Our Student Stories

Mandy Beasley

PhD candidate
National Marine Science Centre

My name is Mandy Beasley, I'm a PhD candidate at the National Marine Science Centre through Southern Cross University. At the moment I'm currently researching cuttlefish in Northern New South Wales water, looking at their life history and behaviour.

What I enjoy most about the industry is going out in the field and doing amazing field work and also coming back into the lab and doing really good research. The biggest thing I look forward to every day is coming and hoping to find something that no one else has discovered and also just coming to work and doing something that I absolutely am passionate about and that I love.

I kind of fell into my PhD project. I went to a seminar here at the National Marine Science Centre about cuttlefish. There was a previous researcher here that did her PhD on them and she was just highlighting the lack of knowledge on species around here and in general and I put my hand up, and ended up falling into my PhD project though that. After I completed my undergrad(uate) degree, I had a job with an environmental laboratory up in Brisbane as a laboratory assistant and then I applied for a job down in Adelaide and got that which was for two and a half years with the department for water with the South Australian government.

One of the biggest highlights of my degree would probably be the mixture of both field and lab work.

The facilities at Southern Cross University are really great. Especially here at the National Marine Science Centre where we have salt water on tap and really great aquaculture facilities.

I would say university has helped me in my career by giving me really good contacts and also just giving me the skills required for different job opportunities.

I'm Mandy Beasley, and that's my story.

Ricardo Miranda

PhD candidate
National Marine Science Centre

Marine ecologist and Southern Cross University PhD candidate Ricardo Miranda explains his research into kelp, invasive species and ocean warming.

I'm a marine ecologist and PhD student and I work on two of the main threats to marine ecosystem - climate change and invasive species.

Oceans are predicted to warm in the future and this can alter the health and abundance of marine species and how they interact with each other.

I'm developing a staged test on how warming oceans and species invasion can change seaweed herbivory in marine ecosystems.

To test this we collected herbivores or marine snails, native algae and invasive algae to develop an experiment at National Marine Science Centre.

We placed these marine creatures in 20 large musicals or tanks that simulate both present and future ocean conditions.

We conducted three experiments to evaluate how temperature and the presence of invasive seaweed can change how much snails consumed seaweed.

Our results clearly showed that warming oceans increased consumption of two common native algal species because snails were hungry and increased their aggression rate.

Importantly however for the common kelp, invasion actually reduces this increased consumption in warmer temperature and we think that was because the chemicals that leach from the invasive seaweed inhibit grazing by snails under warmer conditions.

Ocean warming and invasion together had a positive feedback for kelp by reducing kelp loss through snail grazing.

This suggests that invasion may sometimes be positive in future oceans in this case enhancing the persistence of kelp in warming oceans where they might otherwise be over grazed.

Study research degrees at SCU

Postgraduate research and facilities at our campuses

Southern Cross University's campuses are located on Australia's east coast, at Coffs Harbour, Lismore and the southern Gold Coast.

Postgraduate research students enjoy outstanding facilities for pursuing their work under quality supervision. The University's plant science research is led by Professor Graham King

The range of expertise we have covers soils and agronomy, growing of crops, from genetics underpinning the breeding of crops and biochemistry covering the quality of crops. Plant sciences is just one of the disciplines in which Southern Cross University is conducting world leading research, drawing on its unique location.

Southern Cross University is a young and dynamic university situated on Australia's beautiful east coast. We've achieved outstanding results in government rankings in areas including geoscience, plant science, marine science health and engineering and we are ranked in the top 100 young universities worldwide.

The University's Dean of Engineering Professor Scott Smith, formerly of Hong Kong University, specialises in the repair and strengthening of structures. Southern Cross University contains a variety of laboratories that are equipped with state-of the-art facilities. We have great research staff who can supervise a variety of engineering projects.

Yee Yan Lim is a lecturer in the civil engineering program. Dr Lim leads the Advanced Materials Research, developing materials for structural health monitoring and energy harvesting in buildings.

Another application of these piezo electric materials is that it's able to harness vibration energy from various sources such as human walking, vibrating bridges, aircraft, machinery to power batteries.

In the field of Health, the University achieved "well above" or "above world standard" in Nursing; Complementary and Alternative Medicine; Medical and Health Sciences; and Human Movement and Sport Science in the most recent Excellence in Research for Australia national report.

PhD candidate Yun Wang is a medical doctor from Wuhan City in China. She's completing her doctoral studies in diabetes intervention under the supervision of Professor Shi Zhou, in collaboration with Tianjin University of Sport.

I came to Southern Cross because Professor Shi Zhou is an expert, leading research in sports and exercise science.

The School of Health and Human Sciences has more than 70 fulltime academic staff members among them 40 are qualified to supervise PhD projects.

In addition to campuses at the southern Gold Coast, Lismore, and Coffs Harbour, the University also owns and operates the National Marine Science Centre at Charlesworth Bay in Coffs Harbour. This unique facility is built where tropical and temperate currents meet, supporting the University's world-leading research in oceanography.

This is one of our climate change simulators. In these tanks we can change the level of CO2 or the temperature of the water by doing this we can understand better how the ecology of marine systems will change in the future.

Visit our website for more information about the Southern Cross University Graduate School www.scu.edu.au/graduate-school.