TRaCK: Tropical Rivers and Coastal Knowledge

Science and knowledge that governments, communities, industries for sustainable use of Australia's tropical rivers and estuaries

Barbara Robson

Barbara Robson

Barbara Robson
Project Leader
CSIRO Land and Water

During the first phase of TRaCK research, Barbara Robson led the Aquatic Systems Modelling team of the Catchment and Aquatic Modelling group in CSIRO Land and Water. Her main research interest is process-based modelling of nutrients, sediments and plants (especially phytoplankton) in aquatic systems such as especially rivers and estuaries.

Dr Robson uses models to draw together scientific understanding of a system, quantify process rates and material fluxes, and predict how the system is likely to respond to change.

Past projects have focused on the:

  • Daly River in the Northern Territory
  • Flinders River in Queensland
  • Ord River in north-west Australia
  • Swan-Canning Estuary in Perth
  • Fitzroy Estuary and Keppel Bay, which feed into the Great Barrier Reef Lagoon.

Dr Robson has a Bachelor of Environmental Science (Honours 1), and a Doctor of Philosophy in Oceanography

She has won several awards including:

  • Modelling and Simulation Society of Australia and New Zealand's Early Career Research Excellence Award in 2005
  • Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) for Coastal Zone, Estuary and Waterways Management Shield, awarded to the Fitzroy contaminants dynamics project team as the project team that made the greatest overall contribution to the CRC in 2004
  • CRC for Coastal Zone, Estuary and Waterway's Management Excellence in Science Award, awarded to the Fitzroy contaminants dynamics project team in 2003
  • Australian Research Council Discovery Grant Critical flux paths influencing ecological processes in an urban estuary,  awarded to Jorg Imberger, Barbara Robson and David Hamilton, Centre for Water Research, UWA in 2002
  • Ria de Groot Prize, UNSW in 2000.

Phase 1 Projects

Outcomes Regional natural resource management groups, government policy-makers, and water planners have benefited through: Improved understanding of the origin, transport and fate of carbon, nutrients and fine sediments in tropical rivers Improved capacity to predict the consequences of land use and water resource changes on primary production in the Daly and Flinders rivers, and Improved understanding on the linkage between flows and the transport and fate of nutrients and fine sediments. This (predictive) capability is essential to assessing impacts of land-use change on ecological condition in tropical rivers, an important step for effective management of river catchments.