This webinar series is an opportunity to hear firsthand the activities taking place in the Flow-MER Program. Each video is presented by one of our team members who provide an insight into the latest findings and progress being made in their area of expertise. We invite you to watch and share these videos widely.
If you would like to attend future webinars and learn about our latest work, please subscribe below.
Webinar Video #6: Understanding trends of woody vegetation using field evapotranspiration and remote sensing
Presenter: Dr. Tanya Doody
New broadscale information to identify and understand trends in vegetation response to water are required to plan where, when, and how long, to target environmental water to specific locations in order to maintain ecosystem function.
In this project we are using field collected water use data (evapotranspiration) for River red gum and Black box to calibrate the outputs of a Basin-scale remote sensing evapotranspiration model. Evapotranspiration is a surrogate for vegetation condition, and outputs of this model allow us to observe trends in vegetation condition from 2001 to current time, for each remote sensing pixel in the Murray-Darling Basin. Data can be observed at various intervals depending on the management questions, and include weekly, monthly, seasonally, annually (for example). Some questions we are exploring include:
- What do existing remotely sensed models tell us about the antecedent and current condition of long-lived woody floodplain vegetation at regional and Basin-scales?
- How are vegetation condition and trends related to hydrology across scales including Basin-scale?
- Determine condition of long-lived woody floodplain vegetation prior to the involvement of CEWH water;
- Understand the influence of environmental water on woody vegetation condition
Dr Tanya Doody is a CSIRO Principal Research Scientist specialising in ecohydrology with a focus on field measurement of tree water use to understand vegetation water requirements and the links between water availability and vegetation condition. Tanya leads the Flow MER vegetation Theme as well as a research project that will enable scaling of floodplain tree water use and hence condition, across the Murray-Darling Basin using remote sensing.
Webinar Video #5: Fish population diversity and abundance in the MDB
Presenters: Jason Thiem, Brenton Zampatti, Charles Todd, Ivor Stuart
The Fish Theme of the Flow-MER program is evaluating the contribution of Commonwealth environmental water to fish population diversity and abundance across the Murray-Darling Basin. The research program includes two innovative projects:
Research Project F1: Fish population models to inform Commonwealth environmental watering.
Research Project F2: Flow, movement and fish population dynamics in the MDB.
Using existing field data, these projects will apply cutting-edge techniques including: population modelling, acoustic fish tracking data and otolith (i.e. earbones) microchemistry, to answer questions about where and why fish move, and how best to provide environmental water to support key life-history processes.
In this webinar video, we discuss fish population models and integrated analysis of fish movement data to illustrate river system connectivity. We explore two key questions:
- What is the contribution of Commonwealth environmental water to key native fish population processes, including movement, reproduction and survival at local and regional scales?
- How can this research inform environmental water delivery to enhance native fish populations?
Webinar Video #4: Co-designing engagement with Indigenous peoples for better environmental water delivery: Cultural Values, Protocols and an Indigenous Seasonal Water Calendar
Presenters: Assoc Prof. Bradley Moggridge and Dr Emma Woodward
This project will draw on Indigenous activities already underway within Flow-MER Selected Areas, as well as working closely with other Indigenous engagement activities within CEWO, MDBA and other programs.
In this webinar, Brad and Emma discuss how the project:
- frames options and avenues for the engagement of Indigenous people across the seven Flow-MER Selected Areas, and incorporate their perspectives on Australian water management, with a particular focus on environmental water.
- draws on current knowledge and practice in regard to approaches and tools (including Protocols and Seasonal Calendars) for engaging with Indigenous water knowledge, values and interests.
- meets a need for contextual information and synthesis around Indigenous perspectives on water management.
Bradley Moggridge is an Associate Professor in Indigenous Water Science and a proud Murri from the Kamilaroi Nation with over 20 years’ experience in Aboriginal engagement, water and environmental science, having worked in applied research, policy development, legislative reviews and project management. Bradley is an Associate Professor in Indigenous Water Science (hydrogeology and environmental science) and part-time PhD candidate at University of Canberra and recently the Indigenous Liaison Officer for the Threatened Species Recovery Hub under NESP. Bradley is current co-lead for the Indigenous Engagement with CSIRO for the CEWO Flow MER Program. Bradley hopes to encourage future generations to pursue interests in STEM, promote his ancestors’ knowledge of water and mentor emerging Indigenous scientists.
