Research into invertebrate populations in freshwater granite pools attracts government scholarship

By Melissa Coade

Friday August 20, 2021

It is hoped that Brock Hedges’ climate change research can help DAWE understand how to protect the unique habitat of the Lake Eyre Basin.
It is hoped that Brock Hedges’ climate change research can help DAWE understand how to protect the unique habitat of the Lake Eyre Basin. (Stephen Browne/Adobe)

A university student from South Australia has been chosen to be the recipient of a $20,000 PhD Scholarship awarded by the Department of Agriculture, Water and Environment (DAWE).

It is hoped that Brock Hedges’ climate change research can help DAWE understand how to protect the unique habitat of the Lake Eyre Basin.

DAWE assistant secretary Kirsty Bunfield said that Hedge’s work was relevant to broad regions across the South Australian arid zone, much of which forms part of the Lake Eyre Basin.

“Kati Thanda–Lake Eyre Basin is one of the world’s largest internally-draining river systems – its streams do not reach the sea,” Bunfield said. 

“The Basin contains nationally important cultural, social, natural and economic values, and includes large parts of South Australia, the Northern Territory and Queensland, and a smaller area in western New South Wales.”

The Lake Eyre Basin Justin Costelloe PhD Scholarship was established in memory of the late Justin Costelloe, who was a researcher at Melbourne University’s department of infrastructure engineering.

Costelloe was a leader in investigating surface water and groundwater systems in Australia’s arid zone and provided advice to governments on the management of these systems in the Lake Eyre Basin.

“The scholarship was established to build links with emerging academics with a similar passion for understanding this vast inland environment,” Bunfield said. 

“The inaugural 2019-20 recipient, Griffith University PhD student Georgia King, researched the impact of an invasive crayfish on the native Blue Claw yabby in the Lake Eyre Basin,” she added.

The PhD scholarship is administered through the community grants hub, with contributions from the federal government, and the state governments in Queensland, South Australia and Northern Territory. 

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