing flows from reservoirs. The second study is in support of the economic assessment of the potential impacts of climate change in South Africa. He will be focusing on the biophysical modelling and in particular the use of a hybrid frequency distribution (HFD) to model the range of potential risks associated with climate change both on catchment runoff, but also on water supply in a highly integrated and engineered water supply system such as is present in South Africa. He is also happy to discuss more general issues related to water resources management in Africa and his research experience in the US and UK. BIO: Dr James Cullis is a water resources engineer specialising in water resources planning and management in Africa. He is currently an associate in the water resources group at Aurecon, based in Cape Town, South Africa. After graduating with a BSc. In civil engineering from the University of Cape Town James spent three years as a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University in the UK. During this period he obtained a second degree in Politics, Philosophy and Economics and an MSc. in Environmental Change and Management. His MSc. thesis looked at the concept of water poverty mapping. James returned to South Africa and started work as an engineer in the water resources group of Ninham Shand consulting engineers. He worked on a number of projects including engineering design, water resources studies, and the development of water related policy for the Department of Water Affairs. After five years, James moved with his family to the USA to complete his PhD at the University of Colorado. His research focused on eco-hydraulics and in particular the interaction between river dynamics and the growth and removal of benthic algae in high gradient streams. During this time James spent six weeks in the McMurdo dry valleys of Antarctica. In 2011, James returned to South Africa as an associate at Aurecon. He is currently involved in a number of water related projects in Africa including feasibility studies, water resources planning, and the evaluation of climate change impacts and the potential for adaptation and sustainable development. James is a registered professional engineer and is married with three children living in Cape Town, South Africa. PS* This seminar is free and open to the public & no RSVP required. ****All Welcome****


Professor Jörg ImbergerThe Hydrodynamics of Large Lakes and the Implications for Carbon Sequestration09/10/2013

Description: Large lakes play an important role in global carbon cycling. However, deep lakes are susceptible to anoxia with the associated loss of biodiversity if overloaded with nutrients; the balance between the forces that stabilise a lake and those that mix the water column is very delicate and there are signs that global change is upsetting this delicate balance with potentially devastating effects for the endemic fauna and flora. I will illustrate the subtleties of the balance using two extreme examples, Lake Ohrid, a deep, very old European lake that is under threat from global warming because of its great depth and Lake Argyle, a very large reservoir, that has the potential of being used for aquaculture to provide about 35% of Western Australia's fish needs and sequester about 20% of WA's carbon emissions, providing an opportunity to mitigate global warming. The large expanses of shallow littoral waters of Lake Argyle have been shown to support very active differential heating, cooling and wind mixing, provided a very active horizontal exchange between the littoral and deep central waters, making it ideal for aquaculture. I will review the underlying fluid dynamics of these two extreme lakes and show how a fundamental understanding of underlying fluid dynamics of lakes has allowed us to set up a real-time coupled hydrodynamic-ecological model, forced by a full high resolution meteorological model, that now serve as real-time decision support systems for lake managers. In conclusion, I shall, very briefly, summarise some important unresolved hydrodynamic and ecological problems and put the proposal to use Lake Argyle as a carbon sequestration site and food source into the Western Australian context of making the State carbon neutral, energy and water self sufficient and with an enhanced social well-being. The same understanding may be used to install impellers in Lake Ohrid to save this lake from suffocating from lack of oxygen brought about by global warming. Together, these two examples serve to illustrate how large lakes may be harnessed as a resource for meeting the challenges of global change. Short bio of the presenter: Prof. Imberger received his PhD in 1970 from the University of California, Berkeley and was appointed to full Professor at The University of Western Australia in 1978 at the age of 36, at that time the youngest full professor in Australia in the field of Engineering. Long before sustainability became an all-embracing goal he embarked on what was to become a long and dedicated career developing instrumentation, software and theory that collectively forms the basis of decision support systems for sustainable management of large natural water bodies such as rivers, lakes, wetlands, reservoirs, estuaries and coastal seas. His career has seen him carry out research in nearly every major country. International funding has allowed him to maintain a sophisticated field and modelling programme that completely supports the research of his postgraduate students. One of his most significant achievements was the establishment, in 1978, of the Centre for Water Research (CWR), the premier research centre in the world in natural aquatic systems research; this Centre is now totally self funding. In the 30 years of activity, researchers in CWR have attracted about 300 international long term visitors, 1000 short term national and international visitors, have graduated 66 PhDs, about 900 undergraduates and 24 Masters. He has a well established reputation as an inspirational teacher and extends his influence by maintaining an active program of community talks to Rotary, church, retirement and other groups. He feels strongly that he has a duty to assist the general community come to grips with topics such as global warming, climate variability, and ecosystem health among other topics. Jorg Imberger is unique as he is an outstanding scientist/researcher, model developer, instrument developer, practical problem solver, inspirational teacher and community advocate/educator. This is evident from the formal international recognition that he has received. This seminar is free and open to the public & no RSVPs are required. ****All Welcome****


Joe ChooFeng Shui: Scientific vs Myth02/10/2013

The seminar covers the following topics: - The history of Feng Shui - Differences of Feng Shui as a knowledge, culture and religion - The three type of force: Cosmic, Earth & Human - Explanation of the myth of Feng Shui from scientific perspective - General application of Feng Shui - Practical application of Feng Shui to your house and life Short bio of the presenter: Ms Joe Choo was elected as the president of the Malaysian Institute of Geomancy Sciences (MINGS) in 2008, a position which she currently holds. She has a very diverse career, ranging from corporate services to marketing and now as a very passionate Feng Shui consultant. Ms Joe Choo was recently awarded a professorship by the Shanghai Jiao Tong University in China. She is currently retained by a number of notable listed companies in Malaysia and acts as consultant to various development projects. Apart from Malaysian Feng Shui, she does research on the Feng Shui of cities in England, Australia, New Zealand etc and she contributes her researched articles to 'The Edge Financial'. Currently, she has been contributing articles to 'iProperty Megazine' and the co-author with Master David for 'The Star weekly on Friday'. Capital TV, an online business channel, invited her to have talk shows on Feng Shui and geomancy related topics since February 2012. In Malaysia, Ms Joe Choo conducts classes for the Persatuan Architect Malaysia (PAM), Malaysian Institute of Estate Agents (MIEA). She is frequently invited by banks and other organisations as speaker on Feng Shui for their clients and customers. She was guest speaker at the FIABCI (French Federation of Estate Agents and Property Developers) at the last Asia Pacific Summit held in Kuala Lumpur. She has been a common figure in CIMB Property Auction Fair since 2010 and again she is appointed to give talks in the similar event this year. Recently, Ms Joe Choo was a panel speaker for Malaysia Property Incorporated (MPI) and it is a Malaysian government initiative under the Economic Planning Unit (EPU). Representing both, public and private real estate developments, the organisation collaborates with Malaysian government agencies to direct foreign investment into Malaysia. It also brands Malaysia as an investment destination for real estate through a presentations overseas. This seminar is free and open to the public & no RSVPs are required. ****All Welcome****


Lindsay PreeceWIR – extract your own water data!!25/09/2013

The DOW owns and operates an extensive network of monitoring bores and gauging stations throughout Western Australia and also holds copious amounts of data collected on a project-by-project basis. Each year the Department services around 3,000 water data requests through a process which is entirely manual. Stakeholders typically wait a minimum of 10 business days for their data. In 2009 it was estimated that the annual value of commercial projects for which DOW’s water data was used was $1.092 billion. With funding from the Royalties for Regions Program – the DOW has developed a web-based WIR (Water Information Reporting) portal. WIR is a free service aimed at water professionals which allows the self-service of water data from DOW’s WIN and Hydstra databases - for the State of Western Australia. WIR encompasses more than 115,000 sites and over 60 million measurements. The WIR portal uses a spatial interface for selecting sites of interest and provides the water data requested in minutes of request. Lindsay will demonstrate WIR operation at the session. WIR will be launched sometime in September or October 2013 and attendees to the session will be able to register their interest with the presenter, who will notify them by e-mail when WIR is available for use. About the speaker' Lindsay Preece is a Chartered Accountant with more than 30 years experience in the public and private sectors. In government Lindsay has worked for 13 agencies and most recently held key positions at the Department of Planning and at the Department of Water. At Planning, Lindsay was the Secretary to the Western Australian Planning Commission. Currently Lindsay leads Water Information and Modelling within the Department of Water. Lindsay’s Top 20 customers include Commonwealth, State and Local Governments, Universities and their students, Mining Companies, Land Use Planners, Engineering, Environmental and Water Consultants. He represents Western Australia on a number of national committees – most recently providing technical input into the development of the Australian Water Accounting Standard and the exposure draft Australian Water Accounting Assurance standard (for public comment). PS* This seminar is free and open to the public & no RSVP required. ****All Welcome****


Ryan AlexanderInflow controls on the spatial distribution and composition of phytoplankton in Marina Reservoir, Singapore.18/09/2013

Understanding the drivers of phytoplankton composition and abundance is important for the management of water quality in reservoirs. In the Republic of Singapore, the construction of coastal barrages in recent years has seen several low-lying estuaries converted into shallow reservoirs to secure water supply. However, research on these types of systems has been limited to date. Marina Reservoir became operational in 2008 following the completed construction of a barrage that separates the former Marina Estuary from the Singapore Strait. Subsequent to a two year adjustment phase during which saline water from the former estuary was flushed from the reservoir, the nutrient concentrations in this shallow reservoir stabilised and the downstream waters became dominated by nitrogen fixing cyanobacteria. However, in the upstream regions of the reservoir, which are more influenced by inflow waters, the phytoplankton composition is dominated by green algae and diatoms. The CWR field team surveyed Marina reservoir in February 2012, which was a period of low inflow. Results from these measurements will be presented to demonstrate the relationship between inflows and short-term changes in phytoplankton composition and abundance. In particular, by using fluorescent spectral data and principal component analysis (PCA) to measure phytoplankton composition at fine spatial scales, it will be shown that the distributions of different phytoplankton assemblages in the reservoir are closely related to transitions between inflow waters and reservoir waters. PS* This seminar is free and open to the public & no RSVP required. ****All Welcome****


Dr.Eng. Hiroshi YajimaChanges in phytoplankton biomass due to diversion of an inflow into the Urayama Reservoir.04/09/2013

The three-dimensional hydrodynamic Estuary, Lake and Coastal Ocean Model (ELCOM) coupled with the ecological Computational Aquatic Ecosystem DYnamics Model (CAEDYM) was applied to Urayama Reservoir in order to examine the effect of an inflow bypass on the water quality in the reservoir. The bypass system functions by intaking water from upstream of the reservoir and transferring it to the reservoir selective withdrawal tower in order to avoid turbid-water withdrawal. The model was calibrated using data measured in 2009. Simulated results of water temperature, dissolved oxygen, turbidity, nutrients and four groups of phytoplankton (cyanobacteria, diatoms, chlorophytes and cryptophytes) were in good agreement with field measurements. Some bypass operational scenarios and model parameter test scenarios were performed. The results showed that the bypass operation altered the nutrient load and in-reservoir concentrations as well as the heat budget, which changed the water temperature, dissolved oxygen and other water quality parameters, including chlorophyll a (Chla) concentration in the reservoir. Detailed examination of the growth of phytoplankton revealed that cyanobacteria were most affected by the bypass operation because of the interaction between the change of hydrological conditions and the buoyancy control of cells. T he results suggested that the operation of the bypass system was useful in decreasing inflow nutrient loads as well as decreasing the transport of the algal biomass from upstream to the dam wall, which generally helped to decrease the magnitude of algal biomass near the offtake region of the reservoir. PS* This seminar is free and open to the public & no RSVP required. ****All Welcome****


Mark WilliamsAn Impressionist Account of Water Pollution in China with Allusions to Mel Gibson’s Apocalyto.21/08/2013

After presenting a brief introduction and overview (based mainly on journalistic and secondary source articles), I rapidly show a succession of mostly web images picturing China's water pollution. Stills from Mel Gibson's movie Apocalyto are gradually introduced to weave a comparison and contrast from another great civilisation, this one just beyond the peak of its power and about to be invaded by a technologically superior empire. Thoughts about the tendencies and behaviours of the human species are introduced to invite questions about the present and near to medium future. Short bio: Mark C. Williams, Ph.D., Professor of Applied Positive Psychology, Shenzhen University China since 2008, researches and lectures in applying positive psychology to education and life; and Western civilization and biblical interpretations. With road ranging tertiary qualifications in the sciences and humanities, and experience in interdisciplinary university education on many levels in Australia and internationally (China, Malaysia, Kiribati, Germany, USA and UK), including MBA and DBA courses, he has published over 60 scholarly publications, 4 books, and been awarded 4 research grants, 4 teaching excellence awards, and served as principal supervisor for 9 successful doctorates and assisted many more. PS* This seminar is free and open to the public & no RSVP required. ****All Welcome****


Luke AbataniaIdentifying performance benchmarks in Ghanaian agriculture through efficiency analysis.24/07/2013

Agricultural production in Ghana is mainly carried out by smallholder farmers on a subsistence basis. Smallholders constitute about 95% of the farming population and produce 80% of the annual output. This study investigates the level of technical efficiency of farms using a sample of 294 households from the Upper East region of Ghana. Bootstrap DEA methods are used to estimate technical efficiency and the factors affecting efficiency are examined. This is the first study that uses bootstrap DEA methods in efficiency analysis of agriculture in Ghana. Results from the application of the nonparametric DEA frontier models show that mean technical efficiency is low and there is significant variability in efficiency among the sample farms. The results imply that agricultural productivity can be increased substantially through improvement in technical efficiency. From a policy point of view educational status and use of hired labour have been found to hold the greatest potential for improving technical efficiency in Ghanaian agriculture. Keywords: Bootstrap DEA, Ghana, policy, smallholders, technical efficiency Short bio, Luke Abatania commenced his PhD research in the School of Agricultural and Resource Economics at the University of Western Australia (UWA) in March 2009. Abatania’s background is in Agricultural Economics and his research focus has been on the adoption and impact of improved technologies on farm household welfare. His current research interests are in productivity and an efficiency analysis of smallholder agricultural production. Abatania has worked as an Agricultural Economist/Research Fellow at the following organisations in Ghana: Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (1992-2006), International Food Policy Research Institute (2006-2007), University of Ghana (2007-date). He was also a part-time lecturer at the University for Development Studies in Ghana (2002-2004). Abatania holds a Master of Philosophy degree from the University of Ghana. He submitted a thesis to UWA in June 2013 for the award of a PhD degree and is currently awaiting the result. PS* This seminar is free and open to the public & no RSVP required. ****All Welcome****


Victoria MarchesiniSpectral detection of stress-related pigments in Samphires of Western Australia17/07/2013

Wetlands in north-western Australia have significant national and international value since they sustain a large number of endemic Samphire, species growing under saline, waterlogged, and dry conditions. We investigate the ecophysiological aspects of these succulent species using a combination of spectral measurements, pigment concentrations and environmental variables. We correlated samphire tissue pigment concentrations with climatic data and determined the relationships between pigments and field spectroradiometer readings for Tecticornia indica, one of the dominant samphire species in WA. Tecticornia plants with visually different colour contained different pigment concentrations and reflected differentially the visible light, in particular at wavelengths between 500 and 700 nm. The reflectance data obtained by the spectrometry indicated that spectral detection of pigments could be used to identify changes in plant pigments, as well as other changes in vegetation status produced by different stress drivers. This methodology offers a rapid/reliable approach to describe natural ecosystems and evaluate the impact of human activities in marshes and wetlands ecosystems. Biography: Victoria, Completed a PhD in Agronomy Sciences from University of Buenos Aires, Argentina. Her study area is the Ecohydrology of arid zones. Since 2011 I have worked with Dr Erik Veneklaass and Tim Colmer at the School of Plant Biology (UWA) On a project related to vegetation dynamics in areas affected by mining activities in the Pilbara’s region. she has work at different spatial scales, from leaf and plant and plot scale using both glasshouse and field experiments and remote sensing technologies. PS* This seminar is free and open to the public & no RSVP required. ****All Welcome****


Professor Keisuke NakayamaSurface water convergence and divergence due to wind vorticity10/07/2013

Using a numerical model, FANTOM3D, horizontal circulation observed at the head of Tokyo Bay on the 10th of August 2001 was shown to appear in conjunction with surface water convergence. The effect of negative wind vorticity and other components, such as river discharge and heating/cooling on the water surface, were investigated but results suggest that horizontal circulation was predominantly induced by wind vorticity. The influence of positive and negative wind vorticity on horizontal circulation was categorized into three regions using the Rosby number: Region 1 (positive vorticity) – Coriolis and nonlinear Ekman pumping; Region 2 (negative vorticity) – Coriolis downwelling; and, Region 3 (negative vorticity) – nonlinear Ekman pumping. PS* This seminar is free and open to the public & no RSVP required. ****All Welcome****


Alexander LikhoshvayLake Baikal: The Pearl of Siberia.03/07/2013

Lake Baikal has a unique natural heritage. There is no other water body similar to this huge fresh-water reservoir whose maximum depth exceeds 1 mile (1,600 m). The lake contains about 20% of the world’s unfrozen freshwater; more than that held in all of the Great Lakes of North America.  The area of Lake Baikal is similar to that of countries such as Belgium and the Netherlands, and the bottom-sediment thickness is more than 8 km.  The lake is more than 25 million years old. These features and other aspects of the hydrology, meteorology, hydrobiology, and paleoclimates will be discussed in this presentation, using information from the Limnological Institute of Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences.   A particular focus will be on the bottom sediments and enumeration of strains of oil-degrading bacteria collected from the numerous bottom bitumen mounds of Lake Baikal. These and some other features of the lake, I will try to discuss in my presentation.  Short Bio, Alexander Likhoshvay,   from Russia graduated Irkutsk State University in 2007 with MSc in Chemistry (“Integrated chemical and microbiological study of sediments from South basin of Lake Baikal”) and had been working in Limnological Institute SB RAS (Siberian Branch of Russian Academy of Science). Alexander,has successfully defended his PhD thesis on December 2011, With a topic of “Ecology of bacteria of the genus Rhodococcus from deep-water bitumen mounds of Lake Baikal”. He and his wife hold a PR visa & came to Australia in January, 2013. At the moment he is a visitor at CWR. PS* This seminar is free and open to the public & no RSVP required. ****All Welcome****


Celeste Rodriguez LouroLanguage attitudes and us26/06/2013

Language attitudes are inextricably linked to linguistic variation and deeply tied up to groups of people and what is believed about them. The study of people’s beliefs about language, including evaluations and discriminations of language variety, falls in the area of sociolinguistics known as folk linguistics (Preston 2002). This talk explores folk linguistic accounts by speakers of Anglo-Celtic Australian English, Argentinian River Plate Spanish and foreign language learners of Spanish in Australia. The different attitudinal positions noted in the data are discussed vis-à-vis Preston’s (2002: 64) notions of ‘correctness’, ‘ordinary language’, ‘dialects’ and ‘errors’. Understanding language attitudes can help us make sense of who we are and how we are evaluated by others. This seminar seeks to make a contribution to this understanding. About Dr Celeste Rodriguez Louro Celeste Rodriguez Louro joined UWA Linguistics as Assistant Professor in 2011, after completing a PhD in Linguistics at Melbourne University in December 2009. Trained in Argentina, the USA and Australia, she specialises in language variation and change in English and Spanish. Dr Rodriguez Louro’s research has been consistently funded internally and externally since 2002. This support has resulted in a growing publication record, including two recent publications on discourse-pragmatic aspects of Perth English–a variety previously undocumented in the sociolinguistics literature–and the first-ever Corpus of English in Australia. She has been invited to contribute her innovative research to international volumes, has presented her work at more than 30 peer-reviewed conferences, and has been invited to present her research to audiences in Argentina, Austria, Australia, Canada, France, Spain and the USA. Dr Rodriguez Louro has a strong record of international collaborations and has led several panels and workshops on language variation and change. Solidly linked to her teaching, Dr Rodriguez Louro’s research program has been enriched by contributions from Honours students, research assistants, and PhD candidates. She has received nominations for her Honours supervision and undergraduate teaching and has been nominated for a 2012 Young Investigator Award. Dr Rodriguez Louro has acted as reviewer to several world- renowned journals and publishing houses, has developed a strong record of media appearances, and is committed to foregrounding to the general public the importance of understanding language in society. PS* This seminar is free and open to the public & no RSVP required. ****All Welcome**** References Preston, Dennis. 2002. Language with an attitude. In J.K. Chambers, Peter Trudgill & Natalie Schilling- Estes (eds.), The handbook of language variation and change. Malden/Oxford: Blackwell. 40–66.


Jens ZinkeMadagascar and Great Barrier Reef corals reveal a multidecadal signature of rainfall and river runoff .19/06/2013

Pacific Ocean sea surface temperatures (SST) influence rainfall variability on multidecadal and interdecadal timescales in concert with the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO) and Interdecadal Pacific Oscillation (IPO). Rainfall variations in locations such Australia and North America are therefore linked to phase changes in the PDO. As instrumental records of rainfall are too short and too sparse to confidently assess multidecadal climatic teleconnections, here we present four coral climate archives from Madagascar spanning up to the past 300 years (1708 – 2008) and six corals from the Keppel Islands (southern Great Barrier Reef (GBR), Fitzroy River catchment, 1920-2011) to assess such decadal variability. Using spectral luminescence scanning to reconstruct past changes in river runoff, we identify significant multidecadal and interdecadal frequencies in the coral record. For the 20th century, we decouple human deforestation effects in Madagascar from rainfall induced soil erosion by pairing luminescence with coral geochemistry to isolate decadal and multi-decadal climate variability. We find that our Madagascar coral record is coherent with Asian-based PDO reconstructions pre- and post 1920. This multidecadal relationship with the Asian PDO records, points to teleconnection mechanisms that affects Madagascar rainfall/runoff, most likely triggered by multidecadal changes in North Pacific SST, influencing the Asian Monsoon circulation. Positive PDO phases are associated with increased Indian Ocean temperatures and runoff/rainfall in eastern Madagascar, while precipitation in southern Africa and eastern Australia declines. We contrasted our findings with a record from the Keppels islands in the GBR to reveal its sensitivity to PDO forcing. We find that river runoff entering the southern GBR is largely driven by the PDO. We conclude that multidecadal rainfall variability in Madagascar and Eastern Australia needs to be taken into account when considering water resource management under a future warming climate. Short Bio: Jens did his PhD in the year 2000 at the IFM-GEOMAR institute in Kiel, Germany. He worked at the Free University in Amsterdam (Netherlands) and the Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research between 2003-2011. Since June 2011, Jens is Assistant Professor at the UWA Oceans Institute. His research involves the geochemical study of marine biological archives (massive corals) from the Indian Ocean as recorders of environmental and climate change over the past 300 years and during the Holocene. In most cases, he worked on western Indian Ocean coral records. As part of his appointment at UWA Oceans Institute, Jens also works on Australian coral records. This work is motivated by the need to produce reliable, long-term observations of sea surface temperature, ocean currents and the hydrological cycle over the tropical/subtropical oceans. PS* This seminar is free and open to the public & no RSVP required. ****All Welcome***


Peter KovesiImage Analysis and Visualization Research in the Centre for Exploration Targeting.12/06/2013

Geologists and geophysicists have to deal with a wide range of data sets and image types acquired from a variety of sources.  This talk will give an overview of the image analysis and visualization work being conducted in the Centre for Exploration Targeting. Image processing topics will include automated detection of linear structures and circular porphyry features in aeromagnetic data, identification of regions of structural complexity, and mapping of outcrop imagery.  Visualisation topics will include presentation of high dynamic range images, use of effective (and ineffective)colourmaps, and visualization of tensor data.  Also presented will be a number of image blending tools that we have been developing as a means of integrating information from multiple images or for interactively exploring image parameters such as scale. Short Bio, Peter Kovesi is a Research Professor in the Center for Exploration Targeting at UWA.  He has been with CET since 2010.  Prior to this he had earlier careers in the School of Computer Science and Software Engineering, and in the School of Mechanical Engineering at UWA. His research interests are in computer vision and visualisation. PS* This seminar is free and open to the public & no RSVP required. ****All Welcome****


Thomas LockeExternal and Internal Casualties of War: A Psychological Perspective29/05/2013

The external casualties of war have an obvious presence to the interested observer and encompass human, environmental and political dimensions. The internal casualties of war are less obvious and more intimately experienced. Working with the human aftermath of military conflict has brought many questions to the fore in the professional and private life of clinical psychologist Tom Locke. He will share his perspectives on the nature of critical incident trauma, its treatment and prognosis and connect this to “civilian” trauma that no individual can avoid in a normal lifetime. Short Bio, Tom is a clinical psychologist who specialises in the treatment of defence force veterans and current serving members suffering and post traumatic stress disorder. He recently returned from a visit to Gallipoli as part of the Australian Government’s ANZAC Day commemorative service team and will privately visit again in 2015 to reflect on his military clients and compete in a 2 day surfboat race to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the ANZAC landing. PS* This seminar is free and open to the public & no RSVP required. ****All Welcome***


Leticia de VilhenaEffects of reservoir operations on the biogeochemistry of Deadwood Reservoir, USA22/05/2013

Deadwood Reservoir was created in 1931 by impoundment of the Deadwood River by Deadwood Dam. It is located in west-central Idaho, USA, at approximately 1600 m above sea level, in an extremely harsh environment where winter temperatures regularly reach 30 degrees below zero. The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation (BOR) has historically operated the reservoir for irrigation water supply, flood control, and limited hydroelectric power production. More recently, the reservoir has also been used to augment stream flows for out-migrating salmon. In 2005, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service completed a Biological Opinion that required BOR to investigate flexibility in its operation of Deadwood Reservoir to improve conditions for bull trout (Salvelinus confluentus) in the Deadwood River and Reservoir. In response, a 5-year investigation of reservoir operations flexibility for Deadwood River and Reservoir was instituted, including a holistic watershed assessment, coupled with adaptive management. One of the important management tools developed by the investigation was a coupled three-dimensional hydrodynamic-ecological model of Deadwood Reservoir (ELCOM-CAEDYM) that was used to simulate changes in reservoir operations in order to assess conformance to the terms and conditions of the Biological Opinion. The complexity of ELCOM-CAEDYM required collection and evaluation of substantial amounts of physical, chemical, and biological data from Deadwood Reservoir and its tributaries. This talk will give an overview of the main physical and ecological characteristics of Deadwood Reservoir under historical dam operations and illustrate the environmental changes in response to different operational scenarios simulated with ELCOM-CAEDYM. The results show how reservoir operations can potentially affect habitat conditions and energy sources for bull trout, as listed in the Biological Opinion. Short Bio. Dr. Leticia Chamelete de Vilhena is a Research Associate at the Centre for Water Research at the University of Western Australia. She completed her undergraduate studies in Biological Sciences at the University of São Paulo in Brazil and has recently finished her Ph.D. at the Centre for Water Research, which explored the effects of climate change on the physics and biology of diverse aquatic systems. Leticia’s main research interests include climate change, physical-biological coupling, and the structure of phytoplankton populations in aquatic bodies. PS* This seminar is free and open to the public & no RSVP required. ****All Welcome***


Prof Andre Görgens"IWRM and water resource modelling project experiences in Africa by our Aurecon Water Resources."16/05/2013

My Seminar deals with two Aurecon Projects on opposite ends of the African Continent that might appear widely divergent, but which are actually closely related within the domain of IWRM. Nile Basin DSS: Aurecon is the lead consultant on Pilot Studies on the development and establishment of the NB-DSS, the primary objective of which is to ensure that the NB-DSS becomes a reliable and sustainable software system. This entails demonstrating and showcasing the NB-DSS capabilities within the context of transboundary, integrated water resource planning and management in the Nile Basin. Aurecon and its multi-disciplinary team of experts are intricately involved with all aspects of the project, including hydrological and system analyses, the quantification of environmental, social and economic impacts associated with large-scale water resource developments, advanced multi-criteria analysis across various pilot case areas and extensive training of NB-DSS representatives from all of the Nile riparian countries. These include, Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania, Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo and Uganda. Western Cape Water Reconciliation Strategy: This long-term Project involves a review of the rising future water requirements within the supply area of the Western Cape Bulk Water Resources System, which supplies water to more than three million people in the Greater Cape Town Region (photo below). The Project further continuously evaluates a wide range of soft and hard options for meeting these increasing demands. Further to the Reconciliation Strategy with its Action Plan, the Project identifies the most favourable intervention options and recommends a programme of feasibility studies and other investigations to improve the operation and planning of the system, and to ensure that the necessary infrastructure or other interventions were implemented timeously so as to reconcile the supplies with the future demands. The reconciliation study also involves scenario planning of alternative development options and the development of a Reconciliation Planning Support Tool (RPST) which enables the ranking of alternative water resource and water demand intervention options. SHORT BIO: André holds BSc, BEng and MEng degrees from the University of Stellenbosch and a PhD in engineering from the University of the Witwatersrand in South Africa. He is currently a Technical Director in the Cape Town Office of Aurecon, a global consulting firm, as well as the Water Resources Management Leader globally in Aurecon. He has 39 years of Water Sector experience in academic, research and consulting roles. In the latter part of his career he was a full-time and later part-time Professor of Hydrology and Water Resources at Stellenbosch University. During recent years he has been deeply involved in strategic water resources management projects related to bulk infrastructure planning and design, institutional development and policy implementation support, optimisation of the operation of multi-purpose water resources schemes; and flood and drought management. His research focus has encompassed various themes in hydrological, hydrodynamic and water resources systems modelling and related decision support tools, as well as design flood hydrology. He has produced more than 50 papers, publications and research reports. You can view the slides from this presentation here and here. PS* This seminar is free and open to the public & no RSVP required. ****All Welcome****


Mike Daube“Public health – making a difference”.08/05/2013

“This presentation will outline some of the public health challenges facing Australia, discuss the role of advocacy, and describe campaigns that have helped to change policy, behaviour and public health in Australia”. Brief bio. Mike Daube is Professor of Health Policy at Curtin University, where he is Director of the Public Health Advocacy Institute and the McCusker Centre for Action on Alcohol and Youth. Before moving to Curtin in 2005 he was Director General of Health for Western Australia and Chair of the National Public Health Partnership. He has been active nationally and internationally as a campaigner on public health issues, and has led a range of innovative public health programs. His current roles include President of the Australian Council on Smoking and Health and Co-Chair of the National Alliance for Action on Alcohol. He was Chair of the Australian Government’s Expert Committee that recommended tobacco plain packaging and other components of the program now in place. He has published widely, has been a consultant for WHO, international health organisations and governments in more than thirty countries, and has received numerous awards for his work including recently the American Cancer Society’s Luther Terry Distinguished Career Award. PS* This seminar is free and open to the public & no RSVP required. ****All Welcome****


Dr.Eng. Hiroshi YajimaDoes phytoplankton biomass in a reservoir increase in the future?20/03/2013

