CeRDI’s eResearch in the Natural Environment collaborative research program spans a range of areas, including groundwater, soil health, water and estuary health, natural resource management planning and biodiversity, reflective of the multidisciplinary nature of CeRDI's research as well as long-term collaborative research relationships with a diverse range of industry and government partners.
This collaborative project between CSIRO Land and Water, CeRDI and ThinkPlace aimed to explore proponent data generation as part of the referral process under the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act). The primary goal was to determine the value and nature of environmental impact assessment (EIA) data and their potential for reuse in other areas of government decision making.
CeRDI has been commissioned by the Barwon Coast Committee of Management to undertake research to understand and inform a range of complex coastal usage and environmental management issues being experienced across the Barwon coast. The research will provide an evidence base about the social, seasonal and culture issues that influence how different community groups use and identify with the coastal environment throughout the year.
CeRDI is collaborating with Zoos Victoria on an important, multi-year project: a citizen science application to support research and conservation efforts to aid the Mountain Pygmy-possum. The Bogong Moth Tracker web application is used to track observations of Bogong moths which are an essential food source for the possums.
The Corangamite Soil Health Knowledge Base is a repository of soil health information for the Corangamite region of Victoria. It assists land managers and other stakeholders to implement catchment management plans across the region. The Knowledge Base was developed in collaboration with Corangamite CMA and was awarded the 2015 Victorian Spatial Excellence Award and the 2015 Asia Pacific Spatial Excellence Award, Environment and Sustainability category.
The Gunaikurnai Information Hub provides support for the joint management of parks and reserves of the Appointed Lands of the Gunaikurnai people, the Traditional Owners of Gippsland, with the Traditional Owners playing a central role in managing these lands into the future.
Research is being undertaken to improve farm water security and farm resilience in response to climate change in the Lake Corangamite area.
LitterWatch Victoria is a publicly accessible web portal to manage and view litter monitoring datasets contributed by community group and agencies. It collates public, statewide datasets of litter in Victoria that can be easily visualised and used for reporting, planning, policy making and engagement.
The National Waterbug Blitz is Australia’s first nationwide citizen science, waterway monitoring event. Citizen scientists will uncover clues for assessing the health of their local waterways and wetlands by exploring and identifying the waterbugs that live in them.
The Corangamite Natural Resource Management Planning Portal (NRM Planning Portal) is an innovative approach to collaborative, integrated catchment management by providing the tools and information for communities and agencies to identify joint priorities for catchment management. The NRM Planning Portal enables information, knowledge and environmental datasets to be shared, allowing participants to exchange insights about land management in a collaborative online environment.
River Detectives is a program being offered in some regions across Victoria to support educators to explore local waterways and catchments with students. River Detectives includes hands on activities and supporting resources. CeRDI has recently completed an upgrade to the River Detectives website to integration with the Waterwatch database and interactive maps.
CeRDI has worked with the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) and the Arthur Rylah Institute to develop a new citizen science web portal for the State Wide Integrated Flora and Fauna Teams (SWIFFT) website. The portal has been created to support the Southern Right Whale research and photo identification program being undertaken by DELWP in Victoria.
CeRDI, with Dr Birgita Hansen as project lead, has partnered with the Yarra Riverkeeper Association (https://yarrariver.org.au/) to develop the Yarra Catchment Atlas – an online spatial information portal intended to feature biodiversity, environmental and cultural information for the Yarra Catchment.
The Latham's Snipe project was initiated to better understand the ecology and habitat use of Latham's snipe (Gallinago hardwickii), a shorebird species that breeds in Japan and migrates to Australia for the austral spring-summer. Using light-level geolocators deployed on snipe in Port Fairy, south-west Victoria, the first ever full migration track for the species has been obtained. The Latham's Snipe Project is supported by CeRDI, the Australia Japan Foundation and the Woodland and Wetlands Trust.
Visualising Victoria's Biodiversity (VVB) is an online portal that provides the Victorian community with access to a wide range of spatial information on Victoria's environmental values, conservation activities and research. The portal federates and visualises environmental data from national, state, regional and local sources in an interactive spatial interface. It also offers the opportunity for the community to contribute information and exchange locally relevant data and knowledge. VVB is a partner site to the SWIFFT (State-wide Integrated Flora and Fauna Teams) initiative.
Visualising Victoria’s Groundwater (VVG) is an innovative technology offering a real-time, centralised site for Victoria’s ground water information, a resource normally invisible to the public. VVG consolidates data from over 400,000 bores from four authoritative sources together with Victorian aquifer information with features that include spatial visualisations, hydrogeological models and historical records and maps. In 2018, an updated and modernised VVG portal was launched offering extensive new functionality and content.
Recently redeveloped by CeRDI, the Waterwatch and EstuaryWatch portals are companion sites supporting two significant citizen science programs that monitor the health of Victorian waterways and estuaries. The portals provide essential resources for all members to access current information and data, as well as providing the public full access to data and knowledge generated by the programs.
The project, funded by the Australian National Data Service (ANDS), provides open access to research data from two Federation University wildlife surveys: An avian study undertaken in the Boola Boola Forest area of Gippsland in south-eastern Australia; and a systematic study of birdlife in the Lower Jinsha Valley in western China.
