CIE Seminar Series 2016 – Migratory birds in jeopardy: Global change getting in the way

Professor Marcel KlaassenSPEAKER: Alfred Deakin Professor Marcel Klaassen, Director, Centre for Integrative Ecology, School of Life and Environmental Sciences, Deakin University

DATE: Friday, 19th August 2016
LOCATION: Geelong Campus at Waurn Ponds, Room KA4.207
TIME: 1:30pm
Seminar will also be video linked to the following campuses: Melbourne Campus at Burwood, Burwood Corporate Centre (BCC) and Warrnambool Campus, Room J2.22

External visitors – wish to join us and connect to our seminars?

  • You may connect to the live seminar via *N SEBE VMP LES Seminars 52236958@deakin.edu.au [ID.36958] or via the methods listed HERE.
  • For Deakin staff and students, please join via Skype for Business (Lync).
  • Could not log in? More info on how to connect is available HERE.
  • Please note that connection is only available while a seminar is taking place.

As a courtesy, we request that when connecting to the seminar that you mute your microphone unless you are required to speak, this would ensure that the sound from the speaker to the audience is not disrupted by feedback from your microphone – thank you!

ABSTRACT: Migrants typically rely on a chain of sites rather than a single site during their annual cycle, increasing their chances of becoming victim to anthropogenic environmental change.

Australia is home to large numbers of Arctic-breeding shorebirds that have seen the environment along their East-Asian Australasian Flyway change dramatically over the past decades.

Changes that are being held responsible for a decimation in some of these species. But critical environmental changes for shorebirds are not limited to coastal habitat deteriorations and destructions. Also climate change has a profound impact on these migrants’ behaviour, population dynamics and habitus.

The question is where the ultimate constraints are in the resilience of these migrants to further environmental change and how we can mitigate further threats through directed conservation efforts.

BIO: Prof. Marcel Klaassen has developed broad research interests including theoretical, experimental and observational studies on numerous animal, plant and microbe taxa.

Throughout this, his focus has primarily been on bird migration, nutritional ecology and disease ecological issues.

Appointments with guest speaker may be made via Natasha Kaukov.

CIE Seminar Series 2016 – Tracking the evolution of devil facial tumour disease

Janine DeakinSPEAKER: Associate Professor Janine Deakin, Institute for Applied Ecology, University of Canberra

DATE: Friday, 12th August 2016
LOCATION: Geelong Campus at Waurn Ponds, Room KA4.207
TIME: 1:30pm
Seminar will also be video linked to the following campuses: Melbourne Campus at Burwood, Burwood Corporate Centre (BCC) and Warrnambool Campus, Room J2.22

External visitors – wish to join us and connect to our seminars?

  • You may connect to the live seminar via *N SEBE VMP LES Seminars 52236958@deakin.edu.au [ID.36958] or via the methods listed HERE.
  • For Deakin staff and students, please join via Skype for Business (Lync).
  • Could not log in? More info on how to connect is available HERE.
  • Please note that connection is only available while a seminar is taking place.

As a courtesy, we request that when connecting to the seminar that you mute your microphone unless you are required to speak, this would ensure that the sound from the speaker to the audience is not disrupted by feedback from your microphone – thank you!

ABSTRACT: Tasmanian devils are currently under the threat of extinction in the wild due to a transmissible tumour known as devil facial tumour (DFT) disease. The unusual feature of this disease is that the tumour cells themselves are the infectious agent, being spread when devils bite each other during social interactions.

By studying DFT chromosomes, it has been possible to trace the evolution of this tumour as it spreads through the population. The comparison of different DFT strains has provided important insight into the evolution of this infectious agent and is helping to determine whether there is a chance of the tumour evolving to a point where devils will be able to survive DFT infections, permitting the survival of the population in the wild.

Cases of transmissible cancers are rare but it appears that a second transmissible facial tumour (DFT2) has been identified in individuals from southern Tasmania. DFT2 is genetically distinct from DFT1. The emergence of a second transmissible tumour raises the questions about the origin of transmissible tumours. Is there something about devils that makes them susceptible to developing these diseases? I will discuss the work my team has been doing on both transmissible tumours.

