CIE Seminar Series 2015 – Competition, Coexistence and Conservation: Perspectives from Two Varanid Lizards

Tim J.SPEAKER: Dr Tim Jessop, Centre for Integrative Ecology, School of Life and Environmental Sciences, Deakin University

DATE: Friday, 9th October 2015
LOCATION: Geelong Campus at Waurn Ponds, Room KE1.207 (new CADET building)
TIME: 12:00 noon
Seminar will also be video linked to the following campuses: Melbourne Campus at Burwood LT11 (B1.20); and Warrnambool Campus, Room C1.13

ABSTRACT: Tim will present on two topics that focus on research, monitoring and conservation of two large varanid lizards.

First, he will discuss results from landscape scale studies that examined the effects of fox-baiting on phenotypic and demographic responses of the native lace monitor. Here he will discuss these results in the context of competition and coexistence between introduced and native predators.

Second, despite the Komodo dragon’s iconic status, it faces contrasting conservation challenges across protected areas.

Tim will discuss these challenges and the conservation strategies being implemented to improve persistence of Komodo dragons on Flores.

BIO: Dr Tim Jessop is an integrative ecologist who studies the effects of environmental and anthropogenic disturbances on animal physiology and ecology.

His primary research goal is to understand how disturbance processes act on the fitness of individuals to shape their population dynamics.

Some recent research examples include:

  • Cavallo, C., Dempster, T., Kearney, M. R., Kelly, E., Booth, D., Hadden, K. M., Jessop, T. S. (2015), Predicting climate warming effects on green turtle hatchling viability and dispersal performance. Functional Ecology, 29: 768–778. doi: 10.1111/1365-2435.12389.
  • Purwandana, D., Ariefiandy, A., Imansyah, M. J., Ciofi, C., Forsyth, D. M., Gormley, A. M., Rudiharto, H., Seno, A., Fordham, D. A., Gillespie, G. and Jessop, T. S. (2015), Evaluating environmental, demographic and genetic effects on population-level survival in an island endemic. Ecography. doi: 10.1111/ecog.01300
  • Letnic, M., Webb, J. K., Jessop, T. S., Dempster, T. (2015), Restricting access to invasion hubs enables sustained control of an invasive vertebrate. Journal of Applied Ecology, 52: 341–347. doi: 10.1111/1365-2664.12390.

Appointments with guest speaker may be made via Tim Jessop.

External visitors – wish to join us and connect to our seminars?
The following link details how to connect: link me to seminar (Seminar conference ID 36958). By entering the conference ID and clicking submit the page will generate the required information for external staff/visitors to dial in.

Please note that connection is only available while a seminar is taking place. See exact times at the top of this page.

CIE Seminar Series 2015 – Deimatic displays and the mountain katydid

Kate UmbersSPEAKER: Dr Kate Umbers, School of Science and Health, Western Sydney University, Hawkesbury
DATE: Friday, 25th September 2015
LOCATION: Geelong Campus at Waurn Ponds, Room KE1.207 (new CADET building)
TIME: 12:00 noon
Seminar will also be video linked to the following campuses: Melbourne Campus at Burwood HE3.002; and Warrnambool Campus, Room C1.13

ABSTRACT: The arms race between prey and predators is a central theme in evolutionary biology, yet some of the most striking of prey defences have been consistently overlooked.

Classic studies on animal defences focus on bright colours, cryptic patterns, noxious chemicals and warning calls. Focus has rarely fallen on the dynamic between prey and predator in which, when under attack, prey attempt to frighten their predators by suddenly unleashing an unanticipated defence such as revealing a brightly coloured or patterned part of their body, emitting a loud sound and/or exuding a noxious chemical. Such deimatic displays (from the Greek ‘to frighten’) are multicomponent, often multimodal defences.

In this presentation I will discuss the deimatic display of the mountain katydid and what it might teach us about how we understand dynamic defences in general.

BIO: Kate completed her BSc at Macquarie University in Sydney and stayed at Macquarie for her honours project and PhD. Kate’s honours project was supervised by Gregory Holwell & Marie Herberstein looking at paternity in Ciulfina praying mantis.

Kate’s PhD focused on the adaptive significance of temperature-dependent colour change (thermochromy) in an Australian alpine grasshopper (Kosciuscola tristis), supervised primarily by Marie Herberstein. After graduating from her PhD in 2011, Kate accepted a one-year Postdoctoral position shared between Scott Keogh’s Lab and Hanna Kokko’s Lab at The Australian National University.

