GeoLINK and Southern Cross University have a solid history of collaborating on environmental research projects and initiatives and have come together again for a three-year research project that investigates how intermittent rivers and streams produce greenhouse gases.
The idea for the research project was sparked by GeoLINK’s Director, Duncan Thomson who recognised the opportunity to use vast amounts of water quality data his team has collected over the past five years for a broader purpose. While GeoLINK has been collecting the data as part of environmental monitoring and management of the Woolgoolga to Ballina Pacific Highway Upgrade (W2B) project, Duncan identified the opportunity for the data to also be used for a broader purpose.
“We recognised that the large quantity of water quality data being collected throughout the W2B project could potentially be useful for a research project. So, we flagged the opportunity with our SCU contacts” says Duncan.
Southern Cross University will use the data that GeoLINK provides to better understand how intermittent waterways in sub-tropical areas between Ballina and Coffs Harbour on the NSW North Coast contribute to greenhouse gases. “Even in this relatively wet part of Australia we know our streams actually run dry for at least a few months every year. These periods of ‘drying’ and then ‘rewetting’ will dramatically alter the biology and chemistry in the stream. This study is designed to ‘capture’ what happens in these intervals when streams don’t look like streams,” says Dr Naomi Wells, Co Project Investigator from SCU.
‘The project will help to improve the accuracy of greenhouse gas simulation models, which are critically important for assessing and managing the challenges of climate change. We look forward to helping with this important research’ says Duncan.