Ecosciences Precinct

Site Details

Research Facility Name Ecosciences Precinct
Research Facility Manager Dave Spence
Address 41 Boggo Road, Dutton Park
Telephone 07 3708 8497
Coordinates /GPS at office 27o29’41” S
153 o1’47” E
Climate (Temperature max & min, Annual Rainfall) Sub-tropical (Long term average temperature - max 26.9o & min 19.5o, Annual Rainfall - 1200mm)

Overview of the Site

The Ecosciences Precinct is a highly collaborative working environment and consists of state-of-the-art facilities including research and educational laboratories, insect houses, controlled environment rooms, greenhouses, offices and workshops. The research laboratories are certified to Australian Standard PC2 (Physical Containment Level 2), which is the rating for a standard, low-risk research environment. This rating provides a clean and sterile environment for scientists to conduct research on organisms that are not dangerous to humans or animals. Some research at the precinct relies on access to quarantine facilities that are certified to Australian Standard QC3 (Quarantine Containment Level 3). This enables researchers to conduct secure and carefully controlled studies on insects and bacteria; these studies help control weeds that threaten Queensland’s ecosystems. It also allows researchers to undertake controlled studies and diagnostics on pests and diseases that destroy crops.

Facilities

General Facilities

The site has built facilities including an administration office with accommodation for 268 staff, conference and meeting rooms. General storage, boat storage, car parks and purpose built mechanical and wood working workshops, waste store, bike lock-up and chemical stores.

Specialised Infrastructure

Controlled Environments

  • 4 Air-conditioned Glasshouses
  • 7 Evaporatively cooled Glasshouses
  • 2 Evaporatively cooled QC2 Glasshouses
  • 4 QC3 Glasshouses
  • 9 Cold rooms
  • 3 Freezer rooms
  • 4 General Plant Growth Rooms
  • 2 QC3 Plant Growth Rooms
  • 41m2 Herbarium collection room
  • 116m2 Entomology collection room

Laboratories, processing facilities and conference rooms

  • QC1, QC2/PC2 and QC3 Laboratories
  • Seed store with low temperature and humidity
  • Washing, sterilizing and media preparation facility with two dedicated staff supporting laboratory work and research projects.
  • Fruit assessment lab for high volume fruit inspection and fruit fly host work
  • External ‘post and ponds’ area for aquatic weed research
  • Timber workshop with a selection of timber processing machinery
  • Fruit ripening room with facility for ethylene
  • Nematology soil and plant processing room
  • Wet Reception/ Fish processing lab with adjoining ‘drive in’ cold room
  • On site workshop with qualified fitter and turner
  • 2 Large Conference rooms
  • 17 Meeting rooms

Specialised Plant & Equipment

  • Five large autoclaves
  • Transmission Electron Microscope
  • Actini liquid biowaste treatment system
  • Anaerobic fermenter
  • Anaerobic microbiological research capacity
  • Wide range of scientific equipment for carrying out biological research eg., ultracentrifuges, autoclaves, biosafety cabinets, fume cupboards, laminar flow cabinets, PCR machines, ultra-low temperature freezers.

Transportation

  • Utilities in QG fleet
  • Box trailers available from business groups

Sample Processing

  • Dryers
  • Plant processing area
  • Fish processing lab

Research Focus

  • Animal Science
  • Forestry Research
  • Fisheries
  • Plant Pathology
  • Entomology
  • Nematology
  • Post Harvest Grain Protection
  • Market Access
  • Invasive Plant Science
  • Biosecurity

RD&E projects

Animal Science

Animal Science staff based at the EcoSciences Precinct conduct research, development, extension, education and training programs (RD&E) focussed on improving the productivity, competiveness and profitability of Queensland’s tropical and sub-tropical livestock businesses and industries and management options for its fisheries. Staff based at ESP work in the following areas:

  • Beef
  • Bees
  • Fisheries
  • Pork and Poultry
  • Research Information Services
  • Animal Science leadership and management

Biosecurity – Invasive Plants & Animals Research

Biosecurity IP&A projects at Ecosciences precinct are focused on eight areas of research and management.

