Linking ecology in China and Australia

1 JANUARY 2003

Visiting Chinese ecologist Professor Cao Lei has a delightful enthusiasm for all things Australian, and a great concern for the environmental degradation of wetlands and the loss of waterbirds in her homeland. Professor Cao is working at Charles Sturt University’s (CSU) Institute for Land, Water and Society (ILWS) as part of her three month visit to Australia, developing a cooperative project proposal with ILWS director Professor Max Finlayson and ILWS researchers on a model for wetland restoration and management in China to address the marked deterioration of wetlands in the giant Yangtze River basin. The Chinese ecologist is particularly concerned with the dramatic fall in the number of many waterbirds that rely on freshwater lakes in the basin for winter feeding and roosting. As leader of the Waterbirds and Wetlands Ecology Group of the University of Science and Technology of China’s School of Life Science, Professor Cao is also investigating how CSU teaches its ecology courses, with a view to establishing ecology as a major area of study at her university.

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