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© Biodiversity Research Group

New beetle species in Lamington paper by James

Warm greetings to PhD student James Tweed, who has discovered and described a new longhorn beetle species (and genus) while camping in Lamington. The paper came out this week (, attracting substantial media interest, raising public awareness of insects, their conservation and how much more we still need to learn about them.

See some links that may be of interest below:


Seminar at MARE, the Centre for marine and coastal research, University of Lisbon

Salit delivered a seminar at the Centre of Marine and Coastal Research MARE at the University of Lisbon about our coastal footprint work in collaboration with Prof Noam Levin

Seminar at University of Lisbon Centre of Applied Ecology

Salit delivered a seminar at the Centre of Applied Ecology in Lisbon about our invasive species, interactions and bird-mammal work

Welcome Aditya and Polly

Welcome to our new PhD students Aditya who will be working on island threatened and invasive birds in Indonesia and Polly, who will work on coastal area conservation in Bangladesh, enjoy UQ

Presentation to Nepal

New Lancet Planetary Health paper: Covid and conservation

Our newest paper in @TheLancetPlanet discusses why protecting ecosystems & biodiversity is crucial for both planetary & human health. It results from collaborative work by team members.

Welcome to Anisha, our PhD student who has recently arrived in Brisbane from Pokhara

Welcome Laura, who has recently started her PhD with us in the joint UQ-Exeter program

Our final report for the NESP islands project we led in the past 6 years is now available online with the first national-scale database of threatened species on Australian islands that we created

Download (PDF, 3.42MB)

Welcome James and Annalise our new graduate students

A warm welcome to James who has joined us from Dunedin in New Zealand to start his PhD and Annalise who is joining us from Perth to start her MPhil project this month.

New video about Steve’s PhD on Javan rhinos

Greetings Junior who submitted his PhD thesis today!!

Well done Junior, an outstanding study on the biodiversity and conservation of your home island and an important yet unexplored biodiversity hotspot – Bounaginville Island

Congratulations Leslie!

Leslie Roberson has been awarded her PhD yesterday, great work! Well done and enjoy your postdoc!

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?

A 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!

A 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.

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.

andrew stayhomebiodiv

From Left: Dr Matthew Holden, Dr Russell Yong, and Dr Andrew Rogers.

Read news stories at:

Zoom lab meeting

Lab meetings continue for the Kark Group!

Hope everyone is safe and healthy!

New paper: Collaboration across boundaries in the Amazon

“As thousands of wildfires and deforestation escalate in the Amazon rainforest, a team of international scientists has called for governments to enact six key goals to protect the vital wilderness.”

You can find the paper here, and read the article UQ wrote about the study here.

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Invasive bird species article featured on ABC


The paper, which was published in Nature, examines the role of multiple factors shaping the establishment of alien (introduced) birds globally.

You can read the article ABC wrote about the study here.






UQ’s first Social Entrepreneurship Program

Last month, the Kark Group in collaboration with the UQ Idea hub and our guests from Nepal launched UQ’s first Social Entrepreneurship program: Novel conservation and environmental solutions from the Himalayas and Nepal as a case study.

The Idea Hub Social Entrepreneurship Program is a program designed to create a space for UQ students from all faculties to come together and create projects that will have a positive social and environmental impact.


From left: UQ’s Pro vice Chancellor Prof Tim Dunne, our guests from Nepal Nikita Pradhan and Bibhuti Neupane, Associate Prof Salit Kark, Brigadier Babu Krishna Karki, The Honorary Consul of Nepal, Dibesh Karmacharya Director Center for Molecular Dynamics Nepal and the UQ Idea hub Director Nimrod Klayman.


International Cross Boundary Conservation Workshop

In August we hosted the Second Workshop on Catalysing Cross-boundary Conservation in the Indian Subcontinent and the Himalayas, which was the continuation of the first workshop held in Nepal back in April. The workshops were led by Salit Kark and Dibesh Karmacharya.

Screen Shot 2019-09-04 at 1.14.56 PM

Our colleagues from Nepal and India gave inspiring presentations of cross-disciplinary work focusing on wildlife conservation and human well-being, human-wildlife conflict, novel technologies, social entrepreneurship, public health and other areas. We followed by working groups discussions of the conservation challenges and opportunities for cross-boundary collaboration in the Himalayas and Indian subcontinent.


