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Uptake - Issue 1 - Meet some of our research fellows and students

Meet some of our research fellows and students

Hugh Smith, Research Fellow

Hugh Smith

Hugh Smith

Hugh completed undergraduate studies and a PhD in geomorphology and catchment hydrology at The University of Sydney in 2007.  After a brief period working for the NSW Department of Environment and Climate Change, Hugh relocated to Melbourne to take up a research fellow position in the Department of Forest and Ecosystem Science at The University of Melbourne.  Hugh has research experience in the development of catchment sediment budgets, streamflow and sediment load estimation, sediment tracing and erosion measurement techniques.  Hugh has worked mostly in burnt subalpine forest environments and gullied upland pasture catchments. Hugh’s work in the CRC includes measurement and modelling of post-fire erosion processes within forest catchments, with particular focus on the role of extreme events.  Hugh is also studying the effect of prescribe fire on hillslope erosion, sediment and nutrient delivery to streams for a range of forest-soil associations.


Jane Cawson, PhD student

Jane completed her Science / Forest Science degrees in 2004. She then worked for three years with the Department of Sustainability and Environment (DSE) in their fire management branch. Her interest in fire grew through her involvement in many facets of fire - operations, ecology, policy, research and monitoring.  A major achievement was the development of a State-wide flora monitoring protocol for prescribed burning. Jane started her PhD in April this year at the University of Melbourne. She continues to pursue her interest in fire as she investigates the effects of prescribed fire on water quality. A key component of her research will be modelling the effects of spatial variability on hillslope runoff and erosion. She enjoys expanding her skills and knowledge in the soil science and hydrology disciplines and is looking forward to commencing her fieldwork early next year.  

Jane Cawson

Jane Cawson


Sandra Hawthorne, PhD student

Sandra graduated from Monash University with Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Engineering (Civil) in 2001. She joined Goulburn-Murray Water as a water resource engineer. She was involved in the management of bulk water and efficient delivery of water to various users. Through this role, she became interested in issues related to water resource management and water supply reliability. Sandra started her research project at the University of Melbourne in late 2006. The project investigates the long term impact of forest thinning on water yield. The use of remote sensing to obtain forest structural and biophysical parameters is incorporated to the project, allowing her to explore this dynamic area of research.


Sandra Hawthorne at Crotty Creek

Sandra at Crotty Creek – one of the long term thinning trials that she has re-invigorated