Seminars highlight environmental research

Published 25 March 2007

Coral reefs, wildlife, environmental education and climate change will be among the issues highlighted in a new public seminar series being launched this week by Southern Cross University’s School of Environmental Science and Management.

The series will kick off on Tuesday, March 27, with a seminar at the Lismore campus outlining the capabilities of a new piece of equipment which has uses in forensics, health and the environment.

Technical officer Mr Brian Jones was recruited from the USA to run the instrument – a gas isotope ratio mass spectrometer.

“It measures the stable isotopes of certain elements such as carbon, nitrogen, hydrogen, oxygen and sulphur. By measuring the isotope you can determine its origin,” Mr Jones said.

“Some of the applications are in anthropology. If you have a piece of bone or hair you can determine what that person ate. It can also be used in criminal investigations and forensics to determine the origin of explosives, for example.”

The equipment is being used at Southern Cross University in environmental research, and specifically in assessing carbon flows in certain environments.

Dr Amanda Reichelt-Brushett, who is co-ordinating the seminar series, said the series was designed to provide members of the public with the chance to hear about the latest research at the University, and the implications that research had for this region and beyond.

“We have incredible expertise here at Southern Cross University and are involved in research across a range of subject areas. We are very keen to share our work with members of the community,” Dr Reichelt-Brushett said.

Upcoming seminars include ‘Sustainable futures for mining and minerals processing’, by Professor David McConchie, on April 10; ‘A new approach to carbon sequestration in agriculture and forestry’, by Professor Leigh Sullivan and Dr Jeff Parr, on April 24: and ‘More sex on coral reefs – a global perspective’, by Associate Professor Peter Harrison, on May 8.

The first seminar will be held on Tuesday, March 27, at 4pm in U231, Lismore campus. For information contact Dr Reichelt-Brushett on 66203250.

Media contact: Brigid Veale Southern Cross University communications manager, 02 66593006 or 0439 680 748.