In 2013 Kate was awarded a Vice Chancellor’s Postdoctoral Fellowship at the University of Wollongong to work on frog defences with Phillip Byrne. This continuing work focuses on the red crowned toadlet (Pseudophryne australis) and the corroboree frog (P. corroboree). Complementary to her focus on frog defences Kate is looking at the defensive displays of blue-tongue skinks with Martin Whiting at Macquarie University.

Kate continues to work on two alpine Orthoptera projects: the deimatic display of the mountain katydid (Acripeza reticulata) with Johanna Mappes and the population genomics of the Kosciuscola grasshoppers with Nikolai Tatarnic, Rachel Slatyer and Hojun Song.

Since Feb 2015 Kate has been a Lecturer in Zoology at Western Sydney University, Hawkesbury.

Appointments with guest speaker may be made via John Endler.

External visitors – wish to join us and connect to our seminars?
The following link details how to connect: link me to seminar (Seminar conference ID 36958). By entering the conference ID and clicking submit the page will generate the required information for external staff/visitors to dial in.

Please note that connection is only available while a seminar is taking place. See exact times at the top of this page.

CIE Seminar Series 2015 – Sea turtle behaviour, movement and distribution

Gail SchofieldSPEAKER: Dr Gail Schofield, Alfred Deakin Post-Doctoral Research Fellow, School of Life and Environmental Sciences, Deakin University
DATE: Friday, 18th September 2015
LOCATION: Warrnambool Campus, Room C1.13
TIME: 12:00 noon
Seminar will also be video linked to the following campuses: Geelong Campus at Waurn Ponds, Room ka5.303 and Melbourne Campus at Burwood, Room HE3.002

ABSTRACT: I will present an overview of my research to date, and outline several current projects I am working on. I have had the opportunity to work at several sea turtle breeding sites around the world; however, my PhD and initial post-doctoral research focused on understanding the behaviour and movement patterns of loggerhead sea turtles occupying one of the most densely nested sites in the world, but which is located at the edge of the breeding range (Zakynthos, Mediterranean, Greece).

I used a combination of direct in-water swimming observations, boat surveys and the use of various tracking devices to identify previously undocumented behaviours at this rookery. High-resolution GPS tracking datasets also gave me the opportunity to identify key foraging habitats for this breeding population, as well as insights in to migratory movement patterns and breeding periodicity. In parallel, the information collected through this research was used to update marine zoning legislation at the breeding site, which falls within a national marine park.

My current research at Deakin, builds on the knowledge I gained at this site. I am currently involved in a range of studies, focused on addressing topical questions on sea turtle biology at local and global scales.

BIO: I have had broad experience in sea turtle field conservation work, marine protected area management, consultancy and scientific research in Greece and the wider Mediterranean region over the last 20 years.

I completed my PhD at the University of Ioannina (Greece) in 2010, and have held post-doctoral positions at Swansea University (UK), Aristotle University of Thessaloni (Greece) and, now, Deakin (Warrnambool, Australia).

My early research focused on understanding the behaviour and movement biology of sea turtles at a suboptimal breeding site, in addition to conservation application.

My current research focuses on addressing topical questions on sea turtle biology and conservation at local and global scales.

My publications may be viewed at Google Scholar.

Appointments with guest speaker may be made via Graeme Hays.

External visitors – wish to join us and connect to our seminars?
The following link details how to connect: link me to seminar (Seminar conference ID 36958). By entering the conference ID and clicking submit the page will generate the required information for external staff/visitors to dial in.

Please note that connection is only available while a seminar is taking place. See exact times at the top of this page.

CIE Seminar Series 2015 – Realising the Potential of Universities as Conservation Catalysts – recommendations and reflections from a recent study leave at Harvard Forest

Geoffrey WescottSPEAKER: Associate Professor Geoff Wescott, School of Life and Environmental Sciences, Deakin University
DATE: Friday, 11th September 2015
LOCATION: Melbourne Campus at Burwood, Room HE3.002
TIME: 12:00 noon
Seminar will also be video linked to the following campuses: Geelong Campus at Waurn Ponds, Room ka4.207 (Green room); and Warrnambool Campus, Room C1.13

ABSTRACT: One of the prime recommendations in Geoff’s 2013 co-edited book “Linking Australia’s Landscapes” was that the study of international examples of large Landscape Scale Conservation Networks (LSCNs) would enhance Australia’s pioneering work in these substantial corridor projects. Hence Geoff visited New England, USA to study among other examples the Wildlands and Woodlands LSCN and in particular (associated with the book “Conservation Catalysts – the academy as nature’s agent”) the vital and crucial role universities can play in enhancing nature conservation in general.

