CQUniversity Australia

Engaging Indigenous people within Higher Ed

CQUniversity's Office of Indigenous Engagement recently hosted a visit from the Oodgeroo Unit of Queensland University of Technology (QUT), at Rockhampton Campus.

Professor Anita Lee Hong, Director of the Oodgeroo Unit, and Lone Pearce, Project Officer, met with Office of Indigenous Engagement staff to discuss employment issues and best practice models for engaging Indigenous people within the higher education sector, including governance matters.

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Mangroves muddy 'but can breathe and grow' 

Mangroves seem designed to attract mud, yet their breathing roots manage to reach the air and seedling leaves manage to access sunlight to grow...

This happens due to complex ecological relationships between plants and animals in what PhD student Rebecca Griffiths describes as the 'muddy, insect-plagued depths of the mangal'.

PhotoID:11125, Rebecca Griffiths in the field
Rebecca Griffiths in the field

Indeed, Rebecca is no stranger to what Rudyard Kipling would describe as the 'great, grey-green greasy banks' of various mangrove areas.

"Marine life has always been a fascination of mine and, from a young age, I nurtured the dream of a career as a marine biologist," she says.

"After school I completed a Bachelor of Science at James Cook University in Townsville, majoring in marine biology and environmental science.

"During these years I found my greatest interests were invertebrate marina fauna, especially inhabitants of benthic intertidal ecosytems."

In 1996, Rebecca married a soldier who was subsequently posted to Rockhampton, so she came to CQUniversity for her honours year.

"With the inspiring Dr Steve McKillup as my supervisor, I studied crab predation as a possible restriction on the upper limits of the distribution of a common mangal mollusc. After completing honours, I spent a number of years working as a laboratory scientist before becoming a full-time mother."

PhotoID:11126, Rebecca Griffiths - happy to resume her research career
Rebecca Griffiths - happy to resume her research career

With her children now at school, Rebecca says she is thrilled to return to her scientific career thanks to an Australian Postgraduate Award.

"My PhD will explore how, when mangroves promote sedimentation, the plants themselves so rarely become fouled. The scope includes implications for conservation and reforestation.

"Associate Professor Steve McKillup will once again guide me as my principal supervisor and Dr Bob Newby has kindly agreed to be my associate supervisor."

PhotoID:11127, Rebecca in the field
Rebecca in the field