The Vasse Wonnerup wetlands were well represented at the international ECSA 57 conference in Perth last week, Changing estuaries, coasts and shelf systems.
A number of presentations from Department of Water and Environmental Regulation (DWER), Murdoch and Edith Cowan Universities highlighted the challenges and uniqueness of the wetlands.
Ryan Kam, Eduardo da Silva and Alessandra Mantovanelli from DWER presented on the two-year Vasse estuary oxygenation trial and on the validation and application of the Vasse Wonnerup estuary hydrodynamic model.
“It was a wonderful opportunity to showcase the good work that was done to both a local and international audience” said Ryan. “ I invested a lot of effort into the preparation, but it was well worth it”.
James Tweedley from Murdoch University presented on fish and macroinvertebrate of the wetlands and how the functional aspects of those communities changed below and above the surge barriers. “It was great to showcase the uniqueness of the Vasse Wonnerup on an international stage and talk to other researchers working in hypersaline systems” said James.
Students Sian Glazier and Rosh McCallum presented on their PhD research looking at trophic interactions between primary producers, inverts, fish and birds (food webs) and seasonally shifting sources of carbon and nitrogen.
“The number of presentations about the Vasse Wonnerup wetlands really emphasised the volume of research happening, and how many people – professional and community alike – are truly interested in understanding the wetlands” said Rosh. “Being able to directly discuss my findings with managers and other researchers was incredibly valuable, and highlighted the potential broader implications of my research”.
The success of the Vasse Wonnerup wetlands science advisory and community collaboration groups was also highlighted at the conference in a presentation from Kath Lynch from DWER.
“There was an underlying theme at the conference about the role of science in advocacy and management” said Kath. “It was really good to be able to present a successful model of collaboration between scientists, managers and the community”.
The ECSA conference in Perth provided an excellent opportunity for the great science being carried out on the Vasse Wonnerup wetlands to be shared on an international stage. It also provided the opportunity for local scientists to learn about the great work other scientists are doing in estuaries around the world.
“There is a real benefit in attending a conference like this” said Kath. “I learnt a lot, made some great contacts with people dealing with similar issues and importantly and I feel inspired and privileged to be working in our South West estuaries”.
For more information on the ECSA 57 conference see: http://www.estuarinecoastalconference.com/