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Identification of waterbird research priorities for the Coorong, Lower Lakes and Murray Mouth (CLLMM) region

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Project type: Foundational scoping

Theme alignment: Threatened species and biodiversity

Project lead: Dr Thomas Prowse (University of Adelaide)

Project team: Ruth Cope (University of Adelaide), Johanna Kuhne (University of Adelaide), Steve Delean (University Adelaide), Rebecca Boulton (BirdLife Australia), Phill Cassey (University Adelaide) and Justin Brookes (University Adelaide)

Project dates: 30 October 2024 to 22 March 2024

The diverse and abundant waterbird community of the Coorong, Lower Lakes and Murray Mouth (CLLMM) played a central role in the region’s listing as a Wetland of International Importance under the Ramsar Convention. The CLLMM is an important site for migratory shorebirds of the East Asian–Australasian Flyway, many species of which have suffered population declines. The CLLMM also provides foraging and breeding habitat for non-migratory waterbirds and acts as a habitat refuge for many species during drought conditions. Significant opportunity exists to consult with diverse stakeholders to develop future waterbird research streams, and to engage community scientists in the delivery of this research.


The overarching goal is to develop a prospectus for waterbird research priorities in the CLLMM and surrounds, based on workshops with key stakeholder groups. The specific objectives of this proposal are:

  • to collaborate with diverse stakeholders, including First Nations groups, government, environmental NGOs and scientists, to identify key knowledge gaps relating to the ecology and management of waterbirds in the CLLMM region; and

to use this knowledge to identify priority projects for consideration within the CLLMM Research Centre portfolio over the 2024 to 2026 timeframe.

The project will involve literature review of climate change impacts on waterbirds, a series of targeted stakeholder workshops and prioritisation assessment to identify feedback on waterbird research priorities for the CLLMM region.

By identifying research priorities, which will guide research delivery by the CLLMM Research Centre, this project will help to instigate research that has strong management and decision-making implications.

Stakeholder connections: The project has strong links with community, First Nations and research-users. The project will engage numerous stakeholders representing First Nations and community, ‘Friends’ groups, environmental non-governmental organisations (eNGOs), South Australian and Commonwealth government agencies, and university and government scientists.

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