Location matters for species struggling to survive under a changing
A new study led by Macquarie University has found we need to provide
more safe havens for wildlife and plant species to survive under climate change
in New South Wales’ west.
Along the Great Dividing Range, the vulnerable spotted-tailed quoll will
be forced to move into higher habitats as the climate changes, but can find
sanctuary in protected areas like Kosciuszko National Park.
The squirrel glider, also listed as a vulnerable species, will have more
suitable places to live under climate change. However, few of its potential new
homes in central western New South Wales are adequately protected.
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.
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.
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.
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.
“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.
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?→