BIO: Janine is an Associate Professor in the Institute for Applied Ecology at the University of Canberra. She received her PhD in Biology from Macquarie University.

She then carried out postdoctoral research at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio before returning to Australia to take up a research position at ANU in the Comparative Genomics group.

In 2010, Janine was awarded an ARC Future Fellowship to track the evolution of devil facial tumours but also has research projects on other native Australian species, such as chromosomal speciation in rock-wallabies and sex determination in the central bearded dragon.

Appointments with guest speaker may be made via Beata Ujvari.

CIE Seminar Series 2016 – The squeeze is on: Fire-climate feedbacks and impact on vegetation in a biodiversity hotspot

Joe FontaineSPEAKER: Dr Joe Fontaine, Lecturer in Environment and Conservation Sciences, Murdoch University, WA

DATE: Friday, 5th August 2016
LOCATION: Melbourne Campus at Burwood, Burwood Corporate Centre (BCC)
TIME: 1:30pm
Seminar will also be video linked to the following campuses: Geelong Campus at Waurn Ponds, Room KA4.207 and Warrnambool Campus, Room J2.22

External visitors – wish to join us and connect to our seminars?

  • You may connect to the live seminar via *N SEBE VMP LES Seminars 52236958@deakin.edu.au [ID.36958] or via the methods listed HERE.
  • For Deakin staff and students, please join via Skype for Business (Lync).
  • Could not log in? More info on how to connect is available HERE.
  • Please note that connection is only available while a seminar is taking place. See exact times.

As a courtesy, we request that when connecting to the seminar that you mute your microphone unless you are required to speak, this would ensure that the sound from the speaker to the audience is not disrupted by feedback from your microphone – thank you!

ABSTRACT: Realisation that climate change is manifested via events rather than a slowly moving mean is increasing. In particular, the interaction of disturbances (i.e. drought and fire) is receiving more attention as instances and their impacts become more common and widespread.

A biodiversity hotspotEmpirical examples as well as conceptual frameworks are important knowledge gaps requiring attention in order to better inform policy and management. Southwestern Australia, already drying and warming presents a unique opportunity to study drought-fire interactions and their consequences for a host of vegetation types, lifeforms, and settings.

Using a series of examples spanning heathland-woodland-forest Dr Joe Fontaine will share some of the recent work he and collaborators have achieved including a conceptual model exploring drought-fire interactions and consequences for plant populations in fire prone systems.

BIO: Dr Joe Fontaine is a disturbance ecologist based in Perth, WA. He studies a range of urban and natural resource management related issues (especially fire) in urban, heathland and woodland portions of WA as well as western North America.

He is particularly interested in disturbance interactions and urbanisation.

Appointments with guest speaker may be made via Timothy Doherty.

CIE Seminar Series 2016 – Sex in dragons: a tale of unfolding complexity, bringing in the genetic work to inform the ecological side of the story

Arthur GeorgesSPEAKER: Professor Arthur Georges, Institute for Applied Ecology, University of Canberra, ACT

DATE: Friday, 29th July 2016
LOCATION: Geelong Campus at Waurn Ponds, Room KA4.207
TIME: 1:30pm
Seminar will also be video linked to the following campuses: Melbourne Campus at Burwood, Burwood Corporate Centre (BCC) and Warrnambool Campus, Room J2.22

External visitors – wish to join us and connect to our seminars?

  • You may connect to the live seminar via *N SEBE VMP LES Seminars52236958@deakin.edu.au [ID.36958], or via the methods listed HERE.
  • For Deakin staff and students, please join via Skype for Business (Lync).
  • Could not log in? More info on how to connect is available HERE.
  • Please note that connection is only available while a seminar is taking place. See exact times.

As a courtesy, we request that when connecting to the seminar that you mute your microphone unless you are required to speak, this would ensure that the sound from the speaker to the audience is not disrupted by feedback from your microphone – thank you!

