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Science Week looks beyond the microscope to wildlife science

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.

Doctor Matt Brien has a PhD, Bachelor of Science with First Class Honours but you won’t find him wearing a white lab coat, you’ll find him out in the field with crocodiles.

“I’ve worked with the Department of Environment and Science since 2013 starting as a wildlife officer and then moving into my current role as the Program Coordinator for Northern Wildlife Operations,” Doctor Brien said.

“My previous research focused on the movement patterns and behaviour of estuarine crocodiles.

“Currently, my team is monitoring the estuarine crocodile population in Queensland in terms of the size, distribution, density, size class, and how it has changed over time.

“Our work also delves into the genetic relatedness and connectivity of the estuarine crocodile population across Queensland and the Northern Territory.

“I’m part of a team which looks at managing the conflict that arises between humans and some of our native wildlife in North Queensland – specifically crocodiles, cassowaries and flying foxes.

“My role is to use my scientific qualifications to improve our knowledge of the issues to try and provide solutions.

“This project will go a long way towards improving our knowledge base and reducing conflict with people, plus improving public safety, particularly when it comes to crocodiles, so we can assist with the conservation of the species.”

Doctor Brien 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.

“Science is the greatest problem-solving tool we have, and the fundamental principles of the scientific process are applicable to everything we do in life,” he said.

“As such, a career in science is always a good investment, especially in an age when the truth and facts can get lost in the sphere of public opinion.

“My career in wildlife science has taken me to all sorts of weird and wonderful places throughout the world where I have had the privilege of working with equally weird and wonderful people and animals.

“If you have an inquisitive mind, a sense of adventure, and are generally fascinated with the natural world, then a career in wildlife science is worth considering.

“Do your homework – working with wildlife is a passion and a lifestyle – you are not going to earn a million bucks.”

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.

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