A water resource in the future is a great concern around the world. In 2009 the research area of "Innovative Technology and System for Sustainable Water Use" was launched by Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST). One of the projects is "Development of Well-Balanced Urban Water Use System Adapted for Climate Change", which is leaded by Prof. Furumai at the University of Tokyo. In this project, we are discussing the availability of “rainwater”, “groundwater”, and “reclaimed water” as well as “surface water” including rivers and reservoirs in highly populated metropolitan areas to assure the safe and stable urban water supply under climate change. One of the sub-groups of "watershed water resources group" conducts advanced hydrological simulations in watersheds to evaluate the influences of climate change on the availability (quantity and quality) of surface water and reservoir water, which includes GCMs downscaling by mesoscale numerical weather prediction model of WRF. In this group, I am in charge of the future projection of water quantity and quality in a reservoir. The results so far implicates that algal blooms may decrease in the future due to the unfavorable air temperature conditions for the phytoplankton growth and the increase of flood events, even though some researchers says we will have more chance to have algal blooms due to the air temperature increase by the global warming. I also talk about the great uncertainties in the research. PS* This seminar is free and open to the public & no RSVP required. ****All Welcome****


Professor Christopher BrennenThe Spectacular Space Shuttle Era: My story, technical and personal13/03/2013

In January 1969, I arrived as a new emigrant to United States at a time of great excitement for adventurers like myself. Astronauts were about to land on the moon and there was much talk of plans for a new spaceship to be called the Space Shuttle. That plan looked surprisingly like the imaginary spaceships I used to draw as a small boy growing up in the little Irish village of Magherafelt, light years away in time and space. I came to California to join the faculty of the California Institute of Technology, little imagining that I would remain there until I retired over 41 years later. When I finally did retire in April of 2010 the last few Space Shuttle flights were about to take place and the program was winding down. Thus my career coincided with the spectacular Space Shuttle Era and its great successes and tragic failures were mirrored by events in my own personal life. That vehicle played a very large part in both my technical career and my private life and in this wide-ranging lecture I tell some of those stories, some successful, some exhilarating, some sad and some joyful. Short bio, Chris Brennen, Professor of Mechanical Engineering Emeritus at the Californian Institute of Technology . His expertise includes mechanical engineering, fluid flow, multiphase flows, cavitation, turbomachinery, pumps, granular flows. Chris’s research interests are in cavitation and multiphase flows, in turbomachinery and in granular material flows. Brennen has also authored seven books and more than 180 technical papers. This visit to CWR/Perth marks Chris’s forth trip to Australia and give us a chance to hear his story, technical and personal. PS* This seminar is free and open to the public & no RSVP required. ****All Welcome****


Ken MercerSeconds from Disaster ‐ Managing Mining Organisational Risk.06/03/2013

Organisational accidents are typically rare, catastrophic events that can occur within complex modern systems such as nuclear power plants, commercial aviation, petrochemical plants, aerospace, marine, rail transport and complex technological organisations such as banks and mines. It is generally appreciated that single causes of system failures are extremely rare and that they usually result from a series of (relatively minor) events that become chained together to enable a disastrous outcome or failure to occur. Organisational accidents therefore, usually have multiple causes involving many systems and people operating at different levels of their respective companies and can have devastating effects on stakeholders, assets and the environment. Today there are very few mining organisations that can survive the financial, legal and environmental repercussions from a major failure. This talk will illustrate how systemic (epidemiological) accident model theory, that has been very successfully applied in the aerospace and petrochemical industries in particular, can and has been applied to prevent failures in all aspects of mining organisations. The presentation will illustrate how the design and construction of successive layers of protection and defences contribute to ensuring a complex well‐defended mining operational system that not only addresses risks from physical mining activities and processing, but the stability of all types of landforms on the mine as well as surface and ground water contamination and management. A critical issue in managing mining organisational risk is adapting to constant change that includes transfer of ownership and temporary cessation of mining activities (i.e. periods of care and maintenance). During these periods, organisation risk from the stability of landforms and water contamination does not reduce and may actually increase. The final aspect of the presentation details how layers of protection and defences need to be adapted accordingly to meet different types of change management requirements. Bio, Ken has more than 25 years of experience in the civil engineering and mining industries as a geotechnical engineer, researcher and consultant. Ken’s areas of expertise include both soil mechanics and rock engineering in the fields of paste and thickened tailings, waste dumps and open pit mining. This experience has been gained over a wide range of commodities but particularly platinum, heavy mineral sands and iron ore. Ken holds a PhD in mining engineering from the University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa, in the field of the deformation behaviour of unsupported rock slopes, and an MBA from Curtin University, Western Australia. Ken has worked as a consultant for most of his career to a range of clients mainly in Africa and Australia, but also internationally as far afield as Europe and Asia. He has also gained four years of operational experience for Anglo American and BHP Billiton. Before joining the ACG, Ken was a divisional manager for the Snowden geotechnical group and an executive consultant. PS* This seminar is free and open to the public & no RSVP required. ****All Welcome****


Lindsay PreeceWater Accounting has been in development since June 2004 when the States and Commonwealth Governments signed the National Water Initiative.27/02/2013

Recent developments in water accounting include the release of:- 1. the Australian Water Accounting Standard, 2. a draft Water Accounting Assurance Standard for public comment, 3. a Water Accounting Framework for the members of the Minerals Council of Australia, 4. the third iteration of the National Water Account by the Australian Bureau of Meteorology and; 5. research into the potential for International adoption of Australia's water accounting standards. Research into world trends in water management and reporting show that Australia is leading the world in the development and deployment of water accounting. Western Australia leads the way in water accounting for groundwater systems. Lindsay Preece will in this presentation outline water accounting developments at the National, State and Local levels and why the time is right for Universities and Corporations to get actively involved. BIO: Lindsay Preece is a Chartered Accountant with more than 30 years experience in the public and private sectors. In government Lindsay has worked for 13 agencies and most recently held key positions at the Department of Planning and at the Water Department. At Planning, Lindsay was the Secretary to the Western Australian Planning Commission. Currently at the Department of Water, Lindsay leads Water Information and Modelling which encompasses spatial datasets, time series data collected from a telemetry network, the capture of data from monitoring bores, modelling and water accounting development. Lindsay's Top 20 customers include Commonwealth, State and Local Governments, Universities and their students, Mining Companies, Engineering and Water Consultants and; his team provisions 40,000 data requests every year. Since 2007 Lindsay has been proactively involved in the development of water accounting at the local and national scale. He represented Western Australia on a number of national committees - most recently providing technical input into the development of the Australian Water Accounting Standard and the draft Australian Water Accounting Assurance standard. PS* This seminar is free and open to the public & no RSVP required. ****All Welcome****


Professor David PannellAgricultural land management strategies to reduce phosphorus loads in the Gippsland Lakes, Australia.28/11/2012

A target to reduce phosphorus flows into the Gippsland Lakes in south-eastern Australia by 40% in order to improve water quality has previously been established by stakeholders. This target, like many others worldwide, has been set mostly on the basis of environmental concerns, with limited consideration of issues such as technical feasibility and socio-economic constraints. This talk will outline an integrated analysis at the catchment scale to assess the agricultural land management changes required to achieve this target, and to evaluate the cost-effectiveness of these changes. It appears technically feasible to achieve a 40% reduction in P load entering the Lakes. However, there is little or no chance of investment in a 40% reduction being cost-effective. On the other hand, a 20% P reduction could be achieved at much lower cost. The major implications of this work for agriculturally induced diffuse-source pollution include the need for feedback between goal setting and program costs, and consideration of factors such as the levels of landholder adoption of new practices that are required and the feasibility of achieving those adoption levels. Short Bio, David Pannell is Winthrop Professor in the School of Agricultural and Resource Economics at the University of Western Australia, Director of the Centre for Environmental Economics and Policy, and a Federation Fellow of the Australian Research Council. His research includes the economics of land and water conservation; environmental policy; farmer adoption of land conservation practices; risk management; and economics of farming systems. He was President of the Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society in 2000. Author of 170 journal articles and book chapters, David’s research has won awards in the USA, Australia, Canada and the UK, including the 2009 Eureka Prize for Interdisciplinary Research. PS* This seminar is free and open to the public & no RSVP required. ****All Welcome****


Carlos DuarteThe role of inland aquatic ecosystems on green house gas fluxes.21/11/2012

Inland aquatic ecosystems, including rivers, lakes, ponds and reservoirs, occupy a small part of the landscape, but play a key role as a conduit for gas exchange with the atmosphere. This is dependent on a much larger active surface that previously recognised, intense metabolism in aquatic ecosystems, and imports of carbon from adjacent land ecosystems derived from groundwater and runoff. Here I will report on the rates and drivers of gas exchange between inland aquatic ecosystems and the atmosphere and identify a number of questions that need be addressed in order to further our understanding of this role. Biography Professor Carlos M. Duarte is Director of the Oceans Institute at The University of Western Australia and Research Professor with the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) at the Mediterranean Institute for Advanced Studies (IMEDEA) in Mallorca, Spain. Professor Duarte’s research focuses on understanding the effects of global change in aquatic ecosystems, both marine and freshwater. He has conducted research across Europe, South-East Asia, Cuba, México, USA, Australia, the Amazonia, the Arctic, the Southern Ocean, and the Atlantic, Indian and Pacific oceans, spanning most of the marine ecosystem types, from near-shore to the deep sea. Professor Duarte currently leads the Malaspina 2010 Expedition, a Spanish circumnavigation expedition that sailed the world's oceans to examine the impacts of global change on ocean ecosystems and explore their biodiversity (see http://www.expedicionmalaspina.es). He is co-leader of a large EU-funded project on Arctic Tipping Points. He is also working closely with the United Nations (the United Nations Environment Programme and FAO) to develop strategies to increase the sustainable production of marine aquaculture, as well as the restoration and conservation of coastal habitats to mitigate climate change and protect coastlines. Professor Duarte served as President of the American Society of Limnology and Oceanography between 2007 and 2010. In 2009, was appointed member of the Scientific Council of the European Research Council (ERC), the highest-level scientific committee at the European Level. He has published more than 400 scientific papers and two books, and was editor-in-chief of Estuaries and Coasts, as well as associate editor for a number of journals. He has received many honours for his work including the G. Evelyn Hutchinson Award from the American Society of Limnology and Oceanography in 2001, the National Science Award of Spain (2007) and the King James I Award for Research on Environmental Protection (2009). In 2009, he received the Silver Medal Cross of Merit from the Guardia Civil, Spain, for his service to environmental protection. In 2011, he also received the Prix d’Excellence, the highest honour awarded by the International Council for the Exploration of the Seas (ICES). He has received honorary doctorates from the Université de Québec a Montrèal (Canada) in 2010 and Utrecht University (The Netherlands) in 2012.PS. * This seminar is free and open to the public & no RSVP required. ****All Welcome****


Dr Kyriakos KopasakisNumerical modeling of the Long-term transport, dispersion, and accumulation of Black Sea Pollutants into the North Aegean coastal waters.14/11/2012

The present ecological situation of the Black Sea in relation to increased shipping from ports in the Black Sea, the prospect of considerably high tanker traffic carrying Caspian and Central Asian oil through the Aegean and the excessive loads of nutrients and other harmful substances flowing from rivers such as Danube, Dniper and Dnister has generated fears in Greece and Turkey, as well as among environmentalists throughout the world, of still more acute threats to the ecosystem and cleanliness of the Aegean Sea. A numerical simulation of the surface buoyant mega plume that is formed from the Black Sea brackish water discharge into the North Aegean Sea, through the Dardanelles Straits, has been performed using the ELCOM hydrodynamic model after validation with laboratory model results and available field and remote sensing data. Important climatological factors, such as air temperature, relative humidity, wind speed, wind direction, solar radiation, atmospheric pressure and rainfall that affect the water circulation in North Aegean as well as the Coriolis force effect, are taken into account. The choice of the 3D hydrodynamic model ELCOM was made due to its advanced ability to monitor and predict the Black Sea pollutants that outflow in the North Aegean Sea using passive non-dimensional computational tracers. The simulation was conducted for a total flow time of 16 years. Suitable tracers are introduced in order to predict the long term fate and distribution of pollutants that are transported from the Black sea into the North Aegean. The overall results of the present investigation indicate that the BSP concentration is very high at the coastal waters of Thassos, Samothraki, and Limnos islands, as well as along the mainland coastal waters between Alexandroupolis and Strymonikos Gulf, during summer and autumn when strong water column stratification occurs. In general, the BSP concentration in the North Aegean surface waters reaches considerable high values (47– 58 % of the initial pollutant concentration at Dardanelles outflow) within 16 years. Even for depths more than 500 m the BSP concentration is still remarkable, slightly increasing with time. The increase of the BSP concentration with respect to time at various depths (from free surface up to 750 m) was also investigated. Biography Kyriakos received the BEng Degree of Civil Engineering in 2000 and the MSc Degree in Concrete Technology, Construction and Management in 2002 from the Department of Civil Engineering at Dundee University in Scotland. He then received his MSc Degree in Hydraulic Mechanics in 2007 and his Ph.D. Degree in 2012 from the Department of Civil Engineering at Democritus University of Thrace in Greece. He is currently working as a researcher at Democritus University of Thrace and he is member of the Technical Chamber of Greece (TEE) and the ECRR (European Center for River Restoration). His research interests are mainly in the area of Environmental Fluid Mechanics, CFD Modelling, Experimental Modelling and Physical and Chemical Oceanography and Limnology PS* This seminar is free and open to the public & no RSVP required. ****All Welcome****


Assist Prof Carlos OcampoHydrological and biogeochemical pathways in hillslopes of coastal plain catchments: How does seasonality affect phosphorus fate and transport processes?07/11/2012

Nutrient loss from terrestrial ecosystems causes nutrient enrichment in receiving waterways (eutrophication) threatening their water quality and biodiversity values. The Peel-Harvey estuary (WA), RAMSAR-listed wetlands and their contributing waterways in coastal plain catchments in the Peel-Harvey area are an example of the above issues. Fertilizer application on sandy soils has been targeted for Best Management Practices (BMPs) for phosphorus (P) due to their poor nutrient retention ability. Traditionally, conceptual and numerical models for catchment hydrology and P transport processes have been used to assess and implement BMPs that achieve “targeted P loading” at the catchment’s outlet. Validity of the model results is often questioned as model internal structures and process representations cannot be contrasted due to lack of comprehensive datasets. New field sampling strategies, based on eco-hydrological concepts, have recently become a stepping stone in unlocking key first-order control processes in nutrient cycling (nutrient availability, pathways and transport mechanisms) in catchments by simultaneously monitoring water movement and nutrient cycle processes along a topo-sequence (from uplands to riparian and stream zones). In this talk, I will present results of the implementation of such approaches to investigate the effect that the seasonality on rainfall inputs, plants, and soil types exert on hydrological and biogeochemical pathways for P within hillslopes of coastal plain landscapes (Mayfield drain catchment, Harvey River, WA). Detailed documentation of water movement in surface and shallow subsurface pathways, passive tracers, biogeochemical parameters and P concentrations (total, total dissolved, and soluble reactive P) was undertaken from April 2011-October 2012 at several hillslopes representative of different land uses and soil types in the area. The preliminary results highlighted: 1) significant differences in the way and timing at which the hydrological connectivity of upland-riparian zones via shallow subsurface flow takes place in different landscapes, 2) seasonal changes on the interaction of shallow subsurface flow in riparian zones with surface water in the drains, and 3) changes on biogeochemical functioning of upland and riparian zones in relation to P cycle and P forms (organic or inorganic). The implications of the findings for our current understanding and previously proposed conceptual models for hydrological and P pathways in coastal plain catchments in the Peel-Harvey area will be discussed. This work was conducted within a trans-disciplinary project (plant-soil-water sciences) during 2011-2012 founded by Greening Australia-ALCOA Foundation US to investigate the use of novel plants to mitigate P losses towards sustainable landscapes in the Peel-Harvey catchment, and it will continue (2012-2015) under an ARC Linkage Project “Farming in a biodiversity hotspot – harnessing native plants to reduce deleterious off-site phosphorus flows” (J. Lambers and M Ryan, School of Plant Biology, UWA). Bio Dr Carlos Jorge Ocampo is a Research Assistant Professor at the Centre for Ecohydrology (UWA). Carlos holds an Engineering Degree in Water Resources (Hydrology/Hydraulic) from the Universidad Nacional del Litoral (UNL, Argentina) and a PhD in Environmental Engineering from UWA on the topic of hydrological and biogeochemical controls on catchment nitrate response. On completion of his PhD, Carlos returned to Argentina where he was an Assistant Professor at UNL and a Research Scientist at the National Research Council (CONICET). He returned to UWA in 2010. Carlos is a field-oriented hydrologist (hillslope-catchment hydrology) but he has a strong background in numerical modelling in urban hydrology, catchment hydrology, and historical flood reconstruction in large river systems. His research interests lie in linking hydrology and biogeochemistry (nutrient cycles) at catchment scale, by using a combined approach of hydrometric, passive and isotopic tracers, and numerical modelling. He has conducted field work in a number of sites in Australia and Argentina on nitrogen and phosphorus cycling, hydrological connectivity of shallow-transient groundwater systems, and surface/groundwater interactions. PS* This seminar is free and open to the public & no RSVP required. ****All Welcome****


Hans LambersPointing at Peak Phosphorus31/10/2012

South-western Australia was a part of Gondwanaland, and some of the most ancient parts of the Earth’ crust can be found here. Other parts of the landscape originated more recently from calcareous marine deposits [1]. Therefore, the soils of Western Australia are amongst the most heavily leached and nutrient-impoverished in the world. Moreover, the soils on lateritic profiles tightly bind phosphate, so that, phosphorus (P) is also poorly available to plants that are not adapted to these conditions. The old, climatically buffered ancient landscape (OCBIL) of south-western Australia is also one of the world’s hotspots of higher plant species diversity [2]. Therefore, this environment offers a unique opportunity to study plant adaptations to nutrient-poor conditions [3, 4]. A relatively large proportion of species from the P-poor environments in Western Australia cannot produce an association with mycorrhizal fungi, but, instead, produce cluster roots or dauciform roots [5, 6]. These specialised roots are an adaptation both in structure and in functioning; they release large amounts of exudates, in particular carboxylates [7]. Cluster-root-bearing Proteaceae in Western Australia occur on the most P-impoverished soils, whereas the mycorrhizal Myrtaceae tend to inhabit the less P-impoverished soils in this region [8]. The functioning of cluster roots in Proteaceae and Fabaceae has received considerable attention. Dauciform roots in Cyperaceae have been explored less [9, 10], but they appear to function in a similar manner [11]. The growth of specialised cluster or dauciform roots in species of the Cyperaceae, Fabaceae and Proteaceae is stimulated when plants are grown at a very low P supply, and suppressed when leaf P concentrations increase [5, 7]. These specialised roots are all short-lived structures, and they release large amounts of carboxylates during an ‘exudative burst’ at rates that are considerably faster than reported for non-specialised roots of a wide range of species. The carboxylate release plays a pivotal role in mobilisation of P from P-sorbing soil [5]. Because the world P reserves are being depleted whilst vast amounts of P are stored in fertilised soils, there is a growing need for crops with a high efficiency of P acquisition. Some Australian native species have traits that would be highly desirable for future crops. The possibilities of introducing P-acquisition efficient species in new cropping and pasture systems are currently being explored [12, 13]. In addition, possible strategies to introduce traits associated with a high P-use efficiency into future crop species are considered promising. High P-use efficiency in Proteaceae includes a highly efficient and proficient mobilisation of P from senescing leaves [14]. In addition, many species operate at extremely low leaf P concentrations exhibiting rates of photosynthesis similar to crop plant; expressed per unit leaf P, their rates of photosynthesis are extraordinarily high [4, 14]. I will explore what traits these species have that allow them to exhibit high rates of photosynthesis at very low leaf P concentrations. Biography I was born on a farm in the Netherlands in 1950 and completed my undergraduate degree in biology (1976), with a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry, followed by research projects in plant physiology and microbiology. I finished my PhD degree (1979) at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands, working on (cyanide-resistant) plant respiration and effects of flooding. My PhD supervisors were Dr Rinie Hofstra, and Professors Pieter Kuiper and Rienk Brouwer. After completion of my PhD, I did postdoctoral work at the University of Western Australia, with Professor John Pate, Melbourne University, with Dr Michael Dalling, and the Research School of Biological Science at the Australian National University, with Professor Barry Osmond, working on various aspects of the metabolism and transport of carbon and nitrogen in wheat, white lupins, and a range of other species. After two years as a postdoctoral fellow back in Groningen, I was offered the chair in Ecophysiology at Utrecht University (in 1985). While in Utrecht, I continued work on plant respiration and started a new program on the physiological basis of variation in plant growth rate and productivity. Twenty eight fascinating theses have come to fruition under my supervision during that great time. My teaching activities in ecophysiology have led to the completion of a textbook, Plant Physiological Ecology, Springer, New York, just before I moved to UWA. The textbook was translated in both Chinese and Persian. The second, completely revised edition of this book appeared in 2008. For three years, after my move to UWA, I maintained a fractional appointment at Utrecht University, to promote exchange of students between Utrecht University and UWA and to build collaborative research programs. PS* This seminar is free and open to the public & no RSVP required. ****All Welcome****


Dr Kevin Boland‘Tropical Limnology; Is there such a branch of limnology? If so, what does it represent?’24/10/2012

The branch of limnology often referred to as ‘Tropical’ limnology is represented by lake studies as diverse as those from alpine, high elevation lakes in Papua New Guinea to athallasic saline lakes located in tropical desert climes. Thus it can be argued that the internal variability in the limnological characteristics of tropical lakes may well be as great as that found between tropical lakes and temperate and sub-temperate lakes. We will discuss the properties that are assumed when we discuss ‘tropical’ limnology and whether the assumption of their jurisprudence or ‘special’ characteristics is sound. These will include: - Water Temperature and Density - Gas solubilities and their implications - Nutrient cycling and primary production - Metabolic rates Bio: Kevin Boland obtained his Ph.D. from James Cook University. He spent many years as Principal Scientist (Water Quality) with the Northern Territory Government and for the past 17 years has been the Managing Director of Tropical Water Solutions Pty. Ltd., a small, specialist company working in the field of tropical limnology and water quality management. He has studied tropical limnology for 35 years and is internationally recognised as a leader in this field. He has been involved in studies that encompass most of the lakes located in tropical North Australia and many in South-east Asia and further abroad. His insight into tropical lakes includes both the technical and social issues that affect contemporary attitudes to lakes of the tropical belt. In recent years Kevin has observed a renewal of respect for the value of tropical lakes not only as resources but also as a source for social cohesion within indigenous and non-indigenous communities. In his words paraphrased from Ivan Illyich ‘ We now talk about H2O and water as separate entities and are starting to understand their interactions and future roles for communities and social well-being’. PS* This seminar is free and open to the public & no RSVP required. ****All Welcome****


Timothy LangloisConsistent abundance distributions of marine fishes in an old, climatically buffered, infertile seascape.17/10/2012

Macroecological theory predicts that along direct physiological gradients there will be unimodal abundance distributions of species and consistent rates of assemblage turnover. However, the majority of marine studies that have investigated the realised distribution of species along latitudinal or temperature gradients have generally found unimodal distributions to be rare. We asses fish distributions along a temperature gradient in a stable oligotrophic seascape and suggest that unimodal distributions will be more common. The high diversity and percentage of endemic species in terrestrial and marine habitats of southwestern Australia is likely due to the stable geological and oceanographic history of the region. In comparison, studies of abundance distribution in other marine systems have been conducted in relatively heterogeneous and productive environments. The old, climatically buffered, oligotrophic seascape of southwestern Australia has provided a simple system in which the consistent influence of physiological gradients on the abundance distribution of fish species can be observed. short Bio, Timothy Langlois is a research fellow in the School of Plant Biology and Oceans Institute at the University Western Australia, Perth. His research examines continental-scale changes in macroecological patterns as revealed by analyses of non-destructive video surveys of fish assemblages and concurrent physical and biological time series. Tim also works within the West Australian Marine Science Institute to develop monitoring programmes to investigate changes in fish assemblages associated with environmental variation and human pressure. PS* This seminar is free and open to the public & no RSVP required. ****All Welcome****


Dr Clelia MartiThe seasonal hydrodynamic habitat of the Sea of Galilee (Lake Kinneret, Israel)10/10/2012

Physical processes in lakes are the result of a large number of different mechanisms occurring over a wide range of temporal and spatial scales affecting ecosystem function in a variety of ways. Hence, a deep understanding of the lake hydrodynamics and its variability is essential in understanding lake ecosystem function and in managing water quality. In this talk I will present a detailed analysis of the annual thermal regime of Lake Kinneret based on high-resolution thermistor chain and meteorological data collected by CWR during the period April 2007 -April 2008. Periods taking along the yearly cycle will be used to discuss the main physical aspects of the lake hydrodynamics and their effects on ecological processes. Part of the material to be presented in this seminar constitutes a book chapter entitled "The seasonal hydrodynamic habitat of Lake Kinneret‰ by Imberger, J. and Marti, C. L., contained within the book " Lake Kinneret - Ecology and Management‰ to be published in 2013. Bio, Clelia is a field-oriented Physical Limnologist and provides scientific leadership to real time field investigation in aquatic environments. Her research interests lie in transport and mixing processes in lakes,rivers, estuaries and coastal seas. She has made substantial contribution to the understanding of the benthic boundary layer in stratified lakes and its central role in setting up a volume flux that is responsible for transporting nutrient rich water from the deepest part of the lake into the thermocline where it becomes available for primary production in the surface layer. Clelia performs basic and applied research and has been involved in several projects that have a problem oriented and interdisciplinary focus. She has conducted field work in a number of sites around the world including Lake Kinneret (Israel), Thomson Reservoir (Australia), Cockburn Sound (Australia), Lake Valle de Bravo (Mexico), Setubal Lagoon (Argentina), Parana River (Argentina), Lake Coeur d'Alene (USA), and Lake Constance (Germany). PS* This seminar is free and open to the public & no RSVP required.  ****All Welcome****


Mark PalmerExtreme rainfall over the South and North.03/10/2012

Extreme rainfall over the south and north-west of Western Australia and the Sydney region of NSW over the last fifty years has been modelled using a Bayesian hierarchical approach based on statistical extreme value theory. Spatial variability of the extreme rainfall distribution is modelled using a Gaussian process, derived from a convolution kernel approach. This is a flexible approach, accommodating rainfall measured over different durations (from sub- to super-daily) and also allowing for the possibility of linking the extremes to external drivers. The approach can be used to characterize the behaviour of extremes under present day and projected future conditions. It can be used to derive intensity-frequency-duration curves • together with estimates of their associated uncertainties, • for specific locations that can be either gauged or ungauged, and • provide information for the design of engineering structures such as culverts, bridges, and stormwater and sewerage systems. Extensions to model extremes of areal rainfall, with applications to depth-area curves for example, will be described. This talk will focus more on the methodology than the application. Bio, Mark is a senior statistician with CSIRO, in the Division of Mathematics, Informatics and statistics. He has applied statistics to problems of spatial modelling for many years, in particular the modelling sediment composition in rivers, estuaries and dams. Recently he has been developing spatial approaches to the analysis of extreme rainfall for the Indian Ocean Climate Initiative, The Upper Parramatta River Catchment Trust and the federal government Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency. His statistical interest also include the application of Bayesian methodologies and hierarchical modelling. PS* This seminar is free and open to the public & no RSVP required. ****All Welcome****


Kimberley LemaCorals form characteristic associations with symbiotic nitrogen fixing bacteria26/09/2012

A. Kimberley Lema1,2, Bette L. Willis1, and David G. Bourne2 1ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies and School of Marine and Tropical Biology, James Cook University, Townsville 4811, Australia (kimitas@hotmail.com; bette.willis@jcu.edu.au) 2Australian Institute of Marine Science, PMB 3, Townsville MC, Townsville 4810, Australia (dbourne@aims.gov.au;klema@aims.gov.au) Scleractinian corals live in a close symbiotic relationship with a diverse group of dinoflagellates (Symbiodinium or zooxanthellae), but corals also harbour highly diverse, abundant, and stable, microbial communities. The discovery of bacterial communities as symbiotic partners in corals is surprisingly recent and the ecological function of these bacterial communities is still poorly understood. Elucidating the functional role these mutualistic bacterial communities play in the corals’ multi-partner symbiosis (i.e. the holobiont) is essential to understand their importance in coral health. One important proposed functional role for coral associated bacteria is nitrogen fixation. Nitrogen fixation can only be accomplished by diazotrophic bacteria and is fundamentally important because it makes gaseous dinitrogen (N2) available for nitrogen limited ecosystems such as coral reefs. In this study, we investigated the diversity of diazotrophic bacterial communities associated with corals of the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) by profiling the conserved subunit of the nifH gene, which encodes the dinitrogenase iron protein. We looked at the diversity of diazotrophs in different: coral species, coral microhabitats (mucus and tissue), life stages and geographical regions. Coral mucus nifH sequences displayed high heterogeneity, and many bacterial groups overlapped with those found in seawater. In contrast, the dominant diazotrophic bacteria in tissue samples in all coral species, through all life stages and at different locations were closely related to the bacterial group rhizobia, which represented over 67% of the total sequences in all cases. Our results suggest that, as in terrestrial plants, rhizobia have developed a mutualistic relationship with corals and may contribute fixed nitrogen to Symbiodinium. Bio, Kim was born and grew up in Mexico City. She completed her BSc in Marine Science at the Centre d’Océanologie de Marseille, Université Aix-Marseille II (Marseille, France), with a thesis on a mathematical model for marine protected areas. Stayed in France for some months after completing her BSc and worked with deep-sea bioluminescent bacteria at the LMGEM Marine microbiology and biogeochemistry laboratory, CNRS (National Centre of Scientific Research). Then, returned to Mexico, Yucatan Peninsula, and worked on migration models of marine turtles and whale sharks at the CINVESTAV (Centre of Advanced Research, Mexico) and PRONATURA(NGO). Finally, felt ready to go further from home and flew to Australia. Completed a Master of Applied Sciences at James Cook University (Townsville, QLD) and went on to do a PhD. Kim is currently finalizing her PhD on “ Coral nitrogen Fixing bacteria” under the supervision of Prof. Bette Willis (JCU) and David Bourne (AIMS). One component of her thesis is through collaboration with Prof. Peta Clode at the CMCA (Centre of Microscopy) at UWA. PS* This seminar is free and open to the public & no RSVP required. ****All Welcome****


Klaus Regenauer-LiebGEOTHERMAL ENERGY IN AUSTRALIA NOW.19/09/2012

Geothermal energy exploration in Australia has so far mainly focussed on the future, however, little attention has been paid to the present, the geothermal opportunity on time scales as short as 3 years. The Western Australian Geothermal Centre was formed to address this overlooked opportunity and has completed the development of a number of novel technologies for the application of geothermal energy in not only electricity generation but also energy use displacement through ‘direct heat’ use. We use the unique opportunity of deep, hot sedimentary aquifers underlying the Western Australian coastline to underpin the promotion and execution of geothermal demonstration projects for this particular form of clean energy. We have delivered the first 3-D computer model (geologic and heat flow) of the entire Perth Basin focussing specifically on developing a high-resolution resource map for the Perth Metropolitan area. These studies have also delivered a complete and innovative workflow for geothermal resource identification with a fully quantified risk matrix for geothermal developments and industrial application. We propose to use the outcomes for an Australian initiative to build geothermal cities, starting with the opportunity of integrated power-water-heat solutions for remote areas and mine sites. Other important outcomes are two inventions with significant potential for low temperature resources. One invention is the new concept of heat rejection into aquifer systems using the method of chaotic mixing. We aim to demonstrate this invention in an aquifer heat rejection project with zero water consumption for cooling the Pawsey supercomputer. The other patent provides geothermal and low grade heat desalinated water and is currently under construction and to be demonstrated both at the National Centre of Excellence for Desalination in Rockingham and at an alumina refinery plant in the south Perth Basin. Biography, The Western Australian Premier’s Research Fellow Prof. Klaus Regenauer-Lieb is the founder of the new WA Geothermal Centre of Excellence in Perth (2008) and co-founder of the Institute for Geothermal Resource Management in Mainz/Bingen, Germany(2004). He has 17 years of postdoctoral research and training in international research organizations. He obtained a PhD at the Geothermal Institute in Auckland New Zealand (1992) leading to the reward of a Mitsubishi Fellowship. His international contributions are reported in Nature and Science, delivering recent breakthroughs in computational geodynamics applied to explore the link between Earth's heat, its chemistry and its mechanical behavior. Key research Klaus is at the forefront of the field of mathematical geophysics and computational geodynamics, developing new ways of exploration and finding mineral deposits.Spending his time between the CSIRO and UWA, his collaborative method is yielding results. Combining geology with geodynamics, the Professor's work involves looking back four billion years into the planet's history to understand where the earth's deposits of various valuable minerals were formed. This allows exploration companies to intelligently predict where to best look for a particular mineral. His work is exceedingly complicated with numerical codes often taking days to calculate even on the supercomputers around the world, but to this state's economic longevity his efforts are invaluable resources in themselves. PS* This seminar is free and open to the public & no RSVP required. ****All Welcome****


