Blue carbon focus for ocean-loving world champion


Brianna Orams training during lockdown at the Long Bay-Okura marine reserve near Auckland

The coronavirus pandemic may have upset world champion stand-up paddleboarder Brianna Orams’ plans to compete in the sport’s 2020 Euro Tour – but the USC Environmental Science student refuses to see it as a setback.

Instead the 19-year-old is using her time in lockdown in New Zealand to develop a project which uses ocean-based sports as a platform for climate action and marine conservation.

Her Blue Carbon Project focuses on “blue carbon” environments – marine locations, such as mangroves and seagrass meadows, that absorb considerable amounts of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

“This project is really a fusion of my sport competing on the ocean and my USC Environmental Science studies,” said Brianna, who won a gold medal at her first world SUP championships in China last year.

“Sport can bridge the gap between science and local communities, and I think that is what sets this project apart,” she said.

“There is a huge population of outdoor-loving enthusiasts like me who really care about the places we compete at and enjoy for recreation, so why not use this to our advantage to promote the restoration of blue carbon environments as a pathway to a sustainable future.”

When the COVID-19 pandemic began, Brianna was in Bangkok completing an internship as part of her USC studies and training to compete in the 2020 SUP Euro Tour from April to July. She quickly returned to stay with family in New Zealand, and into lockdown.

“Blue Carbon Project was an idea in the back of my mind for a while, so with the huge movement in lockdown around exploring inner passions that you previously haven’t had time to pursue, I was inspired to launch my first environmental project,” she said.

“The water sports community spends countless hours out on the ocean and sees first-hand the impact of issues such as plastic pollution, climate change and decreasing species abundance.

“Imagine the environmental benefits if every outdoor enthusiast lent a hand to plant a tree and restore blue carbon environments.

“Although these environments may cover a small portion of our planet compared to some of the large rainforests such as the Amazon, they sequester carbon dioxide at a much faster rate, while providing us with the oxygen we breathe.”

Brianna is a member of USC’s High Performance Student Athlete (HPSA) program and said the scheme was a massive support as she juggled online studies and an interrupted training schedule from “across the ditch”.

“The HPSA program offers me so many opportunities and without it, I don’t believe I would be where I am today,” she said.

Under the guidance of USC Sports Clinic Assistant Aaron Turner, Brianna is currently focusing on cross-training to avoid overuse injuries and maintain intensity without having races to break up her training blocks.

“I refuse to see the pandemic as a setback,” she said. “I didn’t feel prepared going into Euro Tour 2020 and needed time to knuckle down to learn how to properly train. COVID has given me that opportunity.

“As well as trying to suck it up and brave the cold Auckland weather and get out on the water a few times a week, I am also working to transform Blue Carbon Project into a reality.

“It’s a steep learning curve. I’ve had little experience with starting not-for-profits, let alone creating logos, websites and getting funding, but I love to learn and love a good challenge.”

At her first event, ‘Blue Explore’, over 50 people paddled in the middle of winter and planted 500 native grasses to help prevent coastal erosion and stabilise dunes at Long Bay-Okura marine reserve.

“I’m not sure where this will all lead, but I plan to work with events in New Zealand and Australia to help them focus on climate positivity, develop a community of citizen scientists, and carry out expeditions to benefit scientific research in blue carbon environment.”

Brianna Orams training during lockdown at the Long Bay-Okura marine reserve near Auckland

Environment Lifestyle Science & Research University & TAFE Water Sports and Marine Activities

University Of The Sunshine Coast : View Full Profile
90 Sippy Downs Drive, Sippy Downs
07 5430 1234
University Of The Sunshine Coast
Showing 10+ recent articles for this business
Back to uni helps businesswoman banish COVID déjà vu 12 January 2021 | While the resurgence of COVID-19 is causing deja vu for many business owners, Fiona Roberts is looking forward to “another amazing year” in 2021. More information...
USC Clinical Trials seeks healthy volunteers for malaria study 05 January 2021 | USC Clinical Trials has partnered with the QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute in Brisbane to investigate whether an approved anti-malarial drug can be used more extensively to counter malaria – a disease... More information...
Driller digs deep for career as doctor 06 January 2021 | A former fly in-fly out mines driller who recently graduated from USC with a Psychology degree is taking his career change even further in 2021 after getting into medicine. More information...
Free USC course can open new career pathways 07 January 2021 | With many adults reassessing their career options as 2021 begins, USC is offering those looking to upskill or reskill a free course as an introduction to higher education. More information...
Drive to heal wounds brings national nursing honours for PhD student 22 December 2020 | A USC PhD candidate who is researching innovative ways to treat chronic wounds has been awarded two major national nursing awards. More information...
Govt doubles USC research block funding to $16m 18 December 2020 | USC Australia will receive nearly $16.4 million in research block grants for 2021, under the Federal Government’s $3 billion university funding announcement. More information...
Hashtag yoga: Study into effects of Instagram images on women 24 November 2020 | A lack of diversity in social media depictions of yoga has prompted a USC researcher to begin a study into the effect this might have on women’s body image and participation in yoga. More information...
Study: Who’s stealing the spanner crabs? 25 November 2020 | A USC study will determine if sharks are wrongly getting a bad rap for taking a bite out of Australia’s commercial spanner crab industry. More information...
High-tech sandbox to help farmers, USC students visualise water flow on land 23 November 2020 | It’s colourful, tactile and full of sand, but this box built by a USC Civil Engineering Honours student is far from a children’s toy. More information...
USC leads research into stocks of popular eating fish 12 November 2020 | Recreational and commercial fishers are being asked to play their part in important marine research by keeping an eye out for mahi mahi off the southern Queensland coastline that are sporting long orange ribbon... More information...

comments powered by Disqus

All articles submitted by third parties or written by My Sunshine Coast come under our Disclaimer / Terms of Service