The partnership with Dampier Salt Ltd (DSL) - part of the Rio Tinto group is a research collaboration that will pave the way for a series of research opportunities in Australia's North-West.
Initial projects administered under this research collaboration agreement will see ECU receive nearly $900,000 in funding over four and a half years to better understand the ecology and biodiversity of salt lakes and migratory bird habitats near DSL's operations in Western Australia.
It is expected that two new PhD, two Masters by Research and two. Honours students will be funded by these research programs. Two major research projects have already started as part of the collaboration agreement.
The first research project, the Biodiversity of Lake MacLeod, will span three and a half years and will see researchers and postgraduate students from the School of Natural Sciences examining the biological differences that occur across gradients of salinity and depth in salt lakes and how these differences change in periodic food events.
The second research project, Feeding Ecology and Habitat Use of Migratory and Other Shorebirds, will focus on habitat selection, feeding behavior and foraging resources present at salt sites and how these are influenced by, or related to, DSL operations. The collaboration agreement will also ensure students have access to DSL's accommodation and laboratory facilities in the North West, research and sampling equipment, funds for analysis of samples, student bursaries and scholarship top-ups for research postgraduate students, and salaries for technical staff.
Rio Tinto has a commitment to sustainability and these projects are designed to better understand the environment in which DSL will be operating.
Associate Professor Pierre Horwitz.
Dampier Salt Ltd (DSL), part of the Rio Tinto group.