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Dr Greg Kerr - Natural Resources Eyre Peninsula

Professor Graham Heinson - University of Adelaide
The geology of the Eyre Peninsula spans in age much of the history of the Earth.  The rocks preserve a record dating back 3,150 million years, some of the oldest on the planet.  Over time we see evidence of a full range of plate tectonic processes, ranging from the formation of mountain belts, massive volcanic events that cover thousands of square kilometres, and deep ocean sediments.  Approximately 85 million years ago, the continent split to the south, separating what we now know as Antarctica from Australia.  The landscape has gradually changed over time through processes of weathering, erosion and deposition of new sediments to give us the environment we see today.    The deep geological record defines our natural resources.  Mineral deposits including iron ore, copper, silver, graphite and mineral sands are the legacy of ancient processes dating back billions of years.  Offshore petroleum resources in deep ocean basins represent new frontiers for industry.  Soils result from the interaction of climate and weather systems with the exposed rocks over long time-scales. Landscape geomorphology is shaped by the strength of the geology and its weathering. Coastlines, gulfs and continental shelf waters are a legacy of past tectonics processes.  In this presentation, I’ll review the long history of geological processes that defines the evolution of the Eyre Peninsula.

Darren Ray - Bureau of Meteorology
Eyre Peninsula features a diverse and variable climate with influences both local and remote. The impacts on the region of year to year variability from Pacific, Indian and Southern Ocean influences will be explored. What does available paleoclimate research tell us about the distant past? What this means for longer term trends and changes starting to be observed - sea level rise, temperature and changes in weather patterns -  and  what this means for the next 30-100 years and beyond for Eyre Peninsula will be highlighted.

Dr Sapphire McMullan-Fisher - Royal Botanic Gardens, Victoria
Fungi like mushrooms and puffballs and many others are fascinating, but they spend most of their lives out of sight and working away. Its only when they start to reproduce that most of us become aware of them.  Fungi are the second biggest Kingdom of life and we know they provide vital ecosystem services not carried out by plants or animals. Fungi mediate the interactions between species and facilitate important ecosystem functions. Different fungi have different roles in the ecosystem: decomposer fungi are important for nutrient recycling; while pathogenic fungi, such as rusts, smuts and galls play an important role in population control and the many ‘mates’ or symbiotic fungi like mycorrhizas and endophytes help their plants be survive and be healthy. Lichens capture carbon and contribute nitrogen to ecosystems, and provide habitat for micro-fauna. Last but not least Fungi are food for both vertebrates and invertebrates. Our large numbers of native truffles are food for rare and endangered species such as Bilbies, Potoroos and Woylies, and food many invertebrates from snails, beetles to fungus gnats. As well as covering the basics of fungal ecology this talk will tell you about Fungimap and how you can record fungi from your local area, and highlight some fungi found in the Eyre Peninsula.

Dr Sonia Kleindorfer - Flinders University
The wonder of bird behaviour: from egg to fire
Birds in Australia perform key ecosystem functions that sustain the environment. Their complex behaviours, many of which are learned within their lifetime, are a source of fascination and a platform for scientific discovery. I will share with you my team’s discovery that songbird mothers vocally tutor their embryos. I will also share results of our study into how fire affects songbird behaviour on the Eyre Peninsula.


Dr Danny Rogers - Co-author The Australian Bird Guide
Shorebirds, also known as waders, are long-legged birds in the order Charadriiformes, characteristic of open habitats with shallow water. In this talk I give an overview of their annual cycles, including their movement patterns, breeding biology, their moult strategies, foraging methods and the conservation challenges they face. Many shorebird species are strictly migratory, breeding in the far northern hemisphere (often north of the Arctic circle) and migrating to non-breeding grounds in Australasia. These migrations expose shorebirds to many threats, especially on the coast of the Yellow Sea where vital staging areas are being lost. Finally I give a short overview of shorebirds on the Eyre Peninsula, and questions about them that have yet to be resolved.

Dr Philip Roetman - UniSA Discovery Circle
You can help create new proteins to help disease. You can help discover new planets or track the changes of in the ranges of animals. Globally, there are now thousands of 'citizen science' projects and many millions of participants. Locally, there are many projects that you can join, with or without experience. It doesn't matter who you are, there is likely to be a citizen science project that will interest you!
In this presentation, Dr Philip Roetman will introduce you to citizen science and demonstrate a few of his favourites. Come along and learn how to fold proteins for biomedical research. Come along to learn how to classify galaxies and identify animals in Africa from the comfort of your home. Come along to learn how to build your own wildlife catalogue, for your home or a local park. Come along to learn how to record and identify local frog calls. Come along to become a citizen scientist!
   
Dr John Read - Ecological Horizons
EP Mammals: The Good, the Sad and the Ugly
This presentation will review the status of some of the Eyre Peninsula’s iconic mammals and, most importantly, what we as members of the public, can do to help make the sad good again – and the bad not quite as nasty!



Dr Nick Whiterod - Aquasave (Nature Glenelg Trust)
Introducing freshwater fish of the Eyre Peninsula: current knowledge and future conservation needs.



Tim Croft - State Herbarium
Eyre Peninsula is botanically interesting, with elements from Western and Eastern Australia. Currently there are 40 endemic plant species to EP. Most are confined to the higher rainfall areas of southern EP. With the settlement of Port Lincoln in 1839, came amateur botanists who collected plants to be sent on. For the first colonists and explorers, the feature of much of Eyre Peninsula, was the ‘sheoak forest’. This grassy Woodland proved ideal for the early pastoralist as excellent and bountiful grazing land for their sheep. Early settlement spread out rapidly following the Allocasuarina verticillata (Drooping Sheoak) open woodlands, as did explorers such as Eyre, who found these woodlands easy to move through, rather than the thick mallee. As a botanist, there is much to explore and enjoy in Eyre Peninsula’s plants and vegetation!

Dr Sue Murray-Jones - Flinders University
Animals living beneath the sand range from microscopic to the surprisingly large. Sandy beach organisms are very important in coastal and marine food chains. The talk will explore the different types of organisms living on typical sandy beaches, and how they are adapted to life in a very difficult, harsh environment. The talk will also cover threats to sandy beaches, and the important role of beach wrack in ecosystems.

Dr John Stanisic - Queensland Museum
The land snails of the semi-arid, largely granitic Eyre Peninsula are a diverse mixture of native and introduced species. The native species range from large to tiny in size and are largely confined to inhabitable rock outcrops (lithorefugia) and stands of native vegetation where moisture, shelter and food is readily available. This snail habitat is scattered throughout an otherwise sea of saltbush and bluebush plains, farmland and other human-related development. Native species play an important role in the forest decomposition process converting detritus, fungus and biofilm into protein that can become food for other animals including carnivorous snails. They also nutrify the soil through their decomposing bodies, faeces and empty shells which provide a rich source of environmental calcium. In recent times a number of introduced species have been superimposed on the peninsula landscape. These do not appear to have had an impact on local species but do provide ongoing problems for farmers and their crops. Land snails form six percent of terrestrial biodiversity being second only to the arthropods. Native species are indicators of a healthy environment and experience has shown that they are also good bio-predictors usually indicating the presence of other significant invertebrates.