Skyrail Rainforest Foundation Announces Student Funding

The Skyrail Rainforest Foundation is pleased to announce a $25,000 commitment towards several PhD, masters and honours projects being undertaken by James Cook University students.

This announcement marks the first round of Skyrail Rainforest Foundation (SRF) funding made available exclusively to students; it follows a call for applications made in April 2007.

Seven students received SRF funding, six of which are conducting research projects in the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area.

Max Shepherd, a Skyrail Rainforest Foundation Director, said the Foundation was pleased to support the student research projects.

"One of the Skyrail Rainforest Foundation’s primary objectives is to support studies and projects with a focus on ‘pure research, aimed at understanding rainforest flora and fauna, ecosystems, processes and biological interaction’," Mr Shepherd said.

"We received an outstanding quantity and quality of student applications for funding, which were assessed by the Foundation’s Public Fund Management Committee," he said.

The successful projects are:

  • Vanessa Ramirez: Productivity, biodiversity and climate change in the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area.
  • Scott Parsons: Soil processes, nutrient cycling and global climate change in Australian Tropical Rainforest.
  • Robert Puschendorf: Mechanisms of resistance to chytridiomycosis in recovered recolonised amphibian populations.
  • Elizabeth Pryde: "Does a native timber plantation in Papua New Guinea, and its surrounding rainforest matrix, provide sustainable habitat for local avifauna?"
  • Stephen Kolomyjec: The history and relationships of northern platypus populations.
  • Peter Byrnes: Impact of roads on medium-sized, ground-dwelling rainforest mammals in the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area.
  • Alexander Anderson: Relationships between bird diversity, primary productivity and climate in Australian Rainforests.

Successful PhD student applicant, Robert Puschendorf, said the Foundation’s funding was crucial to ensuring ongoing progress in tropical rainforest research.

"It is great to receive support from the Skyrail Rainforest Foundation; having the resources available to complete my PhD is critical not only for my studies, but also in discovering new things about frog communities in the rainforest," Mr Puschendorf said.

"I will study two species of rare and endangered rainforest frogs, focussing on a specific frog disease that has caused dramatic population decline and extinctions in some frog species around the world," he said.

The Skyrail Rainforest Foundation was established in 2005 with the primary objective of raising and distributing funds to support tropical rainforest research and education projects. Registered as a tax deductible recipient, the Foundation raises money through membership and donations.