November 4, 2021
In July, we announced our 2021 Student Awardees – those talented students from around Australia selected by our State and Territory Committees to experience international agricultural research and development firsthand, in a COVID safe manner of course!
The 2021 recipients will carry out research across a diverse range of topics, focused in Australia, Laos, Uruguay, Vietnam, Fiji, Samoa, Uruguay, Malaysia, Brazil, Nepal and Myanmar. We would like to thank our partner organisations for making these opportunities available, including the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research, Grains Research and Development Corporation, International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT), and the Sunrice Rice Research Facility.
We are excited to now bring you more details of each of our Awardees, their projects, and what they hope to achieve with the opportunity provided by our support. We are pleased to also provide input from our awardees’ supervisors on what they see as the benefit of the opportunity to add an international component to their student’s studies and research.
PhD Student (Environmental Science)
Charles Sturt University
Research – Delta Flows – The role that delta’s play in sustaining basin-scale fisheries
The Crawford Fund student awards are a very valuable resource for value adding both in development of the student, but also in relation to direct involvement in large international projects such as our South-east Asian fish migration and fish passage projects.
Through the grant Lauren will be involved in building her research capabilities by analysing chemical signatures in fish otoliths (ear bones) and water chemistry that has been collected in SE Asia. This analysis will help in unpacking the fish migration patterns that are currently unknown for many species in the region and allow her to work in a multidisciplinary team with different organisations.
Dr John Conallin, Freshwater Fisheries Researcher, Charles Sturt University
How did you become interested in international ag for development and focusing your research in developing countries?
Due to COVID, I had to pivot my proposed research of fish migration studies in South Africa and focus solely in Australia. Previous work by Dr Lee Baumgartner and Dr John Conallin, which also examines fish migration throughout the Mekong River Basin required assistance with laboratory work, report preparation and workshop delivery. This opportunity allowed me to lend my assistance to an international project using the skills I have acquired throughout my current PhD journey.
Are there benefits to Australia from the proposed award work?
The skills acquired in my PhD work as well with this work analyzing otoliths from the Mekong River Basin are transferable and provide experience understanding fish migration patterns in other areas throughout the world.
Please tell us about what you hope to do as part of your award and the impact it may achieve.
As part of my research, I hope to contribute to identifying fish migration pathways in areas of high agricultural development throughout the Mekong River Basin. Identifying these pathways for fish species that are significant food sources is important to ensuring their longevity for these populations.
Do you have a strategy to carry out the award research, even if travel is not possible, that you’d like to share with other awardees?
Luckily, all the samples have been collected and sent over to our lab in Australia. I have been assisting with the analysis of otoliths as well as water samples using the facilities here at Charles Sturt University as well as the lab facilities at ANU in Canberra.
What do you want to be working on in the future?
In the future I see myself working in applied fisheries science finding solutions to allow sustainable development while making the best decisions for fisheries populations.