• Koalas are gorgeous, no doubt. But does their overwhelming charisma mean that we forget about other species?

    Kath Handasyde: Charisma, Culling and Conservation

    Australia plays host to a wonderful range of very endearing species. Tourists come from the world over to get up close with kangaroos or koalas. But the charisma of these animals can often lead to issues, whether it’s prioritisation of resources for them over other more endangered species, or even to the detriment of the species themselves.

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  • When fish like this sand goby aggregate, the density of their nests can often have a big impact on their success

    Too Many Fish on the Sea Floor

    This week’s paper looks at the effect of density on reproductive success.

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  • On the left, a thriving wetland. The right, an arid forest.

    Resuscitating Australia’s Floodplains: Environmental Water

    The Environmental Water Scheme will aim to rejuvenate one of Australia’s largest drainage basins. I looked at the pros and cons of the scheme during a week in the field.

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  • Gretta Pecl, founder of the Redmap project, which aims to demonstrate tangible effects of climate change to Australia's fishing community

    Gretta Pecl: Climate Change in Coastal Waters

    So often the effects of climate change are somewhat intangible to us; the weather may grow warmer, but it’s a slow and gradual process, which can seem entirely at odds with the alarm bells that things like the IPCC report seem to be constantly clanging. As such, demonstrating tangible environmental to a community whose livelihood may depend on such changes is a great weapon in the fight against the effects of a warming climate.

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  • Sudan, the last male northern white rhino, 3 years before he passed away, rendering the species functionally extinct. But should species like this be the focus of our conservation efforts?

    Rethinking Extinction

    We are currently part of the most dramatic mass extinction event that the planet has ever seen, and more of these stories crop up every year. But is it a problem that the alarm bells are only raised when a creature hits the critically endangered level? And how do we even prioritise conservation efforts?

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Current Issues

The Culling of Kangaroos

Having recently spent some time out in country New South Wales, I thought I’d share a quick description of the sight that greets you when you get out past Deniliquin in southern New South Wales and start driving north. It’s arid land, but it’s might still be beautiful were it not for the dead kangaroos that litter roadsides.

They’re overabundant because they’ve been left unchecked; the absence of the dingo means they don’t have many natural predators. This leads to kangaroo numbers greater than that which local ecosystems can support, and then to starvation.

Sudan, the last male northern white rhino, 3 years before he passed away, rendering the species functionally extinct. But should species like this be the focus of our conservation efforts?

Rethinking Extinction

We are currently part of the most dramatic mass extinction event that the planet has ever seen, and more of these stories crop up every year. But is it a problem that the alarm bells are only raised when a creature hits the critically endangered level? And how do we even prioritise conservation efforts?

Species like koalas are cute and fluffy, and thus easy to provide funding for. But how do we save species that are more threatened and less charismatic?

Why Do We Only Care If It’s Fluffy?

After my recent talk with Marlene Zuk (which we’ll be publishing later this week), I have been thinking more about the species we focus on in ecology and the species we neglect. In ecology, conservationists have traditionally focused on a select few animals. But can we change what the public cares about, and ask them to focus more on the role of a species in an ecologic system?

From the Experts

Koalas are gorgeous, no doubt. But does their overwhelming charisma mean that we forget about other species?

Kath Handasyde: Charisma, Culling and Conservation

Australia plays host to a wonderful range of very endearing species. Tourists come from the world over to get up close with kangaroos or koalas. But the charisma of these animals can often lead to issues, whether it’s prioritisation of resources for them over other more endangered species, or even to the detriment of the species themselves.