Just what is a scuba diving Georgian-born marine biologist doing in South Australia’s Murraylands and Riverland?
Dr Tiffany Nay is the new Murraylands and Riverland Landscape Board's Wetland Project Officer. Pic Bryan Littlely
Taking care of our wetlands, of course!
Tiffany Nay has joined the Murraylands and Riverland Landscape Board’s Wetlands Team as its newest Wetland Project Officer.
Dr Nay grew up in the United States where her interest in fish ecology began. Her passion for fish and their environment stemmed from learning to scuba dive at a young age.
She moved to Australia in 2014 where she began postgraduate studies in fish physiology at James Cook University in Queensland. Her work focused on temperatures preferred by fish and other factors that may influence where we find fish species in the wild, looking particularly at the environment of the Great Barrier Reef.
Different from the tropical waters she is accustomed to, her new role will focus on wetland ecology.
Her first few weeks have involved learning the monitoring techniques and networking with involved stakeholders, which means taking a good look around our stunning Murraylands and Riverland regions.
“My first few weeks have been inspiring. It has been great to be able to join in on the conservation efforts that are improving South Australia’s wetlands,” she said.
Dr Nay will monitor the status of wetlands, specifically targeting critical areas, to grow and recover these vital habitats.
Already she has been conducting fauna surveys, specifically birdlife, water quality surveys, and preparing for upcoming fish surveys.
“I love the bird-life out here. The sheer number of birds in some of these wetlands is a true testament to their healthy condition. Despite my history with fish, I am developing a strong appreciation for the region’s bird species,” Dr Nay said.
“Changes in water quality, both positive and negative, influence how species use their environment. This is something in which I am very interested. While freshwater quality parameters can be different from a marine environment, species generally respond the same.
“It is great to see that nearly all of the projects I have seen so far involve ensuring a healthy level of water quality to promote ecosystem growth.”
When she is not at work, Dr Nay loves to travel and spend time in nature with her family.
“This job is taking me to so many beautiful places that I have previously never seen, and I am excited about all the prospects the work entails.”
The Wetlands Team is supported by the Murraylands and Riverland landscape Board through funding from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program and the Landscape levies.