Avian botulism is an often fatal disease. It’s one of the biggest killers of birds worldwide. Outbreaks in Australia are often associated with waterbirds in wetlands. Research in the Northern Hemisphere has shown that water quality plays a key role in facilitating outbreaks of botulism. Lake Cowal in central west NSW is a key waterbird site that has experienced botulism events in the past. The project: “Identifying the Environmental Conditions Associated with Avian Botulism Outbreaks” will require both field and laboratory work.


This project aims to:

  • Identify and quantify the presence of botulism spores at Lake Cowal.
  • Determine the environmental conditions associated with botulism outbreaks at Lake Cowal.
  • Assess management options to limit the risk of botulism at Lake Cowal.

Student benefits

This is a multi-disciplinary project that will expose the student to a range of disciplines including:

  • wildlife disease
  • wetland ecology
  • water management
  • genetics.

The project has strong links to industry and government including the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage, Western Australian Department of Agriculture, Taronga Conservation Society and the Lake Cowal Foundation.

Get involved

To learn more about this project, contact Dr Kate Brandis.

T: +61 2 9385 2812