DR. Reza AhmadianHydro-environmental modelling study of tidal renewable energy schemes.05/09/2012

In recent years there has been a growing international public concern about climate change, global warming, reducing the carbon footprint, increasing oil and gas prices and the rapid depletion of fossil fuel reserves. The UK is committed to the EU renewable energy targets, with the UK being expected to produce 15% of its total energy from renewable resources by 2020. This corresponds to approximately 35% of the UK’s electricity demand; while at present only about 5% of the UK’s electricity comes from renewable resources. These issues, as well as others, including the large potential renewable resources available around the UK, have led to a renewed enthusiasm to look at increasing the generation of renewable energy from tidal resources. In the UK, Wales can offer a number of ideal sites for exploitation of marine renewable energy around the Severn Estuary and Bristol Channel, as well as a number of locations around the North Wales Coast; in particular the 8.6 GW Severn Barrage would generate approximately 5% of the UK’s electricity needs. This presentation focuses on hydro-environmental modelling of tidal renewable energy schemes around the Welsh Coast, including Severn Barrage and tidal stream turbines. The presentation focuses on the impact of the schemes on sediment transport, bacteria concentration, flooding as well as potential energy generated by these schemes. Biography, Reza’s research mainly focuses on hydro-environmental modelling within coastal regions. He is particularly interested in hydro-environmental modelling of marine renewable energy schemes, sediment transport and bacteria modelling, High Performance Computing and flood modelling. Reza is currently working on two projects at Hydro-environmental Research Centre at Cardiff University, UK, looking at marine renewable schemes in the EU Atlantic Area and investigating various approaches to improve the understanding of pollution sources in the coastal area, to assist with maintaining Wales’ Blue Flag beaches by meeting the new EU Bathing Water Directive. Reza completed his BSc. and MSc. in Civil Engineering and Water Engineering at Amirkabir University of Technology in Tehran, Iran. He then received his PhD from Cardiff University in 2010. His research during his PhD was mainly focused on tidal renewable energy, linking models, parallelising and increasing the efficiency of the models and flood inundation and extent modelling during extreme events or as a result of dam break or embankment breach. He has been developing flood prediction software, namely ISIS2D, with Halcrow Ltd as well as working as a research associate while doing his PhD. PS* This seminar is free and open to the public & no RSVP required. ****All Welcome****


Colin RastonGreen chemistry incorporating microfluidic platforms.29/08/2012

Green chemistry is about developing processes that reduce or eliminate the use or generation of hazardous substances in the design, manufacture and use of chemical products. The presentation will track the development of green chemistry, as a drive towards getting the planet onto a sustainable trajectory, followed by our recent contributions to the field. This includes the use of continuous flow microfluidic platforms to control organic synthesis without generating waste, and avoiding the use of toxic reagents, with scope for carryout reactions in water as a benign solvent. The same technology can also be used to fabricate nano-particles with fine control of size, shape, phase, agglomeration and defects. Here the ‘top down’ and ‘bottom up’ processing features in gaining access to functional materials for application in three areas facing humanity – health, energy and protecting the environment. Bio, Professor Colin Raston is an ARC Australian Professorial Fellow, and Director of the Centre fro Strategic Nano-Fabrication (Incorporating Toxicology) at The University of Western Australia (UWA), and is on the NICNAS Nano-technology Advisory Group. He has been at UWA since 2003, and has held Chairs at Griffith University, Monash University, and the University of Leeds, with previous positions at UWA as a Lecturer, and Sussex University as a Postdoctoral Fellow. He has received the Royal Australian Chemical Institute’s Green Chemistry Challenge Award, the H.G. Smith Award, the Burrows Award, and the Leighton Memorial Award, and is a former recipient of an ARC Special Investigator Award, ARC Senior Research Fellowships, and played a leading role in establishing the ARC Centre of Excellence in Green Chemistry at Monash University. He recently completed a five year term as Associate Dean Research in the Faculty of Life and Physical Sciences (2005-2009) and a three year term on the College of Experts for the Australian Research Council (2007-2009), He has been on editorial board of several journals including Aust. J. Chem., and as Topic Editor for Crystal Growth and Design. He has completed a term as Chair of the Editorial Board of Green Chemistry, and member of the Editorial Board of Chem. Commun., and the International Advisory Committee for Angew. Chem. He is a former President of the RACI, as a Fellow of the Institute, Chairperson of the Queensland Branch, and Chairperson of the Inorganic Division. In 1996 he chaired the 17th International Conference on Organometallic Chemistry in Brisbane. Professor Raston has published over 580 journal articles, and has a book, chapters in books, and has patents on fullerene, nano-particles, calixarenes, carbon nanotube separation and surface technology. His current research interests include nano-technology incorporating sustainability, process intensification, supramolecular chemistry and green chemistry. PS* This seminar is free and open to the public & no RSVP required. ****All Welcome****


Kara YopakCurrent Knowledge of the Brain of Sharks and Their Relatives: Evolution and Adaptation.22/08/2012

Cartilaginous fishes are comprised of approximately c. 1185 species worldwide and occupy a range of niches and primary habitats. It is a widely accepted view that neural development can reflect morphological adaptations and sensory specializations and that similar patterns of brain organization, termed cerebrotypes, exist in species of that share certain lifestyle characteristics. Clear patterns of brain organization exist across cartilaginous fishes, irrespective of phylogenetic grouping. Examination of brain size (encephalization, n = 151) and interspecific variation in brain organization (n = 84) across this group suggests that chondrichthyan brain structures might have developed in conjunction with specific behaviours or enhanced cognitive capabilities. Larger brains, with well-developed telencephala (associated with spatial learning and memory) and large, highly foliated cerebella (associated with motor control) are reported in species that occupy complex reef or oceanic habitats, such as Prionace glauca and Sphyrna zygaena. In contrast, benthic and benthopelagic demersal species comprise the group with the smallest brains, such as Cephaloscyllium spp. and Squatina californica, with a relatively reduced telencephalon and a smooth cerebellar corpus. There is also evidence of a bathyal cerebrotype; deep-sea benthopelagic sharks, such as Centroselachus crepidater and Harriotta raleighana possess relatively small brains and show a clear relative hypertrophy of the hindbrain and the structures that receive non-visual sensory input. Using this broad dataset, this talk will explore how brain morphology may serve as a tool to make predictions about the behavioral ecology, sensory specialization, and predatory habits of species that are difficult to acquire and/or study in the wild. I will also discuss the development of new techniques, such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and its impact to the field of comparative marine. Biography Dr. Kara E. Yopak’s (née) research focuses on the evolution of neural systems, particularly how brains have diversified within some of the earliest vertebrate groups, namely sharks, skates, rays, and chimaerids, a group collectively referred to as Chondrichthyans. Dr. Yopak received her B.A. in Biology (with a specialization in marine science) from Boston University in 2002 and completed her PhD at the University of Auckland in New Zealand in 2007. For her PhD and beyond, Dr. Yopak’s research has focused on comparative neuroanatomy within the clade of cartilaginous fishes, and how the development of major brain areas vary between species in conjunction with the adaptive evolution of their sensory and motor systems. She has explored a variety of traditional and novel techniques to explore questions related to brain evolution of sharks and their relatives, including magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Her data suggest that brain organization and the relative development of major brain structures reflect an animal’s ecology, even in phylogenetically unrelated species that share certain lifestyle characteristics, a pattern similarly documented in other vertebrate groups. She is currently working within the Neuroecology Group, within the School of Animal Biology at UWA. Here she is exploring a multitude of questions relating to brain development, including how the brain, major brain components, and cell classes within these brain components scale across this unique group of animals. This work will potentially highlight a developmental plan that originated at least as early as cartilaginous fishes and may have been carried through evolutionary time to mammals. In addition, she is investigating whether alterations during early development in these animals can lead to changes in brain development, and by extension cognitive capabilities. This work could have far reaching implications for preservation of Australia’s biodiversity, particularly for improving survival strategies for captively-reared endangered species. PS* This seminar is free and open to the public & no RSVP required. ****All Welcome****


Mr Paul KellyREGULATON OF THE WATER, GAS AND ELECTRICITY INDUSTRIES IN W.A. ROLE OF THE ECONOMIC REGULATION AUTHORITY15/08/2012

Regulation of the utility industries is relatively new in Western Australia. The Economic Regulation Authority was established to licence, monitor and set customer protection standards across the utility industries, particularly water, gas and electricity. In addition, the Authority determines arrangements for access to key gas, electricity and rail assets in Western Australia. The presentation will cover the work of the Authority with particular emphasis on the licensing, monitoring and customer protection functions of the Authority, how they operate and opportunities for the private sector in these industries. There will be a particular focus on the Water Sector. Bio, Paul has had 25 years experience at Senior and Senior Executive levels in the Public Sector with extensive experience in :  the development of high level government policy;  the negotiation of State/Commonwealth Agreements;  advice to senior levels of government; and  public administration and regulation. He was responsible for major State wide reforms in purchasing and contracting of services for Government in the human services industry involving over 600 contracts totalling $42m. He was previously Executive Director of the Office of Water Regulation in Western Australia, responsible for the establishment of a state wide licensing regime for Water Service Providers and reported to Government on the operations and performance of the water industry. Paul is currently Executive Director of the Economic Regulation Authority. The Authority was established in 2004 as an independent entity to regulate the Water, Gas, Electricity and Rail industries in Western Australia. Its functions include licensing, monitoring and setting customer protection standards of utility service providers as well as determining access arrangements to infrastructure in the electricity, gas and rail industries. In addition to these roles the Authority can be requested to provide independent advice to Government. PS* This seminar is free and open to the public & no RSVP required. ****All Welcome****


Geoffrey WakeEnvironmental Engineering in the Oil and Gas Industry18/07/2012

The size and complexity of exploration, development and production of oil and gas lends itself to numerous opportunities for environmental engineers to influence engineering design in order to minimise the impact on the environment. This presentation will discuss the lifecycle of a typical oil and gas development and discuss the potential environmental risks and the role of environmental engineers in influencing engineering design to ensure these risks are managed and/or mitigated. Bio During this time at UWA, Geoff Wake completed undergraduate degrees in Science and Environmental Engineering as well as PhD in the field of Geophysical Fluid Dynamics. Following completion of post graduate studies in 2004, he worked as a Research Associate on a range of industry focussed projects until joining Woodside in 2007. Since that time he has worked in a number of large onshore and offshore oil and gas projects and presently holds the position of Lead Environmental Engineer for the Browse Downstream Project. PS* This seminar is free and open to the public & no RSVP required. ****All Welcome****


Dr Leon BoegmanA multi-dimensional approach to unraveling nonlinear internal wave dynamics11/07/2012

Nonlinear internal waves (NLIWs) travel long distances from their deep water generation sites in lakes and oceans, ultimately breaking where they shoal upon sloping topography. NLIW breaking leads to localized turbulent mixing and sediment resuspension, which influence biogeochemical cycles, and it remains desirable to include these effects in Reynolds-averaged water management models. However, NLIWs are nonhydrostatic features that are below feasible model grid-scales and their direct simulation remains difficult. This presentation provides an overview of recent process-based research designed to unravel NLIW dynamics. High-resolution two-dimensional direct numerical simulations are applied to model idealized NLIW shoaling and resuspension over no-slip boundaries, while massively parallel three-dimensional Reynolds-averaged simulations reveal NLIW-topography interaction in real systems. Results from this research show that NLIW propagation is fundamentally three-dimensional and breaking dynamics are strongly dependent upon the no-slip boundary condition.These findings make it unlikely that NLIWs will soon be included in Reynolds-averaged management models. PS* This seminar is free and open to the public & no RSVP required. ****All Welcome****


Dr Ray MasiniPlanning and Environmental Impact Assessment of Large-Scale Coastal and Marine Infrastructure Developments in WA.04/07/2012

Western Australia is undergoing a significant ‘mining boom’. The primary commodities driving that boom are iron-ore and oil and gas. These commodities are destined for export by sea and require the creation of new ports in green fields sites, and expansions of most of the existing ones. The scale and pace of these developments is staggering and presents challenges on a range of fronts, not least being those related to the environment. This presentation will provide insight into the contemporary issues associated with the planning and environmental impact assessment of large scale marine infrastructure proposals in Western Australia. The focus will be on the tropical northwest of WA and use the Kimberley LNG precinct as an example. Bio Dr Ray Masini is a marine ecologist with nearly 30 years experience working in Western Australian marine ecosystems, with particular focus on the temperate and tropical arid ecosystems of the central-west and north-west coasts. He holds an adjunct professorship in the Centre for Ecosystem Management at Edith Cowan University and for the last 16 years has held the position of Manager, Marine Ecosystems Branch in the now Strategic Policy and Planning Services Division of the Office of the EPA (OEPA). This group develops marine environmental policy and provides technical advice to the Environmental Protection Authority and Government generally on the impact and management of marine-related development proposals including aquaculture, desalination and industrial discharges, petroleum-based exploration and production, and port development and expansion. Ray sits on a number of expert groups and State-based committees (including the Coastal Planning and Coordination Council and the Executive Advisory Group for Marine Oil Spill response) and has been involved in the planning and management of a range of multidisciplinary marine-scientific studies around the State’s 13,000 km coastline. He was centrally involved in the planning, site selection and assessment of an LNG precinct on the Kimberley coast. More recently, he has been instrumental in establishment of a dredging science initiative that uses over $10M in environmental offset funds to better predict and manage the impact of dredging in tropical coral reef communities. Ray is also involved in environmental management strategy and policy formulation at the State and National levels. PS* This seminar is free and open to the public & no RSVP required. ****All Welcome****


Zikun XingCloud-Assisted Real-Time and Large-Scale Monitoring and Analysis for Water Quality20/06/2012

This talk will first discuss the thermal structure and hydrodynamics of Kranji Reservoir, a small and shallow tropical reservoir located in Singapore. In particular, it highlights the dominant role of surface heat flux in lake heat budgets and diurnal thermal stratification. It also demonstrates the importance of tributary inflows and dam releases as a dominant component in water budget. Diurnal cycles of thermal stratification/destratification and substantial horizontal redistribution of heat were observed in Kranji Reservoir. To model the physics and water quality of Kranji Reservoir, we use the ELCOM-CAEDYM model, an integrated 3-D hydrodynamic-ecological model developed by the Centre for Water Research, University of Western Australia. For more details, please refer to http://pdcc.ntu.edu.sg/camawq/ ELCOM-CAEDYM is a complex model and model calibration is often time consuming, since running on a single CPU core usually takes several hours or days to complete a simulation run. With cloud computing technologies, however, we managed to parallelize the execution of model simulations automatically on multiple computing nodes on a cloud platform and achieved significant speedup of the model simulations. We further carried out a global sensitivity analysis using Monte-Carlo method and identified the most influential CAEDYM model parameters. Short bio of presenters: Dr Zikun Xing is currently a research fellow in School of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. His research interests include thermal structure and hydrodynamics of lakes and reservoirs, water quality modeling, etc. Dr Cheng Liu, is currently a research associate in School of Computer Engineering, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. His areas of expertise include Peer-to-Peer Network, High-performance computing, Compiler, etc. PS* This seminar is free and open to the public & no RSVP required. ****All Welcome****


Alex GardnerWater resources management in the Pilbara13/06/2012

Water management is a key issue confronting government, the mining industry and the wider Pilbara community. This presentation will focus on three current developments in Pilbara water management: preparation of water allocation plans (mainly for the coastal alluvial groundwater resources); the Department of Water and an inter-agency working group considering the issue of providing for the on-use of mine dewatering surplus; and preparation by the Environmental Protection Authority of a guidance note on environmental and water assessments relating to mining operations in the Fortescue Marsh area. Biographical note Alex Gardner is Associate Professor of Law at The University of Western Australia where he teaches Administrative Law, Environmental Law and Water Resources Law to undergraduate and postgraduate students. He is also Adjunct Professor at the Australian National University College of Law where he teaches Water Resources Law to postgraduate students. In 2010 he began teaching in the interdisciplinary postgraduate program of the International Water Centre and in 2011 he began teaching Water Law in the University of Queensland postgraduate law program. Alex researches in Natural Resources and Environmental Law, with a special focus on Water Resources Law. He is the lead author with Richard Barlett and Janice Gray of Water Resources Law, July 2009. He is also one of three legal academics participating in the National Centre for Groundwater Research and Training, established in 2009 with funding from the Australian Research Council and the National Water Commission: http://www.groundwater.com.au/ . Alex maintains an environmental law practice, assisting the Environmental Defenders Office (WA) for many years as well as private firms and companies. In recent years, he has advised the Government of Western Australia on water resources legislative reform and, in alliance with consulting firms, has advised the Australian Government on issues in the Murray Darling Basin. He is a senior sessional member of the State Administrative Tribunal of Western Australia. Lauren Butterly graduated with First Class Honours from UWA Law School and completed her honours dissertation in the area of water law. Following graduation, Lauren served as the Principal Associate to Chief Justice Wayne Martin of the Supreme Court of WA and then worked in the Resources team of Blake Dawson’s [now Ashurst] Sydney office. In January 2012, Lauren was invited to take up a research and teaching appointment at UWA Law School. Her research focuses on the legal and policy challenges of addressing cumulative impacts of the water used by mining operations in the Pilbara. PS* This seminar is free and open to the public & no RSVP required. ****All Welcome****


David EvansThe Brief Case for Climate Skepticism.06/06/2012

Our emissions of carbon dioxide cause some global warming, and it has indeed warmed over the last century. But this doesn’t prove that our emissions are the main cause of that warming—there might be other, larger, natural forces on the temperature. The key question is:  how much warming do our emissions cause? We check the main predictions of the climate models against impeccably sourced, publicly-available data from our best and latest instruments. We find they got them all wrong: they exaggerated the warming of the air and oceans, they predicted a very different pattern of atmospheric warming, and they got the short-term relationship between outgoing radiation and surface warming backwards. The latter two items are especially pertinent, because they show that the crucial amplification due to the water feedbacks (mainly humidity and clouds), that is assumed by the models, does not exist in reality. This amplification causes two-thirds of the temperature rises predicted by the models, while carbon dioxide only directly causes one third. This assumed amplification is in the models is because it was assumed in turn that our CO2 caused (nearly) all the observed warming since 1750. Now we know the models are wrong and the amplification does not exist, so presumably this assumption is wrong too. Bio: Dr David Evans used to consult full-time for the Australian Greenhouse Office (now the Department of Climate Change) from 1999 to 2005, and part-time 2008 to 2010, modeling Australia’s carbon in plants, debris, mulch, soils, and forestry and agricultural products. He earned six university degrees over ten years, including a PhD from Stanford University in electrical engineering (the field most advanced in dealing with feedbacks and complex systems). The evidence supporting the idea that CO2 emissions were the main cause of global warming reversed itself after 1998, causing him to move from being a warmist to a skeptic. PS* This seminar is free and open to the public. ****All Welcome****


Dr Robert HumphriesMaximising the economic value of biosolids: creating catchment and waterway restoration, climate adaptation, and business improvement – all at once!16/05/2012

Robert Humphries1, Tom Long1, Katrina Walton2 and David Allen3 Water Corporation of Western Australia1, Chemistry Centre of Western Australia2, MBS Environmental3 Most Australian water utilities strive to direct stabilized wastewater sludges, or biosolids, to beneficial uses. However, the “solutions” to the problems of biosolids utilization are often expensive, inefficient in terms of transport distances, and unstable because of constantly changing perceptions regarding the health risks and environmental safety of biosolids. This Water Corporation project has determined the social, environmental, technical and economic feasibility of converting annual pastures on grey acid sands in the nutrient-enriched Ellen Brook catchment into perennial-plant based farming systems by using a combined soil conditioner /slow-release fertiliser based on a blend of lime-amended biosolids, or LAB with clay. The new product is called Lime-amended BioClay®, or LaBC®. LaBC® corrects soil acidity, soil water repellence and significantly improves soil water holding capacity. It also provides a valuable source of organic matter, slow release nutrients and trace elements to improve soil biology and reduce leaching losses of nutrients – a major issue with conventional soluble fertilisers. There are many benefits from using LaBC® on acid sands. These include reducing excessive nutrient loads to groundwater and surface waters, facilitating economically and environmentally beneficial land use change, and converting a business problem into a valuable resource. The research phase of the work is complete, and community acceptance of LaBC® is growing, with farmers impatient to use the product. Robert Humphries, BSc (Hons); PhD Environmental Biology Bob is a systems ecologist with interests in the behaviour and management of complex systems. He has worked as a university research fellow, as an environmental consultant, and in research and policy roles in the Western Australian Environmental Protection Authority and the Australian water industry. He was born and educated in Perth, Western Australia, and studied Zoology and Botany at the University of Western Australia. He received his doctorate in Environmental Biology at the Australian National University, Canberra, in 1980. Bob has worked on the restoration of degraded catchments and waterways for much of his career, and was a prominent member of the team which worked on the restoration the nutrient-enriched Peel-Harvey Estuary south of Perth. A new channel to the sea was opened in 1994, and the estuary has no longer suffers from toxic algal blooms. In 1996 Bob became Manager of the WA Water Corporation’s Environment Branch, a position he held until June 2004. In this role he oversaw environmental approvals and compliance matters for the Water Corporation, established a corporate Environmental Management System and provided strategic advice and policy analysis to the business. He persuaded the Corporation to join the Australian Greenhouse Challenge, and in 2003 it won the Engineers Australia Australian Greenhouse Office Gold Award for its performance in energy and emissions management. He also established the award-winning Busselton Environmental Improvement Initiative, in which the Corporation invested $1 million in reducing contaminant loads to Geographe Bay, and the Corporation’s Cockatoo Care biodiversity conservation program. In June 2004 Bob became the Corporation’s Manager of Sustainability, with the job of imbedding the necessary thinking patterns and the practical pursuit of sustainability thinking into the culture and work practices of the Corporation. He is recognised as a sustainability thinker and innovator in the Australian water industry. Currently Bob is working to implement the adoption of biosolids-based fertilisers/soil amendments for catchment and waterway restoration, so that multiple benefits are achieved including reduced nutrient contamination of groundwater and waterways, enhanced carbon sequestration, utility cost savings and increased production and income for farmers. He is also working on the development of a national water industry collaborative research project on using High Rate Algal Bioreactors (HRAPs) for wastewater treatment and energy production from algal biomass, and is collaborating with others on the economic cost-benefit analysis of competing options for managing biosolids. He is currently working with colleagues in the Australian and North American water industry on identifying opportunities for reclaiming value from wastewater systems – particularly water, energy and solids. In 2012 Bob was appointed as the Water Services Association of Australia’s representative on the US-based Water Environment Research Foundation’s (WERF) Research Council. PS* This seminar is free and open to the public & no RSVP required. ****All Welcome****


Dr. Raul RaiterAn integrated system for high quality water recovery and wastewater treatment02/05/2012

An integrated system for water recovery from most known water resources has been developed. It is innovative, standard, more economical and simpler than the current operating systems in use for wastewater treatment coupled with water recovery and it uses presently available technologies. The system is the culmination of more than 25 years of practical and research work in the water & wastewater treatment and hydrometallurgy, with the desire of making the water and wastewater treatments more effective and streamlined. It suggests a departure from today’s approach to wastewater treatment, by advocating for a shift of the prime purpose of the water treatment from pollutant removal to water recovery, giving a new interpretation to the existing technologies and consolidating existing established engineering advancements and expertise. PS* This seminar is free and open to the public, no RSVP required. ****All Welcome****


Professor Jörg ImbergerBuilding Global Resilience: Recognizing There Is A Next Generation.18/04/2012

This talk is about the importance and suggestions for building global resilience for the benefits of our next generation and us. The content is effectively addressing the four focuses summarized below, The History of life: 5 Million years of building the DNA inventory * Responding to the interglacial periodicity: building the world * The stability through diversity; filling habitats * Last ice age: tempering our genes * Warming since last ice age: Switching on aggression Change in the name of progress, technologies of the 1900's * Anthropogenic emissions have triggering new carbon emission loops * Homogenization of habitats is leading to species instabilities * Globalization is leading to economic chaos & preventing sustainability through wealth inequality * Drugs, sex and earphones are leading to social, mental and cultural instabilities The challenge for the 21st Century: The consequences of simplification * Global warming abatement requires carbon sequestration, not only emission reductions * Biodiversity needs to be restored to ensure sustainable carbon cycles * The movement of capital needs to constrained to benefiting productivity. * Multiculturalism & globalization needs to be slowed to re-establish icon of life Moreover, where there is a will there is a way! Ten suggestions for building resilience are given at the end of the talk. The talk is an opening address given by Prof. Jorg Imberger in the International iesp-Workshop, from which resilience as requirement for sustainable development has been discussed. The workshop is aiming to provide a contribution to tackle the earth crises and was held at Munich, Germany 28-30 March, 2012. PS* This seminar is free and open to the public, no RSVP required. ****All Welcome**** The presentation is available here.


Joel HallIntegrated surface water and groundwater modelling to support the Murray Drainage and Water Management Plan, south-west Western Australia11/04/2012

The Murray region in south-west Western Australia is characterised by a high water-table, sandy soils, wetlands of significance, and an extensive agricultural drainage system to relieve water-logging in winter months. Urban growth pressures in the region have led to the requirement of a Drainage and Water Management Plan (DWMP) to guide future water management. A key component of the DWMP involved the development of a regional surface water and groundwater model to determine groundwater levels and flows under various climate, drainage and development scenarios. The Murray regional model was constructed using the integrated surface water and groundwater model MIKE SHE, and consisted of unsaturated zone, saturated zone, channel flow and overland flow components. It had a constant grid spacing of 200 m, and covered an area of 722 km2. Calibration was from 1985 – 2000 and validation from 2000 – 2009 using 45 groundwater bores and 7 surface water flow gauges. The normalised root mean square error of the calibrated model was 2.02%. Land development, drainage and climate scenarios were simulated and their results are discussed in this paper. The process of model conceptualisation, construction, calibration and simulation is discussed, and provides an appropriate framework for model evaluation and a high level of confidence in modelling results. The Murray MIKE SHE model provided regional groundwater levels, areas of groundwater inundation, estimated drainage volumes from development areas, effects of sea-level rise, and changes in surface water flows for a variety of climate, drainage and development scenarios. The results were used to determine regional-scale hydrology affects resulting from future urban development. The model grid size and calibration error may prevent the usage of the model for detailed drainage design; however the model is suitable to act as a basis for developing higher-resolution sub regional and local models that are more appropriate for this type of evaluation. The results of the Murray MIKE SHE modelling exercise were used in the Murray Drainage and Water Management Plan, a key deliverable to the Western Australian Planning Commission, used to guide stakeholders in future urban water management in the Murray region. Keywords: MIKE SHE, integrated modelling, groundwater, urban development, Western Australia Biography, Degrees Bachelor of Science (environmental biology), University of Adelaide, SA, 2001 Bachelor of Civil and Environmental Engineering (1st class honours), University of Adelaide, SA, 2003 Joel is an engineer with eight years experience in hydrological, hydrogeological, hydraulic and nutrient modelling. He has experience in applying and calibrating surface water yield and nutrient models including LASCAM, MUSIC and the Source Integrated Modelling System, which have been used to develop various Water Quality Improvement Plans and licensing and allocation tools for the Department of Water. He has been involved applying the integrated surface and groundwater model MIKE SHE and the hydraulic flood model MIKE Flood to support the Murray and Serpentine Drainage and Water Management Plans. Joel is a member of eWater’s Source technical users group, the Danish Hydrological Institute’s MIKE user council, the NWC national groundwater modelling guidelines technical committee, and the WA Cities as Water Supply Catchment’s modelling group. He has written guidelines for modelling in Western Australian regions of high-water table and sandy soils, and is currently developing guidelines on the application of future climate data to modelling applications in WA. PS* This seminar is free and open to the public, no RSVP required. ****All Welcome****


Pedro Berliner“Growing our future - the challenge and promise of the desert!27/02/2012

The coastal strip of Israel is densely populated and suffers from all the common drawbacks of densely populated areas: air, soil and groundwater pollution; high land prices; chronic traffic congestions; urban violence, etc. The Negev covers sixty per cent of Israel’s surface but is home to less than ten per cent of its population. Therefore it is clear that the future development of Israel will take place in the Negev. Ben-Gurion’s famous dictum that “In the Negev will the people of Israel be tested” has never been more appropriate and relevant than now. The great challenge that faces the present generation is how to ensure that the development of the Negev is sustainable both in its physical and human dimensions. The scarcity of water in arid regions in general, and of the Negev in particular, results in a lack of readily available sources of food and conventional energy. These three core issues have therefore to be addressed. Ben Gurion University’s Blaustein Institute for Desert Research (BIDR) main efforts are geared to explore and provide new approaches that will ensure the provision of food and energy using marginal sources of water, designed for the future inhabitants of the Negev and of Israel. Of course, the three are intertwined. One cannot talk about one of them without mentioning at least one of the others. Energy is necessary to pump water and spread it, production of food requires water, and the production of biofuels for green energy often competes for the water and land necessary for food production. Research is therefore multidisciplinary by necessity. The problems facing the development of the Negev are however not unique, but are shared by other countries in arid or semi-arid regions of our planet and therefore BIDR’s research efforts have global relevance. The high solar energy radiation common to desert-like areas is normally perceived negatively, but can be the main source of energy for the whole country. BIDR’s scientists have developed the concentrated photovoltaics approach and develop new and more efficient photovoltaic cells. Agriculture production in Israel is mainly based on irrigated crops and 50% of the water used is treated waste water. The coastal plain of Israel was the area in which there was a very intensive agricultural activity. The increase in urbanization of this area has led to a decrease of the former. In the National Master Plan for 2020, the northern part of Israel’s western desert (Negev) has been selected as the area in which agricultural development would take place using either treated wastewater or brackish water from the underlying aquifer. In both cases the water has to be treated prior to its use, the main treatment being filtration. Thus the development of filters that minimize clogging, and therefore the need for their cleaning or replacement, is being addressed by another group of BIDR’s researchers. The interaction between the surface characteristics of filters and bacteria and viruses are studied in great detail and novel filters with surface characteristics that minimize bacterial colonization have been developed. The efficient use of water, this scarce and precious commodity, is as well the objective of other groups of BIDR that deal with different aspects of water use. These activities range from trying to unlock the genetic code of desert plants that could help improve the productivity of conventional crops, developing novel irrigation techniques that save water, studying the fate of irrigation water that is not absorbed by plants, rediscovering ancient techniques that use flood waters to produce fodder and firewood, and the use of brackish water to produce algae derived products with high market values or biofuels. The Negev is also home to a wide variety of plants and animals. Studying their behavioural patterns and defining the conditions under which this amazing biodiversity in flora and fauna can be maintained is the task of the world-renown Mitrani Center for Desert Ecology. Developing minimum energy consuming dwellings and living quarters is the task of a group of architects that has made a mark in the region. Human relations between the various ethnic groups in the Negev are, needless to say, of crucial importance to the successful implementation of the techniques we develop, and are the subject of study of a group of anthropologists and social scientists. At the core of all our research activities are our graduate students. They are drawn to the BIDR from all over the world and are keen to study with world-renowned experts. Most of them return to their home countries, located in areas that often suffer from a lack of fresh water, food and energy in order to implement the lessons of their studies. Israeli students become the wave of future scientists and policy-makers, keeping Israel at the forefront of desert research. Working closely with their advisers, the students of the BIDR conduct research with wide-ranging implications and achieve impressive breakthroughs. short Bio. Dr Pedro's main research interest is the efficient use of water in rainfed agricultural systems and planted forests in drylands. Drylands have been settled since time immemorial and in order to be able to do so desert-dwellers developed ingenious techniques. He have studied and developed the techniques that make use of flood waters for the irrigation of orchards and forests planted in arid zones, with a focus on the evaporation of water from the surface of bare soils and between the rows of crops. He is involved in the development, testing and modeling of agricultural techniques that increase the water use efficiency of crops and planted forests. PS* This seminar is free and open to the public, no RSVP required. ****All Welcome****


