Taking aquaculture offshore, beyond the blue horizon

Earth’s oceans are – to use the French idiom – pretty much screwed. From time immemorial we have treated the seas like a cesspool, and a garbage dump. We have relied upon our world’s biggest saline solution to soak up the gasses and the heat that we pump into the air. We have scraped and … Continue reading Taking aquaculture offshore, beyond the blue horizon

“They want to blow it up” – environmental scientists weigh in on the Nationals’ plans for the Murray-Darling Basin

The National Party has proposed a number of amendments to legislation governing the Murray-Darling Basin plan that has the potential to “blow it up”, according to some of Australia’s leading environmental scientists. The defeated proposals would have banned government water buybacks, and limited the requirement for water to be returned to the system for environmental … Continue reading “They want to blow it up” – environmental scientists weigh in on the Nationals’ plans for the Murray-Darling Basin

This adorable mouse was considered extinct for over 100 years — until we found it hiding in plain sight

Emily Roycroft, Australian National University Australia has the world’s worst track record for wiping out mammals, with 34 species declared extinct since European colonisation. Many of these are humble native rodents, who’ve suffered the highest extinction rate of any mammal group. But today, we bring some good news: one rodent species, Gould’s mouse (Pseudomys gouldii), … Continue reading This adorable mouse was considered extinct for over 100 years — until we found it hiding in plain sight

Kiwis don’t like noisy visitors

The noises people make when visiting kiwis in captivity – such as talking or mobile phones ringing – can upset the cherished New Zealand birds, according to a new study. Researchers led by Katie Davison from the University of Waikato observed abnormal pacing and startle reactions in response to environmental noise (heavy rainfall hitting the … Continue reading Kiwis don’t like noisy visitors

Deceptive smells

It’s not only humans who can be fooled with misinformation to change their choices. Animals can be tricked too, it seems – and when used with good intentions, fake cues might help conservation initiatives without resorting to lethal culling.  By spraying pheromones at nesting sites in New Zealand weeks before native birds arrived there, scientists report in … Continue reading Deceptive smells

Noisy silence

New Zealand’s use of toxic aerial baits to rid the islands of invasive mammal predators has attracted claims that forests “fall silent”, with birdsong declines after each operation.  Listening to the forests, scientists have found little evidence for the claims, according to a study published in the New Zealand Journal of Ecology. At a species level, however, chaffinches … Continue reading Noisy silence

Range roiled

The destructive impact of human activities on other animal species’ survival and biodiversity across the globe is increasingly clear.  Urbanisation and habitat modification are well known culprits. But sporadic events such as hunting, recreation, military activity and aircraft have an even bigger impact, according to a meta-analysis of more than 200 studies. The analysis focused … Continue reading Range roiled

Zooming in on the world of invertebrates

By Nick Porch from Deakin University Which animals are quintessentially Australian? Koalas and kangaroos, emus, tiger snakes and green tree frogs, echidnas and eastern rosellas, perhaps. And let’s not forget common wombats. Inevitably, most lists will be biased to the more conspicuous mammals and birds, hold fewer reptiles and frogs, and likely lack invertebrates — … Continue reading Zooming in on the world of invertebrates

Conserving animal habitat ranges

Human land use and climate change have deprived mammals, birds and amphibians of an average 18% of their natural habitats, according to a study of virtually all known species, and this could increase by up to 23% in the next eight decades. That’s the worst outcome of widely varying projections, published in the journal Nature … Continue reading Conserving animal habitat ranges

NatureWrap: Gentoos may be four not one

Gentoo penguins (Pygoscelis papua) should be reclassified as four species, according to British scientists who analysed populations in different areas in the Southern Hemisphere. The two existing subspecies, P. p. ellsworthi and P. p. papua, should be raised to species level and two new species created, they suggest in a paper in the journal Ecology … Continue reading NatureWrap: Gentoos may be four not one

Bridging gaps in rare gibbon’s habitat

The Hainan gibbon (Nomascus hainanus) is the rarest primate on Earth, with no more than 30 individuals thought to remain in a single patch of increasingly divided forest on China’s Hainan Island.  In an attempt to bridge these growing gaps in habitat, and help boost dwindling species numbers, researchers led by Bosco Pui Lok Chan, … Continue reading Bridging gaps in rare gibbon’s habitat