New paper: Marine protected areas for sharks and rays in highly exploited Mediterranean ecosystems

“We aimed to identify marine areas to protect elasmobranch [shark and ray] species by means of a systematic spatial planning approach.”

Highlights from this study include:

1. A proactive area-based protection strategy towards elasmobranch conservation is proposed

2. Elasmobranch conservation priority areas were identified in the southern part of the western Mediterranean Sea

3. The addition of complex cost layers and zoning strategy did not alter conservation priority areas for elasmobranchs

You can read more about research findings here.

New paper: Quantifying the impact of light pollution on sea turtle nesting using ground-based imagery

“We conducted detailed ground measurements of night-time brightness around the coast of Heron Island, a coral cay in the southern Great Barrier Reef of Australia, and an important sea turtle rookery… The methods we developed enabled us to overcome the limitations of commonly used ground/space borne remote sensing techniques, which are not well suited for measuring the light pollution to which animals are exposed.”

You can read the research findings in the full paper here.

New paper: Are common mynas more active and exploratory on the invasion front?

“Understanding the drivers of invasive species’ range expansion is key to effective management and successful control… We radio-tracked mynas from invasion-front sites versus long-established sites in New South Wales.”

You can read the research findings in the full paper here.

Biodiversity in the suburbs: the surprising number of species that share our homes

During the stay at home directive over the last few months, lab member Dr Andrew Rogers, and his housemates Dr Matthew Holden, and Dr Russell Yong began to wonder exactly how many other things lived in their suburban home. Remarkably, in just over 6 weeks, they identified more than 500 species of plants, insects, amphibians, reptiles, mammals and birds. The project generated the #stayhomebiodiversity challenge, which has seen engagement across four continents, and received both local and international media attention. See our Outreach page for more details.

Tangle of shorebird policy unpicked

Research has shown that international cooperation has been critical in protecting migratory shorebirds in the Asia Pacific, but ongoing challenges exist.

Bar-tailed Godwit IMG_3468

The University of Queensland-led study surveyed and analysed the international policy framework for conserving shorebirds migrating within the East Asian-Australasian Flyway, one of four major global migratory waterbird flyways.

Eduardo Gallo-Cajiao, from UQ’s School of Biological Sciences and the School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, said conserving these birds was a huge challenge, but efforts were well under way.

“Every year, millions of shorebirds travel between their breeding grounds in the northern hemisphere, primarily in Russia and Alaska, and their wintering areas in the southern hemisphere, including Australia and New Zealand,” he said.

“This spectacle, however, is currently in peril due to multiple threats, such as coastal reclamation, hunting, pollution, and disturbance.”

“National governments and other key players have realised that protecting these birds requires international cooperation, so they’ve been collaborating across the region through agreements.”

The research revealed the number of active agreements, who participates in them, and the threats they address.

“A total of 28 agreements make up the international framework for conserving migratory shorebirds in the Flyway, with 57 government and non-government participants,” Mr Gallo-Cajiao said.

“These agreements have been emerging since the 1970s, with China, Russia, Japan, Australia, Republic of Korea, and the USA participating most.”

The team discovered that Flyway-relevant agreements are not exclusive to national governments, with NGOs and local governments becoming key players.

“NGOs have been emerging as signatories to some of these agreements since the mid-2000s, and local governments, such as Seocheon County in the Republic of Korea, have been entering into additional agreements,” Mr Gallo-Cajiao said.

“The rise in the number of agreements seems to be the result of governance demand in critical areas around the Yellow Sea, where conservation priorities are high.

“We have the agreements; the challenge now is to ensure actions are coordinated across them, helping to protect these beautiful, precious, and globally revered species.”

The research has been published in Regional Environmental Change (DOI: 10.1007/s10113-019-01461-3).

Media: Eduardo Gallo-Cajiao,, +1 425 393 7595, Skype:; Dominic Jarvis,, +61 413 334 924.

Warm Greetings to Luci and Ruben on the birth of their daughter Lara!

Warm greetings to Luci and Ruben on the birth of their daughter Lara last week. What a wonderful way to start the new year!

Salit delivered an invited seminar in Volcani Agricultural Institute

Salit delivered an invited seminar about factors shaping invasive bird patterns and processes across continents at the Volcani Agricultural Institute

Two new papers on 3D marine conservation published from our group

Two new papers on 3D marine conservation have recently een published from our group, the one in Methods in Ecology and Evolution, led by Ruben as his first PhD chapter and the second as a review on 3D conservation led by Noam, Roberto and Salit in conservation Letters.

Salit gave an invited seminar at the Technion (Israel Institute of Technology)

Salit gave an invited seminar at the Technion on Marine Conservation Planning this week at the Faculty of Architecture and Town Planning colloquium.

Warm Congratulations to Hernán for being awarded the Candidate Development Award

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Except where noted, all photos are credited to Salit Kark, Noam Levin and Jeremy Kark.