First, we welcome Marsya who has formally started her Masters with us and will be working on conservation planning in Sumatra! Second, we welcome Maddy and Micheli who recently have started working for us as Research Assistants. We look forward to working with all of you!
Two new Research Assistant positions (casual) have become available from June 2017 to work within the Kark group. These positions include:
- A research assistant with substantial experience in large spatial scale data analysis, GIS and remote sensing. Experience using Lidar data and analysing digital elevation models is an advantage. Good writing skills are also an advantage.
- A research assistant to help with admin tasks. Experience with UQ admin systems, such as UniFi orders etc. is an advantage.
If you are interested in either of these positions and have the desired skills stated above, please send your CV, short cover letter and any other supporting material to Salit’s email:
New Paper: Environmental Impacts of the Deep-Water Oil and Gas Industry: A Review to Guide Management Strategies
This paper led by Cordes, reviews the types of activities that are associated with global offshore oil and gas releases. This is an extremely prevalent topic as the exploration of oil and gas is expanding in the absence of sufficient baseline data in deep-sea ecosystems. To find out what recommendations were offered to manage offshore and gas development, click here!
Congratulations to Hernán for his contribution to an article published in Science: After Chile’s fires, reforest private land
Congratulations to Hernán for his contribution to an article published in Science written about the need to change the current forestry practices in Chile. This is especially after the megafires that affected the Mediterranean region, one of the most imperilled regions in the world.
See the article here
Warm congratulations to both Andrew and Hernan who have recently passed their mid term reviews. Nicely done, and keep up the good work!
We are very pleased to welcome Erin McCreless into the Kark Group. Erin has begun a Postdoctoral Fellowship working on projects related to conserving threatened species on Australian islands and managing invasive species in Australia.
Erin completed her Ph.D. at the University of California – Santa Cruz, with her research focusing on quantifying the impacts of introduced mammals on threatened insular vertebrate species worldwide. Using this information along with management cost estimates, she identified cost-effective islands for invasive mammal eradication efforts. Erin is broadly interested in conducting research that can inform on-the-ground conservation, and in understanding the effectiveness of conservation investments both in the past and into the future.
We look forward to working with you and wish you every success on this endeavour.
Shared from UQ News (https://www.uq.edu.au/news/article/2017/01/alien-birds-follow-global-wealth-and-power):
16 January 2017
The spread of introduced bird species around the world has mirrored the rise of global power and wealth, according to a new study that has mapped the movement of alien bird species.
The international collaborative study found that Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong, USA, Caribbean, UK, and Persian Gulf States were notable global hotspots for alien bird species.
UQ School of Biological Sciences researcher, and ARC Future Fellow Associate Professor Salit Kark said the collaborative international study, published in PLOS Biology, suggested more alien birds had historically been introduced to areas where incomes were higher.
“Owning a bird was a symbol of status and cultural connection during colonial times, and often introduced caged birds have escaped or been released into the wild,” she said.
“The rate of alien bird species introductions increased sharply in the mid-19th century as Europeans exported birds to new territories and regions, including Australia and New Zealand,” she said.
“More than half of all known alien bird introductions occurred after 1950 and were most likely driven by the popularity of owning birds such as parrots, finches and others.
“These historical factors are the main reason why the global map shows most alien bird species today are found in the mid-latitudes, where former British and other colonies and countries with high gross domestic product (GDP) are located.”
The researchers have created over the past decade an open access database after collecting and analysing global data on the introduction and establishment of almost 1000 alien bird species introduced by humans to areas outside their native range between the years of 1500 and 2000.
Lead author Professor Tim Blackburn of the University College London said the study provided insights into the different stages of species invasion and how humans had played a key role, along with environmental factors in allowing alien bird species to thrive in new locations.
“Our work shows how humans have been moving these alien bird species around for the past 500 years and why some areas end up with more species than others,” he said.
Associate Professor Kark said the study was especially important for islands, such as Australia and the UK, due to the negative impacts of some alien invasive species on threatened native species in island environments.
“While substantial efforts have been allocated to studying the impacts of invasive mammals, more research needs to be undertaken to understand the spatial patterns and the processes shaping alien invasive birds,” Associate Professor Kark said.
“The study provides evidence-based information that helps direct future conservation and management decisions and actions across multiple regions around the world.”
The international study involved researchers from University College London, ZSL, the University of Queensland, the University of Adelaide, the University of Cambridge, the University of Exeter, and Imperial College London.