ABSTRACT: Although phenotype is governed by underlying genotype, the translation of the genetic blueprint to traits possessed by the individual is under varying degrees of environmental influence, leading to phenotypic variation in traits with a common genetic underpinning.

Sex of an individual, at least in vertebrates, was once thought to be strictly determined by the complement of chromosomes passed to the offspring from the parents. The prevailing view of a 1:1 correspondence between genotype and sexual phenotype (genetic sex determination or GSD) that is so prevalent in mammals and birds, fell away with the discovery of astonishing diversity in the mechanisms of sex determination of many lineages of reptile and fish.

Environmental sex determination is now well established in these groups, and temperature early in development is the primary factor involved (hence, temperature-dependent sex determination, or TSD). Indeed, sex determination in reptiles is seen as one of the most profound examples of developmental plasticity among vertebrates.

Furthermore, it falls in a special class of phenotypic plasticity, along with castes in bees and winged/winglessness in aphids – a polyphenism with two states, whereby intermediate forms are either not viable or with severely compromised fitness.

In this presentation, the focus will be on a special case of sex determination where genotype and environment interact to determine sex, and discuss the mechanisms by which temperature may bring influence.

The dragon lizard, Pogona vitticeps, has well defined sex chromosomes – a ZZ/ZW system as in birds – yet temperature can over-ride the genetic signal to reverse the ZZ male trajectory to a female phenotype, both in the laboratory and in the wild.

This is one example where developmental plasticity can drive rapid evolutionary responses to changing climate, responses that challenge our understanding of the evolution of temperature-dependent sex determination.

BIO: Professor Arthur Georges is an ecologist and herpetologist whose research interests lie in the evolution, ecology and systematics of Australian reptiles. A fundamental interest in these fascinating animals takes him into the field and the laboratory to learn more of their biology and to apply what he has learned in solving contemporary challenges for their conservation.

Arthur recently led the consortium to generate an annotated genome sequence for the Australian dragon lizard, Pogona vitticeps, which he and his team are using to probe the intricacies of sex determination in reptiles.

Appointments with guest speaker may be made via Beata Ujvari.

CIE Seminar Series 2016 – Understanding species connectivity and environmental adaptation using landscape genetics

Rachael DudaniecSPEAKER: Dr Rachael Dudaniec, Lecturer in Biological Sciences (Conservation Biology), Department of Biological Sciences, Macquarie University, Sydney

DATE: Friday, 22nd July 2016
LOCATION: Geelong Campus at Waurn Ponds, room Ka4.207
TIME: 1:30pm
Seminar will also be video linked to the following campuses: Melbourne Campus at Burwood, Burwood Corporate Centre (BCC) and Warrnambool Campus, Room J2.22

External visitors – wish to join us and connect to our seminars?

  • You may connect to the live seminar via *N SEBE VMP LES Seminars 52236958@deakin.edu.au [ID.36958], or via the methods listed HERE.
  • For Deakin staff and students, please join via Skype for Business (Lync).
  • Could not log in? More info on how to connect is available HERE.
  • Please note that connection is only available while a seminar is taking place. See exact times.

As a courtesy, we request that when connecting to the seminar that you mute your microphone unless you are required to speak, this would ensure that the sound from the speaker to the audience is not disrupted by feedback from your microphone – thank you! 

ABSTRACT: Within today’s rapidly changing world, species are faced with great challenges to their dispersal and adaptive capacities, which together underlie the persistence of biodiversity.

Molecular genetic approaches offer unrivalled tools to characterise these challenges for the benefit of conservation management. However, new ways of combining spatial and genetic information are needed to aid conservation of species’ connectivity, to understand range expansion potential and to assess evolutionary persistence.

My research employs recent landscape genetics and genomics techniques, including genotype x environment analyses to unravel the spatial genetic processes that govern species movement and local adaptation to environment. Specifically, I ask, how do landscape features and environmental factors limit or facilitate gene flow and local adaptation of species? The increasing accessibility of genomic data and advances in modeling tools have rapidly enhanced our ability to address these questions.