1 Speakers Nepal Indian subcontinent workshop flyer Aug2019 (1)


International Student Hub 

Thanks to everyone who took part in our first International Students Science Hub (Int Sci Hub) meeting. We were over 50 people from around 30 countries!

All the new and ongoing (both domestic and international students) Biol PhD, Masters and Honours students, are invited to join us.

Biol Int Sci hub UQ

Congratulations to our graduates!

Graduation 2

Dr. Andrew Rogers, Dr. Ruben Venegas, Dr Matt and Master Romi Castagnino!

Andrew’s research explored the interactions between native and invasive cavity-nesting bird species in Australia, Ruben’s research focused on the incorporation of trans-national collaboration into marine spatial conservation prioritisation, Matt modelled invasive bird species interactions and built multi-species dynamic occupancy models to inform prioritisation of actions, and Romi’s research analysed the spatiotemporal interactions of carnivores exposed to anthropogenic pressures in Peru’s tropical montane cloud forests.

Priority conservation areas mapped for the worlds longest river

James Allen and team have mapped the priority conservation areas for freshwater fish for the Nile River for the first time. The Nile runs through 11 countries and this work highlights how countries can collaborate to more cost-effectively achieve conservation goals.

The study is published in Science Advances (DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aau7668).


Media: James Allan,, +61 424 982 651; Associate Professor Salit Kark,; Dominic Jarvis,, +61 413 334 924.


Catalysing cross-boundary collaboration to enhance action-based conservation

WhatsApp Image 2019-04-23 at 17.08.28 (1)WhatsApp Image 2019-04-23 at 17.08.27 (2)

Academicians and researchers working in the field of conservation from three different
countries gathered in Kathmandu, Nepal for the first workshop on the challenges of
conservation and collaboration across boundaries. The workshop was supported by the University of Queensland Global Strategy and Partnerships Seed Funding Scheme and hosted by the Center for Molecular Dynamics Nepal

Over the two days scientists, researchers and students working in the field of conservation
science discussed spatial analysis, remote sensing and wildlife research to address and work
together on the gaps and challenges in trans-boundary conservation.

Speakers and participants discussed and presented on ongoing work on mammal and cross-
boundary conservation in India and Nepal providing perspectives on the problems and insight
into how to best make utilization of the available data.

Speakers from Australia and Israel highlighted the cross-boundary research work conducted
in the Mediterranean Sea and the results of successful collaboration efforts among different
countries of Europe Union towards common conservation objectives.
For more information on cross-boundary conservation being done in Nepal, Australia can be
found in the links below.

Center for Molecular Dynamics Nepal:

University of Queensland Global Engagement:


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.

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.

Download (PDF, 445KB)

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.

Congratulations to Ruben for publishing his first paper!

Congratulations to Ruben for publishing his first paper and very innovative research!

Please click here to read about the novel 3D marine spatial conservation prioritisation approach, which explicitly accounts for the inherent vertical heterogeneity of the ocean. Prioritising in 3D allows conservation and marine spatial planners to target specific threats to specific conservation features, at specific depths in the ocean – A very interesting read!

What shapes spatial invasion patterns of alien birds in Australia vs. Europe? – A talk by Salit Kark!

On the 5th of October, 2017 Salit Kark gave a great talk at the Doñana Biological Station about the factors shaping invasive species richness and distribution in Europe and Australia at large scales. In addition Salit presented several case studies on interactions between invasive and native birds from around the world, with focus on parrots, starlings, mynas and more.

If you would like to watch this talk click here

Warm Welcome to our New Group Members!

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!

Research Assistant positions available

Two new Research Assistant positions (casual) have become available from June 2017 to work within the Kark group. These positions include:

  1. 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. 
  1. 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

Warm congratulations to both Andrew and Hernan who have recently passed their mid term reviews. Nicely done, and keep up the good work!

Warm Welcome to Erin McCreless

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.

Projects: Island Conservation, Invasive Species, Birds in an Urban and Agricultural System.

