UTS Science: Environmental Science (Terrestrial)

My name is Peter Jones, I’m a senior technical
officer here at UTS, I’ve been here since 1976 and still loving it. The facility has come together over the last
few years by combining a few faculties together, in the last few years we’ve had a number of
upgrades to our facilities and buildings, in fact this building that we’re in now was
only refurbished seven years ago and we’re about to go into a new building next year. The teaching that we do here at Environmental
Sciences is both in an aquatic area and also in a terrestrial area, and we do field work
and laboratory work as well. We do a really wide range of research here
in environmental sciences. We do focus in two main areas – we have the climate change
cluster, which looks at marine sciences and plus the terrestrial environment, and the
other one is our environmental sustainability. Quite a number of our laboratories are PC2,
or quarantine accredited. This accreditation is not only good for our students and staff,
but it allows industry to come in and use our labs at their professional standard. One of the reasons I love working here is
that we have so much amazing equipment, and I’d like to take you through some of that.
In the terrestrial environment we have some Edico Variance towers. Our Edico Variance
towers are located in Central Australia and they’re about twelve metres high and along
them have a whole lot of sensors, and these censors determine how much CO2 and water vapour
moves through the environment. We also have the Picaro instrument, which we measure C13
content in both leaves and wood. At the moment we are putting together a continental
wide inventory of the C13 contents. This will be able to tell us about the variability of
water content and photosynthesis across Australia. This is incredibly important for the management
of groundwater and natural resources. One of the most interesting and emerging areas
we’re getting into here at UTS is remote sensing and ecological modelling. This technology
allows us to measure landscape scale parameters and also helps us to determine the impacts
of climate change. One of the coolest instruments we’ve got is
the ASD spectro-radiometer, which measures spectro information across the landscape for
plants, water and soil. The measurements can be made remotely by mounting the instrument
on the tower or in aircraft or on drones or even carried across the field by hand. 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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