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The benefit of connections 

Collaboration and engagement is a crucial part of all research.

Research activities for assisting the recovery of threatened species need to consider a diverse range of complex and uncertain issues: threatening processes, a fluctuating environment, human behaviour and the ecology of both the threatened species and the other species it interacts with. 

Such complexity needs people with different areas of expertise, from field ecology and modelling to economics and psychology.

While university researchers are usually highly connected through conferences, workshops and easy access to the literature, it is essential we extend that connectivity to all the stakeholders and partners in our projects. Consequently the TSR Hub uses teleconferences and workshops as cost-effective and essential components to harness the new ideas and wisdom of collaborators and end-users and maximise research outcomes. 

The TSR Hub has close to 100 collaborating partners. All our project leaders and staff are committed to communicating and engaging with these partners in all phases of the research process – it is not altruistic; it helps us achieve the goal of delivering research that will make a difference on the ground and in policy.

 

Professor Hugh Possingham

 Main image: Scanning for Leadbeater's possums, Lachie McBurney.

Possum magic

Environmental managers will soon have a whole new understanding of how far critically endangered Leadbeater’s Possums travel each night and how their habitats can best be managed.
 
Data will be collected via tiny custom-built GPS tracking harnesses to help state government departments in their forest management planning.
 
Trials to test the new harnesses' electronics and accuracy are now taking place, and the research will run at a number of sites over the following 6-18 months.

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Koalas need heat relief

A changing climate means that by 2070 koalas may no longer call large parts of inland Australia home, TSR Hub researchers have found.
 
Researchers led by Dr Natalie Briscoe used an ecological model to show how changing weather patterns will make it more difficult for koalas to get the water they need – making life for inland populations increasingly difficult.

The researchers used koala behaviour, physiology, body size and fur to predict koalas' needs for survival under changed climate conditions.

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Genes that fit

The first ever set of genetic guidelines will soon be established to support the relocation of threatened animals, following a TSR Hub workshop held in Perth recently.

Representatives from universities, federal and state governments, and conservation groups discussed the best ways to maintain genetic diversity in animal translocations, manage captive breeding programs and augment populations in the wild.

Project 4.1 will also create an online resource to provide users with in-depth genetic information.

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Science for saving species 

With so many researchers locking themselves away in laboratories and conducting essential fieldwork in remote parts of Australia, it can be difficult to keep track of all that is going on and how it fits together.
 
The first issue of the TSR Hub’s ‘Science for Saving Species’ (issued quarterly) magazine is now available in print and online. The magazine features introductions from Hugh Possingham and Gregory Andrews, as well as stories from each of the Hub’s major themes, and will celebrate key milestones as they are reached by researchers.
 

Speaking up at the Biosphere

After years of hard work and dedication, often for apparently little recognition or reward, sometimes communities need to get together to remind themselves of the reasons they are doing what they do and why it’s so important.

Theme 2 leader Professor John Woinarski offered attendees of The Western Port Biosphere’s second annual Biodiversity Forum such a reminder during his keynote speech ‘Reflections on the ongoing loss of our nature, of life’ at the Royal Botanic Gardens Cranbourne. 

Addressing an audience that included the Federal Minister for the Environment Greg Hunt, numerous local councils and community groups, Professor Woinarski adopted a philosophical approach in his presentation, linking engagement with nature to the eternal human quest to decipher the world and our place within it.

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Measuring success

What end-users want from a threatened species index, and how this can be achieved for a low cost, was the focus of a recent workshop of the Hub’s “National and regional monitoring for threatened species” project.  

It brought together participants from the Department of the Environment, state and territory agencies, universities, conservation NGOs (including Bush Heritage, Birdlife Australia and the Australian Wildlife Conservancy), Terrestrial Environmental Research Network and the Atlas of Living Australia. 

Together, they defined what end-users and partners want from a threatened species index, and how they were going to achieve it. The index will inform end users, indeed the broader Australian public, how Australia’s threatened species are travelling.

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The Threatened Species Recovery Hub is supported through funding from the Australian Government's National Environmental Science Programme.

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Threatened Species Recovery Hub

Our mailing address is:
Room 532, Goddard Building
The University of Queensland
St Lucia, QLD 4072, Australia

 
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