Field Stations

Fieldwork is a vital element of environmental education and research within the School of Biological Sciences.

A number of field stations provide excellent facilities to support these activities, some maintained with the support of volunteers, donors and research partners.

Coobowie field station image

Coobowie Marine Research Station

Yorke Peninsula

The Coobowie Marine Research Station provides an ideal base for education and research in South Australian coastal, marine and estuarine environments.

The site is used by the School of Biological Sciences for teaching and research, and by affiliate organisations including the SA Museum for regular monitoring programs. Coobowie is often a base for University scuba enthusiasts diving at the nearby Edithburgh jetty.

Marine ecology field camps at Coobowie are a highlight of the Bachelor of Science (Marine Biology). The camps pose real-world challenges to students that encourage teamwork. Activities include exploration and sampling of the rocky shore habitats and organisms to understand their ecology and answer research questions.

Flinders-Baudin Centre

Kangaroo Island

Flinders Badin map

The Flinders-Baudin Research Centre (FBRC) is situated within Flinders Chase National Park at the western end of Kangaroo Island.

The centre is jointly managed by the University of Adelaide and the SA Government Department of Environment and Water, and provides an excellent base for environmental education and research.

It is used by universities, school and community groups as well as government agencies.

History

The University of Adelaide first established a modest field station at Rocky River in Flinders Chase National Park in the 1960s.

It was replaced by the current modern Flinders-Baudin Research Centre, built with funds raised by the University of Adelaide Zoology Department, including generous support from international water companies Thames Water and Veolia, the French company Thales, as well as SA Water and several South Australian Government departments. The Centre was opened in February 2004 by Dick Smith AO.

Research snapshot

The research centre and early field station in Kangaroo Island have a long history of environmental research. Much of this focuses on the ecology and ecological physiology of vertebrates including mammals (koalas, tammar wallabies, echidnas, brush-tailed possums, fur seals and platypus), birds (Cape Barren geese, brush turkeys, stone curlews) and reptiles (goannas).

Other studies include recovery of the vegetation and fungi after fire, pollination of native plants, interactions interactions between native pollinators and introduced honeybees, the ecological characteristics and health of the pristine freshwater streams within the park.

Koonamore Vegetation Reserve

FAR NORTH

Field work image

Koonamore Vegetation Reserve is one of the longest running ecological monitoring sites in the world. Since 1926 the reserve has provided generations of scientists, students and volunteers the opportunity to study and preserve the unique arid ecology of the region.

The reserve is set in low open chenopod shrubland and woodlands on Koonamore Station, a sheep grazing lease 400 km north-east of Adelaide, South Australia.

History

In the mid 1920s Professor TGB Osborn and his colleagues at the University of Adelaide extended their interests in vegetation to the arid zone of South Australia, responding to concerns about widespread degradation under stock grazing. A 400 ha area was fenced to exclude sheep and rabbits, and the subsequent regeneration of the arid vegetation was monitored with a series of permanent quadrats and photopoints.

The reserve records now contain a history of the vegetation over 50 years without sheep grazing followed by more than 30 years without significant grazing by either sheep or rabbits. Kangaroos and emus have never been excluded from the reserve, as they can jump the fence, and their numbers vary with the seasons.

More Koonamore history

Research snapshot

Monitoring work at the Koonamore Vegetation Reserve and the curation of its records is continuing under the direction of Dr Russ Sinclair. In recent years, many of the historical records have been digitalised, making them accessible to new generations of researchers.

The reserve is the site of numerous studies providing insight into arid zone ecology.

Work on the reserve has been carried out by numerous School of Biological Sciences staff, students and volunteers. If you are interested in volunteering at one of the camps to Koonamore Vegetation Reserve, please contact one of the people listed below.