Lord Ron OxburghEnvironmental Priorities -Valuing the Priceless30/11/2011

Few species can exist without interacting with others. When one species, such as the human species today, multiplies quickly it inevitably interferes with the food or water supply of others and encroaches on their habitats. By doing so it may damage or destroy some of the very relationships on which it itself depends for survival. In practical terms this means that when local or national questions arise about how land should be used (e.g. whether a forested area should be used perhaps for agriculture or housing), although the owner of the property has a financial interest, the wider community has an interest too because it will to a greater or lesser extend be affected by the environmental consequences of any changes. However, environmental relationships are complex and imperfectly understood. Attempts have been made to give weight to wider interests in land use by giving cash values to values to ‘natural capital’ so that they can be judged against conventional commercial value. Most recently this has been done for the UK in the National Ecosystem Assessment (http://uknea.unep-wcmc.org/Resources/tabid/82/Default.aspx) and the UK Government has indicated that it supports this approach. It is intended that rather than a lecture, this should be a discussion seminar with an introduction of around twenty minutes followed by a wide-ranging discussion of the issues. Bio Ron Oxburgh FRS (Lord Oxburgh of Liverpool) trained originally as a geologist and has worked as an academic, a civil servant and in business. He has taught and researched at Oxford, Cambridge, Caltech and Stanford and served as President of Queens’ College Cambridge. Between 1987 and 1993 he was Chief Scientific Adviser to the Ministry of Defence and from 1993 to 2001 Rector of Imperial College. He was non-executive Chairman of Shell Transport and Trading until the Company merged with Royal Dutch Petroleum to form Royal Dutch Shell in 2005. He is currently President of the Carbon Capture and Storage Association and Chairman of 2OC and GEO – small greentec startups. He is a former Chairman of the Trustees of the Natural History Museum and of the House of Lords Select Committee on Science and Technology. He is Foreign member of the US, Australian and German Academies of Science. ****All Welcome****


Glenn CookThe activities of the Bureau of Meteorology in WA23/11/2011

Glenn Cook will describe the activities of the Bureau of Meteorology in WA, in the WA Regional Office in Perth, and in particular in the WA Climate Services Centre (CSC).  His talk will focus on the Data Services, Climate Monitoring, and Climate Forecasting roles of the WA CSC, whilst also highlighting various aspects of past and future weather and climate observation in WA. Online climate data resources will be explained along with some background to the Australian Data Archive for Meteorology (ADAM), and their underpinning of climate trend analysis and climate change monitoring in WA. Bio, Glenn Cook has been a meteorologist with the Bureau of Meteorology for just over 20 years. After graduating with a Physics Degree from the University of Melbourne in 1989, Glenn was recruited by the Bureau and completed a Graduate Diploma of Meteorology in 1990. He was posted to Perth in late 1990 and worked in the WA Regional Forecasting Centre as an operational meteorologist until 2000. However, between 1992 and 1994, Glenn was seconded to the RAAF special reserve to take on the position of Officer-in-Charge of the Meteorological Office at RAAF Base Tindal, in the Top End of the NT, providing weather forecasting services to the F/A 18 fighter squadron. In 2000, Glenn commenced work in the WA Climate Services Centre of the Bureau of Meteorology as a consulting meteorologist, and since 2006 has been the WA Regional Climate Services Manager. The Centre’s role is to provide WA climate data and monitoring services, as well as communicate information about past climate, climate forecasting, and climate change. ****All Welcome****


Louise BartonThe contribution of soil N2O emissions to the carbon footprint of wheat and biodiesel production in Western Australia16/11/2011

Correctly accounting for soil nitrous oxide (N2O) emissions is necessary when assessing the carbon footprint of agricultural and bioenergy cropping systems. Although soil N2O emissions appear low in relation to N fertiliser inputs [e.g., 1.0% if Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) default factor employed], the high global warming potential of N2O (298 times greater than CO2), and the increasing amount and area to which N fertiliser is applied, means accurate estimates are required when calculating net greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from grain and biodiesel production. We measured soil N2O emissions from a rain-fed, cropped soil in a semi-arid region of the Western Australian grainbelt for three years on a sub-daily basis. The site included N fertiliser (75–100 kg N ha-1 yr-1) and no N fertiliser plots (‘control’). Emissions were measured using soil chambers connected to a fully automated system that measured N2O using gas chromatography. Daily N2O emissions were low (-1.8–7.3 g N2O-N ha-1 day-1) and culminated in 0.09–0.13 kg N2O-N ha-1 yr-1 from the N fertiliser soil and 0.07–0.09 kg N2O-N ha-1 yr-1 from the control. The proportion of N fertiliser emitted as N2O each year, after correction for the control emission (‘background’), was 0.02–0.07%. The emission factor was up to 50 times lower than the IPCC default value for the application of synthetic fertilisers to land (1.0%). Incorporating locally measured N2O values greatly decreased the carbon footprint of wheat and biodiesel produced from the Western Australian grainbelt. Greenhouse gas emissions decreased from 487 to 304 kg CO2-equivalents per tonne of wheat using local N2O emissions rather than the international default value. Furthermore, utilising locally measured soil N2O fluxes decreased GHG emissions from the production and combustion of one GJ canola based biodiesel from 63 CO2 to 37 CO2 equivalents; with GHG emissions up to 2.1-times lower than that from the production and combustion of one GJ mineral diesel. We recommend utilising regionally specific estimates of direct soil N2O emissions, and include estimates of indirect N2O emissions, when assessing GHG emissions from grain and biodiesel production from agricultural soils. Correctly accounting for soil nitrous oxide (N2O) emissions is necessary when assessing the carbon footprint of agricultural and bioenergy cropping systems. Although soil N2O emissions appear low in relation to N fertiliser inputs [e.g., 1.0% if Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) default factor employed], the high global warming potential of N2O (298 times greater than CO2), and the increasing amount and area to which N fertiliser is applied, means accurate estimates are required when calculating net greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from grain and biodiesel production. We measured soil N2O emissions from a rain-fed, cropped soil in a semi-arid region of the Western Australian grainbelt for three years on a sub-daily basis. The site included N fertiliser (75–100 kg N ha-1 yr-1) and no N fertiliser plots (‘control’). Emissions were measured using soil chambers connected to a fully automated system that measured N2O using gas chromatography. Daily N2O emissions were low (-1.8–7.3 g N2O-N ha-1 day-1) and culminated in 0.09–0.13 kg N2O-N ha-1 yr-1 from the N fertiliser soil and 0.07–0.09 kg N2O-N ha-1 yr-1 from the control. The proportion of N fertiliser emitted as N2O each year, after correction for the control emission (‘background’), was 0.02–0.07%. The emission factor was up to 50 times lower than the IPCC default value for the application of synthetic fertilisers to land (1.0%). Incorporating locally measured N2O values greatly decreased the carbon footprint of wheat and biodiesel produced from the Western Australian grainbelt. Greenhouse gas emissions decreased from 487 to 304 kg CO2-equivalents per tonne of wheat using local N2O emissions rather than the international default value. Furthermore, utilising locally measured soil N2O fluxes decreased GHG emissions from the production and combustion of one GJ canola based biodiesel from 63 CO2 to 37 CO2 equivalents; with GHG emissions up to 2.1-times lower than that from the production and combustion of one GJ mineral diesel. We recommend utilising regionally specific estimates of direct soil N2O emissions, and include estimates of indirect N2O emissions, when assessing GHG emissions from grain and biodiesel production from agricultural soils. LOUISE BARTON1, WAHIDUL BISWAS2, KLAUS BUTTERBACH-BAHL3, RALF KIESE3, DANIEL CARTER4, DANIEL MURPHY1 1School of Earth & Environment, The University of Western Australia, Crawley 6009, Australia 2Centre of Excellence in Cleaner Production, Curtin University, Bentley 6845, Australia 3Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Institute for Meteorology & Climate Research, Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany 4 Department of Agriculture and Food WA, 3 Baron-Hay Court, South Perth 6151, Australia.


Greg McIntyre"Recent developments in Human Rights in Australia".09/11/2011

Australia unlike most other parts of the Western world does not have a national comprehensive Human Rights law. However, there have been some recent developments in case law in Australia, based on a patchwork of Commonwealth and State statutes which indicate that there are at least some protections for internationally recognised fundamental human rights. The reent decisions of the Hight Court relating to the so called 'Malaysia solution' for processing refugess will be discussed, along with a decision upholding the Victorian Charter of Human Rights. The recent decision of the Federal Court in relation to racial vilification of a group of 'white Aborigines' by the Herald & Weekly Times will be referred to, along with a racial vilification case involving the Sunday Times website yet to be decided, in discussing the limits of freedom of speech. Bio Greg McIntyre is a Barrister appointed Senior Counsel in 2002, an Adjunct Professor of Law at Notre Dame University and Chair of International Commission of Jurists (WA Branch). He was awarded the Australian Human Rights Commission Human Rights Law Award in 2009 for his work related to Indigenous Human Rights. He ran the seminal native title case: Mabo v Queensland and this semester has been teaching a course in Indigenous Peoples and the Law at UWA Law School ****All Welcome****


Dr Neville FowkesSimple mathematics:unexpected outcomes.26/10/2011

I work primarily on continuum mechanics problems that  arise out of  industrial contexts  where the objectives are clear cut,  and the results are usually of limited general interest.Sometimes, however, the investigations lead to results that are both unexpected and of much broader and even fundamental interest. I will describe two such investigations;  one arising out of the   defense industry (a visual image inversion problem) and  the other out of the  electronics industry (a capillarity problem associated with the production of capacitors). The relevant mathematics is simple, an added bonus. ****All Welcome****


Dr Clelia MartiTowards a better understanding of aquatic environments: a real-time management system tool.19/10/2011

Recent advances in environmental monitoring and modelling have led to improved knowledge on how aquatic environments function. The Centre for Water Research at The University of Western Australia has developed a software suite, the Aquatic Real-time Management System and the Real-time Management System Online (ARMS-RMSO, http://www.rmso.com.au/), as a tool for the sustainable management of rivers, lakes, estuaries and coastal seas.  Such a tool provides an understanding of questions about important processes and their controlling factors, contributes to assessment of management needs and effectiveness and aids in direct human benefits from the aquatic environment under study. It combines the integration of a number of technologies and approaches to enable the extraction of new levels of knowledge using arrays of sensors encompassing physical, chemical and biological measurements, providing data in real time, models and continuous information display to be used for scientific research, education, management and environmental policy-related applications. This talk will present the overall concept of the tool and its implementation in several aquatic environments to understand and assess the risks associated with flooding, local stagnant zones, pathogen source to fate and nutrient to algae cycling. Current limitations and future developments will be also presented. ****All Welcome****


Dr Malcolm HollickHope for Humanity: Seeds of planetary transformation12/10/2011

It’s hard to maintain hope for the future of our civilization in the face of the flood of bad news in the media. But without hope, there is no hope. It has been estimated that over a million organizations worldwide are working to change hearts and minds, create global networks of connection, develop and model alternatives, and take political action. In this seminar, I will give a brief overview of this global groundswell of action that promises to reach a tipping point of planetary transformation within the foreseeable future. Hearts and minds are being changed by new media, social networking, education and personal transformation. Alternatives are being developed by building community locally and globally, creating alternative forms of settlement, adapting existing towns to climate change and post-peak oil, creating new economic and financial systems, increasing local food production and distribution, promoting new lifestyles, and developing green technologies. Meanwhile, grassroots political action is gaining traction through new approaches to campaigning powered by the web. Bio Malcolm is Author of "The Science of Oneness" A worldview for the twenty-first century, and co-author with Christine Connelly of Hope for Humanity: How understanding and healing trauma could solve the planetary crisis. ****All Welcome****


Dr Paul BarberKeeping trees healthy in the Perth urban forest.21/09/2011

Recent decades have seen a rapid increase in urban development throughout Perth. Such expansion has resulted in the unfortunate removal of large amounts of endemic vegetation.   The vegetation that is retained is often already predisposed to premature decline, and is further impacted upon by many inciting and contributing factors often leading to further decline and subsequent death.   The managers of these trees allocate large budgets to their ongoing maintenance, removal and replacement, often driven by the fear of limb failure and risk to life and property. This talk will discuss the various factors that cause premature decline of trees in the Perth urban area, the importance of correct diagnosis, and alternative methods for sustainable management of the tree population. ****All Welcome****


Steven SmithHistory of the 21st century24/08/2011

What does the future hold for us? Current lifestyles are built on large amounts of cheap energy and abundant resources. The challenge now is that climate change and resource depletion threaten food production and peace. I expect the retrospective view of the 21st century will show up the greed and naivity of humanity, and the realisation that growth and consumption are not the route to wellbeing. ****All Welcome***


Dr Scott DraperTheory of removing energy from tidal streams – with a focus on the UK10/08/2011

Tidal stream energy, which involves placing tidal turbines in locations with large tidal currents, is receiving significant attention as a potential renewable energy source in the United Kingdom. Recent estimates suggest that tidal stream energy could supply between 5-10% of the UK’s current electricity demand. In this talk we begin with a short discussion of where tidal currents are large around the world and why. We then discuss the theory of tidal stream energy. First a simple analytical model for a row of tidal turbines (i.e. a fence) is presented, which provides an estimate of the efficiency of a tidal turbine in terms of the energy it removes from a tidal current. The model also highlights several distinctions between wind turbines and tidal turbines. Second we discuss how much energy can be removed by a fence of tidal turbines deployed within a tidal strait, oscillating bay and close to the tip of a coastal headland. These particular sites represent the variety of actual locations around the UK with fast moving tidal streams. To finish, the likely prospect of tidal stream energy in Australia is discussed. ****All Welcome***    


Mark Rayner"Renewable Energy: Turning the vision into reality".03/08/2011

In order to achieve significant reductions in carbon dioxide emissions, Australia, along with the rest of the world, must dramatically cut emissions from power generation. Renewable energy technologies offer the potential for very low emission electricity but are currently a relatively low percentage of total electricity generation, (eg. only 9% in Western Australia) due to issues such as cost, variability of output and difficulty in accessing the high voltage electricity networks. This talk describes the key technologies which could supply a substantial proportion of Western Australia's energy needs in the future and compares the relative costs, advantages and disadvantages of each technology. Mark Rayner is currently Verve Energy's Project Manager for Australia's first utility scale solar farm, the 10 MW Greenough River Solar Farm. He has a B.Eng (Hons) from UniSA and BAppSc and MSc (Renewable Energy Technology) from Murdoch Uni. He has fifteen years experience as an engineer and project manager, with the last 12 years working exclusively on large scale renewable energy projects.


Sergio StarksteinParalysed by fear and embracing uncertainty27/07/2011

Amongst all the emotions, fear is the one with the highest impact upon human life. Safety is sought at all levels of societal organization: countries always have enemies to fear and fight; within each country, social groups differentiated by ethnicity, social class or other attributes have fluctuating approach/rejection behaviours towards other groups; and individuals show a wide range of fearful behaviours, as manifested by relatively relaxed lifestyles or lives full of fear and worries. I will examine the therapy of fear as instrumented by Greek philosophers.


Carmen LawrenceUsing Psychology to Reduce Energy Use06/07/2011

An inescapable fact about our future – and growing - energy needs is that they can only be met by increasing supply and/or decreasing demand. The problems of climate change, air pollution and the expense of building new power generation mean that an exclusive focus on increasing supply, especially from fossil fuel sources, is inadvisable. At a national level, the reduction of household and commercial electricity use has been identified as an important policy goal.The recent report of the Prime Minister’s Task Group on Energy Efficiency described energy efficiency as “Australia’s untapped energy resource”. In addition, there are many who argue that policies aimed at reducing consumer demand can play a significant role in managing national energy needs at very little or no extra cost. While this assumption may underestimate the very real difficulties in achieving such behaviour change, there is now good evidence that it is possible to achieve significant reductions in energy use by applying what we know about human motivation and information processing.


Richard Harper "Carbon mitigation investment in forests and soils: implications for water management"22/06/2011

Changes in both forest and soil management can contribute to carbon mitigation. Activities can include the establishment of new forests on farmland to sequester carbon, the use of forest materials as a source of bioenergy or the management of existing forests. Changes in agricultural land management can also increase the storage of carbon in soils. Such carbon investment is already occurring and may increase in the future. This talk describes how this potential investment in carbon sequestration could impact on water yield and quality, with examples from the south-west of WA. bio, Richard Harper commenced as Alcoa Chair in Sustainable Water Management At Murdoch University in late 2009. He has a B.Sc. Agric. (Hons) and PhD, both from UWA. He had twenty years experience with the WA Government in both science and policy roles in programs addressing land and water degradation. He is a lead author on the upcoming IPCC Fifth Assessment Report, chapter on mitigation using Agriculture, Forestry and other Land-Uses. *** All Welcome ****


Lindsay PreeceWATER ACCOUNTING, MODELLING AND ABSTRACTION DATASETS15/06/2011

The new online Water Register for Western Australia.an overview of recent Department of Water work on water accounting and how it has driven the need to upgrade groundwater modelling systems and develop a best estimate abstraction dataset (BEAD) process. The presentation will cover the following: 1. Water accounting • Scope of water accounting • Part of the water management cycle • Statement of assets & liabilities – storage change analysis • Statement of physical water flows – water balance modelling, abstraction 1. Groundwater modelling for water accounting • Running PRAMS in water accounting mode • Model upgrading to version 3.4 1. Groundwater storage change for water accounting • Procedure for integrated annual updating 1. BEAD abstraction datasets for multiple purposes • BEAD process • Management of BEADs THE WATER REGISTER: The Water Register is a web based program designed to allow searches for licensed water and water availability. The online water register provides stakeholders with an easy to use map based interface. The type of information contained in the water register includes:- - volume of water licensed; - start and end dates of a water license; - name and contact details of a licensee; - water resource to which a license relates; - security interests in a water license; Water trading within Western Australia has traditionally been at low levels when compared with the Eastern States. However with increased water demand and in some areas of WA a dwindling resource as a result of climate variability, water trading will become more prevalent in the South West. The new Water Register provides a key information source for those seeking to obtain or trade water. For researchers and students the Water Register is an easily accessible online resource for obtaining water information. About the speaker: Lindsay Preece is the Manager Water Information at the Department of Water. In this capacity, Lindsay leads the Water Information Program which encompasses spatial information, water data capture to enterprise information systems, provision of water information and water accounting for the State of Western Australia.Lindsay currently represents the State of Western Australia on the National Water Account Committee and chairs the WAWI (WA Water Information) group in Western Australia. Over a career spanning thirty years, Lindsay has held a number of senior information and consulting roles in industry, government and the accounting profession. Lindsay has had extensive experience within the Western Australian Public Sector having worked in a wide range of agencies, most recently at the Department of Water and was formerly the Secretary to the Western Australian Planning Commission. For the past four years Lindsay has been working towards implementing WA's information and water accounting commitments outlined in the National Water Initiative. **** All Welcome ****


Professor Kadambot SiddiqueAdaptation Strategies to Climate Change and Variability in Dryland Agriculture in Southwest Western Australia01/06/2011

The agricultural region in southwest Western Australia has a Mediterranean-type climate, characterised by winter dominant rainfall and hot, dry summers. The majority of crops are sown in autumn and harvested in late spring. Agricultural production in much of the region contends with hostile soils, low rainfall and inter-seasonal rainfall variability, with terminal drought in spring causing the greatest reduction in yields. In addition, global climate change is already impacting Western Australia through lower average winter rainfall. Despite these constraints, agricultural production increased during the twentieth century due to improved agronomic practices, new varieties and diversification of farming systems. However, climate change threatens future production levels in the region through increased risk of prolonged drought, higher average temperatures, particularly during the critical stage of grain filling, and more extreme temperatures. With high seasonal variability it is essential that maximum grain yields are achieved in average and better seasons. Simulation models can assist with forecasting and identify management strategies that may optimise potential grain yields. Crop simulation models have been widely used to assess the impact of climate change, but the lack of adequate experimental data hinders the accuracy of predictions. The greatest advances in addressing the challenge that climate change presents will come from research leading to a better understanding of crop physiology and genetics that can enhance further genetic improvements. This research is needed now to develop crops adapted to the future climate in targeted growing regions.


Jatin KalaCWR Seminar: Impact of historical land-cover change on cold fronts in SWWA25/05/2011

The south-west of Western Australia (SWWA) has been experiencing a warming and drying trend since the 1970s. This has led to a wide array of research on the likely causes of this decline which can be broadly classified into two major categories. The first is that the decline in rainfall is directly linked to changes in the large scale synoptic features of the southern hemisphere such as patterns of mean sea level pressure and sea surface temperatures. The second school of thought is that land-cover change via the large-scale clearing of native vegetation for agriculture in SWWA has altered the boundary layer dynamics of the region and can explain at least part of the observed decline in rainfall. Although most of the rainfall in the region is brought about by cloud bands and cold-fronts, no study has explicitly focussed on the interactions of these systems with the land surface. Accordingly, this seminar investigates the impact of historical land-cover change on cold fronts in SWWA. Frontal simulations are carried out using the Regional Atmospheric Modeling System and the model is evaluated against high resolution atmospheric soundings as well as station data and gridded rainfall analyses. Sensitivity tests are carried out with pre-European settlement vegetation cover and it is found that land-cover change results in a decrease in total frontal precipitation through a decrease in turbulent kinetic energy, vertical wind velocities, and vertically integrated moisture convergence, and an increase in wind speed within the lower boundary layer. The results of this study are discussed within the context of the broader debate surrounding this highly topical issue.


George MilneSimulation Used to Generate Alerts within a Wildfire Early Warning System.18/05/2011

Following the February 2009 bushfires in Victoria, a nation-wide alert system has been activated. The University of Western Australia, FESA and Landgate have initiated a project which will develop a novel Wildfire Early Warning System, created by integrating a state-of-the-art simulator with an enhanced alert system. The UWA bushfire simulator, which is central to the future National Bushfire Prediction Early and Warning System, will input the position of a current fire, current and forecast weather and up-to-date fuel age maps. From this it will generate predictions for the future position and time-of-arrival of the fire front. These predictions will be communicated to the public both as text messages and as maps sent over the internet and via web-enabled mobile devices. The UWA fire spread simulation system currently incorporates fire behaviour (rate-of-spread) models that have been developed for different Australian landscapes. The system will interface with a real-time feed of current and forecast weather from the Australian Bureau of Meteorology. The developed system will include fire-fighting decision-support features such as the simulation of intervention measures (e.g. fire break creation and direct attack), and the ability to quickly specify and simulate alternative future weather scenarios, such as changes to wind speed or the timing of changes in direction. The project will subject the UWA simulator to an extensive testing process, whereby historical fires for which reliable data is available will be used to validate the system. This project is a co-operation of the Fire and Emergency Services Authority of Western Australia, Landgate WA, and the University of Western Australia. It has been funded by the Digital Regions Initiative of the Australia Government. The UWA Bushfire Simulator was developed as a Bushfire Cooperative Research Centre project.


Simone Pettigrew Making mental health top of mind11/05/2011

When hearing the term ‘mental health’, most people think of mental illness. A growing body of research demonstrates the ability of individuals to improve their mental health through a range of simple behaviours, but it is difficult to get people to engage with mental health as a topic and undertake proactive preventive behaviours because of the stigma associated with mental illness. This presentation will outline recent advances in mental health promotion and describe a study that investigated the barriers and motivators relevant to behaviours that can enhance mental health. Recommendations are provided for individuals wanting to maximise their mental health and for public policy makers seeking to promote mental health at the population level. **** All Welcome ***


Graham Begg THE LITHOSPHERE, GEODYNAMICS AND METALLOGENY OF EARLY EARTH27/04/2011

  Subduction processes, critical for the formation of many magmatic and hydrothermal ore deposits, appear to have been active since about 3.9Ga. However, the environment to preserve such deposits did not exist until the emergence of the Sub-Continental Lithospheric Mantle (SCLM) between 3.5-3.0Ga. As a residue of high temperature plume melting, pristine SCLM is depleted (Fe-poor), buoyant, refractory and has very high viscosity. Mapping of both crust and mantle, supported by Hf-isotopic studies, indicates that Archean SCLM underlies the majority of continental crust. The physical properties, architecture, and metasomatic history (linked to prior subduction) of the SCLM has had a profound influence on the location, style and preservation potential of many ore deposit types. Fragmentation of SCLM provided backarc and pericratonic basins that are the setting for many magmatic and hydrothermal deposit types. Translithospheric faults became conduits and hosts for magmas and ore fluids. Stable continental shelves emerged to host giant bedded deposits, and the mobility of metals in continental sediments gave rise to new styles of ore deposits.The arrival of the SCLM resulted in a proliferation of potential ore deposit settings, and provided a means to preserve mineral deposits beyond the next tectonic accident. **** All Welcome ****


Paul HardistySustainable Water Management for the 21st Century: Balancing the Environmental, Social and Economic.20/04/2011

Access to sufficient quantities of fresh, clean water is a critical element in human prosperity.  Globally, hundreds of millions go without this basic right.  Water stress is increasing around the world as climate change, population growth, pollution, and waste take their toll.  At every level, from national and state policy making, to water management decisions made by individual firms, water is being misallocated and wasted because its true value is not being recognised.    By using the concept of total economic value, the full life-cycle environmental, social and economic costs and benefits of water management options can be compared, and optimal alternatives adopted. Examples from the water supply, mining and waste water treatment industries illustrate how 20th Century business as usual approaches rarely provide best overall value, and other alternatives which are currently deemed “uneconomic” are actually superior, when full real value to all stakeholders is considered in explicit monetary terms. **** All Welcome ****


Professor Jörg ImbergerResponse To Climate Change: Deny, Prevent, Adapt13/04/2011

How should we respond to climate change and observed changes in weather patterns; local drought and heavy flooding? Daily we are confronted with opinions, dogma and often stereotyping. This debate has gone so as far as to label people "believers or non-believers". Yet, when I try to find a document on the web to just even explain to me what the so much discussed "Carbon Tax" is all about, it is difficult to find a definitive document. I will start the talk with an overview of how it was, a simple explanation, with some new modelling, of the processes determining the interglacial cycles. From this follows a clearer explanation of the role of elevated green house gases and changes in land cover, putting us in a position to discuss the current response from the perspective of individuals, the community, industry and the government and its recent carbon taxation initiatives. We will see most of the responses may be catalogued under the general heading of "denial" or shifting blame. So what should be done? I will attempt to provide 4 rather simple, non spectacular, but effective suggestions for adapting to the changes we are experiencing; understanding the timescales involved and adjusting our behavior, capitalising on new energy storage technologies that are just emerging that will allow us to match availability of renewable energy to demand, using agriculture and aquaculture to sequester more carbon and lastly, changing from traditional fixed point planning to adaptive management. **** All Welcome ****


Dr Lucimey Lima PérezMajor Depression, Family Therapy and Quality of Life06/04/2011

Systemic psychotherapy considers families and couples as systems, which are much more than each member composing them. The efficacy of this type of psychotherapy has been demonstrated around the world since the seventies. The fundaments are focused in relationships, circularity and neutrality. In the last ten years intra-psychic elements has been rescued and techniques has been reported in order to perform individual systemic psychotherapy. This means that the person is treated with strategies supported by second order cybernetic, constructivist and narrative views without diminishing transactional influences. Major depression is a disorder characterized by pathological sadness and anhedonia (difficulty of enjoyment), with well-documented biological alterations, but also related to affective nutrition in the family and in the society with consequences for the potentially depressed subject. Hypothesis of depression are complementary and include genetics, monoamines, hormones, neurotrofic factors, circadian rhythms, immunological elements, chronic stress, and inter-personal dysfunction. The objective of this work was to evaluate the response of subjects presenting a major depressive episode treated in an integral manner: with antidepressants and with individual systemic interventions. Twenty patients were diagnosed using international approved criteria, antidepressant treatment was initiated and psychotherapy sessions were scheduled. Scales and inventories were used to determine severity of depression, quality of life, disability, clinical global impression, family functioning, and social performance. Ten patients had remission of symptoms, although all of them responded to the integral treatment, as assessed with appropriate scale for depression. The protocol of the study lasted fourteen weeks including twelve to eighteen sessions. Patients presenting remission were those who could solve difficulties in their transactions. Responders without remission remained with relationship problems and continue in treatment for longer period than protocol timeframe. Attention was open for all of them at the end of the research. The psychotherapeutic work consisted in parameters for satisfactory communication, elements for discussion with absent members, positive reframing, and resize life with new narrative. Severity of depression was positive and significantly correlated with quality of life, disability, and family-social relations. These are evidences supporting the effectiveness of integral treatment for improvement depression. In addition, the lack of resolutions of dysfunctional transactions is in accordance to the permanence of residual symptoms, which deteriorates global life, internal and external, and impairs enjoyment in a long term. **** All Welcome ****


Dr Don McFarlaneUrban Monitor – a fine-scale monitoring opportunity30/03/2011

This talk describes the development of a fine-scale monitoring system for urban and peri-urban environments using Greater Perth as a case study. The method is similar to that used in the Land Monitor Project which monitored changes in land and vegetation condition throughout south-western Australia using satellite data. Aerial photography has traditionally being used for photogrammetric purposes but the switch to digital capture allows it to be used for monitoring provided suitable standards of data capture and analysis are applied. By rectifying and radiometrically calibrating data to a common baseline it is possible to identify changes in a number of features. The method also enables annual digital surface models to be developed. Urban and coastal areas are the habitat of choice for most Australians. They are dynamic, with many environmental issues in the areas of planning, service provision, resource management and resource allocation. Routine digital aerial photography which is captured at least annually can be used for monitoring land use changes, tracking environmental indicators and changes in surface elevations with high accuracy. The talk will outline progress made by the Urban Monitor Project Consortium since its first capture of data from Greater Perth in 2007. About the speaker Dr Don McFarlane has degrees in geology, natural resource management and hydrogeology from the University of WA and is currently an Adjunct Senior Research Fellow in the School of Earth and Environment. After a research career in the WA Department of Agriculture where he led the Soils and Catchment Hydrology Research Groups he became a Director within the Water and Rivers Commission where he led the Science and Resource Management Divisions. In 2004 he was awarded the CSIRO Chairman’s Medal for leading the Land Monitor project. His current interests include water yield estimation under climate change, managing groundwater resources and using treated wastewater to reclaim urban wetlands.


