Hull and Murdoch Universities join forces to tackle estuary
Last updated on 3/13/2017 Print this page
Estuarine experts from the University of Hull and researchers
from Murdoch University in Australia are working together to
protect the health of one of south-western Australia’s largest
Above, from 5th from the left: Chief
Investigator Associate Professor Matt Hipsey; Acting
Vice-Chancellor of Murdoch University Professor Andrew Taggard;
Chief Investigator Dr Fiona Valesini; Principal Investigator
Professor Mike Elliott; with members of the City of Mandurah and
Peel-Harvey Catchment Council.
The Peel-Harvey estuarine system has been recognised as the most
at-risk estuary in Western Australia, while its surrounding area is
one of the fastest growing regions in the country.
Much is at stake in maintaining and improving the health of the
estuary, from real estate values to tourism, recreational enjoyment
by locals to the protection of bird species in its internationally
Economic growth and major population change in the area, when
combined with climate change, make the sustainable development of
this water resource a challenge.
The research team from Hull’s Institute of Estuarine and Coastal
Studies, led Professor Mike Elliott, are collaborating on the
project to predict the best ‘trade-offs’ between different
catchment development approaches and the health of the
A 2013 study by the Australian Research Council found increased
levels of black sulphidic ooze, which could cause deoxygenation and
lead to fish deaths.
Professor Elliott, Director of IECS, said “The project gives us
the opportunity to test our recent ideas on estuarine ecohydrology
and ecoengineering. It builds on the experience of IECS in
other countries and gives all parties the chance to learn from each
other for environmental benefit”.
The project will use numerical modelling, land use studies,
social and environmental economics, ecological assessment and
valuation, systems analysis and engagement with local
‘Balancing Estuarine and Societal Health in a Changing
Environment’, a study led by Dr Fiona Valesini from Murdoch’s
Centre for Fish and Fisheries Research, has been awarded $540,000
by the Australian Research Council’s Linkage Projects scheme.
Dr Valesini said, “In particular, being awarded this funding
shows the value of an interdisciplinary approach which
characterises the estuarine work at Murdoch, Hull and with the
Other collaborators in the projects include academics from the
University of Hull’s Business School, the University of Western
Australia, Southern Cross University, and the Department of
Acting Vice Chancellor of Murdoch University, Professor Andrew
Taggart, said “This project would not have been possible without
the valuable contributions and support of our partners the City of
Mandurah, Shire of Murray and Peel-Harvey Catchment Council,
together with the Department of the Premier and Cabinet and
Department of Water of Western Australia and the University of
The project builds on a healthy estuaries event held in 2012 in
Mandurah, Western Australia, which was organised by Murdoch
University staff and addressed by Professor Elliott.
In 2013 Professor Elliott was also appointed as Sir Walter
Murdoch Distinguished Adjunct Professor at Murdoch University.