New research centre staff in Mildura

Three new research staff have joined the Murray Darling Freshwater Research Centre last January to work on the Living Murray program.

This new addition is bringing the number of research staff to seven and will help understand and monitor the health of the local ecosystem.

Senior technical officer Craig Dunne, technical officer Louise Romanin and research officer Teagan McKillop will be collecting data on tree condition and plant communities in wetlands and floodplains for the next six to 12 months.

“I come from the coast in Wollongong where I was working as a zoologist, I then moved to Albury for research before moving further west to Mildura,” Mr Dunne said.

“I was very interested in the Mildura area as it was the kind of work that lined up nicely with my experience and the project was exciting.

“I’m hoping to grow my skills in fish research and plant identification.”

Over a number of years, Murray Darling Freshwater Water Research Centre (MDFRC) has participated in condition monitoring at both Hattah and Lindsay Island, as part of The Living Murray program on behalf of the Mallee Catchment Management Authority.

The trio will be working on a range of projects undertaken by the MDFRC, which includes fieldwork. Ms Romanin, who is currently finishing her PhD on landscape change in the Tasmanian midlands brought her expertise to Mildura in a bid to further her knowledge on floodplain dynamics.

“I did my Honours on Chawilla floodplain in SA, not far from here, so I have a familiarity with this sort of system and was particularly interested in doing more field work,” she said.

“Through this position, I am expecting to build strong familiarity with the vegetation – and that’s coming already – as well as more confidence in my ability to assist with research.”

The new staff also welcomed the support from previous staff and the opportunity to work in a regional research centre.

“The fact that there is a research hub, a place where ideas and information get exchanged, here in Mildura is one of the things that attracted me for this position – that’s not the case everywhere else,” Ms McKillop said.