John ScottTalk on 'Dante'23/03/2011

John Scott will be talking about Dante, a major Italian poet from the Middle Ages, and his Comedy (Commedia or Divina Commedia), which describes Dante’s journey through Hell (Inferno), the Purgatory (Purgatorio) and Paradise (Paradisio). The Comedy is considered the greatest literary work composed in Italian and a masterpiece of World Literature. The seminar will present some information about Dante’s universe and take the audience through a case study with a text from Inferno : Francesca da Rimini - Inferno 5). John suggests that two points are to be kept in mind throughout the study of the Comedy: Matthew Arnold’s bold claim that poetry is ‘simply the most beautiful, impressive and widely effective mode of saying things’, as well as the paradox of the poem’s enduring fascination for so many contemporary readers who do not subscribe to the beliefs that inspired Dante’s masterpiece. About the author John Scott is an Emeritus Professor and Honorary Senior Research Fellow in the Department of Italian Studies of the University of Western Australia. He is considered one of the World experts on Dante and his numerous books and articles in English, Italian and French on the subject have earned him a number of international honours and awards, the latest in date being the Fiorino d’Oro by the City of Florence, where Dante was born. **** All Welcome ****


Bubbles emerging from a submerged granular bed16/03/2011

This lecture explores the phenomena associated with the emergence of gas bubbles from a submerged granular bed. While there are many natural and industrial applications, we focus on the particular circumstances and consequences associated with the emergence of methane bubbles from the beds of lakes and reservoirs since there are significant implications for the dynamics of those bodies of water and for global warming. The lecture describes an experimental study of the processes of bubble emergence from a granular bed. Two distinct emergence modes are identified, Mode 1 being simply the percolation of small bubbles through the interstices of the bed while Mode 2 involves the cumulative growth of a larger bubble until its buoyancy overcomes the surface tension effects. We demonstrate the conditions dividing the two modes (primarily the grain size) and show that this accords with simple analytical evaluations. These observations are consistent with previous studies of the dynamics of bubbles within porous beds. The two emergence modes also induce quite different particle fluidization levels. The latter are measured and correlated with a diffusion model similar to that originally employed in river sedimentation models by Vanoni and others. Both the particle diffusivity and the particle flux at the surface of the granular bed are measured and compared with a simple analytical model. These mixing processes can be consider applicable not only to the grains themselves but also to the nutrients and/or contaminants within the bed. In this respect they are shown to be much more powerful than other mixing processes (such as the turbulence in the benthic boundary layer) and could therefore play a dominant role in the dynamics of lakes and reservoirs


Dr Clelia MartiIntrusions generated by the benthic boundary layer flux in a stratified deep alpine lake24/11/2010

Intrusions generated by boundary mixing may be an important mechanism to redistribute mixed fluid away from the boundaries and into the lake interior. Much of our understating of the Benthic Boundary Layer (BBL) dynamics, and consequences of near - boundary mixing for the rest of the water body, are based on laboratory, theoretical studies, and only circumstantial evidence from field observations from tracer studies and standard hydrodynamics measurements. To investigate the fate of mixed fluid in a lake, we released a dye tracer in the BBL of a stratified deep alpine lake and tracked the flow path of the dye tracer via intensive profiling with a multi-scale profiler and real time three-dimensional numerical simulations of the dye tracer plume through the Aquatic Real-time Management System (ARMS). This allowed us to optimize the sampling regime during the experiment tracking the tracer with far greater precision than previously possible. This talk will explain the experimental methodology and present the preliminary results of the intrusions behavior. **** All Welcome ****


Lee GoodyearRealtime Data Management for Surface Water Bodies.03/11/2010

An overview of the “Realtime Management System – Online (RMSO)” and the processes that go towards managing the data from the point of collection to delivery via the web. Demonstrate how these technologies designed for use with surface water bodies can be adapted for use in other fields with specific reference to “Electronic Fetal Monitoring”.


Dr Rob McCauleyBlue whales in the Australian context27/10/2010

This talk will showcase the use of long term passive acoustic data sets in defining the habits and abundance of wide-ranging, oceanic great whales, notably the blue whale complex with an emphasis on pygmy blue whales. The Centre for Marine Science and Technology has been running an Australia wide sea noise logging program since 2000. This work has been supported by Industry, Defence and Government in Australian waters and in collaboration with the Australian Antarctic Division, has included deployments in the Southern Ocean. The IMOS program will enable us to collect systematic sea noise data from southern Australia, the Perth Canyon and off the east coast into mid 2013. Male great whales vocalise profusely, emitting powerful, species specific calls designed to travel long distances. Signals from Antarctic blue whales and the pygmy blue whale sub species feature prominently in many Australian sea noise data sets. In the Perth Canyon the number of calling pygmy blue whales per unit time has been tracked since 2000, allowing comparison of visitation patterns within and between years. The Perth Canyon is a feeding stopover on the pygmy blue whale’s northern migratory leg, whales stay if there is food or move along if there is not. Along the Western Australian coast noise loggers have delineated a comparatively sharp pygmy blue whale southern migration from a northern terminus believed to be in Indonesia. Around the latitude of Exmouth pygmy blues whales pass south over October to December with a more protracted northerly migration over March to August. Pygmy and Antarctic blue whales form a prominent part of ocean noise in waters off southern Australia, with regular seasonal patterns, areas of localised abundance and wide ranges of detections. The noise loggers enable us to obtain counts of relative numbers of whales passing fixed points at a fine resolution. We are working on techniques to convert these relative numbers to absolute abundance of whales passing.


BSc, PhD (Phys) Laurence D MannCarnegie’s CETO Wave Energy Technology: An Opportunity to Supply Emissions-free Electricity and Desalinated Water20/10/2010

Carnegie Wave Energy’s CETO technology has now entered the commercial scale demonstration phase with the imminent deployment off Garden Island Western Australia of a single full-scale unit. Performance of this technology demonstrator will be evaluated during 2011 and Carnegie will then be well on the way to its first commercial scale grid connected project of 2-5MW based at the same Garden Island site. This presentation will highlight the development of the technology to date and illustrate the emerging opportunity that Carnegie has to supply emissions free electricity and also desalinated water through direct powering of reverse osmosis systems.


Jeff CharroisAnalysis of Emerging Disinfection By-Products in Drinking Water: Challenges13/10/2010

Disinfection by-products (DBPs) were detected in drinking water over 35 years ago. Since then identification of DBP species has closely paralleled advances in analytical chemistry. Today > 600 individual DBP species, representing several chemical classes, have been identified in drinking water. Potential DBP health concerns reported by some toxicology and epidemiology studies include elevated risks of developing certain cancers or adverse reproductive outcomes. New drinking water regulations must be evidence-based, requiring next-generation DBP studies that better link advances in analytical methods with a focus on DBPs that have the biological plausibility to cause the adverse outcomes we seek to avoid. Detection of N-nitrosamines in water supplies is an environmental and public health issue because many N-nitrosamines are classified as probable human carcinogens. Some analytical methods are inadequate for detecting N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA) at low ng/L concentrations in water due to poor extraction efficiencies and nonselective and nondistinctive GC/MS electron ionization techniques. This presentation will discuss the development of a selective, sensitive, and affordable GC/MS ammonia positive chemical ionization (PCI) analytical method for eight N-nitrosamines, at relevant drinking water concentrations. Method detection limits for all investigated N-nitrosamines ranged from 0.4 to 1.6 ng/L. Applying the method to authentic drinking water samples from drinking water utilities in Alberta (Canada) with dissolved organic carbon concentrations of 9 mg/L, we were able to detect N-nitrosodimethylamine (2-180 ng/L) as well as N-nitrosopyrrolidine (2-4 ng/L) and N-nitrosomorpholine (1 ng/L), two N-nitrosamines that had not been reported in drinking water before. Risk-tradeoff issues involving unregulated DBPs, such as N-nitrosamines, are emerging as major drinking and wastewater issues globally, including in both Canada and Australia. **** All Welcome ****


Professor Jörg ImbergerClimate Change: Deny, Prevent or Adapt?06/10/2010

Everyone on the planet has probably heard the two words, but equally probable is that there are only very few people on this earth who actually have a clear understanding of what is reality and what is hype and even fewer, numbered in the hundreds, who are actually changing their own lives because of these two words. I will present a simple box model that explains the documented inter-glacial periodicity, use this model to show the impact of CO2 and provide some lower and upper bounds on the likely scenario in the next 50 years, giving likely outcomes in terms sea level rise, disease vectoring and extreme rainfall events. To these I will add the documented impact of land use changes, providing, I hope, a lay overview of what we may expect. Then I will contrast the timescales of change in these outcomes with the timescales and processes of our human response, ranging from denial to political chaos. To conclude, I will outline a broad vision for a combination of adaption and prevention, showing that there are certain palatable solutions, if only we have the will to execute them; the greatest impediment being the rise in wealth inequity and loss of our icons that have, in the past, guided us through life. **** All Welcome ****


Prof Mark RandolphModelling of Submarine Slides and Their Impact on Pipelines01/09/2010

Oil and gas developments off the coast of Australia are now catching up with other, more mature, regions of the world in respect of water depths and the resulting geohazards. New developments such as Gorgon, Pluto, Wheatstone and Browse are all situated in water depths of a few hundred metres or more, on the continental slope beyond the shelf break. One of the most critical geohazards is a submarine slide, initiating on the steep part of the shelf break and potentially running out for several tens or hundreds of kilometres, impacting infrastructure such as pipelines. The seminar will discuss elements of a three year project, sponsored by MERIWA and oil and gas majors, involving physical and numerical modelling of slide behaviour and the development of analysis approaches for assessing impact forces from debris flows and the structural response of pipelines.


Peisheng HuangExchange of CO2 between atmosphere and ocean during and after the passage of Hurricane Frances (2004)25/08/2010

In-situ measurements, satellite observations and hydrodynamic-biogeochemical models were combined to investigate the mechanisms controlling the partial pressure of CO2 in surface ocean water (pCO2surf) and the integrated CO2 exchange fluxes at air-sea interface during the passage of Hurricane Frances (2004) over Caribbean Sea. The results suggested that the pCO2surf variation was dominated by vertical mixing process in sea surface layer. The sea surface temperature cooling was the major reason for the decline of pCO2surf, while the entrainment of higher-CO2 water partially offset this decline. Hurricane Frances was estimated to have caused a CO2 efflux of about 3.504 – 10.363 Tg (1 Tg = 1012 g) C from ocean to the atmosphere, and globally, hurricanes in 2004 were roughly estimated to have released a CO2 efflux of 0.047 – 0.141 Pg (1 Pg = 1015 g) C in total when extrapolating from Hurricane Frances. This efflux is significant if compared to the CO2 uptake by global oceans. The observed increased hurricane activity and severity was shown to accelerate the CO2 efflux from oceans into the atmosphere in past decades. However, although the hurricane caused enormous CO2 venting from ocean to the atmosphere during its passage, it also caused decreases in sea surface temperature and pCO2 which lasted for about 50 days. On a long-term basis, the integrated CO2 fluxes did not change significantly if there “was” or “was not” a hurricane passage. Phytoplankton bloom was found after the hurricane passage, but it had little influence on the oceanic pCO2 variation. Simple analytical solution of the post-storm oceanic pCO2 variation was also given, indicating that although stronger hurricanes cause more CO2 venting during their passages, they also would result in less CO2 efflux from ocean to atmosphere after their passages. Thus, the hurricane activities do not influence the air-sea CO2 exchange on a long-term basis.


Dr Tamar ZoharyWhy water level fluctuations matter13/08/2010

Water levels of lakes and rivers fluctuate naturally in response to climatic and hydrological forcing. Human over-exploitation of water resources leads to increased annual and interannual fluctuations of water levels, at times far beyond natural amplitudes. Climate change models predict increased occurrence of extreme events (flooding; extended droughts), which will further magnify the seasonal and multi-annual amplitude of water level fluctuations in lakes. A relatively wide literature base already exists for shallow lakes, demonstrating that excessive water level fluctuations impair ecosystem functioning, ultimately leading to shifts between clear-water and turbid states. Evidence is gradually building up in the published literature to demonstrate that deep (stratified) lakes also respond adversely to excessive water level fluctuations. At moderate disturbance levels, littoral habitats and biota are impacted. At further disturbance levels ecosystem destabilization symptoms are observed, including weakening of keystone species, proliferation of nuisance and invasive species, loss of biodiversity. Ultimately, eutrophication symptoms are manifested, especially cyanobacterial blooms. Examples from various lakes and reservoirs demonstrate that both top-down and bottom-up processes promote the development of those symptoms. The response of aquatic ecosystems, and particularly of deep lakes, to water level fluctuations is an understudied field, of crucial importance to the management of water resources, where limnologists have a leading role to play in the near future.


Louis MasseyManaging Text Knowledge: A Vision for the Future11/08/2010

A very large and ever growing quantity of human knowledge is stored as unstructured electronic text. This is the reality of knowledge workers in corporations and governments, of scientists and engineers in universities and research centers and of all of us in our everyday life as can be illustrated by our increasing dependence on information available on the Web. Whether it is for searching document databases or the Web, or for organizing and digesting the formidable amount of information in scientific literature, existing textual documents management methods such as search engines fail to understand the inherent meaning of text. This is best exemplified by our frequent experience when searching the web and having to sift through hundreds of thousand of mostly irrelevant documents. Computers are not good at understanding text because they cannot handle the ambiguity, richness and variety of natural language very well. In this talk I will present an overview of the issues with existing textual document management techniques and present some promising new research that may lead to revolutionary approaches in managing text knowledge.


Jane FromontSearching in the Deep Seas of the Southwest04/08/2010

The biodiversity of the deep seas of the southwest of Western Australia has not been previously studied. At the end of 2005 scientists teamed up for the ‘Voyage of Discovery’ to sample the biota at depths of 100 to 1100 m from 118 stations at 19 sites between Barrow Island and Bald Island. This was a large collaborative study funded by the Commonwealth, and involved CSIRO and most of the museums in Australia. Taxonomic studies resulting from this expedition have found 2024 species from over 19,000 specimens collected. So far 431 of these species have been found to be new to science. Multibeam acoustic technology was used to map the physical features of the seabed and high resolution video and stills images visually documented the biota and habitats for the first time. Both hard and soft substrates were sampled. This talk outlines the study and results of this new research and discovery program.


Associate Professor Anna HeitzWater down under: a Western Australian perspective in water quality research28/07/2010

The Curtin Water Quality Research Centre (CWQRC) is a collaborative research alliance between Curtin University and Water Corporation, designed to focus on Western Australia’s needs in water quality and treatment. The Centre fosters innovative research and training and advancement of knowledge and applied solutions to areas of importance to the water industry. CWQRC is housed in the new state-of-the-art Resources and Chemistry Precinct at Curtin University and has an extensive suite of analytical instrumentation for specialized analysis of organic compounds in aquatic systems. This seminar will give a broad overview of the CWQRC and its research areas, as summarized below. Water reuse: CWQRC has built the capability for detailed chemical assessment of advanced treated wastewater for potable reuse. This capability has been extensively used in preliminary studies to a large scale trial for advanced water recycling, for the purposes of groundwater replenishment at Beenyup. It involves highly challenging analytical chemistry for study of around 200 trace organic contaminants in wastewater, previously not available in Australia. Disinfection by-products (DBPs): CWQRC studies on drinking water DBPs are aimed at determining the most toxicologically significant compounds and developing improved treatment methods for their removal. New knowledge on this topic will shift the focus of regulators and the water industry from the conventional, regulated DBPs to those that potentially cause greatest harm to health. Other research on disinfection is investigating the impact of nitrification on chloramine disinfectant in long distribution systems and the potential to use copper to inhibit microbial activity which causes chloramine loss. Aesthetics: An ephemeral swampy odour in drinking water in Perth’s northern suburbs attributed to organosulfur compounds has been eliminated by implementation of a new MIEX® treatment plant. Spin-offs of MIEX® include better management of water in distribution systems, including better efficiency of chlorine disinfectant. CWQRC’s role was to show that the MIEX® treatment would effectively remove the odour and the centre. Other studies on aesthetic issues in drinking water include a problem caused by plastic materials contacting water and the role of bromide in chlorinous odours. Natural organic matter (NOM) studies: CWQRC research focuses on characterisation studies which provide a detailed understanding of the origins, structural features and reactivity of NOM (e.g. humic and fulvic substances) in source waters. These studies will help to predict the impact of NOM on potable supplies and allow targeted treatment for its removal. Techniques include chemical and thermal degradation of NOM prior to analysis by gas chromatography and liquid chromatography techniques; size exclusion chromatography; and methods based on UV and fluorescence spectroscopy.


Alex GardnerWater Resource allocation planning: securing environmental and consumptive use requirements21/07/2010

The Western Australian Government is currently preparing legislative reforms for the management of water resources. In November 2009, the Department of Water released a document entitled Discussion Paper: Water Resources Management Options, and the community is now awaiting draft legislation. A central goal of the reform proposals will be to adapt for Western Australian implementation core features of the National Water Initiative, including an effective system of water resources planning that secures environmental water allocations and the foundations for a new regime of tradable water access entitlements. This presentation will seek to explain: -the purposes and effects of water resources planning, focussing on the allocation or “sharing” of water resources; -the system or procedures of water allocation planning; -the content of water allocation plans, especially for environmental water allocation, the “consumptive pool” concept and how to manage reduced water availability; and -the legal effect of a water allocation plan. Understanding the role of water allocation planning is becoming ever more important as Western Australia confronts a drying climate and the management of increased demands for water resources. The seminar should present an opportunity to consider the legal reforms in their current practical context.


Associate Professor David HodgkinsonSustainability, displacement and a global agreement: Issues for climate change law and policy in Australia and around the world07/07/2010

There is a gap between emissions reduction targets and timeframes which science tells us are required to deal with climate change and those which are proposed in legislation or treaties. As the International Alliance of Research Universities states, the conclusion from both the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and later analyses is simple: immediate and dramatic emissions reductions of all greenhouse gases are needed if the rise in global temperatures is to be contained to 2° C above pre-industrial levels. It is this challenge with which climate change laws and policy, in Australia and around the world, must deal. After outlining the climate change problem, this seminar examines the international climate change legal and policy framework, the outcomes from the Copenhagen climate change conference, and prospects for Cancun in December. It also looks at Australian climate change policy action and such action in other jurisdictions. There are a number of policy instruments available to governments to mitigate climate change; particular attention will be paid to carbon taxes (versus emissions trading schemes) which could be implemented at both the national and international levels. Following an examination of what has been done to address the climate change problem, this seminar asks what should be done about climate change. Ethical concepts and values are at the heart of the international climate change regime, and such concepts and values will be illuminated through a discussion of climate change displacement and a UWA-led proposal for a climate change displacement convention. The seminar concludes with the question of how to reconcile, in Australia and the world, expectations of economic growth with a desire for a sustainable future. How to make dramatic reductions in energy use without reducing perceived quality of life (‘a challenge that involves wrestling with human nature as well as physics’)? How to gain agreement to raising the cost of continuing to live as we do now?


Josef WerneThe Sources and Cycling of Carbon in Lake Superior: Insights from Δ14C30/06/2010

Organic carbon (OC) in aquatic ecosystems occupies a biogeochemical crossroads where carbon has the potential to become sequestered in sedimentary organic matter or recycled and contributed to the atmospheric pool via microbial respiration. The ultimate fate of OC is largely dependent upon its source, physical transport mechanisms, and biogeochemical transformations that occur within the water column. The relative importance of these processes varies among aquatic systems. In the oceans, it is difficult to assess the biogeochemical importance of old OC versus modern autotrophy with in situ measurements because the relative lack of mixing between surface and deep waters and the dominance of thermohaline circulation patterns help to maintain distinct age and chemical characteristics of these OC pools. However, unraveling the source, age, and relative reactivity of OC within the water column is a problem of critical importance that must be addressed in order to resolve key issues in global biogeochemical carbon cycles and the apparent net heterotrophy of most aquatic environments. We have addressed this problem by studying OC dynamics in Lake Superior, the world’s largest freshwater lake (by area). Lake Superior’s biogeochemistry is very similar to that of the world ocean but its physics varies in one key aspect that makes it an ideal natural laboratory to study the relative importance of biogeochemical processes and water column mixing on C cycling: it is dimictic, so there is complete water column mixing twice annually. In this study, water-column depth profiles of Δ14C within dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC), dissolved organic carbon (DOC) and particulate organic carbon (POC) were used to investigate the sources and cycling of organic matter in Lake Superior. Radiocarbon data was obtained from western Lake Superior during periods of water-column stratification and mixing. The bulk ∆DI14C (~86 to 74‰) of the stratified water column indicates DIC is in exchange with atmospheric CO2. During stratification, the ∆∆14C (DIC-DOC) for surface and deep waters (10‰ and 151‰ respectively) indicates that there may be a deep-water source of ‘old’ DOC. The ∆∆14C (DIC-POC) of 22 ‰, 27 ‰ and 57 ‰ respectively for surface, mid and deep waters suggests that part of the POC pool consists of pre-aged material. The well-mixed water column reflects a modern (post-bomb) radiocarbon signal for DOC, DIC and POC across the entire sampling depth suggesting a stronger role for semi-reactive DOC in Lake Superior than in most oceans. Our Δ14C data shows that organic carbon in Lake Superior consists of both labile modern and old refractory portions, and that ‘old’ carbon can be important to lake biogeochemistry.


Roberta FornarelliIntegrating water quality and quantity issues in the optimal management of a multipurpose water reservoir network16/06/2010

Reservoirs systems provide more flexibility in water quantity management in order to provide different services such as water supply to urban population and industries, agricultural irrigation, flood prevention and hydroelectric power generation. Very little research has been done on the effect of this water quantity management on the reservoirs water quality and how it’s possible to integrate water quantity and water quality objectives in the same decision framework. The objective of my PhD project is to study a system of reservoirs, understanding how the management of internal water transfers between reservoirs affect their water quality. A multi-objective water quantity and water quality integrated management problem will be solved in order to find the optimal solution, i.e. the “best” compromise between water quantity and water quality targets. The approach will be applied on a system of four reservoirs, called Shoalhaven System, NSW (Australia). Water is transferred between the four reservoirs in order to produce hydropower and to supply water to local towns and Sydney. The implications of this water quantity management on reservoirs water quality will be assessed in three different steps: 1) understanding how physical and biological processes occurring in the reservoirs are affected by the internal water transfers management; 2) planning feasible water quality rehabilitation interventions to be coupled with an appropriate water transfers control policy; 3) integration of planning and operational interventions in a multi-objective optimisation problem, considering water quantity and water quality related objectives.


Professor Ralph MartinAlzheimer’s Disease : from Molecular Pathology to Strategies for Prevention & Effective Treatments09/06/2010

Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is the most common form of age-related dementia which is characterised by progressive neurodegeneration leading to dementia. The key neuropathological features of AD are intracellular amyloid deposits (neurofibrillary tangles) and extracellular amyloid deposits (senile plaques). The major protein component of the senile plaques is a small peptide termed beta amyloid. There is now considerable evidence to demonstrate that elevations of beta amyloid in the brain will lead to AD. The neurotoxicity associated with elevated beta amyloid levels is exerted through its ability to promote oxidative stress which is a major feature of this devastating disease. In families where AD is inherited in an autosomal dominant manner mutations in known genes account for over half these families where the disease is inherited early ranging from the mid-20s to the early 60s. These known genes are the amyloid precursor protein, presenilin 1 and presenilin 2. Mutations in these genes result in the overproduction of beta amyloid. Other genes found in the majority of the more common late onset form of AD by significantly increasing disease susceptibility. Of these the major genetic risk factor is the ε4 allele of the apolipoprotein E gene and accounts for 50% of AD cases. These genetic risk factors are not sufficient to cause AD and require interaction with other factors associated with ageing or lifestyle. Therapeutic approaches are now being directed to target the underlying cause with several pharmaceutical companies testing anti amyloid drugs in clinical trials. Other approaches include evaluation of antioxidant therapy and hormone replacement therapy. To date no approach has yet been demonstrated to have resulted in an effective treatment of Alzheimer’s disease. A most likely explanation for this failure is that treatment commences when the brain is too severely damaged for any drug to have a beneficial effect thus highlighting the need for an early diagnostic test preferably before the onset of symptoms. Another explanation includes the possibility that a cocktail of drugs are needed for efficacy to be achieved.


Kevin PetroneSource and Reactivity of Dissolved Organic Matter in the Swan-Canning Catchments and Estuary Using Fluorescence Spectroscopy02/06/2010

Dissolved organic matter (DOM), observed as tannin or tea coloration in surface waters, is ubiquitous in rivers and estuaries of South-western Australia. Local concentrations of DOM, including carbon (DOC) and nitrogen (DON), are especially high compared to global averages, yet their role in river and estuary ecosystem function are not well understood. In this seminar, we present recent findings on the composition and reactivity of DOM in the Swan-Canning catchments and estuary. Using fluorescence techniques, we show that humic and amino acid fluorescence components can be used to identify distinct catchment and estuarine DOM sources that are also related to the degree of DOM biodegradation. Lastly, we will discuss how future changes in climate and urban/agricultural land-use may influence carbon and nutrient cycling with important implications for the Swan-Canning ecosystem.


Dr Adrian PeckSalinity Research in Retrospect, and Some Prospects26/05/2010

In the late 1960s the WA Government was advised that there was no evidence that agricultural developments in the southwest induced increasing soil and stream salinity. To produce such evidence, the Australian Water Resources Council provided basic funding for instrumentation of 5 small catchments in initially forested areas of the Collie River catchment. One of the experimental catchments was totally cleared and subjected to normal agricultural development; two other catchments were partly cleared. The project involved close collaboration between CSIRO and several agencies of the WA Government. The talk will outline aspects of management of this project, research methodology and results, and some unresolved questions relating to land and stream salinity management.


Sally PaulinFarming the future with lessons from the past: 30 years of sustainability practice in WA farming organisations19/05/2010

The recently released Parliamentary Inquiry Report 'Farming the Future' suggests the need to support farmers to adapt to the impact of climate change through innovation, carbon sequestration and other strategies to increase productivity of food and fibre. They have stressed the importance of soil stabilisation, pasture improvement and soil water retention strategies for this to occur. In this talk, I will give an overview of two farming organisations who have carried out research and development in the area of soil stabilisation and water retention over the past 30 years and discuss the tensions between promoting technologies devised by community science and the impact on organisational sustainability.


Professor Mohammed BennamounTopics in computer vision12/05/2010

The objective of this talk will be to provide a brief introduction to the area of computer vision (with an emphasis on 3D) and some of the related work that has been done in the School of Computer Science and Software Engineering at the University of Western Australia. The objective is to explore opportunities of eventual future joint projects in the area of water research. A couple of applications and their motivations will be briefly described including 3D object recognition and 3D face/ear biometrics.


Towards More Rational, Scientific Policy-making: How trauma obstructs solutions to the planetary crisis, and what we can do about it05/05/2010

Our civilization is facing simultaneous crises of war, environmental destruction, resource depletion, climate change, poverty, and social breakdown. Why do we seem unable to solve these crises? Why don’t we more often adopt rational policies to tackle them based on good science? Why has denial of climate change and other issues become such a potent political force? Why are we humans so clever, and yet act so unwisely? The fault does not lie in our genes, our evolutionary heritage, or God. Anthropology and prehistory show that we embody the potential to be peaceful, cooperative, caring and wise. Our species is not doomed to be violent, competitive, savage and stupid. In this seminar we will argue that trauma, from which we all suffer to a greater or lesser degree, lies at the root of these problems. We will outline the mechanisms, causes and effects of trauma. We conclude that more rational policy-making and substantial progress in tackling the crises will become possible only as societies take action to reduce the incidence and severity of trauma through prevention and healing. At the individual level, we will become more effective as scientists and advocates of rational change as we embark on personal healing.


Dr Isabel RamirezThe Mexican 'clean beaches' program - studies on contaminant dispersion28/04/2010

The program 'clean beaches’ was started five years ago, by the National Commission of the Water in Mexico, to study and document the physical processes occurring in the most touristic beaches in the country. The results of this study will be used for legal regulation of incoming rivers and discharges into the beaches in Mexico. In this seminar we will present the results of three case studies; Bahia Zihuatanejo, Acapulco Bay and Puerto Angel Bay. The three beeches are located along the pacific tropical coast of Mexico, between 19 and 17 degrees of latitude. The main objective of those studies was to understand contaminant motions in vicinity of the touristic beaches. In the three cases we used ELCOM-CAEDYM to simulate the hydrodynamics and contaminant dispersion. In the case of Zihuatanejo bay, we present results on pathogens dynamics influenced by the water motions and the tide. In Acapulco bay and Puerto Angel, we present preliminary results.


Dr Jason AntenucciScales of heterogeneity in a hyper-eutrophic tropical lake21/04/2010

Tropical lakes have typically received far less attention in the literature relative to lakes in other regions. Marina Reservoir is a newly established freshwater system in the heart of the central business district of Singapore. Receiving water from approximately one-sixth of the island, the majority of which is highly urbanised, the reservoir is already hyper-eutrophic due to the high nutrient loads and water temperaures. In this presentation I will describe measurements from a recent field campaign, which revealed extraordinary levels of spatial and temporal heterogeneity in a number of parameters. Persistent spatial gradients were observed over relatively short distances, which affected the ability to use in-situ measurements to describe lake-wide average processes. The challenges of real-time forecasting in such a system will be addressed in the context of these results, with implications for our ability to predict transient behaviour in tropical lakes.


Prof Tom LyonsLand use change suppresses precipitation14/04/2010

In the southwest of Western Australia, the large scale replacement of native perennial vegetation with agriculture based on winter growing annual species has lead to a significant change in the surface albedo and roughness. This has resulted in a diurnally averaged shortwave radiative forcing of approximately -7 W m-2 and a redistribution of the surface energy balance. These land use changes impact directly on cloud climatology, through preferential enhancement of cumulus cloudiness and cumulus cloud properties. Over the agricultural area, there is an enhanced production of atmospheric aerosols, leading to a higher number of cloud condensation nuclei, an increase in cloud droplet number, and a reduction in cloud droplet size. Though more water vapour was available over the agriculture land, the liquid water content was higher within the clouds over the natural vegetation, where the droplets are larger and more likely to precipitate.


