We are pleased to advise you that earlier this week 2 CIE members has had excellent news following the release of the Australian Research Council (ARC) awards. Please join us in congratulating Dr Emily Nicholson and Dr Mylene Mariette:
Dr Emily Nicholson – Biodiversity indicators for better conservation decisions (Discovery Projects – DP):
Summary: Reliable and sensitive biodiversity indicators are critical to track progress towards conservation targets. Yet most biodiversity indicators remain untested in their ability to reveal the trends needed by decision-makers. This project aims to develop much-needed methods to test, design and select biodiversity indicators to support conservation decisions. It will provide the first comprehensive test of indicators used to monitor biodiversity change at local to global scales, by sampling ecosystem models to evaluate how indicator design, data bias and environmental variability affect performance. Project outcomes will have significant implications for predicting and measuring impacts of policy such as the Convention on Biological Diversity.
Impact statement: This research will evaluate and improve the way change in biodiversity is measured, globally and in Australia, and provide new methods for policy evaluation with biodiversity indicators. It will ensure that data collected to monitor and assess the state of Australia’s environment are informative, cost-effective and robust, and strengthen Australia’s capacity to achieve and report on progress towards international commitments such as the Convention on Biological Diversity targets.
A summary of the project and the investigators is available HERE (PDF).
Dr Mylene Mariette – The role of pre-natal communication in adaptation to hot climate (Discovery Early Career Researcher Awards – DECRA):
Summary: Prenatal communication in adaptation to hot climates. This project will reveal how, by communicating acoustically with their embryos, birds program their offspring for a warming world. Most animals, including humans, can hear external sounds before birth, but we know very little about what function this may play. Recent surprising evidence showed that in an Australian bird, parents call to their eggs at high ambient temperatures, which alters nestling growth and survival. This project will show the physiological effects involved and the consequences for adaptation to heat in wild birds. In doing so, this project will elucidate whether the global reduction in animal body size is an adaptive response to rising temperatures, and offer insights into the therapeutic benefits of prenatal sounds.
Impact statement: This project will demonstrate the extent to which exposure to prenatal sound alters development and physiology. This will be of considerable interest to health science and animal production by pioneering research on the effects of prenatal sounds in alleviating metabolic dysfunctions triggered by prenatal and perinatal stress. This project will also open innovative research avenues by revealing a novel mechanism for species to adapt to rapidly rising temperatures.