This presentation will report on his findings from that academic study leave and in particular on roles played by Harvard, Yale and Maine universities, and the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, as well as the exciting Cambridge Conservation Initiative that has just started in England.

BIO: Geoff is Associate Professor of Environment at Deakin University’s Burwood campus and been closely involved in the Environmental Management program at Deakin University and Victoria College since its inception in the 1980s.

Over a long career in nature conservation and natural resource management he has published over 150 papers, books and chapters and served on many government and conservation bodies. He is currently Chairing the Expert Panel preparing a new Marine and Coastal Act for Victoria, is a Director of Zoos Victoria, a member of the Victorian Environment Assessment Council and President of the Australian Coastal Society. Previously he has been a member of the National Oceans Advisory Group, Deputy Chair of Parks Victoria and Executive Director of Environment Victoria amongst many other roles. He is an inaugural Fellow of the Environment Institute of Australia and New Zealand.

Appointments with guest speaker may be made via Geoff Wescott

External visitors – wish to join us and connect to our seminars?
The following link details how to connect: link me to seminar (Seminar conference ID 36958). By entering the conference ID and clicking submit the page will generate the required information for external staff/visitors to dial in.

Please note that connection is only available while a seminar is taking place. See exact times at the top of this page.

CIE Seminar Series 2015 – Behind Anemone Lines: Do anemones fit the predictions of the boldness syndrome?

David AyreSPEAKER: Professor David Ayre, School of Biological Sciences, University of Wollongong
DATE: Friday, 28th August 2015
LOCATION: Geelong Campus at Waurn Ponds, room KE1.207 (new CADET building)
TIME: 12:00 noon
Seminar will also be video linked to the following campuses: Melbourne Campus at Burwood, room T3.05; and Warrnambool Campus, room G1.01 (Percy Baxter LT).

ABSTRACT: Many species of sea compete aggressively for space using readily characterized fighting behaviours and for some species aggressive dominance is known to be correlated with speed or attack and investment in weaponry.

Some studies have claimed correlations between speed of attack or victory in paired contests and other characters such as duration of startle response and rates of pedal locomotion suggest that anemones fit the predictions of the ‘boldness syndrome’ i.e. bold individuals should be competitive dominants.

The North American sea anemone Anthopleura elegantissima provides a striking test of this idea since earlier work has shown that fighting ability has a genetic basis and competition involves clonal ‘armies. Here I compare the results of laboratory based dominance trials and field based assessments of the capacity of clones to re-occupy experimentally cleared space.

I argue that Anthopleura provides a poor fit to the predictions of the boldness syndrome and the data are better explained by tradeoffs between investment in weaponry and investment in other life-history characters such as rates of fission and hence the ability to generate recruits.

BIO: I am an evolutionary ecologist and have always been interested in understanding how varying life history tactics influence the genetic makeup of populations. I completed my PhD at the University of Western Australia, a postdoc at AIMS and since 1985 I have been at the University of Wollongong.

For most of my career I have maintained two separate but complementary research themes – one focused on reproduction and dispersal of mostly terrestrial plants and asking questions about mate choice, hybridization and the effects of exotic pollinators.

My most recent work focuses on the genetic rescue of arid zone Acacias – and the other focused on reproduction and dispersal of marine animals (both invertebrates and fish). Here continuing themes have included understanding the roles of sexual and asexual reproduction and the extent of localized adaptation in modular organisms such as anemones and corals and the importance of inter-clonal aggression in structuring populations.

Appointments with guest speaker may be made via Craig Sherman

External visitors – wish to join us and connect to our seminars?
The following link details how to connect: link me to seminar (Seminar conference ID 36958). By entering the conference ID and clicking submit the page will generate the required information for external staff/visitors to dial in.

Please note that connection is only available while a seminar is taking place. See exact times at the top of this page.

CIE Seminar Series 2015 – Conservation Behaviour: A Fearful Perspective

Daniel BlumsteinSPEAKER: Professor Daniel Blumstein, Professor and Chair, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Institute of the Environment and Sustainability, University of California, Los Angeles
DATE: Friday, 21st August 2015
LOCATION: Melbourne-Burwood Campus, Room T3.05
TIME: 12:00 noon
Seminar will also be video linked to the following campuses: Geelong Campus at Waurn Ponds, Room KE1.207 (new CADET building); and Warrnambool Campus, Room C1.13

BIO: Daniel is a world renowned behavioural ecologist and conservation biologist.

He is interested in developing predictive models of human disturbance on wildlife so as to better facilitate coexistence in an increasingly urban world.