Dr Emma Woodward is a research scientist (geographer) with the CSIRO based in Perth, Australia. Her research frequently involves partnering with Indigenous communities to co-develop methods, tools, protocols and guidelines that can facilitate understanding and inclusion of diverse knowledges, values and interests in natural resource planning and management, and enterprise development. (just this first bit I think). Her applied research seeks to support more equitable and sustainable local to international decision-making, and has informed water allocation planning in northern Australia; teaching of Indigenous knowledge systems in classrooms nationally; and has influenced the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES).
Webinar Video #3: Identification, characterisation and management of refuge habitat
Presenter: Dr. Joanne Bennett
As part of the Flow-MER Biodiversity Basin Theme, we are learning and understanding more about aquatic refugia habitats, their characteristics, and the species they support.
Refugia are places that stay wet and cool when it’s hot and dry. They are important because they enable flora and fauna to persist during low/no flow and then recover, disperse and recolonise following the return of flow. Examples of refugia are deep waterholes in intermittent streams, perennial waterbodies, areas that receive cool groundwater inputs and shady riparian areas.
This webinar video looks at the work being undertaken to locate refugia and identify how refuge habitats change over time, and explores two questions:
- What are the characteristics that define, identify and describe refugia habitats across the Basin?
- What are patterns of refuge use and habitat suitability for water dependent species with a focus on fish, turtles, frogs and bats?
Joanne is a community ecologist, with a primary research goal of discovering the general principles that are essential to effectively manage biodiversity under global changes, particularly land-use and climate change. She is an experienced water resource manager, with a PhD on investigating how the spatio-temporal distribution of vegetation and avian assemblages were interactively and additively affected by climate drying and land-use change. She has worked on projects investigating how species physiology effects their vulnerability to climate change across aquatic and terrestrial realms and how anthropogenic change is affecting plant reproduction at global scales. Her experience includes a wide range of taxa including mammals, reptiles, invertebrates, birds and vegetation in a wide of ecosystems.
Webinar Video #2: Developing an environmental water energetics response model
Presenter: Paul McInerney, Senior Research Scientist (CSIRO) and James Hitchcock, Postdoctoral Researcher (University of Canberra)
As part of the Flow-MER Food Webs and Water Quality theme, we are developing a bioenergetic food web model by incorporating a range of existing and new data relating to food web dynamics in wetlands, flood channels and rivers during Commonwealth environmental watering. In this webinar, we talk about the model and how we plan to use it to demonstrate rates of carbon transfer and production in food webs under different environmental flow scenarios, exploring two key questions:
- How does environmental watering influence the flow of energy through to vertebrate consumers such as fish and birds?
- How can energetics response model support the prediction of trophic carrying capacity of rivers and wetlands in response to environmental water delivery?
Paul’s research focus areas include food webs, how energy flow in ecosystems may be changed by both biotic and abiotic disturbance, or by man-made intervention, and how invasive species alter the structure and function within freshwater ecosystems. He is also interested in the responses of basal resources to altered ecosystem conditions, and how this influences food webs.
James research focuses on food webs, water quality, and ecosystem productivity. He is interested in understanding how human activity is disrupting aquatic food webs and assessing potential management interventions. James has experience conducting environmental flow studies in inland and coastal catchments and has worked for the NSW government implementing water quality and ecological aspects of the MDB Plan.
Webinar Video #1: Spatial and temporal scales of waterbird movements and habitat use
Presenter: Dr Heather McGinness, Senior Research Scientist – CSIRO
This research project is tracking the movements of waterbirds using satellite transmitters. The information being gathered is improving our understanding of:
- how waterbirds move across the MDB and beyond, in response to e-water or flooding.
- which habitats they are choosing.
- how connected our waterbird populations are and the implications for environmental water management to prevent further population declines.
Dr Heather McGinness is an ecologist who has been studying Australia’s beautiful inland floodplains and wetlands for 20 years. She is a Senior Research Scientist at the CSIRO, where she has worked for 15 years. Heather is fascinated by the plants, birds and other animals that depend on wetlands and her research is helping to inform how our management of water can better support their needs. Heather is particularly interested in waterbirds and since 2016 she and her colleagues have been using GPS satellite transmitters to track the movements of waterbirds in and around the Murray-Darling Basin, which has been eye-opening. Heather leads the CEWO Flow Monitoring, Evaluation and Research Program’s ‘Diversity Theme’.