Allison Broad

UOW researcher receives environmental science award

UOW researcher receives environmental science award

Allison Broad named as Max Day Award recipient for study on impact of anchor scour on seafloor

The Australian Academy of Science has named University of Wollongong PhD student Ms Allison Broad as one of the recipients of the 2020 Max Day Environmental Science Fellowship Award.

Ms Broad, an Early Career Researcher in Marine Science in the School of Earth, Atmospheric and Life Sciences, will study the impacts of anchor scour on the seafloor near Port Kembla.

Seabed environments are the foundations for biodiversity in the marine domain and are at risk of damage from the heavy anchors and chains used by shipping vessels.

For her research, Ms Broad will identify and assess specific study sites within a rocky reef habitat using remotely operated vehicles and underwater video.

Assessments will be done both before and after an anchoring event by a large merchant ship (greater than 200 metres in overall length) to monitor and quantify both the disturbance from anchor drop, drag and chain scour and the recovery of invertebrates, algal forests and fish assemblages.

“With the rise of the Blue Economy, it is vital that we identify how marine industries may be interacting with these seabed environments and that we manage them sustainably wherever possible,” Ms Broad said.

The award provides up to $20,000 for early-career researchers working on the conservation of Australia’s flora and fauna, the ecologically sustainable use of resources and the protection of the environment and ecosystem services.

It is named in honour of Academy Fellow, the late Dr Maxwell Frank Cooper Day AO FAA, who spent a lifetime championing entomology, conservation and forestry, as well as helping other scientists.

The other recipient of the 2020 award is Dr Emma Camp from the University of Technology Sydney who will carry out a new study on the Great Barrier Reef, assessing how the elemental signatures of coral reefs can signal stress from pollution.

Four researchers were also ‘highly commended’ for the Max Day Environmental Science Fellowship Award:

  • Dr Catherine Price from the University of Sydney for her project: When it takes one bite: deceiving herbivores to protect rare and threatened orchids;
  • Ms Emily Scicluna from La Trobe University for her project: Using personality and cognitive assessment of individuals as a conservation tool for improving reintroduction/translocation success;
  • Ms Georgia Sinclair from RMIT University for her project: Developing biomarkers of environmental exposure to poly- and perfluoroalkyl substances to improve environmental policy and health; and
  • Dr Tatiana Soares da Costa from La Trobe University for her project: Fighting herbicide resistance with vitamin deprivation.