Posted in Uncategorized on Aug 10, 2017
Just had a chat on ABC Radio Breakfast, hosted by Dan Bourchier, as part of a panel to discuss options for an ACT mammalian emblem, to complement the Gang-gang Cockatoo and the Royal Blue Bell. On the panel with me was David Headon and Ivo Ostyn. What do we think? Spotted-tailed Quoll gets our vote.
Posted in Turtle Research on Aug 06, 2017
Friday, Turtles of the World, and today I receive a copy of Freshwater Turtles of Australia by John Cann and Ross Sadlier. This is a greatly improved version of John Cann's earlier book on the same topic -- a spectacular expose of the diversity and form of the unusual turtle fauna of Australia, dominated as it is by the family Chelidae. Beautifully illustrated and accompanied by a wealth of experience that John has accumulated through decades of passionate enquiry. The taxonomy is a bit odd I must say, not in many cases following the lead given by the article by myself and Scott Thomson in 2010, or the Turtles of the World compendium, or the official list of turtles prepared by the Australian Society of Herpetologists. Cann and Sadlier go it alone, which is their perogative, with taxonomic rearrangements that reduce some species to the level of subspecies, and elsewhere raise a plethora of geographic variants to subspecies. This aside, it is a must for anyone who shares our passion for this fascinating group of reptiles.
Posted in Uncategorized on Aug 04, 2017
Amphibians are under threat world wide from a range of pressures including an emergent disease, chytrid fungus. Many have gone extinct, others have undergone dramatic declines. A few global refugia provide a glimmer of hope, such as the island of New Guinea to our north. A team of concerned scientists, including from the Institute for Applied Ecology, are calling for immediate pre-emptive action to save the global frog population. They argue for a reasoned path forward in the latest edition of the journal Science. Lead author Deb Bower and co-author Simon Clulow visited Wau Creek in the Kikori facilitated by the Piku Team in 2015 and 2016. Clearly this got the intellectual juices flowing!!
Posted in Uncategorized on Aug 04, 2017
Really pleased to see the opportunities to work in PNG panning out for Jasmyn Lynch of the IAE with her new and insighful article entitled "Respect, reflect, and engage – enhancing biophysical research practices with Indigenous people, their land, and culture" that appeared yesterday in the Australasian Journal of Environmental Management, Well done Jasmyn!! The work is funded by the Hermon Slade Foundation.
Posted in Turtle Research on Aug 04, 2017
The 8th Edition of the Turtles of the World Annotated Checklist and Atlas of Taxonomy, Synonymy, Distribution, and Conservation Status is now available on line. This is a spectacular compendium of the latest scientific assessment of turtle species globally, and comes with new distribution maps and photos in addition to the taxonomic accounts.
Posted in Uncategorized on Jul 30, 2017
For many of us the astounding diversity of life on earth is an endless source of amazement and wonder. Nowhere better exemplifies the diversity of life on earth than the Brazilian Amazon. The Amazonian rainforests is widely recognized for its megadiversity. A new book, prepared by IAE Alumna Carla Eisemberg and Stephen Reynolds, provides a good introduction for those planning a visit. This book is a good read, providing insight to the unique biota and ecosystems of the Brazilian Amazon, the challenges we face in conserving the biodiversity of this megadiverse region, and the actions that are being taken to achieve this conservation. It is a good and insightful read even for those who may never have the opportunity to visit Brazil.
Posted in Turtle Research on Jul 25, 2017
Congratulations to Xiuwen Zhang for her article resolving the phylogenetic relationships of the enigmatic Western Swamp Turtle using whole mitochondrial sequencing. The online version of the article, co-authored by Peter Unmack, Gerald Kuchling, Yinan Wang and Arthur Georges, appeared today in the journal Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution.
Posted in Pogona Research on Jun 28, 2017
The mechanism by which temperature exerts its influence on offpring sex has baffled scientists for over 50 years, since the phenomenon was first discovered. In a paper recently published in Science Advances (June 14, 2017), we believe we have discovered an important piece of the puzzle, a temperature sensitive transcripional modification to an influential chromatin modifying gene, Jumonji.
Posted in Turtle Research on May 31, 2017
Congratulations to Mick Welsh on publishing his honours work. There have been few community studies of Australian freshwater turtles. The present study examined the diet and microhabitat use of 5 species of freshwater turtles from the Daly River, Northern Territory. Dietary shift with age was observed for most turtle species, and between species there was differentiation of diet and microhabitat use. The study also showed that in the dry-season, freshwater turtles in a perennial tropical river like the Daly River rely on aquatic vegetation and molluscs. Photograph: Megacephalic Emydura victoriae from the Daly River.
Posted in Pogona Research on May 09, 2017
The Institute for Applied Ecology is seeking two PhD students with interests in population genetics and reptile ecology/physiology to investigate the field-based mechanisms of sex reversal in the dragon lizard, Pogona vitticeps.Expressions of interest before June 10.