Larvae connect seascapes

Larvae connect seascapes

Connectivity among marine populations is critical for persistence of metapopulations, coping with climate change, and determining the geographic distribution of species. The length of time organisms remain as larvae drifting along with sea currents is believed to play a key role in this connectivity. While this has been extensively studied (it’s called pelagic larval duration or PLD), other factors such […]

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Comparing outcome- and output-based indices

Conservation funders require methods by which to evaluate the relative success of projects within their portfolios. One approach is to develop robust indices of success that are consistent between projects and evaluators. This investigation used three contrasting indices to evaluate factors contributing to success of projects funded by the UK Govt’s Darwin Initiative (set up to assist countries rich in […]

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What value an old tree in the city?

Big trees boost birds in the burbs Large old trees are valued and protected in many of Australia’s city and suburban landscapes. This is because of the environmental and economic benefits they provide. These include wind reduction, shade, storm water management and landscape improvement. The biodiversity benefit of old trees, however, is often forgotten and rarely quantified. In a recent […]

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Indian mynas – major or minor problem?

The Indian or common myna (Acridotheres tristis) is a much loathed bird inhabiting suburban landscapes around the world. The species is listed in the World’s top 100 worst invaders but is it really a problem? Empirical evidence of the impact of an introduced species can be difficult to obtain, especially when the impact is through competition, and there is little […]

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Integrating land-sea conservation planning

CEED Workshop (Lady Elliot Island, June 2012) What are the trade-offs between equity and conservation? How are ecosystem services and marine biodiversity impacted by coastal road developments? What are the impacts of land-use plans on fisheries? These are all issues connecting land-based activity with marine conservation, and they are all challenges currently being confronted by the countries in the Coral […]

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Does controlling foxes save malleefowl?

The importance of evaluating conservation management actions How good are our investments in protecting threatened species? Much of the time we simply don’t know. Recent audits of investments made through the Natural Heritage Trust have found, for example, that decisions regarding the implementation of conservation management actions are seldom critically evaluated for their effectiveness or costeffectiveness. Without monitoring and evaluation, […]

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Frogs: Between a rock and a hard suburban place

Urban expansion, climate change and the decline of Melbourne’s frog habitat Who’d be a frog in the suburbs? Not only do they have to contend with habitat loss, fragmentation and degradation, now there’s climate change, too. They really are stuck between a rock and a hard place. And, given that amphibians around the world are witnessing significant declines – […]

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Bringing together people and nature in the suburbs

Restoration options for urban landscapes Traditionally, the practice of ecological restoration in the suburbs has aimed to repair the ‘altered nature’ that exists in these landscapes. In a recent review of the options for ecological restoration (Standish, Hobbs and Miller 2012) we argue there’s a strong case for the broadening of restoration goals to better encompass the diversity of ecological […]

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Replacing lost ecosystems – the Devil is in the detail

Balancing biodiversity offsets with restoration reality Biodiversity offsetting is a big and attractive idea. Indeed, it’s one of the fastest-growing areas in conservation policy both here in Australia and overseas with more than 64 such programs currently underway around the world. The idea is that losses of biodiversity at an impact site are compensated by the generation of ecologically […]

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Advice to bright young things wanting to change the world

Selling evaluation and synthesis to young scientists Every week, an enthusiastic student emails me, or walks through my open door, keen to do research in conservation. The vast majority of these students want to to do field work. This is wonderful; despite being a modeller, my interest and empathy with ecological systems arises from 40 years of direct observation […]

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