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Facilities and resources

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A range of research facilities and resources are available in the School of Geography and Environmental Science.  They are used by staff, post-docs, research assistants, and by those students doing research for Honours, Masters or PhD degrees. Some are also utilised for undergraduate teaching.

Laboratories

The pollen analysis laboratories include a ‘wet lab’ for extracting pollen and diatoms from sediments, and a microscope room (the “pollen booth”) for identifying and counting pollen and diatoms from slides. A pollen reference collection and diatom library is held by G.E.S.

A laboratory adjacent to the ‘wet lab’ has a range of equipment used for water quality and related analyses. Equipment includes an atomic absorption spectrophotometer for cation content, an ultraviolet/visible spectrophotometer for anion content, pH and electrical conductivity meters, nephelometers and turbidity meters, plus sediment filtration and separation equipment. A furnace for determining organic matter losses on ignition is also located in this laboratory.

The Soil Lab is located in the Physics building and includes facilities required for soil and sediment analyses. Equipment includes sieve shakers, hydrometers and other equipment required for particle size analyses; two drying ovens; analytical balances; microscopes; and a class set of stereoscopes for aerial photograph interpretation.

Basement laboratories have facilities for palaeo- and mineral magnetism.

In addition the School shares use of a Malvern particle size analyser based in Chemical Engineering and facilities for trace element analysis housed in Earth Sciences. The School is charged for the use of the latter equipment and so approval is necessary.

Geographic Information System (GIS) facilities

The G.I.S. laboratory (S209) has a set of computers with G.I.S. software packages that include ARC/INFO, ArcView, MapInfo, ER Mapper, Idrisi and Maptitude.

Aerial photograph and map collections

The School has an extensive collection of aerial photographs that covers the majority of Australia, mostly from the 1960s onwards. The Map Library contains approximately 40,000 Australian and international maps, including topographic and geological series.

Field equipment

A range of equipment exists for geographic field studies, especially in the subject areas of climatology, biogeography, geomorphology and soils. Equipment includes:

  • boat, platforms and coring devices for sediment coring;
  • weather monitoring equipment for meteorological measurements;
  • augers, soil kits, spades and other equipment for soil surveys;
  • stream analysis equipment and tubing for water column sampling;
  • pH, salinity and dissolved oxygen meters;
  • an electronic distance measurer, theodolites and staffs, ranging poles, altimeters, clinometers, GPS units (two differential GPS), tapes and compasses for surveying; and trailers and limited camping gear.