Get Regular Updates!
Search
|Girls take aim at unwanted marine growth

Earth

Girls take aim at unwanted marine growth

Girls take aim at unwanted marine growth

Barnacles, beware!

Girls take aim at unwanted marine growth

Students across WA are preparing to pitch their solutions to biofouling – the unwanted growth of marine organisms like barnacles and algae on man-made underwater structures.

In UWA’s annual Emerging Engineers Competition, female students of all ages are invited to tackle the problem of biofouling, which costs global marine industries billions of dollars every year.

Tackling real-world problems

UWA OceanWorks Communications Officer Tina Zhang says biofouling is a current real-world problem in marine science and engineering.

“It’s a complex problem from lots of perspectives,” she says.

“Obviously there’s the biology and the chemistry of how that system is established, which is very fascinating.

“But there’s also the complexities around the human interaction between marine organisms and man-made structures.”

Students can also look at the impact of biofouling on structures such as oil and gas platforms and renewable energy systems, Tina says.

And there’s a host of complications around removing the growth in a way that doesn’t poison or otherwise disrupt the ecosystem.

View Larger
Image|Getty Images
You can see visible effects of biofouling, including barnacles on shipwrecks and encrusted jetty supports

Research, design and pitch

Tina says the competition is open to groups of girls working together.

She says the students have until the start of term 3 to research biofouling and develop their solutions.

They’ll then be invited to pitch their ideas to a panel of industry judges.

“We don’t say that it has to be a report or a poster … we accept any and all forms of submission,” she says.

“The running joke is if you want to do an interpretive dance or a play about it, you can.

“We haven’t received those kinds of submissions yet, but we could.”

Tips for winning

A group of year 12 girls from Helena College won the 2019 Emerging Engineers Competition.

View Larger
Image|Emerging Engineers Competition
Abbey, Jacinta and Cate at last year’s Emerging Engineers Competition

Jacinta Huppatz, who was part of last year’s winning team, admits to being a bit overwhelmed at first.

“We found breaking the task into smaller questions easier to handle,” she says.

“[It] allowed us to create a very specific solution to the problem.”

Teammate Cate Snelling recommends targeting one aspect of the challenge.

For them, it was the build-up of calcium carbonate.

“We looked at different ways we could try to reduce this build-up,” Cate says.

“[We] designed a solution, which was essentially an acid paste with the materials we had available, and we experimented.

“Afterwards, we reflected and proposed how we would readjust it.”

Engineers of the future

Abbey Shepherd, another member of the winning team, says she would 100% recommend the competition.

“It was an amazing opportunity,” she says.

“We learned a lot over the course of the project, and it was so much fun to work on as a group.”

Abbey is now thinking about studying environmental or mechanical engineering at university.

“Before starting the competition, I wasn’t really considering engineering,” she says.

“Now I understand more about what it is and what types of things engineers do.”

 

The Emerging Engineers Competition is a collaboration between UWA Girls in Engineering and OceanWorks.

Registrations for 2020 close on 12 April.

We love science puns VIDEO

Republish

Creative Commons Logo

Republishing our content

We want our stories to be shared and seen by as many people as possible.

Therefore, unless it says otherwise, copyright on the stories on Particle belongs to Scitech and they are published under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

This allows you to republish our articles online or in print for free. You just need to credit us and link to us, and you can’t edit our material or sell it separately.

Using the ‘republish’ button on our website is the easiest way to meet our guidelines.

Guidelines

You cannot edit the article.

When republishing, you have to credit our authors, ideally in the byline. You have to credit Particle with a link back to the original publication on Particle.

If you’re republishing online, you must use our pageview counter, link to us and include links from our story. Our page view counter is a small pixel-ping (invisible to the eye) that allows us to know when our content is republished. It’s a condition of our guidelines that you include our counter. If you use the ‘republish’ then you’ll capture our page counter.

If you’re republishing in print, please email us to let us so we know about it (we get very proud to see our work republished) and you must include the Particle logo next to the credits. Download logo here.

If you wish to republish all our stories, please contact us directly to discuss this opportunity.

Images

Most of the images used on Particle are copyright of the photographer who made them.

It is your responsibility to confirm that you’re licensed to republish images in our articles.

Video

All Particle videos can be accessed through YouTube under the Standard YouTube Licence.

The Standard YouTube licence

  1. This licence is ‘All Rights Reserved’, granting provisions for YouTube to display the content, and YouTube’s visitors to stream the content. This means that the content may be streamed from YouTube but specifically forbids downloading, adaptation, and redistribution, except where otherwise licensed. When uploading your content to YouTube it will automatically use the Standard YouTube licence. You can check this by clicking on Advanced Settings and looking at the dropdown box ‘License and rights ownership’.
  2. When a user is uploading a video he has license options that he can choose from. The first option is “standard YouTube License” which means that you grant the broadcasting rights to YouTube. This essentially means that your video can only be accessed from YouTube for watching purpose and cannot be reproduced or distributed in any other form without your consent.

Contact

For more information about using our content, email us: particle@scitech.org.au

Copy this HTML into your CMS
Press Ctrl+C to copy

We've got chemistry. Want something physical?