My Research activities at the University of the Sunshine Coast's Seaweed Research Group are outlined here.
Current major projects are outlined below.
Harnessing seaweed genes to mitigate methane emissions from livestock
Novel climate solutions are crucial as agriculture is responsible for 25% of global greenhouse gas emissions. This project aims to understand the molecular components for the production of bioactive natural products in a seaweed that, when fed to cattle and sheep, cuts out methane emissions. The project will apply genomic techniques to determine the key genes involved and the ecological factors that influence their expression across the seaweed life cycle. The findings will provide a platform to harness the full potential of seaweed as a natural additive in livestock feeds. This multidisciplinary project will enhance research capacity and strengthen international collaborations.
Seaweed SOS: Restoring and ‘future-proofing’ Australia’s underwater forests
Underwater seaweed forests are disappearing at alarming rates from many subtropical and temperate reefs around the world, including the Sunshine Coast. Just like land forests, seaweed forests provide critical habitat and food to many fish, produce oxygen, and draw down carbon dioxide. The loss of seaweed forests has severe environmental, economic and social impacts. There is an urgent need to restore ‘future-proof’ underwater forests that will withstand projected environmental changes.
We are currently inviting expressions of interest from Citizen Scientists in the Sunshine Coast area to participate in this project.
Seaweed as a nutrient offset for Moreton Bay
Moreton Bay is a 1,500 km-squared urbanized estuary adjacent to one of the fastest-growing regions in Australia. Rapid population growth creates a challenge for wastewater utilities to deal with the increase in nutrient loads. Seaweed is a diverse and abundant resource with significant potential for aquaculture because of its use in food and agricultural products, its capability to extract nutrients from seawater, and the ability to co-culture it within existing aquaculture operations. This project is a collaboration between the University of the Sunshine Coast, Healthy Land & Water, Queensland Urban Utilities, Moreton Bay Rock Oysters, and the Quandamooka Yoolooburrabee Aboriginal Corporation to assess the potential for seaweed farming in Moreton Bay as a nutrient offset for effluent discharge, for co-culture with existing oyster production, &/or as new aquaculture opportunities for Indigenous communities.