UTS Science: Environmental Science (Plants and Wildlife)

My name is Peter Jones, I’m a senior technical
officer here at UTS, I’ve been here since 1976 and still loving it. We’ve got some great facilities here to support
both teaching and research in areas of plant and wildlife. Some of the research that we
do here with plants has found that plants have an incredible ability to remove pollutants
out of the air, so we have these plant chambers where we are able to extract air out of the
chamber and measure it before and after a plant is put in there to see how it’s improved
the air quality. We all know that cities are polluted and the
air we breathe, it’s very important to us that it’s clean, and this research using the
plant chambers is able to extrapolate what happens out in the city environment and also
what happens in our office. Although we’re a city university we have a
glasshouse on our roof, a number of glasshouses actually and they’re all computer controlled
to control the amount of light, and temperature, and even humidity in these glasshouses. By
that we can run a whole lot of different experiments. So the glasshouses are providing a natural
light source, very unlike in the laboratory, but much more like the real world. One of our research facilities in the field
includes the Port Augusta facility down at the arid land of the Botanic Gardens. Down
there, they’re looking at the effect of high temperature extremes on desert plants, and
how those plants are affected by them and respond to high temperature extremes. This
is really important for looking at the effect of climate change to determine what plants
are going to be knocked out, and what plants will survive. Currently we have a group of researchers working
in the field up at Kakadu National Park, looking at the impact of cane toads on quoll populations.
This research feeds into the conservation of some of our really unique wildlife. The
team is currently training quolls to reject cane toads from their diet. We also have a Centre for Compassionate Conservation,
which is looking at ways to manage our wildlife in a more humane way. The team is currently
looking at alternative ways, other than culling, to manage population growth. I’ve been at UTS but it’s been really exciting,
we have fantastic facilities, and wonderful people working here, and we’d really love
to hear from anybody who’d like to collaborate with us.

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