For more on Dan’s research, please visit his lab website.

Appointments with guest speaker may be made via Natasha Kaukov

External visitors – wish to join us and connect to our seminars?
The following link details how to connect: link me to seminar (Seminar conference ID 36958). By entering the conference ID and clicking submit the page will generate the required information for external staff/visitors to dial in.

Please note that connection is only available while a seminar is taking place. See exact times at the top of this page.

CIE Seminar Series 2015 – Palaeo-oceanography of the Bass Strait seaway: driver of marine biogeographic and coastal climatic change

Mark W.SPEAKER: Dr Mark Warne, Centre for Integrative Ecology, School of Life and Environmental Sciences, Faculty of Science Engineering & Built Environment, Deakin University
DATE: Friday, 14th August 2015
LOCATION: Geelong Campus at Waurn Ponds, room ka5.303
TIME: 12:00 noon
Seminar will also be video linked to the following campuses: Melbourne Campus at Burwood, room T3.05; and Warrnambool Campus, room C1.13

ABSTRACT: Proxy marine microfossil (ostracod) records from strata along the southeast Australian coastline indicate a complex ocean current history for the Bass Strait seaway.

During three time intervals (i) mid-Miocene (~ 16 Ma), (ii) latest Miocene (~ 6 Ma)  and (iii) mid-Pliocene (~ 3.3 Ma), forceful pulses of the East Australian Current played a significant role in propelling the widespread distribution of subtropical Southwest Pacific ostracod species across southeast Australian shallow marine realms.

During intervening Miocene times, subtropical species are only sporadically present across the Bass Strait region, indicating a weaker East Australian Current influence and the cooling effects of strong coastal upwelling. During the early Pliocene warm-water Southwest Pacific ostracod species disappeared from the western Bass Strait region suggesting the complete exclusion of East Australian Current waters.

This was likely due to the counteracting influence of the eastward flowing Zeahan Current (extension of the Leeuwin Current) impinging for the first time on the western Bass Strait region.

During the mid-Pliocene there was a short-lived, but widespread return migration of subtropical Southwest Pacific ostracod species into southeastern Australia via the East Australian Current, which correlates with a period of increased global mid-latitude warmth.

Strong Miocene pulses of warm East Australian Current waters into the Bass Strait region are strongly correlated with terrestrial fossil pollen records in southeastern Australia that suggest the expansion of wet climate Nothofagus spp. in adjacent coastal and inland forests.

Around the onset of the Quaternary (~ 2.5 Ma) global cooling, correlated with northern hemisphere glaciations, likely intensified the Bass Cascade – a cold eastward-moving winter current operating in Bass Strait.

This lead to the extinction of warm-water marine Ostracoda within the Bass Strait region.

BIO: Mark Warne is a Senior Lecturer within the School of Life and Environmental Sciences at Deakin University. He undertakes research on living and fossil marine Ostracoda, palaeo-oceanography, palaeoecology and marine stratigraphy.

His primary focus is the study of ostracod proxy records of maritime environmental change ranging the Miocene to Holocene time interval (23 million years ago to present day). His taxonomic studies include the description of most modern tropical marine Ostracoda of northern Australia.

He sits on the International Advisory Board for the “Society of Friends of the International Research Group on Ostracoda”.

Appointments with guest speaker may be made via Mark Warne

External visitors – wish to join us and connect to our seminars?
The following link details how to connect: link me to seminar (Seminar conference ID 36958). By entering the conference ID and clicking submit the page will generate the required information for external staff/visitors to dial in.

Please note that connection is only available while a seminar is taking place. See exact times at the top of this page.

CIE Seminar Series 2015 – To breed or not to breed: integrating physiology, behaviour and fitness to understand life-history transitions

Creagh BreunerSPEAKER: Professor Creagh Breuner, Organismal Biology and Ecology, The Wildlife Program, Division of Biological Sciences, University of Montana, USA
DATE: Friday, 7th August 2015
LOCATION: Geelong Campus at Waurn Ponds, the new CADET Building, Lecture theatre KE1.207
TIME: 12:00 noon
Seminar will also be video linked to the following campuses: Melbourne Campus at Burwood HE3.002; and Warrnambool Campus, Room C1.13

BIO: Creagh Breuner is a Professor at University of Montana, USA. Creagh completed her PhD at the University of Washington with Professor John Wingfield (who is currently a visiting scholar at Deakin).

She pursued postdoctoral training at Arizona State University before beginning a lectureship at the University of Texas in 2001. She moved to the University of Montana in 2006 where she is now a tenured professor. She received a prestigious National Science Foundation Career Award to study the role of binding globulins in stress reactivity (the ‘free hormone’ hypothesis).

