Dr Margaret Shanafield

Research Field: Hydrology

Although most Australian rivers go dry each year, the frequency and duration of those dry periods is changing, bringing hardship to the environment and communities. We don’t fully understand what physical hydrologic processes contribute to the generation of streamflow after rain events, and how much of that streamflow recharges our aquifers.

Dr Shanafield makes and uses new tools in field experiments, and analyses the data using computer models to better understand these rivers and their connection to groundwater, so that we have a better understanding of the hydrologic cycle and therefore water availability.

Results of Dr Shanafield’s work on Ewens Ponds is contributing to current management strategies and the proposed Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act listing. She has presented to the local irrigation district in her study area and met with landowners to disseminate research findings. Her research has been featured on the TV show “Scope” and she loves going to the river with her childcare’s kindy room to show them how limnologists catch aquatic insects.

Dr Shanafield received her PhD in 2010 from the University of Nevada, Reno (USA). She is currently a Senior Lecturer/Researcher at Flinders University.