Lake Eyre Basin Justin Costelloe PhD Scholarship winner announced

19 August 2021

A University of Adelaide student has won the $20,000 Lake Eyre Basin Justin Costelloe PhD Scholarship to carry out research to improve knowledge of the health of the Lake Eyre Basin.

Recipient Brock Hedges will examine the impact of climate change on invertebrate populations in freshwater granite rock-hole pools in arid zones.

The Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment Assistant Secretary and Chair of the Lake Eyre Basin Senior Officer Group, Kirsty Bunfield said the findings are expected to be relevant to broad regions across the South Australian arid zone, much of which forms part of the Lake Eyre Basin, and will help our understanding of how to protect this unique habitat.

“The Lake Eyre Basin Justin Costelloe PhD Scholarship is named in memory of Justin Costelloe, a senior researcher fellow at the Department of Infrastructure Engineering at the University of Melbourne, who passed away in 2018,” Ms Bunfield said.

“Justin was a leader in investigating surfacewater and groundwater systems in Australia’s arid zone and provided advice to governments on the management of these systems in the Lake Eyre Basin.

“The scholarship was established to build links with emerging academics with a similar passion for understanding this vast inland environment.

“Kati Thanda–Lake Eyre Basin is one of the world's largest internally- draining river systems – its streams do not reach the sea.

“The Basin contains nationally important cultural, social, natural and economic values, and includes large parts of South Australia, the Northern Territory and Queensland, and a smaller area in western New South Wales.

“The inaugural 2019-20 recipient, Griffith University PhD student Georgia King, researched the impact of an invasive crayfish on the native Blue Claw yabby in the Lake Eyre Basin.”

Ms Bunfield said the scholarship was administered through the Australian Government’s Community Grants Hub, with contributions from the Australian Government and the Queensland, South Australian and Northern Territory governments.