In general, her research seeks to evaluate the role of glucocorticoid stress hormones in modulating tradeoffs in reproduction and survival in free-living birds.

More information on her research is available on her website.

Appointments with guest speaker may be made via Andrea Crino

External visitors – wish to join us and connect to our seminars?
The following link details how to connect: link me to seminar (Seminar conference ID 36958). By entering the conference ID and clicking submit the page will generate the required information for external staff/visitors to dial in.

Please note that connection is only available while a seminar is taking place. See exact times at the top of this page.

CIE Seminar Series 2015 – Assessing risks to ecosystems: the IUCN Red List of Ecosystems

Emily N.
Emily N.

SPEAKER: Dr Emily Nicholson, Centre for Integrative Ecology, School of Life and Environmental Sciences, Deakin University
DATE: Friday, 24th July 2015
LOCATION: Geelong Campus at Waurn Ponds, Lecture Theatre KE1.207 (new CADET building)
TIME: 12:00 noon
(Seminar will also be video linked to the following campuses: Melbourne Campus at Burwood, Room T305; and Warrnambool Campus, Room G1.01 (Percy Baxter LT)

ABSTRACT: Ecosystem-level management is increasingly the focus of governments, NGOs and scientists, across fisheries, natural resource management and biodiversity conservation. Effective management relies on understanding the risks to biodiversity at the ecosystem-level.

The Red List of Ecosystems was developed over the last decade to provide a set of transparent, repeatable and quantitative rules for assessing the risk of ecosystem collapse. This inclusive and scientific process included development of risk criteria, and their application to a wide range of ecosystems, and culminated in their formal adoption by the IUCN (International Union for the Conservation of Nature) in May 2014.

In this presentation, I will give an overview of the IUCN Red List of Ecosystems, how the criteria can be applied, and key conceptual and scientific challenges. I will present several case studies, demonstrating the applicability to the criteria across a range of terrestrial, freshwater and marine ecosystems, including: the Coorong Lagoon, South Australia; ecosystems of the Murray Darling Basin; and kelp forest ecosystems.

I will discuss future directions and applications of the Red List of Ecosystems, including its integration with ecosystems services, plans for global assessments, and future research needs.

BIO: Emily Nicholson is a Senior lecturer in Quantitative Ecology and Deakin Burwood. She completed her PhD at the University of Queensland on conservation planning, supervised by Prof Hugh Possingham and Prof Bob Pressey.

She undertook postdoctoral research positions at Princeton University, Imperial College London as a Marie Curie Fellow, and at the University of Melbourne as a Centenary Research Fellow, before joining Deakin in February 2015.

Her research aims to find solutions to conservation problems, including new methods for measuring change in biodiversity, quantifying risks to biodiversity, and making conservation decisions. You can find more information on her research and her publications on her website.

Appointments with guest speaker may be made via Natasha Kaukov

External visitors – wish to join us and connect to our seminars?
The following link details how to connect: link me to seminar (Seminar conference ID 36958). By entering the conference ID and clicking submit the page will generate the required information for external staff/visitors to dial in.

Please note that connection is only available while a seminar is taking place. See exact times at the top of this page.

CIE Seminar Series 2015 – Managing the spread of invasive amphibians under uncertainty

Reid TingleySPEAKER: Dr Reid Tingley, ARC Research Fellow, ARC Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions (CEED), BioSciences, Faculty of Science, The University of Melbourne
DATE: Friday, 17th July 2015
LOCATION: Melbourne Campus at Burwood, room T3.05
TIME: 12:00 noon
Seminar will also be video linked to the following campuses: Geelong Campus at Waurn Ponds, Lecture Theatre KE1.207 (new CADET building) and Warrnambool Campus, room C1.13

ABSTRACT: Conservation decisions are characterized by a high degree of uncertainty. For example, we may know little about the state of a system, how it will react to different management actions, or how cost-effective those actions might be.

I will illustrate how various forms of epistemic uncertainty influence the management of invasive species using two amphibian case studies, one that focuses on monitoring European newts in Melbourne using environmental DNA sampling, and another that deals with efforts to contain the spread of cane toads in WA using landscape barriers.

BIO: Reid Tingley is a Research Fellow in the ARC Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions (CEED) at The University of Melbourne.

Reid’s current research focuses on understanding how species’ traits and environmental change influence geographic range limits in amphibians and reptiles.

Appointments with guest speaker may be made via Emily Nicholson