PhD top-up scholarship for monitoring ecological integrity in national parks

NamadgiNatParkThe Fenner School of Environment and Society at The Australian National University (ANU) is seeking applications from highly qualified and motivated candidates who are Australian or New Zealand citizens or permanent residents of Australia to undertake a 3-year program of research for a PhD commencing early 2015 that will develop methods for monitoring ecological integrity in protected areas. The position is based in Canberra, Australia; is a collaboration with Territory and Municipal Services of the Australian Capital Territory; and will require field work in the Australian Capital Territory, Canada and potentially South Africa.
The chosen candidate will be invited to apply for an ANU PhD scholarship (currently $25,392 per annum tax free) and, if successful in that application, will receive a top-up scholarship stipend of $5,000 per annum and some additional funding for travel and fieldwork expenses.

Vale ‘Gump’, the last known Christmas Island Forest Skink

gump2Among the most haunting and evocative images of Australian wildlife are the black and white photographs of the last Thylacine, languishing alone in Hobart Zoo. It's an extraordinary reminder of how close we came to preventing an extinction.

That loss is also an important lesson on the consequences of acting too slowly. Hobart Zoo's Tasmanian tiger died just two months after the species was finally given protected status.

Last year, we wrote about the last-known Christmas Island Forest Skink, an otherwise unremarkable individual affectionately known as Gump. Although probably unaware of her status, Gump was in a forlorn limbo, hoping to survive long enough to meet a mate and save her species. It was an increasingly unlikely hope.  READ MORE

Post-doctoral fellowships available

uq position web

Postdoctoral Research Fellow (Two Positions Available)

Highly motivated Postdoctoral Research Fellows are invited to apply for a position within CEED at The University of Queensland.

The successful applicants will work on projects in the areas of: multispecies management, restoration ecology, ecosystem services, threatened species and conservation action prioritisation, adaptive management and monitoring, decision-making in socio-ecological systems, or other emerging priority areas of research. Applications close 02 Nov more


News graduation honsNews graduation phdIt's graduation time at UQ this week, and cause for CEED to celebrate! Azusa Makino graduated her PhD, and Carla Archibald and Laurel Osborne have graduated with Honours. Congratulations!

Left: Azusa pictured with supervisors Hugh Possingham and Carissa Klein, and Patricia Sutcliffe.

Right: Carla and Laurel with supervisor Hugh.






How to make national parks more efficient at saving animals

biodiversity 1National parks are usually created on land that is too poor for agriculture and protect only 11% of endangered species. But researchers have found how we can do a better job without breaking the bank. Read more...

Image courtesy of Getty Images

Scientists urge greater efforts to protect orangutan forests

orangutansProtecting the forest homes of orangutans is the most cost‐effective way of boosting the great
apes’ chances of survival in the long‐run, international scientists have found.
New research at the ARC Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions (CEED) has
established the best strategies for maintaining orangutan populations for more than 20 years
on a limited budget.
In the study, the researchers analysed which strategy or combination of strategies, and under
what conditions, is the most cost‐effective at maintaining wild orangutan populations.
“Money is limited in conservation, and it is important to know how best to spend it,” says Dr
Howard Wilson of CEED and UQ. “We found that the choice between habitat protection and
rehabilitation depends on the cost of rehabilitation per orangutan and the rate of
“If we want to maintain orangutan populations for less than 20 years, then reintroduction is
best,” says Dr Wilson. “But if we’re aiming for long‐term species conservation, protecting their
habitat is by far the best strategy.


Photo by Daniel Murdiyarso

European newts invade Australia

NewtsOnce confined behind pet shop windows, the smooth newt (Lissotriton vulgaris) – a ‘controlled pest animal’ in Victoria – has made a new home in Melbourne’s peri urban fringe.  

“Some of the sites where we have detected newts are quite far apart, so we suspect that the species has spread considerably, and has established itself in more areas than our study has revealed,” says Dr Reid Tingley of CEED and The University of Melbourne.


On the Spix Macaw and Conservation Triage

BBC SpixMacawHow does the world of conservation set its priorities? BBC Shared Planet reports from Qatar and the effort being spent to save the Spix Macaw from extinction in captivity. Occasionally, when the battle to save a species from extinction has almost been lost, the only alternative is to catch the remaining individuals to be kept safe and bred in captivity with no certainly of ever being returned to the more

On BBC Radio's Shared Planet, Monty Don speaks to Nigel Collar and Hugh Possingham.

Listen to the radio programme aired this week


Protected areas failing vulnerable species, researchers say

Lemur UQFuture national park expansion should focus on land that is home to threatened species, rather than on land that is cheap to protect, researchers say.

“A number of countries are working toward what could become the biggest expansion of protected areas in history,” said The University of Queensland’s Dr Oscar Venter, who led a study that found 85 per cent of the world’s vulnerable species are not sufficiently covered by protected areas.

“It is vital that this expansion focusses on land which contains threatened flora and fauna, rather than the ‘business-as-usual’ approach of favouring land that is cheap to protect,” said Dr Venter, of UQ’s School of Biological more

Read the media release, full article or a synopsis at PLOS



Managing the side effects of invasion control

Invasive species chopperInvasive species can threaten the conservation of biodiversity and natural resources and incur considerable economic losses. Invasive species management programs therefore aim to reverse or mitigate the impacts of invasion, but these programs can have severe negative impacts on native species and ecosystems.

See the full article published in Science HERE