Science Week looks beyond the microscope to aquatic ecology

Issued: 19 Aug 2021

Queensland is looking beyond the microscopes, beakers and Bunsen burners to celebrate the varied aspects of our valued scientists for National Science Week which runs from August 14-22, 2021.

Dr Christoph Braun has a PhD from the University of Queensland with the topic of his thesis ‘UV-induced DNA damage in coral reef fish: damage levels and protection mechanisms’.

“I’ve worked with the Department of Environment and Science since October 2019 and am part of the Water Quality and Investigations unit,” Dr Braun said.

“The unit conducts environmental monitoring and leads scientific investigations into impacts of pollutants to the ecosystem.

“This helps to identify areas of concern, and improves our knowledge of aquatic ecosystem health.

“I work on a range of projects from emerging contaminants to ongoing monitoring of water, sediment and biota.

“Currently, I’m finalising a database and PowerBi portal of fish kills in Queensland (dating back to the early 2000s), which will improve our understanding of where these incidents occur, and help to investigate possible trends and hotspots over time.

“My work often means I need to be able to find relevant information in a large body of literature and data, and then interpret the information according to environmental guidelines and local objectives.

“My experience over the last 10 years helps me to filter the information and present to stakeholders that might not be experts in the field.

“My background in aquatic ecology helps me to understand the impacts of natural and pollution events on the fauna and flora in Queensland waters.”

Dr Braun said National Science Week is a great opportunity to highlight the many facets across the field to inspire young children to consider a consider a career in science.

“Knowledge is power,” he said.

“Don’t let anyone tell you that your interests do not matter!”

Queensland’s Chief Scientist Professor Hugh Possingham said everyone from students to grandparents could get involved in the celebration of science during National Science Week.

“Visit the National Science Week website to find local or online National Science Week activities near you and follow the Queensland Science Facebook channel for the latest science news,” he said.