Tuesday 25 June, 2013

MPE Public Lecture: Environmental Intelligence for Australia

Dr Rob Vertessy, Director of Meteorology and CEO Bureau of Meteorology

vertessyMonitoring, assessing and forecasting environmental states and processes will be more and more important in a world facing global change and sustainability limits. Societies will be challenged to maintain, let alone improve, food security, water security and biodiversity, so situational awareness about the environment must be greatly enhanced.

The Bureau of Meteorology is evolving into a broad-based environmental intelligence service for Australia. Over the last decade the Bureau has taken on several new functions that have already set us on this path, including various new ocean, water resources and space weather services.

These developments arise at a time when the planet is changing faster than ever before, when society is demanding more of science, and when technological advances in environmental sensing and earth system simulation are occurring faster than our ability to appropriate them. Rob will demonstrate that these are exciting and important times for scientific communities and operational agencies specializing in environmental intelligence. He will make specific reference to the importance of the mathematical sciences in underpinning such endeavours.

  • Time: 6 – 7pm, Tuesday 25 June, 2013.
  • Venue: Physiology (Building 63), Lecture Theatre 358, The University of Queensland.
  • Arrangements: Please register here.
  • Questions? For any further information please contact Andree.

In 2012, Dr Rob Vertessy was appointed as the Director and CEO of the Bureau of Meteorology. Prior to that, he was head of the Bureau’s Climate and Water Division, which is responsible for the National Climate Centre, the national flood forecasting and warning service, and new initiative laying the foundations for a National Plan for Environmental Information. Rob commenced that role in 2007 after a 20-year career as a research scientist at CSIRO.

At CSIRO, he specialised in forest hydrology and catchment modelling and is widely published in these fields. Rob served as Chief Executive of the CRC for Catchment Hydrology (2002–2004) and Chief of CSIRO Land and Water (2004–2007). Between his CSIRO and Bureau appointments, Rob was seconded to the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet to advise on the establishment of a national water information strategy (2006). This strategy was taken up by the Australian Government in 2007 and is now being implemented by the Bureau.

AMSI MPE logosThis talk is run by the Australian Mathematical Science Institute and the Mathematics of Planet Earth Australia. For more information about MPE Australia events please click here.

Monday 20 May, 2013

The Mathematics and Economics of Marine Protected Areas

Prof Hugh Possingham, Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions, The University of Queensland

Marine reserve 300x225

We have seen marine protected areas appear on our doorstep in Moreton Bay and across the Great Barrier Reef. Most recently the Federal Government created a system of marine reserves which added more than 2.3 million square kilometres to Australia’s marine reserves.

In this talk Prof Hugh Possingham, from The University of Queensland, will discuss how mathematics, economics and ecology is used to design marine protected area systems that meet the needs of conservation and also minimise the impact of recreational and commercial fisheries. Hugh will also discuss some of the politics of marine reserve system design and how mathematics is used to target catchments for restoration to minimise the damage from nutrients and sediments that flow into our coastal ecosystems.

  • Time: 6:30 – 7:30pm, Monday 20 May, 2013.
  • Venue: Long Room, Customs House at Riverside.
  • Arrangements: Doors open at 6pm. No need to book – just show up!
  • Questions? For any further information please contact Andrew.

PossinghamProf Hugh Possingham’s PhD in biomathematics at Oxford University was funded by a Rhodes scholarship. Following postdocs at Stanford and ANU, and an academic position at The University of Adelaide, Hugh moved to The University of Queensland in a joint position between mathematics and biology, and currently directs two $15 million research centres.

The Possingham lab developed the most widely used conservation planning software in the world, Marxan, which was used to underpin the rezoning of the Great Barrier Reef and is currently used in over 100 countries to build the world’s marine and terrestrial landscape plans. Most recently Marxan was used to develop the biggest marine reserve system in the world – Australia’s federal marine reserve system. Hugh co-authored two scientific consensus statements that lead to Australia’s marine reserve system. Many governments and ENGOs use his lab’s work for the allocation of funding to threatened species recovery and solving other conservation conundrums. In 2001 Hugh was awarded an Australian Mathematics Society medal for a mathematician under the age of 40.

 Follow this BrisScience event on Facebook. AMSI MPE logos This BrisScience talk is brought to you by the Australian Mathematical Science Institute and the Mathematics of Planet Earth Australia. For more information about MPE Australia events please click here.

Wednesday 6 June, 2012 – Transit of Venus

Transit of Venus

Transits of Venus are rare and historically important astronomical events. Most of Australia is well positioned to witness the next transit of Venus on Wednesday 6th June 2012.

Since the phenomena was first recognized there have only been six transits of Venus – 1639, 1761, 1769, 1874, 1882 and the most recent one  in 2004. The 6th June 2012 transit is our last opportunity to observe a transit of Venus, as the next event occurs on 11th December 2117!

The Astronomical Association of Queensland (AAQ) is teaming up with The University of Queensland to provide safe viewing access for the public to see the transit with their own eyes!

  • Date: 6th June, 2012.
  • Time: 8am – 3pm (ingress from 8:16 – 8:34am, egress 2:26 – 2:44pm).
  • Location: Forgan Smith (building 1), The University of Queensland, St. Lucia campus.
  • Arrangements: No need to RSVP – just show up!
  • Questions? For any further information please contact Andrew.

Find out more information about public viewing here!