UTS Science: Environmental Science (Aquatic)


My name is Peter Jones, I’m a senior technical
officer here at UTS, I’ve been here since 1976 and still loving it. Coral bleaching is a really important issue
which is happening in our oceans right around the world, and in our labs we’re able to
do research in that area by having coral tanks here at Sydney to act as a source for our
material to do research on. Some of the research we’re doing is not
only on large organisms, but it’s down to the sub-cellular microbiological level as
well. Our molecular microbiology lab allows us to do research right down to the micro
level – we can look at a drop of seawater. We can do anything, including DNA extracts
for genome sequencing to groundbreaking microfluidic capabilities. We have one of the largest and unique algal
culture collections in Australia. This research is associated with coral reefs, marine bio-toxins
and harmful blooms in the Australian coastal waters. In marine biology, the auto-fluorescent properties
of photosynthetic plankton can be exploited by (???). This allows us to characterise abundance
and community structure of fighter plankton. We have an area of research dedicated to aquatic
and fish ecology. This research is important because it is perhaps showing how climate
change is moving tropical fish down into temperate waters. UTS is the only laboratory in the world that
has a collection of state-of-the-art bio-optical sensors. While we do have amazing facilities here on
campus, we have a strong emphasis on field teaching and research. We could have more
than 10 operations happening in the field at this very moment. We have people working
in Kakadu National Park, on Herron Island, in Central Australia in the semi-arid area,
so we do a wide range of fieldwork. We think it’s very important to have that practical
aspect; you can’t be an environmental scientist unless you get dirt under your fingernails. I’ve been at UTS but it’s been really
exciting, we have fantastic facilities, and wonderful people working here, and we’d
really love to hear from anybody who’d like to collaborate with us.

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