  1. Improving control strategies and methods (e.g. biological control, herbicides and fire) for over 20 weeds.
  2. Developing new methods (e.g. baits, toxins and biological control) and strategies (e.g. timing, location of control) for the management of pest animals.
  3. Improving our ability to monitor, delimit and detect pest populations.
  4. Evaluating control efficacy and assessing pest impact.
  5. Providing pesticide registration, formulations and toxicology.
  6. Leadership of a state-wide operational program managing weeds and pest animals in partnership with local government and industry.
  7. Risk assessment of emerging and potential weeds and pest animals.
  8. Collect and analyse data on the distribution and status of pest animals and weeds in Queensland.

Biosecurity – Plant Biosecurity and Product Integrity

The Plant Biosecurity and Product Integrity (PB&PI) Program, within Biosecurity Queensland delivers two overarching strategic biosecurity objectives:

  • Protecting Queensland from plant pests and diseases; and
  • Maintaining and facilitating trade and market access by managing agricultural chemical use and food contaminants.

The PB&PI Program delivers its core business as well as these strategic deliverables through several sub-programs:

  • Program Management
  • Market Access
  • Surveillance, Control and Containment
  • Agvet Chemicals and Contaminants
  • Incident Response and Preparedness
  • Risk Assessment and Scientific Advice
  • Laboratory and Diagnostic Services
  • Operations in South-East Queensland & Rangelands, Capricornia, and Northern Tropics.

Biosecurity Queensland staff from the PB&PI Program at the Ecosciences Precinct work within the following sub-programs:

  • Risk Assessment and Scientific Advice
  • Laboratory and Diagnostic Services
  • Ag Vet Chemicals and Contaminants
  • Panama TR4 Program

Post Harvest Grain Protection

Grain insects are present on most farms in silos, harvesting machinery, stockfeed, grain spills, and old seed.    Australia produces 22 - 25 million tonnes of wheat every year and unless insect control measures are applied, grain quality and value is likely to be reduced.

The PHGP team at ESP undertake a number of projects that support the grain industry in protecting grain from stored product insects by:

  • studying and understanding insect biology to find their weaknesses
  • developing effective treatments for protecting wheat
  • advising farmers and grain industry.

Fisheries Queensland

The Fisheries Queensland team at ESP is part of a statewide Fishery Monitoring team, and currently conducts routine biological monitoring of the following key species to help assess the status of key fish stocks and suitability of existing management arrangements:

  • Yellowfin  Bream
  • Sand Whiting
  • Dusky Flathead
  • King Threadfin
  • Snapper
  • Pearl perch
  • Sea Mullet (commercial catch only)
  • Spanish Mackerel
  • Spotted Mackerel
  • Tailor
  • Spanner Crab

This information is collected using either fishery-independent monitoring or fishery-dependent monitoring programs.

Fishery-Dependent Monitoring

Fishery-dependent sampling collects length, sex and age information from recreationally and commercially harvested fish. A range of different sampling activities are used, including surveying recreational fishers at public boat ramps and sampling commercial catches at seafood wholesalers. Samples and data are also donated to the monitoring program voluntarily by commercial and recreational fishers. Collecting biological information from fish being retained by fishers helps Fisheries Queensland understand the sustainability of fisheries for each species. Some additional social and economic data are also collected from recreational fishers.

Fishery-Independent Monitoring

For some species, scientific surveys are more suitable than fishery-dependent approaches to obtain the necessary data, usually abundance of target species within the fisheries area of operation. Currently, spanner crab is the only species monitored independently of the existing fishery, although several commercial fishers are contracted to help carry out the work under the guidance of scientific staff.

Fisheries Qld scientific staff at ESP are also involved in a range of projects carried out by other agencies, because of their knowledge of the biology of the target species they work with, or the commercial and recreational fisheries for them.

Horticulture and Forestry Science

H&FS projects at EcoSciences focus on eight main areas.

  • Market Access
  • Supply Chain
  • Vegetable Production Systems
  • Tree Pathology
  • Hardwood Plantations
  • Plant Virology
  • Forest Health
  • Forest Value

Last updated 14 September 2017