Innovative research on show at UWA Shenton Park Field Station Open Day

11/08/2022 | 3 mins

The University of Western Australia’s Shenton Park Field Station will open its gates to the public on Friday, 23 September for its first community open day in almost 10 years.

The UWA Shenton Park Field Station has served the science and agriculture industries of WA for more than 60 years and is home to dozens of active research projects.

The Open Day will start at 9.30am with speeches from The Honourable Darren West MLC, UWA Vice Chancellor Professor Amit Chakma, The UWA Institute of Agriculture Director Hackett Professor Kadambot Siddique and Head of the UWA School of Agriculture and Environment Associate Professor James Fogarty.

Visitors will be spoilt for choice with eight research projects ranging from aquaculture to breeding canola for heat tolerance.

The 15-minute presentations will repeat from 10.45am until 1.45pm, pausing for a 45-minute lunch break at 12pm. 

Each research site will run independently, and visitors will be free to attend the presentations that interest them in any order before the event ends at 2pm.

All members of the public are invited to get up close and personal with black soldier flies and their larvae – with Future Green Solutions managing director Luke Wheat explaining how the organisation uses the critters to upcycle low-value organic waste into high-value products, and UWA PhD candidate Isobel Sewell exploring their use in aquaculture diets.

At the UWA Aquaculture Facility, the largest recirculating aquaculture facility in the southern hemisphere, visitors can learn how its research contributes to the cutting edge of aquaculture system design to develop, trial, and refine new technology.

Isobel Sewell at the UWA Shenton Park Research Station Aquaculture Facility Photo Corrina RidgwayImage: PhD candidate Isobel Sewell at the UWA Shenton Park Research Station Aquaculture Facility. Photo: Corrina Ridgway

Adjunct Associate Professor Craig Lawrence will present on The Palmer Group’s Living Streams project, which is a green energy aquaculture system designed to increase yields, reduce water use and utilise waste nutrients to grow vegetables.

Aspiring coastal engineers can tour the 1900 m2 multipurpose hydraulics laboratory space, which can simulate offshore environments ranging from the deep ocean to shallow water.

Dr Scott Draper said the Coastal and Offshore Engineering Laboratory was used for a wide range of research, from testing performance of deep-sea vehicles to assessing stability of underwater cables.

“During the Open Day, we will showcase some of the recent model testing techniques used for coastal and offshore engineering applications,” Dr Draper said.

The Open Day will also be one of the first opportunities for the public to visit Dr Andrew Guzzomi's new Centre for Engineering Innovation: Agriculture & Ecological Restoration.

UWA Associate Professor Phillip Nichols will present on the Annual Legume Breeding Australia (ALBA) project with Senior Research Officer Brad Wintle, which is a joint venture between UWA and the company DLF Seeds.

The project aims to breed more productive, persistent and innovative annual grazing and fodder legumes to benefit the livestock and grains industries of southern Australia,” Associate Professor Nichols said.

Associate Professor Phillip Nichols and Senior Research Officer Brad WintleImage: Associate Professor Phillip Nichols and Senior Research Officer Brad Wintle at the facility.

Australian Herbicide Resistance Initiative Research Fellow Roberto Busi will present on herbicide resistance in ryegrass.

Dr Busi, Dr Danica Goggin and Professor Hugh Beckie last year established a four-year-trial looking at chemical management options for multiple resistant ryegrass.

“On September 23, the trial will be open for inspection to highlight most effective treatments including new herbicides and crop-safe herbicide mixtures,” Dr Busi said.

Dr Busi’s national project is funded through the Grains Research and Development Corporation, which also funds the canola heat tolerance project at UWA Shenton Park Field Station.

The UWA Institute of Agriculture Research Fellow Sheng Chen and Professor Wallace Cowling will jointly present on their canola research projects.

Dr Chen said his 2022 heat tolerance trial was re-assessing 100 genotypes (selected from more than 300 tested in the past two years) to breed heat-tolerant canola.

Dr Sheng Chen presenting among canola trialsImage: Dr Sheng Chen presenting a talk among his canola breeding trials.

Dr Cowling and his team are developing new traits and breeding methods for canola to accelerate genetic gain.

“These new methods have been adopted in other research projects at UWA, including breeding of field peas and common bean,” he said.

Animal Care Services will provide a general overview of the research within the Biomedical Research Facility and the high standard of care and wellbeing required to support world class research outcomes.

The UWA School of Agriculture and Environment will also run an information stall to answer enquiries about studying and researching at UWA.

Food and drink can be purchased on the day, and limited parking is available.

Attendees are encouraged to bring the essentials (such as a water bottle and sunscreen) and carpool or use public transport.

The UWA Shenton Park Field Station 2022 Open Day is free to attend, however registration is essential via Eventbrite.

Media references

Rosanna Candler (Communications Officer, The UWA Institute of Agriculture) +61 08 6488 1650

Guanhao Cheng (Event & Communications Officer, The UWA Institute of Agriculture and UWA School of Agriculture and Environment)

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