Dr Clelia MartiFlow structures in shallow water bodies07/04/2010

Shallow flows are ubiquitous and are the norm rather than the exception, and may be defined as predominantly horizontal flows constrained in the vertical by the shallow nature of the receiving water domain. Flows in wide rivers, in bays, estuaries and coastal waters, in shallow lakes or in the upper mixed layer of deep stratified lakes or reservoirs are important examples of such shallow flows. Different forcing, interacting with existing bathymetry and topographic features, produces a rich spectrum of variability/structures. This talk will present the preliminary results of detailed field observations and numerical modelling conducted in the Upper Rio de la Plata Estuary, a shallow coastal plain estuary (mean depth 5 m) located at 35°S on the Atlantic coast of South America between Argentina and Uruguay, to assess the mechanisms responsible for the water flux path and horizontal gradients. The combination of the field observations and validated numerical modelling has led to an inventory of processes and highlighted the importance of the interplay of different forcing and their role in determining the observed flow structures.


Associate Professor Marco PilottiReservoir dynamics from a different perspective: dam failure31/03/2010

Depending on the place where you live, you may consider the same thing (water in a reservoir) from two different perspectives. If you live along the shore of a lake, in a developed nation, you will likely be interested in understanding the lake inner dynamics. On the other hand, if you live downstream of the reservoir dam, you will be more naturally inclined to investigate the potential effects of the emptying process that follows a possible dam failure. In this seminar we shall present some recent results on this latter problem, investigating the applicability field of Shallow Water Equations and providing operative tools to civil and environmental engineers working in the field of land planning.


Professor Malcolm McCullochUsing Natures Endowments: isotope tracing of sediment-nutrient fluxes in rivers and near shore environments24/03/2010

Long-lived `natural’ isotope systems have been used extensively in the Earth Sciences as tracers of crustal and deeper mantle processes. Applications in the environmental sciences have been much more restricted and new isotope facilities being established will bring these capabilities to UWA. Here a number of examples are presented of using long-lived radiogenic isotope systems such as 143Nd/144N and 87Sr/86Sr combined with trace element geochemistry as tracers of sediments/nutrients provenances in a range of environments. Examples that will be highlighted include the Ord River and Argyle Dam of WA, Chaffey Dam in the Peel River system of NSW, the inshore reefs of the Great Barrier Reef and the Mountain-lowland debate of deforestation and sediment transport in the Upper Ganga catchment.


Professor Michael BorowitzkaBiofuels from algae: biology, sustainability and economics17/03/2010

For the last 30 years microalgae have been of interest as sources of renewable biofuels (biodiesel) and potential CO2 sinks. However, the commercial production of algal biofuels is yet to become reality. For commercial production the algae must be cultured reliably with a high productivity on a VERY large scale. For sustainability the algae will have to be grown using saline water, with efficient use of nutrients such as N and P and with a minimum energy requirement. For the production of a biofuel from algae the harvesting, dewatering and extraction of the lipids must be closely integrated with the algae biomass production process. As different species of algae have different properties (e.g. cell size, specific gravity, nature of cell covering etc.) downstream processing will differ for different algal species. This talk will consider these issues, particularly in the context of our research, and will highlight future research and development needs.


Professor David PannellLinking science to policy10/03/2010

Researchers can find the process of engaging with policy to be both rewarding and frustrating. David will discuss various aspects of the research-policy nexus, including the various influences of research and policy on land use, the adoption of research results by policy makers, differences between policy and research, and the roles that researchers can play in policy. He will present a case study from Australia in which a range of research into land use was integrated to develop an investment framework for policy makers and natural resource managers. David concludes that, to enhance their influence on policy, researchers should strive to: understand the policy maker’s perspective, practice excellent communication, be solution oriented, find a champion, avoid appearances of vested interest, and be simple, patient, persistent, resilient, responsive and timely. Prior reading, if you are keen: Pannell, D.J. and Roberts, A.M. (2009). Conducting and delivering integrated research to influence land-use policy: salinity policy in Australia, Environmental Science and Policy 12(8): 1088-1099


Associate Professor Josef WerneUnderstanding the sedimentary archive: Molecular isotopic clues to (paleo)climate and environmental change03/03/2010

This presentation will describe the work my research group has been doing by addressing the following questions. How do we find out about ancient environments? How do we go from analysis of molecules and isotopes to understanding paleoenvironmental conditions, especially over time scales longer than humans have been keeping records? How do paleo-scientists determine that a given geochemical signal is informative about a given parameter of interest, such as paleo -temperature, -aridity, or -vegetation change? I will first describe work that my research group has carried out in developing a new geochemical proxy for reconstructing past temperatures, then proceed to describe how we have used this and other geochemical proxies to understand and reconstruct aspects of the paleoenvironmental conditions surrounding Lake Malawi in tropical East Africa since the last glacial period (~25,000 years). The paleotemperature proxy we’ve been developing is derived from specific molecules contained in the cell membranes of microbes that live in the water column of lakes and oceans world-wide. Thus, the presentation will also describe how we can go from analysis of microscopic quantities and substances to an interpretation of regional to global environmental conditions on time scales of decades to billions of years.


Professor Jörg ImbergerA vision for the South West24/02/2010

We will not have a seminar on 24 Feb as part of the CWR series 2010. The following seminar will be held that day as part of the Food and Agriculture Lecture Series 2010 and may be of interest (URL for more information: http://www.ioa.uwa.edu.au/_nocache/?a=88032) The South West of Western Australia, including Perth and its environs, is endowed with a diverse set of riches. We have a unique biodiversity, ample water in surface and groundwater resources, almost unlimited energy from the sun and in hot ground water, potential for considerable wealth from the perimeter regions such as the Pilbara and the Kimberley, a diverse agricultural industry, a well educated society, good infrastructure, a city located on a beautiful estuary system and an adjoining coastal ocean that is mostly pristine and supports a unique low nutrient biodiversity. So why do we have huge social problems, wealth inequity, a supposed water shortage, an energy crisis, spiraling health costs and a hunger to populate the place with more people? Firstly I will examine some of these supposed contradictions and examine the likely impact of the predicted climate change. I will then put forward a vision where the South West becomes the playground for the community, where water returns to the hill's catchments, where we become carbon and energy neutral and were the community again becomes more anchored in its environments and where we all make money at the same time!


Dr Angelo SaggioDynamics of polymictic lakes17/02/2010

Large part of lakes and reservoirs along the tropics are classified as polymictic and, most often, are just considered well mixed environments for management purposes. However, due to increased loads of organic matter, nutrients and toxic compounds several of these systems started to present severe water quality problems associated to one of the main features of polymictic water bodies which is the frequent cycling between weakly stratified and mixed conditions on high temperatures; thus exposing the weakness of monitoring programs and management strategies commonly applied. This talk will present the results of intensive field experiments and numerical modeling conducted with ELCOM-CAEDYM to assess the dynamics of several polymictic reservoirs in Brazil and the establishment of cyanobacterial blooms. The applicability of these results to understand the implications for water quality management will be discussed.


Dr Wilson WongAutomatically Structuring the Unstructurable: Turning Textual Information Into Machine-Understandable Data10/02/2010

Imagine that every text document you encounter comes with an abstraction of what is important. Then we would no longer have to meticulously sift through every email, news article, search result or product review every day. If every document on the Web has an abstraction of important concepts and relations, we will be one crucial step closer to realising the vision of a Semantic Web. At the moment, the widely adopted technique for creating these abstractions is manual curation. For instance, authors of news articles create their own summaries. Regular users assign descriptive tags to webpages using Web 2.0 portals. Webmasters provide machine-readable metadata to describe their webpages for the Semantic Web. The need to automate the abstraction process becomes evident when we consider the fact that more than 90% of the data in the World appear in unstructured forms. Indeed, search engine giants such as Yahoo!, Google and Microsoft's Bing are slowly and strategically gearing towards the presentation of webpages using visual summary and abstraction. In this research, ontology learning techniques are proposed and developed to automatically discover terms, concepts and relations from documents. Together, these ontological elements are represented as lightweight ontologies. As with any processes that involve extracting meaningful information from unstructured data, ontology learning relies on extensive background knowledge. This background knowledge can range from unstructured data such as a text corpus (i.e. a collection of documents) to structured data such as a semantic lexicon. More and more researchers in ontology learning are turning to Web data to address certain inadequacies of manually-curated background knowledge. This research investigates the systematic use of the Web as the sole source of dynamic background knowledge for learning term clouds (i.e. visual depictions of terms) and lightweight ontologies from text across different domains. The significance of term clouds and lightweight ontologies is best appreciated in the context of document skimming and scanning as a way to alleviate the pressure of information overload. Imagine hundreds of news articles, medical reports, product reviews and emails summarised using connected (i.e. lightweight ontologies) key concepts that stand out visually (i.e. term clouds). This work has produced an interface to do exactly this.


Dr Lucimey Lima PérezMajor depression. Only in the brain?03/02/2010

Major depression is a serious psychiatric disorder characterized by two cardinal symptoms: low mood and anhedonia, which means sadness and loss of capacity for feeling pleasure. In addition, there are a considerable number of other complaints, such as fatigue, difficulty for concentration, pains, alterations of memory, insomnia, loss of weight, irritability, anxiety, hopelessness, sensations of guilt, decrease of interest for many things, low libido, suicidal ideation, and interpersonal dysfunctions, amongst others. The hypotheses for the causes of major depression include changes at different levels: 1) genetic factors, heredity or congenital; 2) sustained psycho-social stress; 3) alterations in neurotransmitters in the brain; 4) hormones dysfunction; 5) deficit in trophic (micronutrient) factors; 6) changes in the immune system. In the brain, one of the most accepted alterations is related to substances called monoamines, such as catecholamines (dopamine, noradrenaline, and adrenaline) and serotonin. As a matter of fact, drugs that are effective antidepressants exert their effects by modifying these molecules in the central nervous system. The brain is the locus of thinking, feeling, and behaviour, thus, depression must be exclusively localized in the brain. However, analysing the conjoint hypotheses of depression beside the genetic factors, the environment could be detrimental for susceptible persons. Moreover, if trophic factors are relevant, then depression is degenerative, and could result in dementia. If the endocrine system is involved, depression is a systemic disorder, involving many targets. If the brain is interconnected, but also connected to the rest of the organism, being depressed is being sick all over. Our research, in the last few years, has been oriented to the study of immune cell modifications in depression. Lymphocytes, one cell population of the immune system, present a variety of modifications in patients with an episode of major depression. The integrative treatment of depression, pharmacotherapy and psychotherapy, reverses some of these changes. Thus, identifying, diagnosing, and treating depression is preventing lots of complications, including autoimmune diseases, in addition of improving quality of life: enjoying and loving…


Dr Se-Woong ChungModeling of a Microcystis bloom in the stratified Daecheong Reservoir, Korea27/01/2010

During the end of July and early August 2001, an abnormal mono-specific bloom of the cyanobacterium Microcystis aeruginosa had developed at a specific location (transitional zone) in the Daecheong Reservoir, Korea. The cell counts during the peak bloom were about 1,477,500 cells/mL, which is more than 6-10 times greater than other monitoring sites. The hypothesis of this study was that the localized algal bloom was highly influenced by the concentrated phosphorus loading from a contaminated tributary (So-oak stream) that drains discharge of a wastewater treatment plant located 2 km from the reservoir, and closely related to the physical processes of inflow mixing. A three-dimensional, coupled hydrodynamic and ecological model, ELCOM-CAEDYM, was applied to the period of development and subsequent decline of the bloom. The model was validated against observed water balance, water temperature profiles, and water quality variables for different locations, and applied to simulate the effect of the tributary on the algal bloom using numerical tracer studies. The simulation results supported the hypothesis that the phosphorus loadings induced from the tributary during several runoff events were closely related to the rapid growth of M. aeruginosa during the period of bloom. Also the physical environment of the reservoir such as a strong thermal stratification and weak wind velocity conditions provided competitive advantage to M. aeruginosa given its light adaptation capability.


Professor Keisuke NakayamaMixing Due to the Breaking of Internal Kelvin Waves on a Uniform Slope20/01/2010

Internal waves have great roles in flow fields in the ocean and lakes, which turn into the influence of mass transport on ecological system. In Japan, Tokyo Bay is considered one of the most typical enclosed bays and one of the most deteriorated bays. In Tokyo Bay, modal analysis indicates the importance of internal Kelvin waves, which may break over the slope due to the decrease in the water depth in the lower layer, and the breaking may induce residual current, which controls long-term mass transport. Therefore, in this seminar, I will show the influence of internal Kelvin waves breaking over a uniform slope on mass transport and mixing. A rotating tank, with a length and width of 6 m and 0.4 m respectively, was used to investigate the fundamental characteristics of internal Kelvin waves on a flat bottom. Energy dissipation due to the friction effect was evaluated using the viscous boundary theory, which reveals that the rate of energy dissipation is larger when the Coriolis effect is included. Density flux measurements revealed that cyclonic circulation appears when internal Kelvin waves propagate and break over a uniform slope. The PIV technique and three-dimensional numerical computation were also used to reveal the formation of a cyclonic circulation in the horizontal plain.


Lord Ron OxburghEnergy, Climate and People02/12/2009

The world is running out of cheap oil and gas. If the past is any guide, energy demand is set to increase as the global population both increases and looks for higher living standards. There will be parallel but different pressures on water. The way forward depends critically not on whether the climate is changing, but on why and how it is changing. The one certainty is that this century will be very different from the last both in terms of infrastructure and life style. Life will surely be different but need not be worse. The most difficult part will be the transition. Recognising that fact and acting on it urgently should be our highest priority. Continuing exactly as before is not an option. The speaker: Lord Ron Oxburgh Lord Oxburgh served as chairman of The Shell Transport and Trading Company until its unification with Royal Dutch Petroleum. He is a member of the House of Lords of the UK Parliament and a graduate of the Universities of Oxford and Princeton. He has taught geology and geophysics at the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge and was a visiting professor at Stanford University, the California Institute of Technology and Cornell University. From 1988 to 1993, Lord Oxburgh was Chief Scientific Adviser to the UK Ministry of Defence and, from 1993 to 2001, Rector of Imperial College, London. He a member of the Advisory Committee on Science, Technology and Research for Singapore, a Fellow of the Royal Society, an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering and a Foreign Member of the Australian Academy of Science. He is currently Chairman of Falck Renewables, and an advisor on environment and energy to the Government of Singapore, Climate Change Capital and Deutschebank.


Carolina MeruaneOn the role of the ambient fluid on gravitational granular flow dynamics18/11/2009

Gravitational granular flows are common in nature. Typical geophysical examples include debris avalanches, pyroclastic flows, landslides, cliff collapses, and submarine avalanches. The dynamics of these flows can be studied by considering the particular dynamics of at least two constituents, the ambient viscous fluid and the solid phase. Therefore, in order to describe the dynamics of the solid phase, the role of the ambient fluid should be taken into account. In spite of this, the effects of the ambient fluid on granular flow dynamics are poorly understood and commonly ignored in analyses. In this research, we characterised and quantified these effects by combining theoretical and experimental analysis. Starting with the mixture theory, we derived a set of two-phase continuum equations for studying a compressible granular flow composed of homogenous solid particles and a Newtonian ambient fluid. The role of the ambient fluid was then investigated by studying the collapse and spreading of two-dimensional granular columns in air or in water, for different solid particle sizes and column aspect (height to length) ratios, in which the front speed was used to describe the flow. The combined analysis of experimental measurements and numerical solutions showed that the dynamics of the solid phase cannot be explained if the hydrodynamic fluid pressure and the drag interactions are not included in the analysis. For instance, hydrodynamic fluid pressure can hold the reduced weight of the solids, thus inducing a transition from dense-compacted to dense-suspended granular flows, whereas drag forces counteract the solids movement, especially within the near-wall viscous layer. We concluded that in order to obtain a realistic representation of gravitational granular flow dynamics, the ambient fluid cannot be neglected.


Lord Ron Oxburgh205012/11/2009

Life on Earth in 2050 will be very different from today, partly because of climate change, partly because of other anthropogenic influences on the surface environment and partly because there will be many more people. However, if we have an idea, however faint, of where we would like to be in 2050 it can help us with choices we have to make today. Some of these choices are very slow to implement and need to be made soon if they are to be useful. This talk explores some of the constraints and choices.


Professor Richard HobbsLong-term studies of California grassland: lessons for restoration04/11/2009

A 27 year study of annual grassland on serpentine soils in northern California elucidated the roles of rainfall variation and disturbance in determining grassland composition and dynamics. The abundance of individual species was found to vary markedly over the study period, in part tracking changes in annual rainfall amounts and distribution, but also varying in relation to animal disturbance and grazing. This led to large variations in species composition both through time and spatially. Of particular importance were the findings that invasion by non-native grasses was episodic and related to above-normal rainfall amounts and that some species which were relatively uncommon in the grassland became dominant under some conditions. These dynamics would not have been elucidated without long-term study. The relevance of the dynamic nature of the grassland, the spatial heterogeneity and the functional roles of individual species are considered within the context of restoration. In particular, the question of setting restoration goals in relation to a reference system is explored. Clearly, the objectives of restoration need to take into account both the dynamic nature of ecosystems and the need to build functional resilience in the system. Similarly, the definition of a reference state needs to recognize the possibility that species which are not abundant at one particular time may nevertheless be important components of the system under changed conditions.


Professor Jörg ImbergerBuilding A Better Community: Connecting People and Environment In The Swan Canning River Basin28/10/2009

by Jorg Imberger, Lee Goodyear, Clelia Marti and Caroline Wood I will introduce the concept of a domain and its objective function. Then show examples of how, in the Swan canning river basin, a start has been made to connecting people to the environment using real time management systems; Cockburn Sound and the Swan Estuary. This will be followed by introducing the schools programme where a start has been made to bring the school histories and their relationship with the environment into the realtime management system. The remainder of the presentation will highlight our plans for extending the domain to the full river basin and extending activities to individual, schools, enterprises, cars, boats and ships, emergency services and fire fighting. At the end I will outline our ideas about a new news media format, based on the realtime managements system for the basin.


Professor Colin BinnsCan tea really do that?21/10/2009

Coffee and tea are both consumed in most countries. Worldwide, approximately three cups of tea are drunk for every cup of coffee. Almost three quarters of tea consumption takes place in developing countries with tea drinking dominating throughout Asia, the former Soviet Union and Africa. In contrast most coffee consumption takes place in developed countries. Tea is refreshing beverage and the basis of much social interaction. In recent years the health benefits of tea have been documented . We have reviewed the literature and have conducted our own research projects. Studies based at Curtin have shown the value of tea in the prevention of prostate and ovarian cancers and ischaemic stroke. UWA is undertaking research into breast cancer and other cardiovascular benefits. Current evidence on the health effects of tea does not meet the NHMRC’s level for clinical practice guidelines. Tea consumption is possibly protective against several cancers, stroke and cardiovascular disease. Tea is a great beverage as a part of a healthy diet and as a superior choice to coffee despite the fact that levels of intake cannot currently be recommended. “Would you like tea or coffee?” The public health answer is - we would like tea please.


Professor Martin FeyDeveloping a groundwater vulnerability classification for soil and regolith materials14/10/2009

This talk presents the results of a research project recently completed in South Africa, the objective of which was to produce a classification which would allow soils information to be taken into account in assessing the threat to groundwater posed by various activities, especially those such as mining and industrial development that require environmental impact assessments. The classification indicates the degree of protection of groundwater from contamination by different categories of pollutants and is based on soil properties that are commonly determined either in the field or in routine laboratory analyses, meaning that no specialised analyses need to be conducted in order to use the system.


Dr Franklin HorowitzThe Optimal Design of Profitable Renewable Energy Systems; A Hamiltonian Based Approach07/10/2009

We develop and deploy an optimal control approach to the machine design of renewable energy systems. The problem is formulated via input/output equations of motion, with capacities of various subsystems available for purchase, and conservation laws explicitly enforced. We present some example designs and discuss variations available for future work. In contrast to the Design by Darwin moniker given to genetic programming approaches to optimal design problems, we label our approach Hatching with Hamilton.


Dr Boris BaerCIBER: Honeybee research at the University of Western Australia30/09/2009

I will present an overview of work that uses Australian honeybees, European bumblebees and Panamanian leaf cutting ants to study social insect reproduction and immunity. I will give an overview of how modern biochemical technologies such as proteomics are able to help evolutionary biologists, for example to understand the rules and the history of sexual conflicts. I will also introduce CIBER, the Collaborative Initiative for Bee Research (see www.ciber.science.uwa.edu.au) that was recently initiated at the University of Western Australia in response to the dramatic world wide declines of honey bee populations. CIBER is dedicated to facilitate interdisciplinary research on honeybees and offers a working platform for scientists to perform collaborative bee research alongside industry partners. New Website: http://www.ciber.science.uwa.edu.au


Professor Ken FreemanGalactic Archaeology and the New HERMES spectrometer on the Anglo Australian Telescope23/09/2009

Our Galaxy has been forming stars continuously since just after the Big Bang. Its stars form in fairly large groups but they do not stay together. The groups of stars soon dissolve and their stellar debris is spread right around the Galaxy. The goal of Galactic archaeology is to use the fossil remnants of these past star formation events to probe the history of our Galaxy. The problem is to identify the fossil remnants. How do we find stars that were born together but have since drifted apart ? We use chemical techniques: stars that formed together have very similar element abundances over a wide range of chemical elements. There are at least 7 groups of elements which vary independently from star to star. We can think of the stars populating a 7-dimensional "chemical space" of element abundances: the debris of an individual star-forming event lies in a clump in this chemical space. The approach is called chemical tagging. To make it work, we need to measure abundances of many chemical elements in about a million stars. Until now, this has been impossible. The new HERMES instrument for the AAT is the first of a new generation of high resolution multi-object spectrometers built for this purpose. We hope to start observations in 2012. The survey should take about four years.


Professor Liang ChengHydrodynamic Stability of Offshore Pipelines16/09/2009

Conventional pipeline design assesses hydrodynamic stability of offshore pipelines without taking into account sediment transport occurring around the pipeline (e.g. DNV-RP-F109). There is a growing concern that such a design approach is flawed (Palmer 1996). It is evident that the seabed that supports the pipeline will become mobile well before the extreme design condition for the pipeline is reached. Sediment transport (scour) may lead to pipeline natural self-burial. Pipeline embedment gained through burial process increases pipeline stability due to the increase in lateral soil resistance and decrease of hydrodynamic loading. Field observations have shown that certain levels (from 1/3 of the pipeline to full burial) of embedment occurred to almost all of the existing pipelines laid on the North West Shelf (NWS) of Western Australia within the first couple of years after installation. It is speculated that ignorance of sediment transport processes leads to conservative designs. There are insufficient knowledge and analytical tools available to address this problem. Further research work is urgently needed. With a number of major projects in the NWS being planned, the cost benefits of such research will be significant. Physical processes that are crucial to hydrodynamic stability of offshore pipelines will be discussed in this presentation. The emphasis of the presentation will be on the recent related work carried out at UWA by the Prof. Cheng's group.


Professor Rodolfo Soncini-SessaLearning based control of selective withdrawal reservoirs accounting for both quality and quantity targets09/09/2009

As water resources around the globe come under increasing pressure due to continuous population growth, economic development, and climate change, it is critical to adopt new management practices that lead to more efficient and sustainable use of the water resource, reconciling the demand for water by the human environment with the supply for water by the natural system. In such a context the integration of quality and quantity issues into the planning and management of water systems is emerging as a key issue. In this seminar, a reinforcement learning approach is introduced to design efficient management policies for multi-purpose selective withdrawal reservoirs with the aim at meeting established water quality/quantity targets both in-reservoir and downstream. Structured design of experiment simulations are performed of a 1D coupled hydrodynamic-ecological model (DYRESM) to generate a learning dataset over which a daily management policy is trained using a fitted-Q algorithm based on extremely randomized trees. The approach is demonstrated on the management of Tono Dam, a Japanese artificial reservoir affected by water quality problems (turbidity and algal blooms) and used for multiple operational objectives, including drinking water supply, irrigation and hydropower production.


Prof Dale PullinOn the non-local geometry of turbulence02/09/2009

A multi-scale methodology for the study of the non-local geometry of structures in turbulence will be described. Starting from a given three-dimensional field this consists of three main steps: extraction, characterization and classification of isosurfaces. Extraction is done using the curvelet transform, which produces a multi-scale decomposition. Characterization and classification are defined using differential-geometry properties of scale-dependent isosurfaces and their representation in a 'feature-space' of reduced geometrical parameters. Application to fields of enstropy, dissipation and a passive scalar obtained from direct-numerical simulation of homogeneous turbulence will be described. These show a transition, with decreasing scale, from blob-like shapes at forced scales, to tube-like and sheet-like structures in the inertial range and finally pancake/sheet geometry at dissipation scales. The geometrical evolution of Lagrangian structures in turbulence will also be discussed. While these examples are straightforward, the methodology developed can, in principle, be applied to any turbulence field or any volume-rendered data set for which the the fast Fourier transform can be utilized.


Dr Andrea CastellettiMulti-objective optimal design of water quality rehabilitation interventions in lakes and reservoirs26/08/2009

Improved data collection techniques as well as increasing computing power are opening up new opportunities for the development of sophisticated models that can accurately reproduce hydrodynamic and bio-chemical conditions of water bodies. While increasing model complexity is considered a virtue for scientific purposes, it is a definite disadvantage for management (engineering) purposes, as it limits the model applicability to ‘what if’ analysis over a few, a-priori defined interventions. Lately, this is becoming a significant limitation, particularly considering recent advances in water quality rehabilitation technologies (e.g., mixers or oxygenators) for which many design parameters have to be decided. In this paper, a novel approach to integrate science-oriented and engineering-oriented models and improve water quality planning is presented. It is based on the use of few, appropriately designed simulations of a complex process-based model to iteratively identify the multi-dimensional function (Response Surface) that maps the rehabilitation interventions into the objective function. Based on the Response Surface, a greater number of interventions can be quickly evaluated and the corresponding Pareto front approximated. Interesting points on the front are then selected and the corresponding interventions simulated using the original process-based model, thus obtaining new decision/objective samples to refine the Response Surface approximation. The approach is demonstrated in Googong Reservoir (Australia), which is periodically affected by high concentrations of Manganese and Cyanobacteria.


Professor Robert PokrantCommunity-based adaptation to climate change in coastal Bangladesh: working against the tide.19/08/2009

It is argued that adaptation to climate change and other hazards is likely to be more successful if more is known about how local communities and societies are affected and respond to climate variability. Bangladesh is particularly susceptible to climate variability and a range of other hazards. It is one of the poorest countries in the world in which twenty eight percent (37 million) of the population live along the coast. Of this, twenty eight million (75 percent) live rurally though by 2050 fifty percent of the coastal population will be urbanised. The coastal zone is subject to hazards caused by climatic volatility such as cyclones, storm surges, flooding and attendant hazards, which have had devastating impacts on coastal populations. Their vulnerability has grown over the past fifty years as a result of, inter alia, population growth and population movement to coastal areas, increasing social and economic inequalities among coastal populations, intensified resource extraction with concomitant environmental degradation, fragmented planning leading to a lack of adequate physical and human infrastructure and a national policy emphasis on rapid economic growth over environmental and social protection. This vulnerability is likely to be increased as a consequence of the effects of climate change. The Bangladesh Government is well aware of the threat of climate change to the country’s very survival and has committed itself to a major program of adaptation. However, this program is in its early stages and it will be some time before any assessment of its impact can be properly assessed. This talk discusses how coastal dwellers are seeking to adapt to existing local natural and human-induced hazards and the relevance of such adaptation to the wider issue of climate change. The talk is divided into the following sections: 1. The role of adaptation in dealing with climate change 2. The impact of climate change on Bangladesh 3. Bangladeshi responses to climate change 4. Community-based adaptation in coastal Bangladesh


Mr Piers VerstegenThe role of civil society groups and universities in the politics of a local and global sustainability emrgency12/08/2009

The Conservation Council is Western Australia’s peak environment group, representing over 95 community-based environment and sustainability groups throughout the state. In this seminar, the director of the council Piers Verstegen will discuss some of the key policy challenges facing the environment in WA, and provide insight into the critical failure of political leadership in addressing the climate and sustainability emergency at a local and global scale. The discussion will cover the role and future of non-government environment (eNGO) sector and strategies for more effective environmental advocacy and community action around environmental issues. Opportunities for partnership between the eNGO sector and universities to support innovative and transformative policy approaches to the most critical challenges of our time will also be discussed.


Richard JohnsonRaising scientific passion in children: an educator’s experience05/08/2009

This seminar will give a glimpse of the work carried out in Rostrata Primary School by Richard Johnson, winner of the Premier’s Prize for Excellence in Primary Science Teaching in 2008. Ric believes the universal appeal of science learning poses no boundary to any child. The secret to children learning sciences is in the ability to engage them at their own level and that a hands-on activity, experience or demonstration can be created to support the achievement of any primary science learning outcome. In this seminar, Ric will share what he does in his world of science and children as a scientific passion raiser; including demonstrations of experiments and hands on activities.


Professor Mark CassidyEngineering Solutions for Australia’s Offshore Oil and Gas Developments29/07/2009

The world’s appetite for energy continues to expand. While we contend with the challenge of global warming, this demand ensures that hydrocarbon resources, including natural gas and oil, will remain a major source of energy into this century. Combined with the depletion of reserves in shallow waters and traditional regions this demand is resulting in offshore developments moving into deeper waters and untested environments. These environments often present problematic seabed soil conditions requiring engineering solutions to new technical challenges. In this seminar the presenter will discuss how UWA’s physical testing facilities, such as Australia’s only geotechnical centrifuge, are being used to address these challenges. Analysis models that have been developed at UWA and are now being used by civil engineers in predicting foundation and structural failure will be discussed. A review of Australia’s deep water future will also be provided.


Professor Lister Staveley-SmithThe Science of Radio Astronomy and the SKA22/07/2009

The radio-quiet skies in Western Australia make it an ideal place to set up the next generation of low-frequency radio telescopes. These telescopes are being designed to pierce deep into Universe to hopefully reveal the secrets of its formation and to test our understanding of the laws that govern its nature. I will give a brief introduction to the science of radio astronomy and describe what radio astronomers actually "do" when they point their telescopes to the sky. I will show recent results from existing telescopes, and describe the concept of the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) and the role Australia may play in its construction.


Leo KerrCarbon Neutral in our Landscape15/07/2009

Carbon Neutral, a non profit organisation, works with hundreds of organisations and thousands of individuals to measure, reduce and offset greenhouse gas emissions and support revegetation projects. Started in 2001 by Men of the Trees, Carbon Neutral services include a Four Step Carbon Reduction Programme, carbon calculators and information on climate change, provision of carbon offsets, carbon sink establishment and revegetation projects. To date Carbon Neutral has planted over 1.5 million trees in Australia. This presentation will cover how Carbon Neutral taps into individual and business concerns about climate change and delivers revegetation projects to address this issue along with the considerable and increasingly urgent problems facing our rural areas. Native forests can be established through funding from carbon markets and help combat a range of environmental issues, many linked specifically to water. A disconcerting lack of leadership from government and business has seen trust in business deteriorate with a corresponding increase in trust in the NGO sector. There is an urgent need for business to understand the concept of true sustainability and more effectively internalise what has traditionally been an externality addressed only to satisfy minimum requirements from legislators, stakeholders and society. Carbon Neutral seeks to bridge the divide between business and the environment to meet urgent environmental challenges head on.


Professor Jessica MeeuwigPulling back the blue curtain: a window onto WA's marine environment08/07/2009

Western Australia’s marine environment is unique, reflecting its lengthy geological isolation and the presence of the Leeuwin Current, the only poleward running current on a continental western margin. This seminar will identify some of the marine biodiversity values of WA’s southwest corner and present the research undertaken to map marine habitats between Abrolhos and Esperance. Benchmark data will be presented on the fish assemblages of these areas and an argument put forward for the benefits of no-take marine parks as part of a broad strategy to protect and manage our marine environment.