Erin McCreless

New paper: Alien birds follow global wealth and power

Shared from UQ News (

Salit Kark photo Rose ringed parakeets

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,


Congratulations to Sammy, Georgie and Tanvi for graduating this semester. We look forward to seeing published papers from your research!


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.

Congratulations to Georgina and Samantha

Congratulations to Georgina Hockings and Samantha Richardson on completion of their honours year. Their final presentations were on Tuesday and both went very well.
Good job and enjoy your travels around the world!

Kark Group annual workshop

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.

Norfolk Island workshop

This week the Kark group and collaborators will lead a workshop on Norfolk island conservation

Dr Tim Doherty visits

Dr Tim Doherty from Deakin university visits the Kark group this week to develop collaborations between the groups.

Presentations in Auckland

Salit Kark and Noam Levin delivered a school seminar at the University of Auckland last week.

Great Barrier Reef: Clearing the way for reef destruction

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.

Bird boxes let local wildlife spread its wings

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.

Threatened Species Recovery hub workshop

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.

Good news for Asian rhino conservation!

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.

Read more about the Sumatran rhino Calf here or about the one- horned rhino calf here.

-Georgina Hockings

Kark group updates

Some members of the Kark Group had a great time at the NESP islands workshop on Monday the 4th of July and Tuesday the 5th. We were also fortunate enough for some members to attend the SCBO (Society for Conservation Biology) conference on the 6th – 8th Of July.
Congratulations to all members and speakers on the presentations given and the posters displayed.

Media Article (Flickr paper)

Download (PDF, 778KB)

New paper: Effects of Ecotones on Biodiversity

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.

New paper: Night lights ad Flickr photos can be used for conservation

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.

Download (PDF, 2.15MB)

Decision Point articles

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.

Download (PDF, 362KB)

Tessa Mazor also had some of her work published on Decision Point about ‘Tracking turtles in the Mediterranean’

Download (PDF, 411KB)



End of honours for Emma Lee and Carly Martin

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!

Summer Research Interning with Rebecca Turk

I am born and raised in Brisbane, currently studying a Bachelor of Applied Science majoring in Wildlife at UQ Gatton Campus. While I was on holiday in Japan a fellow student mentioned a Summer Research Project they thought I would be interested in, more specifically a chance to work on the South-East Queensland Invasive Bird Project with the Biodiversity Research Team. Seeking to develop some new skills and eager to gain more practical experience I sought some more information and sent in my application, and was ecstatic to get accepted!

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

Carla Archibald’s Experience in Peru working with Macaws at the Tambopata Research Center

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



Amélie’s Australian Adventure: Her research internship with the KARK Group

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.

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KARK Group Students Confirm

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.

New Conservation Biology review paper out: oil and gas operations and conservation

Emerging conservation challenges and prospects in an era of offshore hydrocarbon exploration and exploitation

Project nest boxes are in high demand!

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)


“Navigating Norman Creek” Childrens Workshop

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

Nest Box Installation Montage Clip 2014

Congratulations 2015 PhD Graduates

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!



Welcome to our new group members!

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)


Photos from our Invasive Species project

Don’t forget we have a lot of fantastic photos from our invasive species research, taken by local photographer Steve Gray or Biodiversity Research Group lab members.

Nesting boxes installed on UQ campus

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.

Helping native birds beat their bullies

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.

Read the release here or visit NERP Environmental Decisions Hub.

2014 Kark Group Update

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.

High demand for nest boxes in Oxley Common

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.

Galah altercation

An altercation ensued…

Galah altercation 2

…before the Galahs got back to chewing at the nest box.

Galah chewing

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.

Nesting Box Update

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.

See a selection of box residents.

Read more about our project.

Cover photo credit: Steve Gray

Decision Point: Managing invasive birds wisely

We have an article in the October edition of Decision Point discussing the recent CEED workshop Salit led in Canberra in June.

Read it here.

New Paper: Marine conservation challenges

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 has been awarded her PhD!

Feb 2015

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!!!

New paper: Multinational Marine Conservation Planning

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.

New paper: The Crowded Sea

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.

Wildlife nest box installation

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

ARC Future Fellow Profile

Salit Kark was profiled recently for her Australian Research Council grant, which looks at interactions that influence the spread of invasive species.


View the flyer.
Read more about this research here.

Lab Twitter Feed

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