Cover pic.jpg

Kaylah Del Simone

Effects of bioaccumulation from airborne manganese on the health of wildlife on Groote Eylandt, NT.

PhD Student and Research Assistant kaylah.delsimone@uq.net.au

BSc (Hons)  Zoology & Geographical Science - University of Queensland

 

During my undergrad I completed a dual degree in Zoology and Geographical Science at the University of Queensland. Throughout my undergraduate days I spent a few months volunteering for a research project looking at the swimming performance of a few native fish species. This gave me a tiny look into the world of research and so I continued on that path into honours.

Working hard in the field to set up hair funnels

Working hard in the field to set up hair funnels

Swimming at Edith Falls, NT on our road trip north

Swimming at Edith Falls, NT on our road trip north

During my honours with the Wilson Performance Lab, I was fortunate enough to walk across the majority of Groote Eylandt in order to set hundreds of hair traps. I used hair from both northern quolls and northern brown bandicoots to look at the distribution of manganese accumulation in varying habitat types and geomorphologies to determine if the manganese mine on island contributes to contamination/bioaccumulation in wildlife.

What happens to a hair funnel no matter how much you try to protect it from fire

What happens to a hair funnel no matter how much you try to protect it from fire

Setting traps for live animal capture as part of my honours of Groote Eylandt

Setting traps for live animal capture as part of my honours of Groote Eylandt

Post northern quoll photo - prior to release on island as part of my honours research

Post northern quoll photo - prior to release on island as part of my honours research

After seeing the Island up close and personal, my passion for biology was definitely ignited. I stayed on as a research assistant from mid-2018 to present, getting a good taste for lab work and learning how to prepare different samples and measure element concentrations in each. The work mainly revolves around the use of LA-ICP-MS, ICP-OES and the ILOITE software.

Now in 2019, I have made the first steps in my PhD project. I will be exploring the field of eco-toxicology more in depth by looking at metal accumulation and direct health impacts on both the wildlife on Groote Eylandt and controlled populations of Zebra finches.

Processing hair samples for LA-ICP-MS, ICP-OES and the ILOITE software

Processing hair samples for LA-ICP-MS, ICP-OES and the ILOITE software

Demonstrating to the Anindilyakwa Land and Sea Rangers how the laser hair analysis works

Demonstrating to the Anindilyakwa Land and Sea Rangers how the laser hair analysis works