DOWNSTREAM EFFECTS: Leigh Sullivan (second left) explains to students the iron staining and concrete erosion caused to a culvert by acid sulfate soil runoff.
DOWNSTREAM EFFECTS: Leigh Sullivan (second left) explains to students the iron staining and concrete erosion caused to a culvert by acid sulfate soil runoff. Sharlene King

Students get ooze news with Science Summer School

STUDENTS who have travelled from across Australia and the world yesterday inspected the Tuckean Swamp, an important acid sulfate soil area.

It was the first of three group field trips in the Southern Cross University Science Summer School.

The students inspected the swamp's flood mitigation drains, culverts and floodgates and examined the effects of acid sulfate soils on water quality, soil health and aquatic ecology.

Two of the students are completing degrees at SCU and four are from universities in Adelaide, Armidale, Bathurst and Melbourne.

Another student, Andre Samayoa, is from Mexico's Universidad del Mar.

The SCU Science Summer School is in its fourth year.

It gives undergraduates and recent graduates the opportunity to team up with one of SCU's leading researchers to undertake a short science-based project over four weeks each January.

Professor Leigh Sullivan, founding director of Southern Cross Geoscience led the field trip to the Tuckean Swamp.

Prof Sullivan said the visit to the waterway provided students with an opportunity to find out about the fields of research undertaken at SCU as well as highlighted some of the great things about the region.

"The Tuckean Swamp is a very well-known acid sulfate soil area, one that has contributed to our understanding of the issue immensely," Prof Sullivan said.

"The area has been a study site for many groundbreaking research projects, including our own work on monosulfidic black ooze, a substance which we now know contributes to low oxygen levels in these waterways.

"It is a perfect site to visit as part of the SCU Science Summer School."

Other group field trips planned for this month will focus on coastal geography with a visit to Byron Bay; and agricultural land use in the region with visits to cane farms, macadamia orchards and tea tree plantations.



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