Back row, left to right:
Rathini Mahendran, Jason Snape
Front row, left to right:
Jessie O’Brien, Ben Ford
An Honours year is an intense period of research and writing -up but for a lot of students it’s the two oral presentations – an initial seminar three months into the project and a final seminar nine months later – that cause the most sleepless nights. No such angst was apparent, however , during recent seminars presented by Department of Environmental Sciences (DES) mid –year intake Honours students Ben Ford, Jessie O’Brien, Jason Snape and Rathini Mahendran.
"They are a very good group of students who know how to use technology well and how to communicate effectively and this really comes through in their presentations,” said DES Honours Management Committee Chair Dr Graziella Caprarelli.
The breadth and complexity of projects undertaken highlights the choices available to students interested in environmental sciences and the benefit of undertaking an Honours year to consolidate research skills and build career networks.
"I’ve always been interested in research and felt that Honours is an important part of doing a science degree. It gives you the opportunity to delve into a subject and that makes it more interesting. At the start I didn’t know much and, although it still feels like the beginning sometimes, after three months I can explain my project, give a seminar and answer questions,” Rathini Mahendran said.
DES Head of Department Professor Bill Gladstone believes that a year working on an Honours project is an exciting and inspiring time for young researchers, and also a great pleasure for staff to work with their student colleagues.
“Staff in the Department of Environmental Sciences are committed to developing the next generation of Australian researchers and this makes the Department the perfect training ground for students starting their research careers,” he said.
Congratulations to all these students for reaching this milestone and we look forward to catching up with them again in 2011 when they present their project findings.
Students and Honours project details:
- Ben Ford: Photoprotection in Proteaceae.
Supervisor: Dr Andrea Leigh
Plants use a range of strategies to protect themselves from high light intensities. Ben is investigating the relationships and patterns among these photoprotection mechanisms in Proteaceae species.
- Jessie O’Brien: Breeding biology and reproductive system of the Australian Pelican.
Supervisor: Dr Ursula Munro
Pelican numbers are increasing in urban areas and Jessie’s research into pelican brood reduction strategies like siblicide will provide valuable information to better manage pelican colonies in coastal areas.
- Jason Snape: Abundances and feeding success of birds on Sydney’s landfills.
Supervisor: Dr Ursula Munro
Landfills are a food source for ibis and pelicans but little data is available on the effect on species diversity and abundance. Jason’s research will provide information to assess the impact of imminent landfill closures on these species.
- Rathini Mahendran: Modelling impact craters on Mars.
Supervisor: Dr Graziella Caprarelli
Rathini will use high resolution data to get more accurate measurements of Martian craters which could be the key to a better understanding the nature and age of the red planet and our solar system.