I will present some recent advances and applications of landscape genetics/genomics, with examples from threatened small Australian mammals (koala, gliders) in urbanised landscapes, and range-expanding damselflies in Europe. In doing so, I will discuss the future potential of landscape genomics to inform conservation strategies and help understand evolutionary processes.

BIO: Rachael Dudaniec is a Lecturer in Conservation Biology at Macquarie University (since August 2015), and leads the Landscape and Evolutionary Genomics Lab. Prior to this, Rachael completed post-doctoral positions in the field of landscape genetics and genomics at the University of British Columbia in Canada, the University of Queensland in Brisbane, and at Lund University in Sweden.

Rachael completed her PhD at Flinders University in Adelaide on the molecular ecology of parasites in Darwin’s finches with Prof Sonia Kleindorfer. Currently, Rachael’s research focuses on developing landscape genetics and genomics methods to address conservation issues, and to characterise the molecular signatures of environmental adaptation.

Appointments with guest speaker may be made via Natasha Kaukov.

 

CIE Seminar Series 2016 – Future fire: do we need to worry

Trent PenmanSPEAKER: Dr Trent Penman, School of Ecosystem and Forest Sciences, Faculty of Science, University of Melbourne

DATE: Friday, 15th July 2016
LOCATION: Melbourne Campus at Burwood – Burwood Corporate Centre (attendees to please report to reception)
TIME: 1:30pm
Seminar will also be video linked to the following campuses: Geelong Campus at Waurn Ponds, Room ka4.207 (Green room) and Warrnambool Campus, Room J2.22

ABSTRACT: Future climates are predicted to be hotter and drier creating an increase in bad fire weather. Many predictions about future fire regimes have been made based on fire weather alone and ignore the other key contributors to fire occurrence and extent, namely ignitions, fuel load and fuel moisture.

In this talk, I will present recent research in which we have attempted to overcome these limitations in order to predict future fire regimes in southern Australia. We found that while there are areas in which fire extent and frequency will increase, there are significant areas where we predict a decrease in fire frequency. Implications for land and conservation management will be discussed.

BIO: Trent is a lecturer in Bushfire Behaviour and Management at The University of Melbourne. His has worked in the field of applied fire management for 15 years.

The current research program is looking to better model fire behaviour and the impact of fire on environmental and human assets.

Appointments with guest speaker may be made via Don Driscoll.

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.

Could not log in? More info on how to connect is available HERE.

CIE Seminar Series 2016 – Declines, denial and disconnect: Victorian reptiles in a time of mass extinction and how academics might better influence government policy

Nick ClemannSPEAKER: Dr Nick Clemann, Program Leader – Threatened Fauna, Arthur Rylah Institute for Environmental Research, Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning, Heidelberg, Victoria (and Research Associate, Museum Victoria)

DATE: Friday, 1st July 2016
LOCATION: Melbourne Campus at Burwood – Burwood Corporate Centre (attendees to please report to reception)
TIME: 1:30pm
Seminar will also be video linked to the following campuses: Geelong Campus at Waurn Ponds, Room ka4.207 (Green room) and Warrnambool Campus, Room J2.22

ABSTRACT: The Earth has entered the worst mass extinction event since the loss of the dinosaurs. Unlike the previous five, the Sixth Extinction can be attributed to the actions of a single species – Humans.

Humans also control both the threats and conservation actions that influence this crisis. When prioritising conservation actions, innate human bias often favours endothermic vertebrates over other fauna. Reptiles are the least popular vertebrate class, and consequently are particularly disadvantaged during threatened species listing and conservation management.

After reviewing these topics, I propose that the only way Humans will arrest biodiversity losses is by confronting our own denial. I conclude with some experience-based thoughts on how academics might better influence government biodiversity policy.

BIO: Nick leads the Threatened Fauna Program at the Victorian Governement’s Arthur Rylah Institute for Environmental Research, where he has been employed for nearly two decades (since leaving Deakin University).