Dr David Ebbs
David completed his PhD with CeRDI in 2019 after more than 25 years working predominantly in the manufacturing sector. David's research was on alternative water supplies and investigating a triple bottom line analysis of alternative methods for using stormwater to supplement a city's water supply. David completed a Chemical Engineering honours degree and a Master of Business Administration. David worked as a Researcher at CeRDI and a Lecturer at Federation University in water drainage infrastructure and wastewater treatment.
Harvesting stormwater: testing the paradigm by assessing the impacts with an inter-disciplinary case study
Integrated Urban Water Management (IUWM) is often proposed as a framework for comprehensively managing the water cycle in urban areas. One of the tenets of IUWM is that, due to increased impervious area, stormwater runoff in excess of the natural flow could be captured and used to supplement the water supply, while mitigating the environmental impact.
Dr Patrick Bonney
Patrick commenced his PhD with CeRDI in 2016 as part of the Regional University Networks Water Futures Fund. His research is examining citizen science and public policy and involves working closely with the Corangamite Catchment Management Authority to measure and explore the issues and opportunities of the Waterwatch Victoria and EstuaryWatch Victoria programs. Patrick works as a Researcher at CeRDI and liaises with volunteers, environmental groups and government and non-government agencies involved with Citizen Science and Natural Resource Management.
Pat submitted his thesis for examination in mid-2020.
Public involvement in localised scientific investigations is critical to improve knowledge and management of freshwater environments. This thesis shows that these benefits are strongly shaped by social relations and broader cultural and political contexts.
Elissa commenced her PhD with CeRDI in February 2019. Prior to this, she was working in the Natural Resource Management sector as a Landcare Facilitator. Elissa’s PhD will explore the impacts on coastal communities and ecosystems from increased urbanisation, population change and seasonal variation. The research will build upon work that CeRDI completed for Barwon Coast investigating the attitudes, knowledge, and behaviours of the general community in relation to coastal management and beach use around Barwon Heads and Ocean Grove.
The conservation and management of sandy beach ecosystems: exploring the divergence between policy, science and socio-cultural expectations for stewardship and use
In order to address the rate and severity of deterioration in ecosystem health and biodiversity, transformative change is needed across economic, social, political and technological domains.
Referred to as the New Digital Age (Schmidt and Cohen 2013), or era of Big Data (e.g. Boyd and Crawford 2012; Mayer-Schonberger and Cukier 2013) the present time period provides unprecedented opportunities for a deeper understanding and appreciation of our global environments. The volume of digital data on natural environments has grown exponentially, especially in the physical (e.g. Lynch 2008; Bell et al. 2009) and environmental sciences (e.g. Porter et al. 2012) where much of it is collected by sensors. In addition, data availability has vastly improved as governments in many countries adopt open data policies (Zuiderwijk and Janssen 2014).
Ubiquitous internet technologies provide access to all this data, particularly when that information is delivered on demand via high speed broadband to mobile tablet devices. These technologies have created a society that is spatially enabled and aware. Big business and citizens increasingly expect to be able to access past and current information about any location of interest, to find answers to their spatial queries. Deeper appreciation and understanding comes from the sheer volume of information that can be amassed about any particular place in the landscape, and how that information can be dynamically synthesised to provide the most definitive answer to the user's question.
Hence the use of spatial digital technologies for a more holistic understanding of river catchments, landscapes, biodiversity and environmental sustainability are rapidly emerging areas of eResearch. Recent examples in the international scientific literature include: the UK's Environmental Virtual Observatory project (EVO) which aims to make environmental data more visible and accessible for catchment management (Gurney et al. 2011) and includes visualisation tools for communicating flood risk (e.g. Wilkinson et al. 2013); the web delivery of interoperable water data with Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) standards (e.g. Boston et al. 2015); landscape visualisations that integrate GIS with augmented reality (e.g. Ghadirian and Bishop 2008); and 3D landscape visualisations for participatory landscape planning (e.g. Wissen et al. 2008; Salter et al. 2009). Experimental tools that use sensors for weed management (e.g Thorp and Tian 2004; Berge et al. 2012), or soil moisture (e.g. Phillips et al. 2014); or monitoring fauna (e.g. Di Cerbo and Biancardi 2013), have also been developed. Similarly, experiments with novel deployment of sensors, such as using unmanned vehicles to improve environmental data collection (e.g. de Sousa and Andrade Goncalves 2011); portable laser scanners for environmental monitoring (e.g. Zlot et al. 2014) and 3D, 4D and augmented reality visualisations, usually at iconic heritage sites (e.g. Guhathakurta et al. 2009; Norris et al. 2014; Petty et al. 2014), have also been published. And a plethora of websites and mobile applications (Apps) are now available to assist the ecologist, farmer, pedologist and hydrologist in on-ground decision making.
With the global shift to smaller governments, an increasing volume of data and most of the decision tools (such as Apps) are now generated in the private sector, particularly the service industries in the environmental, water, energy and agricultural sectors.
Visualising Victoria's Groundwater (10:36)
An interoperative web-GIS that federates groundwater data from disparate sources to assist groundwater researchers and help water managers make the correct choices for the sustainable use of a precious resource. www.vvg.org.au.
Natural Resource Management Planning Portal (6:55)
The NRMPP pilot project is testing how online mapping can be used to match local and regional priorities for catchment management in the Corangamite Catchment Management Authority region. www.ccmaknowledgebase.vic.gov.au/nrmpp.
Tracking the Migration of Latham's Snipe (8:56)
Hokkaido Television Broadcasting have produced a short YouTube documentary on their visit to Canberra in January 2017.
Night vision of Leadbeater's Possum (0:19)