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, e.gallocajiao@uq.edu.au, +1 425 393 7595, Skype: e.gallocajiao@gmail.com; Dominic Jarvis, dominic.jarvis@uq.edu.au, +61 413 334 924.

Taking spatial conservation to the next dimension

Our Lab Member Ruben Venegas-Li (PhD student) has had his 2017 publication on 3D spatial conservation prioritisation featured in the latest edition of Decision Point, a monthly publication from the ARC Centre of Excellence and Environmental Decisions. Spatial conservation prioritisation is a method used to identify areas where conservation goals can be achieved efficicently. Traditionally this has meant the region being considered is subdivided into two-dimensional planning units. Oceans are inherently 3D spaces, and Ruben and his collaborators have proposed a novel 3D approach for the marine realm. Click below to download your copy of this issue of Decision Point.

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Leslie Roberson confirmed, and another paper accepted for publication!


Congratulations to our Lab Member Leslie Roberson on getting confirmed as a PhD student with UQ. Confirmation is the first of three milestones that all PhD students must complete throughout their candidature. Leslie’s research will explore incidental ‘by-catch’ of threatened species in small-scale and industrial fisheries, with a focus on individual fisher behaviour and seafood supply chains as two important avenues for management to improve the environmental performance of fisheries. Well done, Leslie!




In other news, our next publication by Mačić et al., entitled “Biological invasions in conservation planning: A global systematic review”, has been accepted for publication in Frontiers in Marine Science! Click on the image below to read the abstract.



Congratulations to our Lab Members James, Junior, and Andrew!

We would like to congratulate our lab members in their recent achievements!

Honours student James Vandersteen is the recipient of the 2018 Heron Island Research Station (HIRS) Research Scholarship. This scholarship was developed to provide students with the equipment and access required for investigations of the diverse habitat and environmental concerns of Heron Island, its terrestrial habitat, reefs and surrounding waters. James’ project will thoroughly explore, using novel technologies, night light distribution on Heron Island with the aim to minimize its impact on sea turtles.

PhD students Junior Novera and Andrew Rogers have completed their Confirmation and Final Thesis Review milestones respectively. PhD candidates at The University of Queensland complete three milestones throughout their candidature. Junior’s research explores the ecology, evolution, and community conservation of iconic Melanesian mammals on Bougainville, PNG. Andrew’s research explores why certain species do well in human dominated habitats, and how introduced species impact native community interactions, using introduced and native bird species as his study system.

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

Warm Congratulations to Will for being awarded the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust Research Fellowship

Warm congratulations to Will for being awarded the highly prestigious Winston Churchill Memorial Trust Research Fellowship. Nice Work!

The high international regard for Churchill Fellowships provides a pathway for Churchill Fellows to access expertise from around the world that is not typically available to everyone, expanding their knowledge and experience for the benefit of Australian society. To learn more about the Churchill Fellowship, click here.

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