Nick’s team work on a taxonomically diverse array of threatened vertebrates, ranging from Leadbeater’s Possum to alpine frogs. He is also an Honorary Associate at Museum Victoria where he is working on establishing a collection of snake venoms, tissues and specimens for taxonomic and biomedical research.

Appointments with guest speaker may be made via Don Driscoll.

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.

Could not log in? More info on how to connect is available HERE.

CIE Seminar Series 2016 – Food security: is biodiversity doomed?

Iain GordonSPEAKER: Professor Iain Gordon, Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Division of Tropical Environments and Societies, James Cook University, Townsville, QLD

DATE: Friday, 24th June 2016
LOCATION: Melbourne Campus at Burwood – Burwood Corporate Centre (attendees to please report to reception)
TIME: 1:30pm
Seminar will also be video linked to the following campuses: Geelong Campus at Waurn Ponds, Room ka4.207 (Green room) and Warrnambool Campus, Room J2.22

ABSTRACT: Feeding the world’s growing human population is increasingly challenging, especially as more people adapt a western diet and lifestyle. Doing so without causing damage to nature poses an even greater challenge.

In this talk I argue that in order to create a sustainable food supply whilst conserving nature, agriculture and nature must be reconnected and work together. Historically, the rapid rise in food production has been achieved at the expense of nature. I will demonstrate that while the links between nature and food production have, to some extent, already been recognized, until now the focus has been to protect one from the impacts of the other. Instead, I will argue that nature and agriculture can, and should, work together and ultimately benefit from one another.

My aim is to bring nature into the conversations about food security – not just ‘taking into account’ but as a true partner in meeting the global challenge of feeding the world whilst saving the planet.

BIO: Iain has a PhD in Zoology from Cambridge University and 30 years of experience leading interdisciplinary research across 5 continents.

My research expertise lies at the human/environment interface particularly in the context of biodiversity management, ecosystem services provided by agricultural landscapes and engaging human communities in the management of natural resources. In total I have published over 200 papers in international scientific peer review journals and published 6 books (with a seventh to be published shortly by Routledge Press), spanning a range of research areas including livestock nutrition and health, ecology of natural ecosystems, grazing management to achieve environmental objectives, and community based conservation.

For the past 15 years I have been employed in senior management positions in both Australia and the UK. I joined the Commonwealth Scientific and Industry Research Organisation (CSIRO) in Australia in 2003 leading its Building Resilient Biodiversity Assets Theme and the rangeland management programme of the Water for a Healthy Country Great Barrier Reef Theme. During this time I was OiC of the Davies Lab in Townsville and lead the co-location CSIRO with James Cook University in the Australian Tropical Science Innovation Precinct.

I returned to Scotland in 2010 as Chief Executive and Director of the James Hutton Institute, the largest agri-environment research institute of its kind in the UK. During this time I gained board level experience of commercialising research (agriculture, environmental & analytical services) into industry. I was also a Director of the Centre of Expertise for Climate Change, a new knowledge brokering mechanism for providing evidence to support policy. In September 2015 I moved back to Australia as Deputy Vice Chancellor – Tropical Environments and Societies at James Cook University.

I have a genuine passion and commitment for sustainable regional development and harnessing the tropics’ enormous potential through education and research.

Appointments with guest speaker may be made via Euan Ritchie.

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.

Could not log in? More info on how to connect is available HERE.

CIE Seminar Series 2016 – Ancestry of adaptations to day and night vision

David HuntSPEAKER: Professor David Hunt, Honorary Professorial Research Fellow, Lions Eye Institute and School of Animal Biology, University of Western Australia, Perth

DATE: Friday, 17th June 2016
LOCATION: Geelong Campus at Waurn Ponds, room ka4.207
TIME: 1:30pm
Seminar will also be video linked to the following campuses: Melbourne Campus at Burwood – Burwood Corporate Centre (attendees to please report to reception) and Warrnambool Campus, Room J2.22

ABSTRACT: The talk is based on the analysis of eye/retina transcriptomes obtained by NGS from a number of basal fish species from the agnathan and gnathostome lineages.

