Skip to content
Agriculture Farming Rural, Engineering

App may be farmers’ oyster: sensor project to help navigate climate challenges

NSW Smart Sensing Network 2 mins read
An oyster farm in NSW (left) and Sydney rock oysters (right). Credit: AdobeStock

Hot marine temperatures of 29 degrees Celsius forced oyster farmers to close harvestinglast Marchin a New South Wales south coast estuary. And heavy rain and flooding last Christmas meant there wereshortages of oysters in NSW. 
 
Now a project led by the University of Wollongong hopes to empower oyster farmers to navigate climate change challenges such as heatwaves, floods and droughts.
 
 
The 
OysterGuard: Precision Water Quality Monitoring System to Safeguard Against Oyster Mortality project will create a connected water quality monitor that will detect hazardous water conditions and deliver real-time alerts and comprehensive reports to farmers via an app, so they avoid losing crops to extreme weather events. 
 
“We can help prevent expensive losses to the oyster industry,” Research Fellow in the Faculty of Engineering and Information Sciences and SMART Infrastructure Facility at the University of Wollongong, 
DrHugh Forehead says.  “OysterGuard will keep farmers informed about the conditions their oysters experience in real time. We hope that the data will also help farmers improve productivity by optimising growing conditions.” 

The project has received a NSW Smart Sensing NetworkGrand Challenges Fund grantand is a partnership with Macquarie University and industry partnerOceanfarmr Pty Ltd 
 
Dr Forehead says the mobile app will provide crucial insights and allow farmers to proactively safeguard their crops. “Unlike traditional methods, which often rely on periodic manual sampling and testing, our autonomous system operates continuously, providing real-time insights to farmers when they are needed,” Dr Forehead says. “This real-time information empowers farmers to make timely and informed decisions to protect their oyster crops.” 
 
Co-Investigator of the project is 
Dr Yan Li, a Lecturer in Computing (IoT and Networking)in the School of Computing, and a researcher in the Future Communications Research Centre and Smart Green City Research Centre at Macquarie University. She says the OysterGuard system’s modular design will also allow future enhancements and accommodate additional sensors to provide a more comprehensive understanding of water quality. 
 
“Importantly, the hardware operates seamlessly for extended periods, sidestepping sensor fouling issues by maintaining a no contact approach with the water, ensuring extended operational periods without compromising data accuracy and a resilient and sustainable solution for  aquaculture,” Dr Li says.
“Importantly, the hardware operates seamlessly for extended periods, sidestepping sensor fouling issues by maintaining a no contact approach with the water, ensuring extended operational periods without compromising data accuracy and a resilient and sustainable solution for aquaculture,” Dr Li says. 

NSSN Environment & AgTech Theme Leader Dr Tomonori Hu says the project is another great example of smart sensors being used to help commercial operations. ”Every application has a unique challenge, and it is these ground-up innovations that will contribute to the uptake of new technologies,” Dr Hu says. 

The researchers say the provision of a state-of-the-art autonomous water quality monitoring system will address an urgent need in oyster farming, significantly reduce risks posed by climate change, foster sustainability, and contribute to the resilience of the aquaculture industry in the face of evolving environmental challenges.
 

ENDS


About us:

The NSW Smart Sensing Network, a consortium of nine leading universities across NSW and the ACT, is a not-for-profit innovation network that brings together universities, industry and government to translate world-class research into innovative smart sensing solutions that create value for NSW and beyond.


Contact details:

Diane Nazaroff, NSSN Media Manager, 0424 479 199, diane.nazaroff@nssn.org.au.

Media

More from this category

Media Outreach made fast, easy, simple.

Feature your press release on Medianet's News Hub every time you distribute with Medianet. Pay per release or save with a subscription.