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Research partnership to protect the Coorong

One of Australia's most significant wetlands, the Coorong, at the mouth of the River Murray, is the focus of a new multimillion dollar research partnership that aims to improve the ecological health of the region and protect threatened birds and fish.

CSIRO, through the Water for a Healthy Country Flagship, is partnering with the University of Adelaide, Flinders University and the South Australian Research and Development Institute (SARDI) Aquatic Sciences, to study the ecology of the Coorong, Lower Lakes and Murray Mouth region. This collaborative research program (CLLAMMecology) will receive $2.2 million from the CSIRO Collaboration Fund, with a total investment of $5.3 million over three years.

The Collaboration Fund enables the skills of the wider Australian research community to be applied to the major national challenges targeted by CSIRO's Flagship Initiative.

Led by Dr Mike Geddes of the University of Adelaide, the multidisciplinary research team will carry out a detailed study of the ecology of the Coorong, the Lower Lakes and the Murray Mouth ecosystems.

"Despite its status as a Ramsar-listed wetland and a "Living Murray" icon site, the Coorong is in a bad way," Dr Geddes said. "There's serious ecological degradation and hypersalinity is threatening various species of fish and birds. The Coorong is particularly significant for many species of migratory waterbirds."

A number of management initiatives are underway to halt and reverse the degradation of the Coorong, such as the Murray-Darling Basin Commission's "Living Murray Initiative". However, planning remediation action is currently hampered by limited understanding of the relationships between the water and salinity regimes of the region and ecological responses.

"This will be the first comprehensive research program for this estuary and will be one of the largest of its kind in Australia, especially for the ecology of estuarine fish and w
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Contact: Leane Regan
leane.regan@csiro.au
61-041-923-6519
CSIRO Australia
28-Aug-2006


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