Dr Clelia MartiMechanisms influencing the mixing and transport of multiple inflows into a stratified reservoir: Thomson Reservoir; Australia01/07/2009

The interaction of multiple inflows entering into Thomson Reservoir (Australia) is investigated with a field experiment and three-dimensional numerical simulations. The focus is on the mixing and transport patterns of the inflowing water within the reservoir. Data from the field experiment showed the existence of multiple inflows intruding horizontally into the reservoir immediately below the thermocline and selectively propagating into the reservoir at a depth determined by the individual density of each inflow. The results serve to show that inflows slot into a reservoir in an orderly fashion, their depth dependent on the separation of inflow densities. Inflows thus do not take their nutrient load into the reservoir as a whole, but rather slot their load into an intrusion layer at an appropriate depth; vertical mixing is required for these to become available in the surface layer where primary production is supported by light.


Klaus Regenauer-LiebTargeting Hot Water in Sedimentary Basins: the Perth Basin case study24/06/2009

Western Australia has a unique opportunity to stake out its claim in the international geothermal energy boom. Because of Perth's geological setting, our proposal focuses on direct heat use technologies (e.g. geothermally powered air conditioning and desalination) for use in population centres where there is shallow groundwater of moderate temperature. Many major cities, like Perth, are built on sedimentary basins, thus providing exploitable heat right where it can be used. The Western Australian Geothermal Centre of Excellence establishes capacity within the state to lead the exploration and exploitation of geothermal heat in a modern society. By exploring for and utilising low-grade heat in a permeable sedimentary environment we address an overlooked opportunity for broadening the footprint of geothermal energy utilisation. We are particularly focussing on the geological setting of sedimentary basins like the Perth Basin, where exploitable heat is available right where it can be used. We suggest that geothermal groundwater convection in such basins provides a natural underground heat exchanger in such systems. Owing to the high natural permeability there is no need for artificial hydraulic fracturing. There are challenges and opportunities. The main opportunity is that the drilling costs can be reduced substantially because the convection cells provide natural transfer of heat to shallower levels. Through this effect geothermal power may in the future become more competitive even in areas with normal or only slightly elevated regional regional heat flow. The main challenges are that the convective upwelling zones need to be accurately targeted and new methods need to be devised to harness the use of low-grade heat. Shallow geothermal sources may not reach the temperatures necessary for efficient electricity generation but are ideally suited for direct heat-driven desalination, heating and cooling, and dehumidification technologies. The Centre of Excellence will thus focus in particular on the Perth Basin 'Geothermal Opportunity', where both the geological challenges of targeting the heat sources and the engineering challenges of using the heat directly will be addressed. This focus on convection in the Perth Basin sets this Centre clearly apart from other emergent Geothermal Centres in Queensland and South Australia, which are mainly targeting hot dry rock without particular emphasis on geothermal convection.


Dr Jeff BremerCarbon Trading and The Energy Economy in 205017/06/2009

Bill Clinton's famous remark, ”Its the Economy Stupid” has a lot of relevance to the CPRS (Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme) and the federal government’s plans to introduce carbon trading in 2011. The CPRS will have far reaching effects on how we do business and our major industries will be spending between $5 billion and $11 billion in 2011, on carbon certificates and efforts to reduce their emissions. What is the basis for this change and how will it all work? Can the CPRS provide a 60% reduction in CO2 emissions by 2050? Is a 5% reduction in 2020 a soft target or an ambitious one? This talk brings an engineering perspective to the problem of CO2 emissions, and examines the technical implications of Treasury forecasts, and the likely effects on some marginal industries. In particular we ask if the CPRS alone (a form of taxation) can deliver the low carbon economy of the future or is there a bigger role for government in the development of infrastructure?


Professor Arnoldo Valle-LevinsonHydrodynamics over an estuarine scour pit10/06/2009

Observations of the tidal flow field over an elongated hollow (or scour pit) in Chesapeake Bay, showed tidally asymmetric distributions. Current speed increased over the landward side of the pit during flood tides and decreased in the deepest part of the pit during ebb tides. A simple conceptual analysis indicated that the presence of a horizontal density gradient can generate the asymmetric spatial variations of flow structure depending on the sign of the horizontal density gradient. When water density decreases downstream, the velocity increases over the downstream edge of the pit. Conversely when water density increases downstream, the flow decreases over the pit more than a case without a horizontal density gradient. The conceptual analysis is confirmed by numerical experiments of simplified hollows in steady open channel flows and of an idealized tidal estuary, and by observations at another scour pit. These scour pits also alter the local current field of tidally averaged estuarine exchange flows. The residual depth averaged currents over a pit show a two-cell circulation when Coriolis forcing is neglected and an asymmetric two-cell circulation, with a stronger cyclonic eddy, when Coriolis forcing is included.


Dr Jie ChenGreen Civil Society in China03/06/2009

This seminar will discuss the emergence and development of environmental civil society in China in light of the shocking environmental disasters created by the authorities' "growth at all cost" strategy. The seminar particularly examines green activists' democratic social and political roles in bringing about transparent and open environmental governance, by using campaigns against hydroelectric dams as case studies. The delicate position of international green NGOs' operations in China will also been discussed.


Fluid mechanical challenges in the design and development of modern liquid turbomachines27/05/2009

Pumps are one of the most common components of any hydraulic system. Their reliability and efficiency are of ubiquitous and paramount importance. So it is very surprising that the design and development of these devices seemed to come to a significant halt for a large part of the late 20th century. Despite many indications of unfamiliar phenomena, academic interest in the fluid mechanics of these devices was scant indeed and the design tools used in industry remained confined to steady flow hydraulic analyses and a few empirical vibration criteria. It was not until extreme versions of the difficulties arose in the development of the high speed turbopumps in liquid-propelled rocket engines that serious attention began to be paid to the flow instabilities and fluid-structure interaction problems in pumps. Methodologies had to be developed to investigate these unsteady flows and practical design tools had to be identified to predict and ameliorate their consequences. This lecture will review some of these key issues and the new fluid mechanics that was developed in response to those challenges. The development of liquid-propelled rocket engine pumps was a primary trigger for this research but it is now recognized that the phenomena and methodologies are common to almost all liquid turbomachines. For simplicity, however, the present paper will focus on the rocket engine application. Two key milestones are worth noting. The first was the identification in the 1960s of the Pogo instability that plagued many of the early launch vehicles and caused the destruction of some. This led eventually to an understanding of the dynamic characteristics of the pumps and how to use this knowledge to limit the instability of the fuel and oxidizer feed systems. In this talk we describe measurements and calculations of the resulting dynamic transfer functions for pumps. The second milestone occurred during the development of the high speed pumps in the Space Shuttle Main Engine when it became apparent that fluid-induced rotordynamic forces with their origin in the seals and the impeller flows were substantially affecting the critical speeds of the high speed pumps and thereby limiting their operational range. We describe here experiments and analyses that contributed to an understanding of these fluid-induced rotordynamic effects. We note in closing that knowledge of these unsteady flow phenomena is now used in a wide range of pump applications while, at the same time, new and hybrid variations of these instabilities continue to be uncovered.


Frank ProkopRecreational fishing: cost or benefit to sustainable aquatic management?20/05/2009

Recreational fishing is arguably the largest ‘invisible’ industry in Western Australia. With participation rates of around 650,000 per year and an industry worth between $500 million and $1 billion a year to the economy, it should be a major player in most aquatic management debates. Recreational fishing’s critics argue that the massive participation rate results in a huge impact on aquatic resources which must be better managed, while supporters point out the enormous social and economic benefits that result from recreational fishing are inadequately recognised. Some of the myths, fantasies and fables associated with recreational fishing will be examined by someone with 20 years recreational fisheries management experience.


Canyoneering Explorations in North and Central America15/05/2009

Canyoneering (called canyoning in Australia and Europe) is a growing adventure activity throughout the world. It involves descending narrow and sometimes steep canyons using technical rock-climbing equipment in order to negotiate the steeper sections, often in or beside waterfalls. Though the sport developed independently in the US, Australia and Europe, there are now international rendezvous that allow participants to enjoy spectacular natural surroundings that could not otherwise be visited. The southwestern states of the USA include an amazing array of geographic wonders, many of which can only be fully experienced by resorting to this method of exploration – from the huge, vertical landscapes of Arizona, to the narrow canyons of Utah and the earthquake-fractured mountains of California. The author will describe his many travels through these wonderlands and the adventures he experienced along the way. Mostly the photographs will tell the story of an amazing landscape (and waterscape) not only in the USA but also in Mexico and Costa Rica. Along the way he makes visits to places are diverse as Zion National Park, Death Valley, Yosemite’s Haunted Canyon and Mexico’s Monterrey Peaks National Park. (See http://www.dankat.com/advents/advents.htm and http://www.dankat.com/swhikes/swhikes.htm )


Dr Ben CorryUnderstanding ion channel selectivity and gating (and their application to the desalination of water)13/05/2009

Biological ion channels regulate electrical signalling in organisms by providing controllable pathways for ions to enter or leave cells. This process underlies nerve impulses, sensory transduction and the regulation of cell volumes; and ion channel malfunction is known to cause a range of diseases including epilepsy, hypertension and cardiac arrhythmia. It is perhaps surprising, therefore, that a detailed molecular description of these proteins has only begun to be developed over the last ten years. In this seminar I will discuss computational and fluorescence based research aimed at answering two fundamental questions: how do channels distinguish between ion types, and how do they respond to stimulus to open and close at the appropriate times. I will also describe a recent proposal to make the desalination of water cheaper by constructing membranes containing pores that mimic the biological channels.


Professor Billie Giles-CortiHow can we make communities, healthy by design?06/05/2009

In the last decade there has been growing interest in the impact of the built environment on health. This has been fuelled by global trends in preventable chronic disease and their risk factors including increasing levels of physical inactivity; a global epidemic of obesity in adult and children; rising levels of late onset diabetes (i.e., Diabetes II), and rapid increases in stress, depression and other preventable mental illnesses. These trends are not due to genetics, but to a rapidly changing environment. For example, never before in human history, have so many people been able to be so sedentary in the course of their daily lives: at work, home and play. The uptake of labour saving devices, motor vehicle dependence, and technological advances that minimise daily energy expenditure combined with the sedentary design of buildings and urban environments appear to be contributing to increasingly inactive lifestyles. Well designed urban environments have the potential to facilitate healthy lifestyles and social interactions by actively (e.g., access to recreational facilities) and passively (e.g., providing access to destinations) encouraging residents to be active. This talk considers the evidence about how the design of neighbourhoods can affect health and presents preliminary findings from the RESIDE study which is evaluating the state government's Liveable Neighbourhood Guidelines.


John ByrneSAMUEL JOHNSON; a Collector's Reminiscences29/04/2009

In 2009 Johnsonians worldwide are celebrating the tercentenary of the birth of a towering literary figure. To most people Samuel Johnson is a shadowy figure associated with the English Dictionary. Many of you might recall him as a figure of fun in the ABC television series "Blackadder". But Johnson was more than the "Dictionary Man", he was a playwright, a poet and an essayist. He invented the science of lexicography. He invented English literary criticism and, as a working journalist he was the first writer to make an independent living by his thus destroying the old system of literary patronage. He was a man of contradictions, both kind and brutal. He is seen by many as an arch conservative but he opposed capital punishment, fought slavery and promoted female literary figures. This talk will try to tell us why this man is still important in the 21st century, and why he attracts such devotion from his admirers, both lay and academic. It will be illustrated with material from his library.


Prof Don BradshawThe Importance of Habitat22/04/2009

We speak glibly about the constant loss of habitat that is threatening animal and plant species around the world and now exacerbated by the impact of global warming. But what is 'habitat' and how critical is it really for survival? The linkage between an organism and its habitat is expressed through a suite of adaptations, usually unique to the species, which ensure an effective and efficient utilisation of the resources that are available in that habitat. Adaptations that are evident in a species’ morphology, behaviour and physiology, evolve over long periods of time through the process of natural selection and lead to specialisations that link the organism ever more tightly with its habitat. Loss of the habitat, if it occurs over a short period of time, thus usually leads to the extinction of the species as there is insufficient time for it to acquire those adaptations that would enable it to survive in the new, modified habitat. The nature and importance of this relationship between a species and its habitat will be illustrated with a number of examples of animals from Western Australia.


Alberto de la FuenteNon linear and non hydrostatic dynamics of basin scale waves in stratified rotating lakes15/04/2009

The main objective of this research was to investigate the nonlinear and non hydrostatic evolution of internal waves in stratified lakes whose dynamics is modified by Earth rotation. This work focused on studying the two-layer dynamics of stratified lakes, by combining simulations, carried out with numerical models developed for this research, with pseudo-spectral analysis and field measurements. First, the study of the simple case of a circular flat-bottom basin was conducted, and then the results were applied to study the dynamics of a real lake, Lake Constance. It is concluded that the nonlinear and non hydrostatic dynamics breaks the whole basin coherence described for linear waves, so the flow is characterized by several localized events of, for instance, vertical fronts and high flow velocity. Consequently, nonlinear and hydrostatic dynamics also induces localized mixing events due to high shear and solitary-type wave excitation that finally breaks in the shore. However, in terms of energy, it is postulated that energy dissipation is mainly explained by bottom friction, which is also modified by local increases of the flow velocity.


The amazing world of bubbles08/04/2009

We generally think of bubbles as benign and harmless and yet they can manifest the most remarkable range of physical effects. Some of those effects are the stuff of our every day experience as in the tinkling of a brook or the sounds of breaking waves at the beach. But even these mundane effects are examples of the ability of bubbles to gather, focus and radiate energy (acoustic energy in the above examples). In other contexts that focusing of energy can lead to serious technological problems as when cavitation bubbles eat great holes through ships’ propeller blades or cause a serious threat to the integrity of the spillways at the Hoover Dam. In liquid-propelled rocket engines bubbles pose a serious threat to the stability of the propulsion system and in artificial heart valves they can cause serious damage to the red-blood cells. In perhaps the most extraordinary example of energy focusing, collapsing cavitation bubbles can emit not only sound but also light with black body radiation temperatures equal to that of the sun. But, harnessed carefully, this ability to focus energy can also be put to constructive use. Cavitation bubbles are now used in a remarkable range of surgical procedures to emulsify tissue, most commonly in cataract surgery and in lithotripsy procedures for the reduction of kidney and gall stones. By creating cavitation bubbles non-invasively and thereby depositing energy non-intrusively, one can generate minute incisions or target cancer cells. This lecture will begin by ranging over the past history of these phenomena and will end with a vision of the new horizons for the amazing bubble.


Mr Oron CattsSymbioticA, an artistic laboratory at the University of Western Australia01/04/2009

Based in the School of Anatomy and Human Biology at The University of Western Australia, SymbioticA is dedicated to the research, learning and critique of life sciences. It is the first research laboratory of its kind, in that it enables artists to engage in wet biology practices in a biological science department. SymbioticA hosts residents, runs workshops, produces exhibitions and organises symposiums as part of the core activities. In 2008 SymbioticA became the Centre of Excellence in Biological Arts, a jointly funded initiative between The University of Western Australia and the Western Australian Department of Culture and the Arts This talk will cover the philosophy of SymbioticA, trace its history and present some of the main research projects developed here, including a new artistic research project looking at desalination in the ongoing research into the natural and human ecologies of Lake Clifton, south of Mandurah. SymbioticA was established in 2000, and in 2007 it won the most prestigious award in art and technology, the inaugural Golden Nica for Hybrid Arts in the Prix Ars Electronica, and in 2008 SymbioticA won the WA Premier’s Prize for Excellence in Science Communication Outside the Classroom.


Professor Matthew TontsAmenity migration, rural development and water resources25/03/2009

Over the past two decades, an increasing number of Australian rural communities have begun to experience net in-migration. In many cases, this has reversed decades of population decline. While the exact reasons for this population turnaround are complex, it is clear that the rather ambiguous concept of 'environmental amenity' is playing a critical role. This seminar will explore the role of amenity in driving processes of urban-to-rural migration across southern Australia, using an amenity index to examine demographic trends in 500 social catchments across the rural ecumene of New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia. We consider how these trends have shaped land use, economic development and local environments, and conclude by contemplating the implications of these changes for water resource management.


Dr Vicky WhiffinPathogens in drinking water18/03/2009

Microorganisms are always present in raw water reservoirs and under most circumstances they provide a neutral or beneficial effect in biogeochemical recycling pathways. Under some conditions however, reservoirs can experience the influx of high numbers of microbes, some of which can be pathogenic and present a risk to public health. Where do they come from, how do they get into the water, how do we detect them and where do they end up? Answers to these questions are important in order to determine water quality impacts and help to design appropriate barriers to reduce public health risk. These issues will be addressed with a current industry perspective.


Dr Shon SchoolerThe ecology and management of invasive aquatic plants11/03/2009

Similar to invasive terrestrial plants, invasive aquatic plants have negative environmental, economic, and social impacts. However, the impacts, ecology, and management of aquatic weeds differ in many ways from their terrestrial analogues. This presentation will explore these differences using examples from four aquatic plants; salvinia (Salvinia molesta), water hyacinth (Eichornia crassipes), alligator weed (Alternanthera philoxeroides) and cabomba (Cabomba caroliniana). After a brief introduction, the presentation will focus on current research on the ecology and management of alligator weed and cabomba.


Dr Christin SäwströmViral-host specificity of cyanobacteria in subtropical lakes of Australia04/03/2009

Viruses are found wherever life is present and are the most abundant biological entities on our planet. They play a significant role in aquatic ecosystems, mediating microbial abundance, production, respiration, diversity, genetic transfer, nutrient cycling and particle size distribution. Cyanophages are viruses specific to cyanobacteria "blue-green" algae. Recent studies in freshwaters have highlighted that viral lysis could be an important factor involved in cyanobacterial bloom decline. Thus, understanding the fundamental role of cyanophages in regulating cyanobacterial communities is essential to determine how blooms form and terminate and the part they play in global nutrient cycles. In most aquatic environments, there is a lack of information on the degree of viral-host specificity. This seminar will discuss the relevance of viral-host specificity in aquatic ecosystems and the significance of this to cyanobacterial bloom formation, decline and genetic exchange between different cyanobacterial strains/species.


Professor Jörg ImbergerClimate Change: The Realities, The Challenges and The Opportunities18/02/2009

Long before humans came to this earth, its climate cycled from ice ages to warm periods with a regularity of about 100,000 years. Indeed, it may be argued that it was this cycling that formed not only our DNA, but also moulded our cultural norms. A scale model, based on the great ocean conveyer idea, allows a quantitative look at the role of CO2 in interglacial cycling. With this understanding it becomes possible to make predictions of the end state under the "business as usual" scenario and at the same time design quantitative measures for the amelioration of the most severe impacts. Technology may be seen to have developed in direct response to lowering our local risk against nature's imposed constraints, we now have an opportunity to lower our global risk. In the last 50 or so years, humans have interfered with the natural climate feedback mechanisms to such an extent that the climate cycle has been sent off into a new rhythm, with different seasonal variations both geographically and temporally. Rainfall patterns have shifted and the severity of events is changing; the exact new end state is still unknown, but the above model shows that that the current climate change is now no longer directly forced by anthropogenic emissions, is amenable to solution, but will require huge engineering, agricultural and social initiatives to bring under control. As we get ready for the changing rainfall patterns, the rising sea levels, the shifting disease patterns and the accelerated human migration, new infrastructure, more efficient food production, new water storages, new energy sources, whole new cities and massive clean up and restoration projects will need to be designed and implemented. In brief we will need to re-engineer almost the complete earth! In doing this we should not repeat the two major mistakes engineers have made in the past; we should clean up behind us as we move infrastructure and restore new ecosystems compatible with the new climate and second, we should remember the interconnectivity between carbon, water and people; we must learn to build multi-objective infrastructure where we accommodate people in a healthy environment, where we generate energy, harness bulk water and sequester carbon all in a biodiverse environment; in brief we need to learn how to mimic nature! I will illustrate this with three examples. First, how a green environment can lead to better human health and also sequester an enormous amount of carbon. Second, how lakes may be used to provide bulk water, sequester almost one quarter of the anthropogenic global carbon flux, provide enhanced fish yields and safeguard biodiversity. Third, I will use the proposed Severn Barrage as an example where such engineering ventures maybe used to stimulate the economy, generate a substantial amount of power, enhance the estuarine biodiversity, annually sequester up to possible 20% of UK’s anthropogenic carbon flux into the atmosphere and provide much better recreational accessibility. The greatest challenge we face is to focus on the opportunities offered by rapidly changing environment and return to a village life, albeit now a global village, the environment from which our DNA originated. If properly managed we could grow out of our juvenile, irresponsible behaviour from the 20th Century and emerge from the next 100 years a more responsible species and an earth where we can control our global risk, the climate. Our fate is in our own hands, only wealth inequity stands in the way.


Patricia OkelyInterplay of lake motions and horizontal transport (PhD Thesis Defence)17/12/2008

Knowledge of the distribution of biochemical material within a lake or freshwater reservoir is of upmost importance to the resource managers and stakeholders. The impact of horizontal advection and dispersion on patch dynamics of aquatic species is also an active area of scientific interest. Horizontal transport in lakes, especially horizontal dispersion, is mostly addressed at the basin-scale in the literature, and there is a need to characterise and quantify the effect of local processes - i.e. as has been done for vertical transport. The objective of this study was thus: from observations and hydrodynamic modeling of three study sites, determine the contribution of local-scale motions - flow patterns associated with localised vertical mixing, surface heating and interaction with bathymetry - to horizontal transport. Research was conducted into horizontal motion and transport associated with partial upwelling events in a narrow reservoir, showing effective horizontal transport due to gravitational motion set up by localised vertical mixing. The composition of the surface layer horizontal flow field was further investigated, showing surface layer motion can be composed equally of basin-scale and local-scale motions, and a local-scale motion comprised of aperiodic divergence events causes significant horizontal dispersion. The study encompassed sites with different spatial scales, basin shape, external forcing and internal structure. The results showed important spatial and temporal variability in rates of horizontal dispersion that should be considered when attempting to understand and predict the origin and fate of heterogeneous distributions of biochemical material in lakes and reservoirs.


Greg McIntyreIndigenous people: The duties of government and industry26/11/2008

This seminar will address the fiduciary obligations of State and Federal Australian Governments and the compensation obligations of resource companies towards Australia’s Indigenous peoples. It will discuss examples of government action which failed to pass the test of providing equal rights to Indigenous, including the Commonwealth Government’s intervention into the Northern Territory and the Western Australian Government’s dealings with Aboriginal Communities, particularly in the Swan Valley and Kimberley. It will also explore the way in which multinational mining companies are operating in the Pilbara in relation to Indigenous peoples and compare that with the way in which they relate to local communities in other countries.


Building capacity in coastal-marine research and management in the western Indian Ocean region05/11/2008

The Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of UNESCO promotes scientific investigation of oceans and its resources through the concerted actions of its member states. UNESCO/IOC focuses on: -Addressing the impacts of climate change and variability, including sealevel rise -Safeguarding Marine ecosystems health and integrated management -Capacity building, data and information services and procedures for marine scientific research -Mitigating the impacts of tsunamis and other marine hazards Through the Capacity Development Programme, Theodore Marguerite (Seychelles Meteorology Services) and Stefano Mazzilli (UNESCO/IOC) are currently working with the Centre for Water Research (CWR) to: 1) prepare a hydrodynamic model for coastal management in the Seychelles, and 2) to facilitate a training of others in the region at the end of November. They will present some of issues faced and current approaches to developing capacity in coastal and marine research and management encountered in the region, including: -Capacity Development in the Seychelles -Capacity Development in the East Africa region -The role of UNESCO IOC Programme and other United Nations agencies Following, they will facilitate an open discussion on: How can researchers and managers better assist in building sustained capacity when working in developing countries? Please join this discussion with your own personal experiences or thoughts.


Assist Prof Carlos OcampoThe study of historical floods in the context of climate variability and anthropogenic changes: Are there any similarities between the extreme floods of 1914 and 2003 in the Salado River Basin (Argentina)?29/10/2008

Climate variability, floods and their impacts have received increasing attention around the world in recent years leading to research programs aimed at incorporating historical data into flood risk management. Such research programs were motivated by the occurrence of recent devastating floods over the past decade. New approaches based on the use of information from various historical sources, in contrast to the 70's traditional engineering approaches, have succeeded in improving our understanding on the mechanisms leading to past floods caused solely by strong precipitation. The evaluation and critical analysis of quantitative and qualitative data such as water flood marks and documentary sources (e.g. newspaper, official reports) became a crucial component for flood peak discharge estimates before its incorporation into the flood frequency analysis. This presentation deals with the reconstruction of the extreme flood of the 30,000 km2 area's lower Salado River Basin (central-east Argentina) occurred during April and May of 1914. The timing and pattern of rainfall leading to the flood and its course were reconstructed by using the information from various historical sources. Quantitative flood marks data from historical records at a bridge located nearby to the actual stream gauging station, were contrasted against qualitative information from news papers, data analysis and metric over historical photographs, and field survey using a geodesic GPS system. Numerical modeling (1D and 3D) was used to estimate its peak discharge. The sequence and magnitude of rainfall events over the 1913-1914 water-year and the estimated peak flood magnitude indicated astonishing similarities when compared to the flood occurred during April and May of 2003 yet considered the largest flood during the period of systematic hydrological measurements (1953-to present). Important considerations about the engineering and historical research-type approaches will be discussed in the light of the flood peak estimation.


Dr Jason AntenucciHigh resolution oxygen dynamics in a supposedly oligotrophic reservoir22/10/2008

The Pacific-Northwest of the United States has a large number of highly regulated river systems, which have resulted in severe impacts on numerous aquatic species such as salmon, bull trout and a number of snail species. In the Deadwood River Basin, a 5 year program started in 2007 with the objective to improve conditions for bull trout by altering the operational regime of the Deadwood Reservoir. Deadwood Reservoir is located approximately 1600m above sea level, in an extremely harsh environment where winter temperatures regularly reach 30 degrees below zero. As part of the program, a Lake Diagnostic System (LDS) consisting of a high resolution thermistor chain, seven dissolved oxygen sensors and a meteorological station were installed in July 2007. Sampling every minute, including under complete ice cover through winter, this data set is proving to be an extremely rich source of information on primary productivity and carbon cycling. This talk will outline the dynamics of this supposedly oligotrophic reservoir, and in particular demonstrate how this high resolution data stream has the potential to change our perceptions of productivity in low nutrient environments.


Ursula SalmonPredicting acid sulfate soil impacts on water quality: Application to the Lower Lakes of the Murray River15/10/2008

Acid generation as a result of disturbance of "acid sulfate soils" can have localised but devastating effects on downstream environments, infrastructure, and natural resources. Decreasing water levels as a result of urban and agricultural drainage and groundwater extraction, and/or generally from drying climatic conditions, has lead to increased risk of acidification at many sites. However, there is also natural acid buffering capacity in many systems; prediction and management of overall acidification risks therefore requires quantification of the relative rates of acid generation, transport, and attenuation. An example of a system under risk of acidification is the lower lakes of the Murray River, in South Australia. Due to unprecedented low river inflows and barrages between the lakes and the ocean, water levels in the lakes have decreased significantly. The exposed sediments are generating acidity and initial estimates suggested acidification of Lake Albert by 2010. In order to provide a more detailed assessment of the overall acidification risk in the potentially short timeframe, an existing coupled 3D hydrodynamics and water quality model was extended to include a representation of the acidity loading that considers the kinetics of acidity generation and transport. Simulations over the period of 2008-2010, assuming continued low flow conditions, indicated that, even given the uncertainty in the parameters in this desktop study, the water quality in the lakes is likely to deteriorate within the next 12-24 months. Sensitivity of simulation results to chemical and transport parameter values highlighted the need for field and/or laboratory studies to constrain key parameters. Simulations also indicated that shallow reaches in the northern and southern parts may exhibit localised acidification even prior to reaching lake-wide trigger levels; field studies focussed on these areas are recommended.


Assoc Prof Ilia OstrovskyMethane ebullition in stratified Lake Kinneret: hydroacoustic quantification, temporal and spatial heterogeneity08/10/2008

Over the last century the atmospheric concentration of methane, has risen approximately 1% per year. The reasons for this trend are not completely understood since the global sources and sinks of methane still need quantification. Quantification of gaseous methane in aquatic ecosystems is a complex task due to large spatial and temporal variability of the gas emission events. As a result, there is a gap in knowledge about the contribution of gas ebullition to the total methane flux from sediments in shallow lakes and reservoirs. This information is necessary to determine what portion of deposited organic carbon is utilized by methanogenic bacteria, to evaluate the fate of bubbles in the water column, and the amount of methane that ultimately reaches the atmosphere. In contrast to conventional gas traps and optical methods, hydroacoustic technology allows rapid scanning over large volumes of the water column synoptically, quantifying bubble gas abundance, calculating bubble rise velocity, and bubble volumes. Data obtained from hydroacoustic surveys on Lake Kinneret allowed estimating the gaseous methane fluxes from deep hypolimnetic sediments. It was shown that ~40% of the gaseous methane released as bubbles from the deep sediments (>20m) should be dissolved within the hypolimnion, while ~ 30% of the gaseous methane released as bubbles reached the atmosphere. In years of fast lowering the water level, a large proportion of methane accumulation in the hypolimnion could be attributed to bubble dissolution. Overall, our estimates showed that in lakes and reservoirs with declining water levels, bubbles can play an essential role in methane evolution in the anoxic hypolimnion and in direct methane transfer to the atmosphere.


Professor Thomas SanfordHighly resolved observations and simulations of the ocean response to tropical cyclones01/10/2008

Tropical cyclones are responsible for thousands of deaths, billions of dollars of property and business losses, and disruptions to millions of peoples’ lives. Even slight improvements in the forecasts of cyclone track and intensity can have profound societal impacts. Much information is lacking about the details of the oceanic response. Yet, it is recognized that the ocean provides the sensible and latent heat (i.e. enthalpy) fluxes that initiate the tropical cyclones and also fuel its intensification. One way to observe hurricane evolution is to deploy autonomous profilers in the path of a cyclone. I present results from rapid profiles of ocean velocity and density during the passage of Hurricane Frances in September 2004. These comprehensive observations of the ocean’s response to a hurricane reveal that shear instability and convective motions deepen and homogenize the surface mixed layer (SML), document large surface waves, and provide a dynamical explanation of SML processes and a ground truth for improved wind stress and sea surface temperature (SST) parameterizations. Three autonomous profiling EM-APEX floats were deployed ahead of the hurricane and observed ocean properties every half hour over the depth interval 30 to 200 m - one on the forecasted track of the eye, others at 55 km to the right of the hurricane’s track and 110 km to the right of the track. Each float observed different responses to the local wind velocities and durations. Under the high winds at the 55-km site, sea surface temperature (SST) cooled 2.2°C, SML deepened and 80 m, and surface gravity wave reached 12-m significant wave height. Based on the momentum changes observed in the upper ocean, the apparent drag coefficient increased as described by Large and Pond, then decreased for winds greater than 25 m s-1, and levelled off at 1.3 x 10-3 at wind speeds greater than 35 m s-1. Sea surface cooled primarily from shear induced vertical mixing bringing deeper, cooler water into the surface zone, rather than from sensible and latent heat leaving the ocean. Numerical simulations of the 3-D, time dependent ocean responses are improved with the in situ observations and their interpretations, such as the revised drag coefficient and SML deepening.


