Congratulations to Alexander!

Alexander has recently submitted his honours thesis and presented a very interesting final seminar titled “Factors that influence breeding success of cavity breeding birds in nest boxes”. Well done and congratulations, Alexander!

Earth Day event chaired by Salit: 22 April 2021

You are all invited to join our Earth Day Webinar and panel discussion chaired by Prof. Salit Kark on coral reefs and climate change with the GBRMPA Chief Scientist Dr David Wachenfeld and Prof Maoz Fine from the Interuniversity Inst of Marine Science in Eilat. If you are on campus, you are welcome to join the viewing party:

To view the webinar:



Recipients of Diversity and Equity grants

We would like to congratulate Marina Corella Tor and Hannah Allan who, with Salit, received grants to lead teams in working to improve the diversity and equity of LGBTQIA+ and Australian First Nations Peoples within the School of Biological Sciences at UQ. The two projects supported by the 2021 Grant for Mentoring and Diversity in Biology include:

LGBTQIA+ equity and diversity within the School of Biological Sciences
(Marina Corella Tor, Prof. Salit Kark, Dr. Simone Blomberg, Prof. Christine Beveridge, A/Prof. Beck Dunlop)

Promoting the equity and diversity of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students and staff within the School of Biological Sciences
(Hannah Allan, Prof. Salit Kark, Coen Hird, Dr. Steven Salisbury)

We look forward to making some meaningful contributions and changes that will improve the overall community and inclusivity within the School of Biological Sciences.

Welcome to Anisha – our newest member

Anisha has recently joined the Biodiversity Research Group as a PhD student in collaboration with IIT Delhi, India. Anisha will be investigating human-wildlife conflict in natural, agricultural and urban landscapes with research partners in Nepal and India. Welcome to the group Anisha, we look forward to hearing all of your amazing wildlife stories!


Congratulations Dr. Tuda and Dr. Wilson!

The Biodiversity Research Group extends our heartiest congratulations to our group members Steve Wilson and Arthur Tuda (confirmed Cum Laude) for successfully defending and complete their PhD degrees! We wish you all the best in your future endeavours and look forward to seeing what you do next.

tuda-pic Steve-at-wallow

Check out our new YouTube channel!

You can subscribe to our new YouTube channel – The Biodiversity Research Group – where we will post videos related to our various research projects. We hope you enjoy our first video on cross-boundary collaborations in the Himalayas. This news was also features on UQ’s Faculty of Science Webpage here.

Youtube video

Trouble for Australian native parrots?

new paper by Lermite et al. (2021) compared the breeding success of native parrots and invasive common miners in urban settings where the latter is known to thrive. It was found that both birds utilised the experimental nest boxes equally. Despite this, the native parrots were found to have a significantly lower breeding success and parental nest attendance, as well as higher rates of hatch failure and nest disturbance. In light of these concerning findings, it is imperative that native parrot reproduction is further researched to identify what causes such challenges in urban environments and how these issues could be remedied.

The importance of mud!

new paper by Wilson et al. (2020) explores the importance of muddy wallows to Javan rhino.

Only 72 Javan rhino (Rhinoceros sondaicuas) remain on the planet, found only in their last stronghold in Ujung Kulon National Park, West Java, Indonesia. Javan rhinos need to wallow regularly throughout the year, yet the role wallows play in their behaviour and their importance to the species remains little understood. In this study, we identified, mapped and studied 35 wallows in eastern Ujung Kulon National Park, where rhinos were active. We discovered that Javan rhino utilise wallows not only for thermoregulatory function, but also as sites of interaction and communication. This has important implications for conservation and potential translocation of rhinos, which will require finding sites with wallows and considering behavioural interactions and communication.

Why is cross-border collaboration important for management of marine systems and how can it be done?

The management of complex and dynamic transboundary marine social ecosystems requires adaptive governance. In a new paper, Tuda et al. examined whether the marine co-management regimes that have developed on both sides of the Kenya-Tanzania border have structural conditions that can support adaptive governance. In this case study, it was found that differences in ocean governance systems between Kenya and Tanzania have resulted in different adaptive governance capabilities. In order to promote adaptive cross-border marine resource governance, the policy reforms in Kenya and Tanzania should allow the local ocean co-management systems to gradually develop into multiple semiautonomous decision‐making centers.

This case study has wider implications for other transboundary systems. You can read the full paper by Tuda et al. here.

New paper: Noisy neighbours and myna problems

This paper by Rogers et al. is about our local “agro” Aussie avians, i.e. which birds fight and why! To the best of our knowledge, this is the largest species interaction network published for Australian birds, which is interesting, in part, because Australian birds are generally considered to be some of the most aggressive birds in the world.

Some noteworthy findings include:

1. Aggressive interactions were dominated by the invasive common myna, the native noisy miner, and the native rainbow lorikeet.

2. For the common (Indian) myna, individuals that nest in natural tree hollows are likely to have a significant impact on native hollow nesting species that are similar in body size.

3. On average larger birds won aggressive interactions more frequently, with the exception of the common myna which won 26 of the 29 interactions against the larger native rainbow lorikeet.

These findings have some important implications for the applied management of invasive species such as the common myna. You can read more about it here.

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