School visits, detection dogs and drones at Samford

20th November 2019

On 14 November, the local community was invited to visit the IFE’s Samford Ecological Research Facility (SERF) to learn more about research, teaching and engagement activities at the facility during 2019.

The community enjoyed presentations from QUT staff, researchers and students about their work at SERF.

Site technician Marcus Yates said some of this year's highlights included a new secondary school partnership, site reforestation, an international drought simulation study, investigation into rain gauge measuring systems and ongoing research into pasture dieback.

Marcus said that 2019 was the first year senior secondary school groups have used SERF to complete an environmental project as part of their assessment. 

Brisbane State High School students visit SERF as part of their senior science curriculum.

“We had 250 Brisbane State High School students visit the site over four days to conduct bandicoot conservation surveys, and we look forward to welcoming future students as part of this ongoing partnership.”

“Another highlight was the planting of 565 trees on site by QUT students and staff as part of ongoing reforestation of the site.”

IFE staff and students planted 565 trees as part of the ongoing SERF reforestation project.

QUT Research Fellow and Lecturer Andrew Fletcher presented 3D models of the site and aerial images demonstrating the results of 60 years of effective conservation at SERF. These images were taken using synthetic aperture radar, drones, photogrammetry and digital conservation. 

Doctoral student Stephane Batista explained her work on general mammal surveys and how her PhD project on carnivorous marsupials called Antechinus relies on SERF to succeed. Ms Batista demonstrated how she uses camera traps and specially trained odour detection dogs to find these rare marsupials. This work has helped to develop a more comprehensive survey of SERF native, introduced and invasive fauna species.

Doctoral student Stephane Batista presented her work studying the endangered carnivorous marsupials called Antechinus that call SERF home. 

QUT researchers and staff were on hand after the presentations to engage with the local community about the research taking place at SERF and the excellent opportunity that this facility provides for furthering ecological research for South East Queensland and the life sciences community at large.

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