Current Students

Alcorso Foundation Honours Environment Research Awards

The UTAS Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter Rathjen congratulates Sarah Richards on her Alcorso Foundation Honours Environment Research Award

Two University of Tasmania Honours students have been awarded $1000 each to support their environmental research on salmon farming and wastewater re-use.

This year’s Alcorso Foundation Honours Environment award recipients are Bronagh Kelly of Dynnyrne, and Sarah Richards of South Hobart.

The University’s Vice-Chancellor, Professor Peter Rathjen, presented the awards.

The Alcorso Foundation Environment Scholarships are awarded each year to Honours students in any UTAS School with a focus on:

  • Project’s level of impact on the Tasmanian community
  • Importance of subject and connection to grassroots activism
  • Excellence and/or originality in research
  • Ongoing benefits of the research

Executive Officer for the Alcorso Foundation, Denise Robinson, said that this year’s award recipients demonstrated a commitment to furthering Tasmania’s development in sustainable management practices.  “Industry management has shifted considerably over the past years.  New research allows sustainable and renewable practices to be integrated into daily operations.  Bronagh and Sarah’s projects reinforce that commitment to industry development towards preserving our environments”.

Bronagh Kelly is an undergraduate student at the Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies in Hobart who is undertaking research into environmental impacts and long-term sustainability of fish farming practices.

“The long-term sustainability of Tasmania’s salmon farming industry and minimising its effect on the environment requires periods in which net-pens are left un-stocked to allow sediments to recover,” Bronagh said.

“If farming operations are too intense, or fallow periods too short, there is a risk that sediments and bottom waters may become anoxic and faunal populations die off.

“Benthic ecosystems play a major role in remediation processes. Throughout this project, sediment health and performance will be assessed seeking to improve recovery processes that remediate highly enriched sediments in order to establish whether naturally occurring, benthic invertebrate species have potential to be used as an effective tool for future industry management.”

Sarah Richards is a student at the School of Agricultural Science in Hobart. Her research focus is on phosphorus management for wastewater reuse in agriculture to protect water quality and conserve fertiliser resources.

“Phosphorus is a critical nutrient for life. The identification and utilisation of alternative fertilisers is an important sustainability goal for agriculture and critical for achieving future food production needs,” Sarah said.

“However, reuse of wastewaters must be effectively managed to prevent environmental harm through soil degradation or impact to water quality.

“My honours study will contribute to a risk management tool for wastewater application that can be used to determine suitable soils and locations for sustainable reuse of food processing industry wastewaters.”

UTAS Vice-Chancellor, Professor Peter Rathjen, congratulated Sarah and Bronagh on their achievements.

“It is heartening that Bronagh and Sarah, while striving for academic excellence and extending their own knowledge and experiences, are working towards a greater, more sustainable future for our state.”

This year the Alcorso Foundation will also increase its financial commitment to environmental projects in Tasmania with its inaugural $10,000 Viticulture Fellowship to support sustainable viticulture practice in Tasmania.

The money will go towards supporting a Tasmanian wine industry worker to travel anywhere in the world to undertake sustainable viticulture practice that may further enhance Tasmania’s wine industry.

Photo: The UTAS Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter Rathjen congratulates Sarah Richards on her Alcorso Foundation Honours Environment Research Award.

Published on: 09 Jun 2011 1:52pm