The Australian state of Victoria is impressively unique when it comes to marine life – as many as 80% of the plants and animals in southern Australian waters are found nowhere else. These exceptional ecosystems make Victoria a fascinating place to study marine biology.
Four students from leading European universities are currently finding that out first hand by conducting their thesis research projects at Deakin University as part of the International Master in Marine Biological Resources (IMBRSea) program.
IMBRSea is a prestigious Erasmus Mundus joint master program, organized by ten leading European universities and supported by a network of partner universities around the world – including Deakin University. Deakin offers leading marine science programs, including the Bachelor of Environmental Science (Marine Biology) and postgraduate research degrees. The University is also investing in improving our marine science research capacity through initiatives like the Deakin University research and teaching base at the Victorian Government’s Queenscliff Centre.
According to Professor John Arnould from Deakin’s School of Life and Environmental Sciences, Deakin’s involvement in the IMBRSea network of partners has helped to give the University a seat at the ‘big table’ of global marine research. It has also served to strengthen our ties to major universities across Europe.
“It’s a pretty exciting and prestigious program to be a part of and certainly places Deakin ‘on the map’ for marine research,” Professor Arnould says.
The four students, supervised by Professor Arnould, have been helping to review data gathered by Deakin researchers to gain insights about Victorian marine species, including fur seals, Australasian gannets and whales.
“I am working on the feeding ecology of Australian fur seals,” says Belgian student Nelle Meyers. “Deakin University seems like a really good university to study at. We are located at the Queenscliff Marine Station, it is a relatively quiet location but the beautiful nature around the centre makes up for this. Australia is a great country to live in with amazing fauna and flora both terrestrial and marine, which is absolutely great for marine biologists like us.”
French student Morgane Amelot chose to join the IMBRSea program because of the opportunities it presented to travel and study at the same time.
“I am doing the management specialisation and wanted to get different points of view on environmental issues. Environmental management is a global issue, and understanding the way environmental perception varies between countries is for me really important.”
Belgian IMBRSea program student Thomas Cansse said that as a biologist and bird enthusiast, studying the gannet colonies has been very enjoyable.
“I think Victoria is a great place for marine biology because there is a big range of marine habitats and biodiversity available which gives possibilities to study a big range of topics. I’ve noticed at the marine science centre in Queenscliff that people are working on a lot of different subjects, and it’s interesting to see that all of this is possible in one place,” said Cansse.
Deakin is proud of our growing reputation as a leader in the field of marine science and excited to be a partner in this global network providing engaging and challenging opportunities for marine science students. The School of Life and Environmental Sciences expects to welcome several more students from the IMBRSea program to assist with Deakin marine research in the next few months.