Alumna Dr Jean Drayton (PhD ‘11, BSc (Hons) ‘04) was the worthy recipient of the Dairy Australia Award announced at the 2015 Science and Innovation Awards for Young People in Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry.
Over twelve months Dr Drayton, who holds a PhD in insect behavioural ecology from the Australian National University, will use the $22,000 award to research the impact of climate change on dung burial by dung beetles.
Dr Drayton said that while the benefits of dung burial by dung beetles to the Australian dairy industry are well known, there is very little information about the impact that climate change may have on this important ecosystem service.
The grant will help quantify the impact of a warming climate on the dung burial service that dung beetles provide. It will also offer practical management solutions to address any reductions in dung burial that may arise with climate change, thereby helping to sustain this multi-million dollar ecosystem service into the future.
“I would like to work closely with the dairy industry to make the project relevant to Australian dairy farmers, communicate the results to farmers and help implement the findings to improve farm ecology in the future,” Dr Drayton said.
The national competitive award is popular among young scientists. Eleven winners from across agriculture, fisheries and forestry were awarded a grant of up to $22,000 each, by the Federal Minister for Agriculture Barnaby Joyce, to fund an innovative research project that will benefit Australia’s primary industries.
The awards encourage science, innovation and new technology in primary industries and help to advance the careers of promising young innovators and scientists through national recognition of their research ideas.