Professor James Brasington has been appointed as the new Director of the Waterways Centre for Freshwater Management, a partnership between Lincoln University and the University of Canterbury. James joins Waterways from the University of Waikato, where he held the inaugural Waikato Regional Council Chair of River Science and brings a wealth of experience from previous positions at Queen Mary, University of London, and the Universities of Cambridge and Wales.
James is a geomorphologist with research interests in dynamics of alpine and piedmont rivers, in particular understanding the form and function of braided rivers. His research focuses on novel remote sensing methods, in particular high resolution lidar and photogrammetry along with numerical and geospatial simulation modelling, which is used to investigate how rivers respond to environmental pressures. This work has taken him across the world, from the Himalaya, to the Pyrenees, the European Alps and the Pacific Northwest. For the last 15 years, he has worked extensively in the South Island of New Zealand, in what he calls his “natural laboratory” typically involving large teams, working closely with engineers, ecologists, computer scientists and practitioners. While James is interested in the fundamental processes that drive the behaviour of rivers, his work is increasingly focused on the development of tools and knowledge to inform strategies to manage our rivers sustainably as we confront the growing challenges of climate change and increasing demand for water.
James is excited to take up the opportunity to lead Waterways; “…innovative thinking and alternative perspectives on how we confront the challenges facing our freshwater resources has never been needed more urgently. Waterways is uniquely positioned in this regard, bringing together a transdisciplinary whānau of outstanding researchers and students from across the Universities of Canterbury and Lincoln. By working together and in concert with our key stakeholders from iwi, regional government and industry, we have the potential to ‘think radically’ and develop holistic solutions that link the social, natural and cultural dimensions of freshwater.” For more information about James, visit: Research Gate Profile, LinkedIn Profile, Google Scholar
The Waterways Centre for Freshwater Management hosted its annual Post Graduate Student Symposium at Lincoln University on 19 November. Students from both Lincoln and Canterbury universities presented topics from a wide array of disciplines including human and physical geography, genetics, fresh water invertebrates and fish, groundwater, climatology.
Issie Barrett from the UC Freshwater Ecology Research Group (FERG) group won the first prize for her oral presentation on her research into negative resistance and resilience in freshwater communities. For the first time in the history of the symposium three UC students tied for the second place in the oral presentations competition (Alice West – FERG, Bridget White – FERG, and Rasool Porhammat – Geography). Deborah Paull (UC Biology) won the Water New Zealand People’s Choice for best presentation on the prevalence of antibiotic-resistant bacteria in surface drinking waters.
The quality of presentations (both oral and posters) improve with every year and new categories of prizes may be required to acknowledge and celebrate the hard work students put into their presentations. Numbers of attendants (some flew in from all over New Zealand) also set a new record, reinforcing the fact that interest from the wider community in multi-disciplinary research into freshwater management issues continues to be strong, and that the symposium is an excellent product which meets this demand.
Thinking about researching freshwater management issues, or supervising promising students who want to do the same? Brought to you by the Waterways Centre for Freshwater Management, postgraduate students from the University of Canterbury and Lincoln University are showcasing their research from a wide range of disciplines. This includes the extent of micro-plastic contamination within the Avon/Ōtakaro river or the impact of climate change on water resources in Cambodia. You can also find out about ‘who is eating who’ in South Island alpine tarns or the effects of off-road vehicles on the shores of Lake Ellesmere/Te Waihora. Attendance is free and the day is fully catered!
When: Tuesday 19 November, 9-5pm
Where: Lincoln University, Stewart Building.
Registration closes 5 November and can be done here.