Media: Associate Professor Salit Kark, firstname.lastname@example.org.
New paper from our Mediterranean conservation CEED-Solento workshop last year out as cover paper in Diversity and Distributions.
This paper, led by Sylvaine, has been published which incorporates invasive speies into conservation planning. It resulted from a CEED workshop held last year in Leece, Italy.
See the paper here.
This week the Kark Biodiversity Research Group met for an annual workshop in Long Pocket, discussing paper writing and reflecting on the past academic year and lessons and plans for the upcoming year.
This week the Kark group and collaborators will lead a workshop on Norfolk island conservation
Dr Tim Doherty from Deakin university visits the Kark group this week to develop collaborations between the groups.
Salit Kark and Noam Levin delivered a school seminar at the University of Auckland last week.
Postdoctoral researcher April Reside is getting the word out on the situation with landclearing in Queensland through a correspondence piece published in Nature on the 15th of September 2016. Land clearing reform failed to pass the Queensland parliament last month, with consequences for terrestrial, freshwater and marine biodiversity.
Follow this link to view the article.
The UQ sustainability page has recently written an article about the Kark group bird boxes which were installed to monitor the interaction between native and invasive bird species. These boxes have been up at 6 different sites since 2014 with an additional 60 new boxes installed over the St Lucia and Pinjarra hills campus within 2016.
The article can be found here.
At the end of July 2016, A/Professor Salit Kark, Dr Justine Shaw and our Post Doctoral researcher Dr April Reside too active part in the Threatened Species Recovery hub workshop. Here NESP hub Chief Investigators discussed the NESP projects they are leading, and Kark and Shaw presented some of the projects inn the framework of the Islands Projects they are leading, such as threats that the cane toad poses to the islands of Western Australia’s Kimberley region and spoke about possible ways to improve outcomes for native threatened wildlife, such as the highly threatened green parrots on Norfolk Island, sea turtles and species of seabirds on Queensland islands.
More information about the workshop can be found here.
In exciting news for Asian rhino conservation, there have been two important new rhino calves born in 2016. The first, a newborn female Sumatran rhino calf to 14 year old and second time mum Ratu and the second a newborn male greater one-horned rhino calf, born in Bardia National Park, Nepal – only a few short months after the translocation of the mother and four other rhinos.
The Sumatran rhino calf, which is yet to be named, was born in the Sumatran Rhino Sanctuary in Indonesia. The birth is significant as the population of Sumatran rhinos is less than 100 world-wide. Sumatran rhinos have disappeared from much of their former range and face many threats including poaching and habitat loss. This birth, the second in the Sumatran Rhino Sanctuary since 2012, aids the conservation efforts to save this critically endangered species.
In Nepal the birth of the male greater one-horned rhino calf is important as it shows that the mother is doing well in the new translocated area. A program officer with WWF’s wildlife conservation team, Nilanga Jayasinghe said, “This healthy calf, born to a recently-translocated female in the Babai Valley of Bardia National Park, Nepal, is a shining beacon of hope for greater one-horned rhinos.” The five greater one-horned rhinos were translocated from Chitwan National Park to Bardia National Park earlier this year to establish new populations in areas where the rhinos used to be found. The translocation efforts for the greater one-horned rhinos will continue through 2018, with the aim of translocating 30 rhinos from Chitwan National Park to Bardia National Park and Shuklaphanta Wildlife Reserve.
This paper is currently in press but will be available on our webpage soon!
Kark, S. 2016. Effects of Ecotones on Biodiversity. In: Reference Module in Life Sciences, Science Direct, 02290, Oxford.
The end of 2015 saw another great article published. This article, published by Noam Levin, Salit Kark and David Crandall assesses human presence beyond populated areas through the use of social media.
Complete reference: Levin, N, Kark, S & Crandall, D 2015, ‘Where have all the people gone? Enhancing global conservation using night lights and social media’, Ecological Applications, vol. 25, no. 8, pp. 2153-67.
The end of last week saw an important conversation being held by our associate professor Salit Kark through Decision point. It was about conservation in a time of oil and gas development.
Tessa Mazor also had some of her work published on Decision Point about ‘Tracking turtles in the Mediterranean’
This week saw the end of a very stressful year for both honours students Emma Lee and Carly Martin. These girls both worked extremely hard on their projects and just this morning, presented their final talks in front of a crowd of students, teachers and friends. We would like to say well done girls, you have both done an excellent job and we look forward to seeing what the future holds!
