Friday, 7 December 2012

Researchers at The University of Western Australia today welcomed the Western Australian Government's decision to allocate $646,000 over two years to fund three major studies into shark detection and deterrents.

WA Premier's Fellow and Winthrop Professor Shaun Collin, who leads the Neuroecology Group at UWA's Oceans Institute , is a world leader in shark sensory biology . His project will test the effectiveness and improve understanding of existing shark deterrents.

Associate Professor Nathan Hart has received funding to develop and test new shark deterrents, including the innovative use of bubble curtains, strobe lights and sub aquatic sounds. He is already working with Professor Collin to develop shark attack deterrent wetsuits in a project co-funded by WA company Dunbar Harper and the WA Government.

Winthrop Professor Mohammed Bennamoun, from UWA's School of Computer Science and Software Engineering , has been funded to develop advanced vision systems for automatic shark detection. Professor Bennamoun's recent research project used the latest 3D imaging and biomechanical techniques to quantify swimmers' movement patterns .

UWA Oceans Institute Director Winthrop Professor Carlos Duarte welcomed the support for The University's research into addressing societies concerns about sharks.

"This demonstrates the capacity and commitment of the UWA Oceans Institute to provide the science needed to deliver real solutions for the challenges we face," W/Professor Duarte said.

The WA Department of Commerce established the Shark Hazard Advisory Research Committee (SHARC), which is chaired by Chief Scientist of Western Australia, UWA Professor Lyn Beazley, to deliver shark mitigation education and research, and the opportunity to work more closely with other organisations on the issue.

Related Video featuring UWA research : ABC Catalyst:  shark repellent

Media references

Winthrop Professor Shaun Collin (UWA Oceans Institute)  (+61 8)  6488 2632
Research Associate Professor Nathan S. Hart (UWA School of Animal Biology, UWA Oceans Institute)  (+61 8)  6488 3960
Winthrop Professor Mohammed Bennamoun (UWA School of Computer Science and Software Engineering (currently overseas - available on email)
Dr Ferdous Sohel (UWA School of Computer Science and Software Engineering  (+61 8)  6488 2796
Michael Sinclair-Jones (UWA Public Affairs)  (+61 8)  6488 3229  /  (+61 4) 00 700 783


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