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Media Release
Senator the Hon Robert Hill
Leader of the Government in the Senate
Minister for the Environment

Grant for Taxonomic Research Announced

19 December 1996

Studies of lace corals, tropical spiders, water fleas, fungi, algae and grasses are among 57 projects to receive grants in 1997 from the Australian Biological Resources Study (ABRS).

The grants, totalling $1.4 million, have been announced today by Federal Environment Minister Robert Hill.

The grants are allocated under the Federal Government's ABRS Participatory Program to scientists in universities, museums and herbaria, to assist vital taxonomic research into Australia's biodiversity.

"Through its funding program, this institution supports the discovery, description, identification and classification of Australia's plants, animals and micro-organisms.

"Without this support, thousands of species would otherwise still be completely unknown and important work relating to the economic potential of some species would not be conducted.

"Among the grants is $60 550 for Dr Caroline Weiller at the Australian National University to develop a tool for land managers which will identity Australia's 1 375 species of native grasses and show how they can be monitored and managed.

'Dr Andrew Parker at the Australian Museum is receiving $34 800 to study a largely unknown type of shellfish, the Cyprinid, which are scavenging creatures thought to be good indicators of pollution and other problems in the marine environment.

"About eighty per cent of Australia's plants and animals occur nowhere else in the world and ABRS plays a critical national role in helping create a better understanding of our natural environment.

"The taxonomic research and documentation that ABRS fosters is crucial in laying the groundwork for improved conservation strategies and for ecologically sustainable management of Australia's flora and fauna."

The ABRS, which was founded by the Fraser Government in 1978, is recognised internationally as a leading agency in fostering taxonomic work and strongly supports Australia's obligations in taxonomic research under the International Convention on Biological Diversity. The ABRS is a program of the Biodiversity Group within Environment Australia.

Contact:Matt Brown (Senator Hill) 06 277 7640 or 0419 693 515
Alison Russell-French (Director, ABRS) 06 250 0223

Commonwealth of Australia