The experience so far has been greatly rewarding and enjoyable with all of the Team being incredibly helpful and informative. My main responsibilities include travelling to our Cavity Nesting Species Project sites with Andrew and Carla to assist in checking our nest boxes and collecting data, in addition to also sorting through and cataloguing the camera trap data we have obtained in order to gain a better insight into cavity nesting species behaviour and their interactions with other species.
Additionally, other skills I have learned during my time here include how to use a GPS, improved bird identification skills through both visuals and calls, becoming more knowledgeable of my surroundings such as which trees are more likely to have cavities and what species may inhabit them, as well as gaining a better understanding and appreciation of how research is carried out and completed.
I’d like to thank Salit and the Team for allowing me this great opportunity, as working on this project has reinforced my interest in birds as well as invasive species, and granted me a better idea of what I would like to do after completing my degree.
Here are some photos from the camera trap project I have been working on.
Stay tuned for an update on nesting attempts in our Project Boxes!
Squirrel Glider (Petaurus norfolcensis) inspecting project nest box
Barn Owl (Tyto alba) perching on top of project nest box
Southern Boobook Owl (Ninox boobook) perching on top of project nest box
Juvenile Collared Sparrowhawk (Accipiter cirrocephalus) attempting to hunt an Indian Myna
Common Brush-tail Possum (Trichosurus vulpecula) investigating the inside of a project nest box
Earlier this year in January Carla traveled over to Peru to work with Macaws at the Tambopata Research Center. The Tambopata Research Centre (TRC) is nestled on the banks of the Tambopata River in the Madre De Dios Department of Peru, 6 hours by boat from civilisation. A Peruvian architect, Eduardo Nycander founded the research centre in 1989 just a 5 minute boat ride from the Collpa Colorado, the largest and most biodiverse known avian clay-lick in South America, and arguably the world. Close to 20 parrot species, including 6 macaw species consume this clay, normally right after sunrise. In 1999 Professor Donald Brightsmith, an ornithologist from Texas A&M University, became the director and expanded the centre’s focus to include how the macaws interact with their environment ecologically and physiologically.
During her time working at TRC she was able to apply some of the skills she has acquired while working on the Cavity Nesting Species project with the KARK Group. The opportunity to visit another lab and learn how other groups approach cavity nesting species is a fascinating and excellent experience we encourage all of our students to participate in. If you want to read more about Carla’s Experience in Peru working with Macaws and Tambopata Research Center please follow this link
Read More about Carla’s TRC Experience
I am currently studying Agronomy Engineering in France. As a part of my studies I had the great opportunity to do an internship with A/ Prof Salit Kark at ARC CEED (Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions) at the University of Queensland from April to August 2015.
During this time, I got the chance to attend Kark group lab meetings and some CEED talks where I learnt a lot about species conservation and invasive species.
For my research, I was in charge of characterizing the vegetation on various sites, which are currently used for the Urban Bird Project. I learnt how to use ArcMap and IDRISI to create a vegetation index and land cover maps (with Matt’s help). I also made a fieldwork analysis conducted with Andrew and Carla, of the Queensland sites in order to characterize these areas and the trees present around the nest boxes. I learnt how to prepare and conduct a fieldwork plan and a lot of things on Australian’s birds and trees.
My time in Brisbane was an incredible one. It helped me in my near future to know what kind of subject I want to work on.
I’d like to thank Salit for the amazing opportunity she gave me, for her time and for her instructions. I’d like to thank as well all the group members that were really welcoming and made my internship an amazing one.
It was really an unforgettable experience; I already miss the people who surrounded me during these few months.
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Je suis actuellement en école d’ingénieur en Agronomie en France et j’ai eu l’opportunité, durant ma deuxième année d’étude, de faire une stage avec Salit Kark au sein du CEED (Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions). J’ai réalisé ce stage dans l’Université du Queensland à Brisbane d’avril à août 2015.
Durant cette période, j’ai eu la chance de participer aux réunions du groupe de Salit et d’assister aux conférences organisées par le CEED, ce qui m’a permis d’approfondir mes connaissances sur la conservation des espèces et la gestion des espèces invasives.
Mon stage consistait à caractériser la végétation et les environnements sur les différents sites où le projet d’étude des oiseaux en ville est mené. J’ai appris à me servir d’ArcMap et d’IDRISI afin de calculer des indices de végétation et de créer des cartes d’occupation des sols (avec l’aide de Matt). J’ai aussi mené une étude de terrain, en coopération avec Andrew et Carla, sur les sites du Queensland, afin de caractériser ces zones et de conduire une étude sur les arbres présents autour des nichoirs. J’ai appris beaucoup d’informations sur les arbres et les oiseaux en Australie, mais aussi à réaliser et à mener une étude de terrain.
