Tag Archives: conservation

Protecting surfers from shark attacks

Macquarie University researchers discovered that most sharks are colour blind, and used that knowledge to create patented wetsuit camouflage designs that are now on the market. Now the team is looking at how sharks perceive surfboards.

Associate Professor Nathan Hart, his students and collaborators are taking a new look at the sensory world of sharks. Using a range of physiological, genetic and behavioural methods, they have obtained the clearest view yet of how sharks, including notorious predators such the great white shark, see the world around them. 

Continue reading Protecting surfers from shark attacks

Better ways to conserve the Coral Triangle

Six Southeast Asian countries are working together to better conserve the world’s centre of marine biodiversity, the Coral Triangle, with the hope that this will lead to a more collaborative approach to sharing coral reef resources in the area.

The Coral Triangle sits between Malaysia, the Philippines, Indonesia, East Timor, Papua New Guinea, and the Solomon Islands, a group of countries that have formed the Coral Triangle Initiative. It is home to 76 per cent of the world’s known coral species, 2,500 reef fish species, and the largest area of mangroves in the world.

Continue reading Better ways to conserve the Coral Triangle

Lessons in conservation from traditional indigenous practices

What can we learn about contemporary conservation from indigenous practices? A West Papuan PhD candidate at James Cook University in Cairns is finding out.

In the Bird’s Head Peninsula region of Indonesia, Freddy Pattiselanno is researching how indigenous peoples’ traditional hunting patterns have adjusted in the face of societal changes.

Continue reading Lessons in conservation from traditional indigenous practices

Conservation that works for governments, communities, and orangutans

The three nations that share the island of Borneo— Indonesia, Malaysia and Brunei—could retain half the land as forest, provide adequate habitat for the orangutan and Bornean elephant, and achieve an opportunity cost saving of over $50 billion.

The findings, by a research team led by The University of Queensland with members in Indonesia, Malaysia, and Europe, were published in Nature Communications in 2015.

Continue reading Conservation that works for governments, communities, and orangutans

Citizen science recovering volcanic farmlands

An Indonesian initiative is putting science—and the laboratory—into the hands of communities; combining the arts, science, and technology with some basic science lessons for the general public.

In 2014, the HackteriaLab gathering in Yogyakarta brought 40 scientists, artists, and academics together for two weeks to work on existing local community projects.

Continue reading Citizen science recovering volcanic farmlands

Where are the plants and animals we want to conserve, and the invaders we want to control?

Jane Elith is one of the most influential environmental scientists in the world, though she rarely ventures into the field.

Jane Elith (Photo credit: Prime Minister’s Prizes for Science/WildBear)
In the field of environment and ecology, Jane is the 11th most cited author worldwide over the past 10 years. Credit: Prime Minister’s Prizes for Science/WildBear

She develops and assesses species distribution models, which are used by governments, land and catchment managers and conservationists around the world—in short, for applying the lessons of ecology.

Continue reading Where are the plants and animals we want to conserve, and the invaders we want to control?

Who cares about the blobfish?

Hugh Possingham and his team are making conservation more efficient. They’re helping to save less fashionable threatened species by getting more bang for the bucks donated to cute and cuddly species.

The team of ecologists and mathematicians in the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence in Environmental Decisions (CEED) worked with the New Zealand government to assess how to better spend money that is donated to conservation. They’ve shown that by protecting habitats shared by several different species, the money donated to charismatic ones can be stretched further to save other species as well.

Could this koala help save less cute species? 9credit: Liana Joseph
Could this koala help save less cute species? (credit: Liana Joseph)

“The way we currently attempt to save species is inefficient, choosing species that are popular or charismatic, like koalas and tigers, over those that are less well known or even ugly, like the blobfish,” says Hugh, ARC Laureate Fellow and Director of CEED.

Continue reading Who cares about the blobfish?

Can we save the tiger with mathematics?

Eve McDonald-Madden

Eve McDonald Madden, The University of Queensland (credit: L’Oréal Australia/sdpmedia.com.au)
Eve McDonald Madden, The University of Queensland (credit: L’Oréal Australia/sdpmedia.com.au)

The University of Queensland

Turning to mathematics to allow us to make smarter conservation decisions.

The diversity of life on Earth underpins the global economy. But we’re losing biodiversity at an unprecedented rate and human-induced climate change will threaten more species—up to 37 per cent of the plants and animals with which we share the world. Continue reading Can we save the tiger with mathematics?