The data will be used to explore the evolutionary origin of rod and cone isoforms of the different components of the phototransduction cascade that extends from visual pigments to gated-channels and calcium regulation, with insights into individual species differences.

BIO: Professor David Hunt graduated with a BSc Honours degree in Zoology from the University of Sheffield, UK, in 1964 and stayed on to complete a PhD in Genetics in 1967, working with the fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster.

Shortly after that, he moved the focus of his work to mouse genetics, working for many years at Queen Mary College in London, UK. However, it was not until the late 80s that he moved into vision research, which led to a move in 1992 to the UCL Institute of Ophthalmology in London. His final move in 2010 was to the School of Animal Biology at The University of Western Australia, relocating earlier this year to the Lions Eye Institute.

His research in vision has two inter-related themes, comparative studies of vertebrate vision and inherited retinal diseases. The comparative studies include work on many different species of fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals, the latter extending to monotremes and marsupials.

His work on inherited retinal diseases has resulted in the identification of several disease genes and mutations, and an understanding of their pathology. He has over 240 full publications that include two books.

Appointments with guest speaker may be made via Ben Knott.

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.

Could not log in? More info on how to connect is available HERE.

CIE Seminar Series 2016 – Pyrodiversity and biodiversity are coupled because fire is embedded in food-webs

David BowmanSPEAKER: Professor David Bowman, Professor of Environmental Change Biology, School of Biological Sciences, The University of Tasmania, Hobart

DATE: Friday, 10th June 2016
LOCATION: Melbourne Campus at Burwood – Burwood Corporate Centre (attendees to please report to reception)
TIME: 1:30pm
Seminar will also be video linked to the following campuses: Geelong Campus at Waurn Ponds, Room ka4.207 (Green room) and Warrnambool Campus, Room J2.22

ABSTRACT: Fire positively and negatively affects food webs across all trophic levels and guilds and influences a range of ecological processes that reinforce fire regimes, such as nutrient cycling and soil development, plant regeneration and growth, plant community assembly and dynamics, herbivory and predation.

Rather than merely describing spatio-temporal patterns of fire regimes, I argue that pyrodiversity must be understood in terms of feedbacks between fire regimes, biodiversity and ecological processes. Humans shape pyrodiversity both directly, by manipulating the intensity, severity, frequency and extent of fires, and indirectly, by influencing the abundance and distribution of various trophic guilds through hunting and husbandry of animals, and introduction and cultivation of plant species.

Conceptualizing landscape fire as deeply embedded in food webs suggests that the restoration of degraded ecosystems requires the simultaneous careful management of fire regimes and native and invasive plants and animals, and may include introducing new vertebrates to compensate for extinctions that occurred in the recent and more distant past.

BIO: Professor David Bowman holds a research chair in Environmental Change Biology in the School of Biological Sciences at the University of Tasmania, Hobart Australia, and is also an adjunct professor at ANU Department Archaeology and Natural History.

After completing his PhD in forest ecology and silviculture at the University of Tasmania in 1984, he spent two decades in the undertaking full time research throughout northern Australia working closely with Aboriginal people, working with Northern Territory Parks and Wildlife and then Charles Darwin University where he was the Director of the Australian Research Council Key Centre for Tropical Wildlife Management.

During his career he been a fellow at numerous universities globally (Papua New Guinea, Harvard, Oxford, Kyoto, Arizona, Leeds, and British Columbia), awarded two travelling fellowship from the Australian Academy of Science, and a finalist four different Eureka Prizes.

His research is collaborative, transdisciplinary with the following themes: understanding how fire influences the Earth system, how humans alter ecologies with fire, how fire shapes landscapes, and the quest for sustainable fire management.  Collectively he describes his research program as pyrogeography.

Appointments with guest speaker may be made via Euan Ritchie.

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.

Could not log in? More info on how to connect is available HERE.