Browsing All Posts filed under »conservation«

Stocking up on threatened amphibians

March 27, 2017


Zoos have an important role to play in helping to conserve globally threatened species and building public awareness of biodiversity issues. Following massive declines in recent decades, amphibians are now one of the most vulnerable animal groups, with over 40% of all amphibian species classified as threatened. Despite this collapse, relatively few threatened amphibians are […]

Homing in on factor interactions

March 27, 2017


In most cases the dynamics of ecological systems are best explained as responses to a number of interacting environmental factors, rather than to a single variable. Such interactions can be complex, and although they may have major implications for management, they’re typically very poorly understood. A team of Australian researchers has proposed a method for […]

Factoring history into threat assessments

December 13, 2016

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Genetic variation allows populations to adapt to environmental changes, and it’s often the case that threatened species exhibit low genetic diversity. Human-produced habitat fragmentation is a well-recognised cause of genetic bottlenecks, but the additional effects of larger-scale biogeographic factors are rarely considered. As an example of such biogeographic impacts, populations that have managed to survive […]

Deciding on sites for conservation

December 13, 2016

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Biodiversity conservation is hampered by the fact that many species haven’t been described and most species ranges haven’t been mapped. As a result, in selecting sites for protection, natural resource managers often resort to the use of surrogate indicators for the species that they wish to conserve. Surrogates may be other, more common, species, or […]

The dynamics of habitat choice: alien predators stifle amphibian breeding

June 1, 2016

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The way that animals select habitats reflects their need to balance the costs and benefits associated with factors such as food availability and predation risk. Therefore, habitat choices should vary in response to changes in these key factors. As an example, amphibians are expected to continually adjust the relative amounts of time that they spend […]

Waterbird numbers & fertilizer use

March 23, 2016

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Nutrients applied as fertiliser to farmland leach into rivers and streams and are transported to coastal waters, where concentrations of nitrogen and phosphorus are now respectively ten and three times higher than in pre-industrial times. While moderate rises in nutrient availability can have beneficial impacts on aquatic production, excessive nutrient levels lead to the eutrophication […]

Bioengineered riverbanks

March 23, 2016

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Streamside riparian zones support diverse and specialized plant communities and provide animal species with habitat, shelter and migratory opportunities. However, human pressures are such that measures are frequently needed to counter the problem of riverbank erosion. While bank protection has often been approached from a hard civil engineering perspective, there are ecological and aesthetic advantages […]