Mon expérience à Brisbane fut extraordinaire. Cela m’a aidé pour construire mon projet professionnel et pour découvrir des problématiques qui m’intéressent.
J’aimerais remercier Salit pour l’incroyable opportunité qu’elle m’a donnée, pour son temps et ses instructions. J’aimerais aussi remercier les autres membres du groupe qui m’ont accueilli chaleureusement et qui ont rendu mon stage formidable.
C’est une expérience que je ne suis pas prête d’oublier. Les personnes qui ont partagés mon quotidien pendant ces quelques mois me manquent déjà.
We have had 3 of our PhD students confirm their PhD candidature in the last month. Congratulations Andrew, Ruben and Hernan on your efforts and hard work in the past year and all the best for the remainder of your studies.
Emerging conservation challenges and prospects in an era of offshore hydrocarbon exploration and exploitation
The nesting season has already begun with the projects boxes becoming hot property for many species. We have had the first successful nest of White-throated Treecreeper (Cormobates leucophaea) in one of our project boxes which is very exiting for our bird loving team! Bring on the 2015 breeding season! (Photo Credit: Andrew Rogers).
Looks like the Rainbow Lorikeets (Trichoglossus moluccanus) are ready to settle in …
… or maybe the Pale-headed Rosellas (Platycercus adscitus) have decided to take over! …
… wait a second, you’re not a bird! (Common Brush-tail Possum, Trichosurus vulpecula)
Community outreach is an important component of our teams focus and we encourage our group to get involved in as many ways as possible. Carla Archibald and Andrew Rogers, members of our Urban Birds project, had the opportunity to work with the Museum of Brisbane on an educational children’s workshop earlier this month. The workshop complimented an exhibition currently on show at Museum of Brisbane titled Navigating Norman Creek. Navigating Norman Creek features films by historian and creek resident Trish FitzSimons focusing on the history and ecological importance of Norman Creek. The workshop was held at Moorhen Flats along the bank of Norman Creek and a bright group of children plus parents joined Carla and Andrew for a leisurely stroll to celebrate the important role of Norman Creek for wildlife in Brisbane. The session was filled with exciting animals, as we were able to see and hear many of the resident birds that call Norman Creek home. We also learnt about mangrove ecology as well as observed some native wildlife in the Biodiversity Research Group’s nest boxes in Norman Park.
This was a great opportunity for our researchers to get involved with the community and projects outside of the University. If you would like further information about the exhibit please visit the website or pop into the Museum:
Opening Dates: 19 Jun – 11 Oct 2015
Photo Credit: Museum of Brisbane
Congratulations to lab member Dr Tessa Mazor and fellow CEED PhD graduates on the completion of their respective projects. A PhD project can take many years to complete and is full of challenging problems that need innovative and comprehensive solutions. Tessa’s project focused on advancing conservation planning in the Mediterranean Sea, advancing the theory of systematic conservation planning and developing solutions with implications for the Mediterranean region. She has since started a postdoc at the CSIRO in Brisbane working on fisheries management and is soon expecting her first child. Well done Tessa! Good luck and all the best for your future endeavors, you have a bright future ahead of you!
Hats off to the 2015 Graduates!
A warm welcome to some new group members that are starting projects with us:
- Maggie Mckeown is starting a Masters project.
- Carly Martin and Emma Lee are both starting their Honours projects and,
- Matt McKinney has been working with us for over a year as a research assistant but is now transitioning into his PhD.
Image: Matt McKinney working on some coding (Photo taken by Carla Archibald)
With the help of UQ’s Property and Facilities Division, the Biodiversity Research Group has set up a few nesting boxes for our invasive species project at the Gatton and St Lucia campuses. The boxes have been popular with the new residents, which you can read about in UQ’s Sustainability News.
The National Environmental Research Program (NERP) Environmental Decisions Hub has featured a media release on our research, with an interview from Salit Kark and Professor David Lindenmayer from ANU.
It’s the end of 2014 and Kark Group has had a huge year. Here’s a summary of all the things we got up to over the last 12 months.
In the Oxley Common, one nest box in particular is attracting a lot of attention. Maybe it’s the view, or just the facilities, but nest box UQS005 is in high demand from local avian residents.
