Mallee Field Course - Mallee Research Station & Murray Sunset National Park, Walpeup

This trip is part of ENV3MFC (15 credit points)

Subject dates: Semester 1 – 29 Feburary 2016 to 27 May 2016

Field trip dates: Easter Monday 28 March to Friday 1 April 2016

Duration: 5 days

Cost: Accommodation costs $30 camping (own tent) or $60 hostel (shared rooms, limited availability). Both campers and hostel dwellers will use shared bathroom, shower, and toilet facilities.

What you'll learn

This course will provide you with the opportunity to conduct environmental research in the field in an important biogeographical region, namely the mallee. You will work in small groups to conduct a research project that will develop under the guidance of a staff member.

Possible research topics include effects of habitat fragmentation upon avian, mammalian or invertebrate communities, behavioural ecology of birds and lizards, ecological responses to fire, cropping and grazing pressures, or significance of old growth mallee to faunal communities.

You will gain skills in:

  • experimental design and planning
  • hands-on experience of data collection in the field
  • team work
  • data collation and statistical analysis
  • written and oral presentation
  • SPSS computer package.

Catering

Students are responsible for arranging all their own meals during the field course (except 1 night when a BBQ dinner will be provided). Groceries, drinks, ice, gas and limited take-away are available at the Walpeup store (not open on public holidays including Easter Monday). However, all items are likely to be more expensive than in Melbourne, so you are advised to come equipped to be as self-sufficient as possible for the week. On some days you are likely to be working in the field away from the hostel and campsite for the entire day and lunch will be taken into the field. A gas BBQ and kitchen (with a Fridge) is available for use by campers, but you are advised to be self-sufficient in regards to cooking equipment (gas or spirit stoves are allowed for cooking, but not wood fires) and eating utensils.

Travel information

Students make their own way to the Mallee Research station (approx 500 km from LTU Bundoora). We strongly recommend car-pooling. There will be a very limited number of places in staff cars available for students without transport. There is also a V-line bus service to Walpeup.
The Research Station is an agricultural research centre located near the southern boundary of the Murray-Sunset National Park in the heart of the Mallee, in the small town ship of Walpeup (west of Ouyen) on the Ouyen Highway. The most direct route from Melbourne is to take the Calder Highway to Wycheproof, then head west to Birchip, up the Sunraysia Hwy to Speed, west to Patchewollock, then north to Walpeup. Once in Walpeup, go straight ahead across the railway line, and follow the signs to the Research Station which is about 2km out of town.

Pre-trip and post-trip requirements

Pre-trip materials (including background reading on the mallee environment and your research topic) will be provided online and students will meet with their groups (2 x 1 hr face-to-face meetings) prior to the field trip. Submission of a literature review on the research topic is required before the field trip.
Post-trip requirements will include the submission of a research report on the project conducted during the field trip.

Enrolment

Students will be enrolled in ENV3MFC.