Professor Jörg ImbergerLife in a changing climate24/09/2008

Thousands of years ago human life on earth was in harmony with nature on a 100,000 year cycle, the period between the ice ages; this is when the human mind and body evolved and essentially our genetic design stems from this period. Genetic evidence suggests that the human race evolved from the primate starting around 150,000 years ago,or two ice ages ago; the human DNA was fine tuned during this period. The human that was created was designed to function in harmony with the environment of the time; in the womb the mother programmed the DNA switches to ready the child for the new outside world, in the first 6 months of life the immune system inventory was set up and in the first 6 years or so the brain learned to conform to society's norms and be in relative equilibrium with the immediate environment. The human of the day survived around 30 to 50 years with death, in probabilistic terms occurring through different breakdowns in the functioning of organs and the immune system; life expectancy increased as early failures mechanisms became repairable revealing every newer failures in succession. Over the last 15,000 years, essentially since the last ice age, the functioning humans set up their icons; family, the concept of God, the various cultures and forms of government and the hierarchical ideas of respect for experience. Spirituality was an important part of this evolution, providing the connection between humans, nature and the unknown. Before organized religion came about humans expressed their spirituality through a combination of respect for the unknown, superstition and fear of what was not understood. Hinduism evolved first and may be seen as a transition between simple spirituality and the organized religions; a movement with a minimalist structure. Judaism, the first version of an organized religion, ordered the various expressions of spirituality into a more consistent set of rules, much like laws order community consensus. In simple terms, these rules were simply reflections of the constraints imposed by nature on our evolution and so formed sign posts for living in a way that promoted better survival. However, as the structure became more consolidated, the organizational part of the structure gained in strength. Christianity followed, consolidating the structure even more and people started to interpret the rules to the advantage of humans and, in particular, the church. Islam followed with yet further extension of rules and structures. In the last 100 years, we have devoted ourselves almost exclusively to 'liberating' ourselves from these icons and in the process trashing nature and removing most of our reference points; technology provided the mechanism and the GDP the measure of success for this mission. Technology is pursued to liberate us from the constraints of our reach, and in that it has been singularly successful, but it has resulted in unintended consequences unleashing some very disturbing new feedback mechanisms that are having alarming consequences for the human race: a) Climate change in now controlled by the increase in hurricanes, the melting of the permafrost and the loss of solubility in the ocean as well as a breakdown of ecological balances. b) Recent research has shown that our genetic destiny is set in the prenatal period when the stress levels in the mother determines much of the well being of an individuals life; the more stress the mother is under the higher the incidence of pathological behavioural changes in the adult, rendering the resulting society less able to make mature decisions. c) By changing our environment our immune system is no longer being set up properly, leading to an alarming rise in diseases. This motivates us to further sterilise our environment only making the problem worse. d) By removing 'creative loafing' time from our daily lives, we are getting better at short term decision making, but much less able to cope with holistic problem solving. e) Economic growth is fueling the information age that, in turn, is increasing productivity leading to a positive feedback into economic growth; the result is that the GDP of most countries is now growing exponentially and we are totally addicted to consumption, with all the symptoms of clinical addiction. f) Even more alarming for the human race is that technology has allowed, over the last 15 years, a massive concentration of wealth and power, in the hands of a few, upsetting the fundamental democratic institutions. g) Our senses no longer match our needs and we compensate by viewing the world through the simplifications of the computer screen, this is having the effect of devaluing nature and its therapeutic influence on human well being. The alarming feature of these feedbacks is that they imply that, the climate, our psychological state, the economy and nature's habitat will all move, irrespective of what humans do, to a new unknown state in the time of one human life, all bring a significant imbalance between the human capability and his/her environment. In essence humans, by expanding our reach to global scales through technology, have set up a 50 year global experiment where we are both the observers and the subject and for which we have neither a hypothesis nor an objective; we have put the earth and ourselves in the hands of fate. Not a comfortable experiment for a scientist! What is to be done? I shall examine some of the more popular ideas such as carbon trading and sequestration and show that these technologies are much less effective than improving food production efficiencies and returning the released land to reforestation. However, an even greater challenge for our Universities is to develop technologies that allow people to participate in society in the face of wealth inequity, declining biodiversity, unbalanced population increases and genetic manipulation.


Dr Clelia MartiShort-circuiting flow-paths within a reservoir: field observations and numerical modelling17/09/2008

Lakes are generally efficient natural settling basins, however in certain circumstances the settling capacity of the lake is affected by short-circuiting pathways. A short-circuiting pathway is a preferred in-lake water path (or flow-through) where the inflowing water is transported towards a certain outlet at a relative faster rate rather than in other regions of the lake. The degree of short-circuiting depends on the inlet-outlet geographic configuration, flow rates, wind disturbances, internal waves motions or gravity flows. This talk will present the results of detailed field observations and numerical modelling conducted to assess the fate and transport of water into Prospect Reservoir (New South Wales, Australia), with a goal to determine the likelihood of short-circuiting of piped water to the nearby reservoir outlet over the short-term. The combination of the field observations and validated numerical modelling has led to a detailed understanding of the dynamics of the reservoir and highlighted how different operational conditions and thermodynamics condition can have a dramatic influence on the water quality in the reservoir.


Dr Florence VerspechtVertical structure of residual currents in the Liverpool Bay region of freshwater influence10/09/2008

Tidal straining is proposed as a key mechanism influencing the magnitude and timing of the horizontal mass flux of nutrients, terrestrial carbon and anthropogenic contaminants across Regions of Freshwater Influence (ROFIs), the critical interface between estuaries and continental shelf seas. Evidence for this hypothesis is presented in estimates of the long-term residual current profile, obtained from five years of continuous ADCP measurements, taken at the Proudman Oceanographic Laboratory Coastal Observatory mooring in Liverpool Bay. The observed mean residual velocities are found to be three times larger than those predicted by Heaps' (1972) 'classical' solution. The strongest residual currents from the coastal observatory mooring are shown to occur when the water column periodically alternates between a well mixed and stratified state, a consequence of tidal straining, rather than simply related to the density gradient. These results are used for the further development of the POLCOMS 3-D numerical model to improve the simulation of physical processes that drive the off -shore flux of freshwater.


Dr Laurie BalistrieriThe cycling of Cu & Zn in a river affected by acid-rock drainage: Dissolved & labile concentrations, toxicity, & isotopic fractionation03/09/2008

Field, laboratory, and modeling studies are used to determine the physical and geochemical processes that control the biogeochemical behavior of Cu, Zn, and other metals in a river that receives acid-rock drainage. Field data indicate that pH increases and dissolved concentrations of many elements decrease in the river downstream of its confluence with acid-rock drainage. Mixing and dilution affect the concentrations of all dissolved elements in the dynamic reach. Dissolved Fe concentrations also decrease throughout the reach due to precipitation of schwertmannite and ferrihydrite. At pH values > 4.5-5.6, newly formed Fe precipitates adsorb Cu and Zn. The fractionation of Cu and Zn isotopes during adsorption onto ferrihydrite also is examined to provide an additional tool for identifying specific processes occurring in the environment. Although precipitation and adsorption are critical in regulating the concentrations of dissolved metals, the uptake of metals by aquatic organisms is highly dependent on solution speciation. Diffusive Gradients in Thin Films (DGT) and the Biotic Ligand Model are used to evaluate the speciation and acute toxicity of dissolved Cu and Zn in the mixing and reaction zone. Dissolved and DGT labile metal concentrations are generally equal at pH > 4.9. Labile concentrations of Zn do not exceed LC50 Zn concentrations for fathead minnows and water fleas, whereas labile concentrations of Cu at sites closest to the confluence (~8-30 m downstream) exceed LC50 Cu concentrations for the organisms. These results are in good agreement with previously conducted toxicity tests that indicate minimal to no survival of these organisms at a site 16 m downstream of the confluence.


Dr Meri TulicOverview of dietary practice in the development of immune tolerance20/08/2008

There has been a clear and worrying increase in a diverse range of allergic and autoimmune diseases, which are associated with an underlying failure of immune tolerance (to allergens and self-antigens). Development of immune tolerance is a critical process in early life. The rising rates of allergic and autoimmune diseases highlight the susceptibility of these tolerance pathways to environmental changes. Although the mechanisms are not clear, many of these conditions (including food allergies, coeliac disease and type 1 diabetes) manifest early in life, indicating that immune dysregulation is a very early event. This emphasizes the need to understand the developmental origins of these conditions and in particular, the role of: -The pattern of early allergen exposure (including feeding practices, and the timing, dose, interval and regularity of allergen exposure) -Early gut colonisation and microbial exposure -Other immunomodulatory influences (such as omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids [n-3PUFA] and breast milk), in both the pathogenesis and the prevention of disease At present, there are very few formal recommendations on these points as good evidence is still not available. Challenging many long-held concepts, there are now studies (in progress and in design) that will examine the hypothesis that earlier introduction (rather than avoidance) and regular exposure to "allergenic" foods (such as peanuts and egg) may reduce the risk of specific allergies to these foods. However, more studies are needed before recommendations can be made.


Prof Murugesu SivapalanWater cycle dynamics in a changing environment: Advancing hydrologic science through synthesis13/08/2008

As one ponders a changing environment -- climate, hydrology, land use, biogeochemical cycles, human dynamics -- there is an increasing need to understand the long term evolution of the linked component systems (e.g., climatic, hydrologic and ecological) through conceptual and quantitative models. The most challenging problem toward this goal is to understand and incorporate the rich dynamics of multiple linked systems with weak and strong coupling, and with many internal variables that exhibit multi-scale interactions. The richness of these interactions leads to fluctuations in one variable that in turn drive the dynamics of other related variables. The key question then becomes: ""Do these complexities lend an inherently stochastic character to the system, rendering deterministic prediction and modeling of limited value, or do they translate into constrained self-organization through which emerges order, and a limited group of "active" processes (that may change from time to time) that determine the general evolution of the system through a series of structured states with a distinct signature? "" This is a grand challenge for predictability and therefore requires community effort. The interconnectivity and hence synthesis of knowledge across the fields should be natural for hydrologists since the global water cycle and its regional manifestations directly correspond to the information flows for mass and energy transformations across the media, and across the disciplines. Further, the rich history of numerical, conceptual and stochastic modeling in hydrology provides the training and breadth for addressing the multi-scale, complex system dynamics challenges posed by the evolution question. Theory and observational analyses that necessitate stepping back from the existing knowledge paradigms and looking at the integrated system are needed. In this talk I will present the outlines of a new NSF-funded community effort that attempts to forge inter-disciplinary synthesis through research efforts aimed at "improving predictability of water cycle dynamics in a changing environment." The synthesis activities have brought together inter-disciplinary scientific teams to address specific open problems such as: (i) human-nature interactions and adaptations; (ii) role of the biosphere in water cycle dynamics; (iii) human induced changes to water cycle dynamics; and (iv) structure of landscapes and their evolution through time. All synthesis activities are underpinned by common unifying themes: (a) science of interacting processes; (b) variability as the driver of interactions and ecosystem functioning; (c) search for emergent behavior and organizing principles; and (d) complexity theory and non-equilibrium thermodynamics.


Dr Stewart DallasConstructed wetlands for wastewater treatment in Western Australia06/08/2008

The potential for constructed wetlands (CWs) in Western Australia is enormous as they can provide cost-effective wastewater treatment systems which are simple and inexpensive to operate and maintain when compared to conventional treatment systems. As a result they represent an appropriate and sustainable technology for wastewater treatment - properties which have been widely documented. The largest drawback is the area they require which can make their application to urban areas problematic, however they are particularly well suited to small towns and rural communities where sufficient land is more likely to be available. In addition, regulatory bodies are currently preoccupied with the potential for mosquito habitat which can be avoided with correct design. Constructed wetlands can be considered to be of three principal types: subsurface flow (SSF), vertical flow (VF) and free water surface (FWS). The design of these types of wetlands historically has been based on data from numerous wetlands worldwide which has been used to derive empirical equations - the 'black box' approach. The Environmental Technology Centre is now beginning to monitor several different types of constructed wetlands in southwest WA and data more relevant to the local climate is being compiled. This includes different wastewater types including greywater, levels of treatment, suitable plant species, local climatic effects and general construction details. This monitoring program will ultimately lead to improved wetland design for West Australian conditions.


Dr Penny HollickIf Orchid Mycorrhizal Fungi are so specific, how do natural hybrids cope?30/07/2008

The genus Caladenia (spider orchids) is one of the most diverse in southwestern Western Australia, and Caladenia species have among the most specific mycorrhizal relationships known in the orchid family. However, Caladenia species also hybridise frequently and prolifically in nature. This study considered five natural hybrids within Caladenia and its closest relatives to elucidate the issue of mycorrhizal specificity in the hybrids and their parental species. Symbiotic cross-germination studies of parental and hybrid seed on fungi from the species and the naturally occurring hybrids were compared with data from genetic fingerprinting (amplified fragment length polymorphism) studies of the fungi. The germination study found that, while hybrid seeds can utilise the fungi from either parental species under laboratory conditions, it is likely that the natural hybrids in situ share the fungus of one parent only. In contrast, the genetic analysis indicated that while the parental species always possessed genetically distinct fungal strains, the hybrids may share the mycorrhizal fungus of one parental species or possess a genetically distinct fungal strain which is more closely related to the fungus of one parental species than the other. These findings confirm the specificity of mycorrhizal relationships in Caladenia, and suggest the potential of hybridisation and the utilisation of novel fungi as a possible pathway to speciation.


Professor Jörg ImbergerPhysical Limnology: A Review23/07/2008

Over the last 30 years, limnology has become a mature field with most of the energy flux paths now well established and incorporated into 3D models. The energy from the wind and the sun enters a lake via the free surface, the river inflow may form overflows, intrusions or underflows and the selectivity of a withdrawal flow depends strongly on the thermal stratification in the lake. The talk is structured to follow the energy flux from the wind, to surface waves and surface layer turbulence, to basin scale barotropic lake seiching and internal waves, to high frequency free internal waves and free gyres, to the benthic boundary layer to finally the intermittent turbulence field in the water column; this is generated by non linear wave breaking, Kelvin Hemholz billowing and Holmboe shear instabilities, depending on the relative placement of the shear and density field gradients. Inflows and outflow dynamics is then briefly reviewed. Next, I show how this symphony of motions adds to sustain a weak vertical mass flux and a horizontal dispersion; the latter being critically dependent on the topology of the horizontal residual circulation and the presence of unsteady stagnation points. I will conclude with an illustration of how the full complexity of these motions can be captured with a 3D model that also beautifully illustrates the competitive nature of the various components of the motion in determining the net mixing in a lake and I show how this competition is a strong function of the lake and stratification properties.


Mauricio BoteroLarge-scale dynamics of Lake Victoria and their impact on mass exchange with Winam Gulf09/07/2008

Water level measurements in the vicinity of Winam Gulf, Lake Victoria, showed strong periodicity at either 12.8 or 26.3 hours, with strong amplification along Winam Gulf. To study the origins of these pseudo-tidal surface fluctuations and their impact on flushing of Winam Gulf, three-dimensional numerical simulations of the entire lake were carried out and validated against data collected in August 2005. The wind field was found to be the major forcing factor for the physical processes occurring in the lake, in particular by generating long period surface seiches that strongly influenced the flushing from large coastal embayments such as Winam Gulf. Given the surface seiches are a lake-wide feature, it is expected that they play a similar role in flushing the other large embayments of the lake. ELCOM numerical model was used for the simulations. To validate the model surface elevations, temperature profiles and vertical velocity profiles are compared to measurements at selected points. Sensitivity analysis were carried out to model variables like wind speed, solar radiation, light extinction coefficient, bottom friction stress to guarantee that model adequately reproduced the field measurements. After the model validation was carried out, the mass exchange mechanisms between the main lake and the Winam Gulf were studied by identifying the dispersion mechanisms and the main advection mechanism. The numerical model results showed that the mass exchange follows a complicated pattern which is determined by the wind induced seiches in the main lake. From the three dispersion mechanisms studied, the one representing the residual circulation is the most important one, being even as important as the main advection mechanism.


Dr Syed Mahtab AliIMPACT OF IRRIGATION ON GROUNDWATER RECHAGE-INTEGRATED HYDROLOGICAL MODELLING APPROACH25/06/2008

The Southwest Irrigation Area (SIA) consists of three irrigation districts (Waroona, Harvey and Collie) located about 90 km south of Perth. These three districts supply about 40% of Perth’s dairy needs. Flood irrigation is used to boost the pasture production and over irrigation is common in the area. Due to this excessive irrigation practice during summer most of the irrigated area becomes waterlogged during an average winter rainfall season. The actual weather conditions usually determine the level of waterlogging and flooding in the area. Dry weather (below average rainfall) causes less waterlogging and relatively wet weather (above average rainfall) results in excessive waterlogging problems. The waterlogging takes a relatively long time to disappear in the following spring resulting in accessibility problems, lost opportunity for cropping and low productivity. A study was carried out to assess the impacts of wet, average and dry year/climate on the waterlogging, flooding and groundwater recharge in the SIA. A fully integrated and spatially distributed hydrological model (MIKE SHE enterprise) was used in this study. A simple approach was used to define a wet, average and dry climate using past meteorological data. The model was calibrated and validated for a subcatchment of around 8000 ha in the study area by using the physical and historical hydrological data. The validated model was used to run a number of wet, average and dry climate scenarios with three levels of irrigation. The aim was to assess the impacts of various weather conditions along with different levels of irrigation on the groundwater levels. The model (MIKE SHE enterprise) produced a wide range of results for various scenarios. These results are presented in this seminar.


Dr Andrea PapariniConnections between organism bio-molecular composition, elemental stoichiometry and growth.11/06/2008

A recent CWR seminar presented last February stressed the importance of improving the number of biological variables measured, in-situ and in real-time, within aquatic environments. These measurements may drive the development of hybrid numerical models, based also on the temporal dynamics of bio-molecules instead of elements only (e.g., carbon -C, nitrogen –N, and phosphorus -P). The most challenging task will be to integrate the new stream of information into the existing models, and to select the most appropriate and informative indices that can be measured rapidly and in a cost-effective manner. To do so, a streamlined approach involves the analytical quantification of the cellular macromolecules that make up the bulk of the cellular nutrients. Knowing a priori their respective C:N:P composition and the fractional allocation in specific taxa, would allow to infer the stock of nutrients in the sampled cell. Similarly, the approach could also be used to investigate the dissolved organic matter (DOM) composition and usage by planktic organisms. However, besides its straightforwardness, this strategy may also highlight the fundamental connections between C:N:P stoichiometry, bio-molecular composition and various physiological parameters, such as growth. While some cellular components show constant quantitative ratios with cellular C (and can indeed be used as proxies of it), others vary significantly in response to environmental stimuli and/or growth. This seminar will present two recently developed models linking C:N:P stoichiometry, bio-molecular composition and organism growth. Noteworthy, the modelled variables (e.g., RNA, proteins, carbohydrates etc) can be measured rapidly and cheaply, even during field surveys. This feature appears particularly important to improve our ability to initialize or validate the numerical simulations with streams of “up-to-date” data. The practicability of integrating new simple sub-modules for autotrophs’ and consumers’ growth dynamics, into complex numerical models like CAEDYM, will be discussed. In the so-called “self-learning” environments, these sub-modules may eventually serve as internal dynamic controls giving to the system the ability to self-check accuracy and correct its own output.


Dr Matt HipseyTowards a self-learning environmental observing system for water quality research and management28/05/2008

Across the globe, surface and coastal waters face increasing pressures from development such as eutrophication and pollution from contaminants that are potentially deleterious to human and ecosystem health.  The sustainable management of such impacted systems requires a quantitative assessment of ecosystem dynamics and services to guide decision support activities. Models are used to support decision makers as they serve as virtual environmental laboratories where the functioning and sensitivities of systems can be explored, either in a natural or perturbed condition.  They are also important since they support our capacity to reconcile theory with observation. Advances in cyberinfrastructure, sensors and observation networks have opened up new challenges for the development and application of aquatic ecology models. Real-time data streams can be now be utilised not only for model validation and testing, but they can also be dynamically integrated within a modelling system to enable strategic adaptation of the model parameters as the simulation evolves. Although, such model 'learning' has been demonstrated for numerous physical systems (e.g. hydraulics), highly non-linear systems (e.g. aquatic ecology)  paradoxically suffer from insufficient data which is essential for validation and reducing model uncertainty. There is therefore a mismatch between system and model complexity, and available data-streams. Here a novel approach is outlined that integrates aquatic biochemical and cytometric data with the 3D water quality model ELCOM-CAEDYM, with the aim of developing a self-learning water quality modelling system.


Professor Norman YanEmerging complexities in the recovery of Canadian Shield lakes from historical acid deposition21/05/2008

Acid rain was one of the 4 issues that started the environmental movement in North America. I will use 25-35 years of data from Sudbury and Dorset, Ontario, lakes to determine if recovery of the physical, chemical and biological attributes of Canadianlakes has followed the large scale reductions in North American SO2 emssions.  Much recovery has occurred, produced,in Sudbury, both by regrowth of the urban forest which has reduced local wind speeds, and SO2 emission reductions, but the acid rain story is not over. Drought-induced re-acidification episodes now routinely follow El Nino years, and much of the long-term regional decline in lakewater sulphate has been balanced, not by a rise in alkalinity and pH, but by declines in lakewater Ca levels.  Indeed, it appears that Ca levels may soon fall below thresholds that harm Ca-rich biota, such as animal plankton, in many lakes, and this new problem may be exacerbated by climate warming.  There is indeed promising news on acid rain in North America, but the story is not over, rather it is morphing into a more complex issue involving the interaction of ongoing acidity, and Ca decline in warming waters.


Some Reflections on the Planetary Crisis14/05/2008

For over 40 years I have been concerned with major issues facing humanity such as war and violence, hunger and poverty, environmental destruction and resource depletion. Far from being resolved during this time, these issues have broadened and deepened into an interactive, global crisis that threatens the future of our civilization, our species, and our planet. At least 15 years ago, I concluded that we cannot solve planetary problems through expertise alone, no matter how interdisciplinary it may be. What is needed is a transformation of human consciousness including our beliefs, values, ways of thinking, and perceptions. That conclusion started me on a decade-long journey to document the essential features of an emerging worldview that integrates modern science with spiritual wisdom. The outcome was my book 'The Science of Oneness'. Since then, I have been exploring why progress seems to be so slow. This seminar will address some of the issues I am pondering during this visit to CWR, including: - Why are we so incredibly clever, and yet so unwise in the way we use our cleverness? - Why are we so slow to learn from inappropriate behaviour? - Why are we so violently destructive of nature and each other? - Why are we addicted to consumption of material goods (including fossil fuels) as well as mind- and mood-altering substances? - Why do we so often opt for short-term benefits at the price of potential long-term catastrophe? - Are we aggressive, violent, greedy, addictive and short-sighted by nature, or are these a product of our culture? I suspect that a common factor underlying all these questions is the effect of trauma, before, during and after birth. Also, a key turning point in human history may have been associated with the trauma of climate change.


Dr Ralph SmithThree dimensional modeling approaches to water quality and fisheries issues in the Laurentian Great Lakes09/04/2008

The Laurentian Great Lakes are comparable in size to many coastal ocean systems. As such, they experience many of the same physical processes and phenomena such as coastal upwelling, horizontal gyres, and coastal currents. Here we provide an overview of how physical processes are likely to influence three different ecological phenomena of current concern to lake and fishery managers. The first is the issue of oxygen depletion in the deep waters of Lake Erie, which continues to occur despite major expenditures to control nutrient loading to the lake. The second concerns the resurgent problem of shoreline fouling by the nuisance alga Cladophora, which also seems to defy the efforts of environmental management. Third is the question of why recruitment of some valuable fish stocks, such as walleye (Stizostedion vitreum) is so poorly predictable from spawning stock size. The physical processes of greatest relevance differ among these cases but a knowledge of the three dimensional structure of water density and motion is essential to each problem. We will describe our ongoing application of the three dimensional hydrodynamic and ecological model ELCOM-CAEDYM to these problems. A strength of this modeling approach is that it provides an avenue to assess the role of climate, which is likely to be very important to each of these issues.


Dr Isabel RamirezSimulation of the hydrodynamics and water quality on Zihuatanejo Bay in Mexico02/04/2008

The hydrodynamics of Zihuatanejo Bay were simulated based on the dynamic scenarios obtained from two field measurement campaigns. The campaigns were planned based on the wet and dry local season. Measurements of water level, discharge into the bay, temperature, salinity, wind velocity, air temperature and humidity were used as the basic parameters to initiate and feed a 3d hydrodynamic model. The dynamic scenarios resulting from the measurements show a well known estuarine circulation common in the coastal zone. The presence of gyres was observed resulting from the interaction of tidal circulation with small embayment’s inside the bay. The temperature and salinity patterns were also demonstrated to be typical of shallow coastal areas. The main objective of this study was to develop understanding of the physical processes occurring within the bay, with the final objective of recommendations for the planning of a sewage discharge system that is now situated inside the bay. ELCOM-CAEDYM were used to simulate the dynamic scenarios observed, using the measured data to force the models. The current velocities, temperature and bacteria concentration results from the simulation are presented. The results show good agreement with observed field measurements.


Dr Francesco PomatiA bloom out of the blue: cyanobacterial evolution, physiology and toxigenicity26/03/2008

Cyanobacteria, also known as blue-green algae, are oxygenic phototrophic prokaryotes considered among the oldest life forms on earth. They may be unicellular, colonial or filamentous and are common in all kinds of habitats, including lakes, rivers, thermal springs, arid deserts and tropical acidic soils. Most commonly they are known for their existence as planktonic members of the water column in marine and freshwater environments. Cyanobacteria may have detrimental properties when judged from a human perspective. Their extensive growth (blooms) can create considerable nuisance for management of water resources, including the production of potent toxins. The physiological and ecological function of cyanobacterial toxins remain largely a mystery. Studies have focused on interactive effects between genotypes and local environmental variables. The seminar will summarise the topical research of the Centre for Cyanobacteria and Astrobiology, which include the genetics, molecular biology, biochemistry, physiology and toxicology of cyanotoxins such as saxitoxin, microcystin, cylindrospermopsin and nodularin that are found in cyanobacterial and other harmful algal blooms; the genetic diversity of several bacterial environmental niches with particular focus on the phylogenetic description of a number of cyanobacterial genera; the study of stromatolites from Shark Bay (WA) as a model of early life on earth.


Dr Gabriel RaggioThe Uruguayan Paper mill on the Uruguay River and the Hydraulic River Regime19/03/2008

This is an informal presentation on the issues of a new paper mill constructed on the Uruguay River and on the hydraulics of the river reach near the paper mill. The construction of this mill on this bi-national river has generated tensions between Uruguay and Argentina. Currently, the International Court of The Hague is considering the case. There is very little environmental data on the site, and in particular no river field studies. In 2006 as part an environmental assessment, numerical simulations of the river reach revealed short comings in the environmental impact studies done by the paper mill company and by the World Bank. Currently, in 2008, a significant effort has begun to monitor the site, part of this effort will be devoted to confirm or reject the finding of the numerical hydrodynamics simulations.


Dr Clelia MartiNear field flow characteristics of a hypersaline brine generated by a desalination plant12/03/2008

A field experiment was conducted to investigate the near-field flow characteristics of a hypersaline brine generated by a desalination plant being discharged into costal waters via an offshore diffuser. The aim was to determine the dilution of the negatively buoyant plume as it exited the diffuser under three different discharge regimes (1/3, 2/3 and full capacity), and to relate these measurements to scaling arguments derived from laboratory measurements. Equations based on the densimetric jet Froude number F, published from laboratory experiments, were found to adequately describe the thickness of the resulting saline bottom layer and the dilution of the brine for all cases for which F > 20,. For F < 20, no laboratory results exist and the dilution was found to be greater than that anticipated from an extrapolation of the laboratory results. Dilution was found, for all flow configurations, to be greater than that predicted by the accepted design formulae (45 in this case) such that at 50 metres from the diffuser: 54 times for 1/3 flow, 59.5 times for 2/3 flow and 61.4 times for full flow.


Wave propagation in granular materials and the weird booming of dunes27/02/2008

http://www.me.caltech.edu/people/faculty/brennen.html Wave propagation is a fundamental property of all physical systems and its characteristics in many conventional forms of matter are well understood and well documented. In contrast, waves in granular materials are much more complex due to the heterogeneous nature of these systems. The key element in the mechanics of a granular system is the force chain and it is along these preferentially-stressed chains of particles that waves are transmitted. However, this process is heavily dependent on the geometry of the bed and this is prone to rearrangement even by the slightest of forces. This talk will first present results from laboratory experiments and simulations intended to explore wave propagation in a granular bed. Measurements of the wave speed and attenuation in the bed reveal the unique properties of waves in granular systems which result from the nonlinearity of the bed and the heterogeneity of the force chains. Sinusoidal waves demonstrate the nondispersive nature of a granular bed and show the transient effects of force chain rearrangement. Pulsed waves display a semi-permanent shape qualitatively similar to predictions from nonlinear wave theory. In addition to examining wave propagation in a granular bed at rest, an investigation is also carried out on a granular bed undergoing low frequency vibration which increases the granular temperature of the bed and allows for the exploration the effect of granular state changes on the wave propagation characteristics. These tests and simulations display the striking differences in wave propagation from one part of the vibration cycle to the next. Finally, the talk will describe the remarkable phenomenon manifest by "booming sand dunes", specifically the noise emanating from tall, dry dunes that has puzzled both ancient tribes and modern scientists. This talk will describe a series of investigations of booming dunes in California's Mohave Desert and utilize the knowledge gained from the laboratory studies described above to try to explain the booming phenomenon.


Dr Andrea PapariniLinking bio-molecular measurements to elemental stoichiometry in aquatic pools: from nutrients’ cycles to cellular physiology20/02/2008

CWR Computational Aquatic Ecosystem Dynamics Model (CAEDYM) can currently simulate dozens of state variables, to account for a comprehensive suite of ecological and biogeochemical processes occurring within a water body. The only biological variable that is currently measured in the field and in real-time, is chlorophyll a (chla). For its positive correlation with cellular C, chla is used as a proxy of phytoplankton biomass, and provides a picture of the spatio-temporal dynamics of the photosynthetic assemblage. Other biological parameters are only measured before or after the experiment, or simply retrieved from the literature. Any models’ capability and overall performance depend on the availability of suitable information used to initialize, force (in real-time), or validate the system. Clearly not only are important the quantity and quality of this information, but also the possibility of matching the modelled processes, both in space and time. Given CAEDYM’s refinement, there is evidently a disproportion between the complexity of the model and the adequacy of measured biological variables. This seminar explores the potential for novel bio-molecular measurements to contribute to the validation of CAEDYM’s state variables and their internal fluxes. Besides this, the possibility for these new datasets to unravel the complexity of nutrients sources, ecosystem status, pools composition, population dynamics, and biomass is also considered. The selection of new measurements is strictly prioritized towards the availability of rapid and simple assays, and transportable instruments suitable for field-applications. This appears particularly important to reduce the mismatch between time of measurement and the simulated scenario. The integration of such data-stream may open up a new paradigm for the way ecological models may adapt their operation and configuration, in response to observed phenomena.