These local rosellas seemed interested in the nest box…
…but a prior claim arrived.
An altercation ensued…
…before the Galahs got back to chewing at the nest box.
The Rainbow Lorikeets thought with all that fuss it must be worth a look.
Meanwhile the Common Mynas have set up house in a nearby Eucalyptus, which also contains nests of Rainbow Lorikeets, Scaly-breasted Lorikeets, Sulphur-crested Cockatoos and Magpies.
Thanks to Steve Gray for the great photos and commentary.
Kark Group has recently installed more nesting boxes out at UQ’s Gatton Campus, and began monitoring the critters that have made their homes in our boxes across Brisbane.
Cover photo credit: Steve Gray
We have an article in the October edition of Decision Point discussing the recent CEED workshop Salit led in Canberra in June.
A paper which Salit Kark collaborated on has been published in Marine Policy, titled Marine conservation challenges in an era of economic crisis and geopolitical instability: The case of the Mediterranean Sea.
In the Mediterranean Sea, socio-economic drivers may accelerate the process of exclusive economic zone (EEZ) declarations. Despite the challenges, the EEZ declarations may provide important opportunities for leveraging change to national policy towards the development of large-scale conservation of marine ecosystems and biodiversity in this zone. Using the Mediterranean Sea as a case study, we aim to highlight a set of best practices that will maximize the potential for the development of large-scale marine conservation initiatives. These include a range of approaches, such as using surrogates to fill the many biodiversity data gaps in the region, further the development of consistent and open access databases, and the utilization of technological developments to improve monitoring, research and surveillance of less accessible and under-explored marine areas. The integration of Mediterranean-wide and local conservation efforts, the facilitation of transboundary collaboration, and the establishment of regional funds for conservation will further enhance opportunities for marine conservation in this region.
Tessa Mazor has been awarded her PhD and started a postdoc at CSIRO working on global scale trawling.
Tessa has published 5+ papers from her PhD, well done Tessa, warm congratulations on completing this so elegantly and smoothly!!!
Tessa Mazor, who has recently submitted her PhD in Kark Group, has published along with other experts a paper in Ecological Applications about: Large-scale conservation planning in a multinational marine environment: cost matters
This study aims to provide an approach for including cost when planning large-scale Marine Protected Area (MPA) networks that span multiple countries. In order to include cost in conservation prioritization, we developed surrogates that account for revenue from multiple marine sectors: commercial fishing, noncommercial fishing, and aquaculture. We found that for less than 10% of the Sea’s area, our conservation targets can be achieved while incurring opportunity costs of less than 1%. In marine systems, we reveal that area is a poor cost surrogate and that the most effective surrogates are those that account for multiple sectors or stakeholders. Furthermore, our results indicate that including cost can greatly influence the selection of spatial priorities for marine conservation of threatened species.
Full reference: Mazor T, Giakoumi S, Kark S, Possingham HP (2014) Large-scale conservation planning in a multinational marine environment: cost matters. Ecological Applications 24:1115–1130. dx.doi.org/10.1890/13-1249.1
Our PhD student Tessa, along with Salit, Hugh and research colleagues, have published a paper in PLoS One, titled: The crowded sea: incorporating multiple marine activities in conservation plans can significantly alter spatial priorities.
This paper explores how the inclusion of multiple marine activities can shape conservation plans. We used the entire Mediterranean territorial waters of Israel as a case study to compare four planning scenarios with increasing levels of complexity, where additional zones, threats and activities were added. We found that by including increasing numbers of marine activities and zones in the planning process, greater compromises are required to reach conservation objectives. This case study follows an illustrated framework for adopting a transparent systematic process to balance biodiversity goals and economic considerations within a country’s territorial waters. This work had important findings for Israel which is currently aiming to expand its current network of protected areas.
Full reference: Mazor T, Possingham HP, Edelist D, Brokovich E, Kark S (2014) The Crowded Sea: Incorporating Multiple Marine Activities in Conservation Plans Can Significantly Alter Spatial Priorities. PLoS ONE 9(8): e104489. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0104489.
The first nest boxes are going into the trees for the 2014 breeding season! This project sees Salit Kark, along with research assistant Carla Archibald and Honours students Laura Cox and Emily Dayman, monitoring breeding of cavity nesting birds. To read more about our research on native and invasive species, click here.
Photo credit: Steve Gray.
In photo from left to right: Laura Cox, Salit Kark, Carla Archibald and Emily Dayman during nest box installation in Oxley Creek, Brisbane, August 2014