PhD Project: Carbon sequestration potential of seaweeds

Dr Alecia Bellgrove

Image Mel Wells

We are seeking a highly-motivated PhD student to join our DeakinSeaweed research group and Blue Carbon Labfor a project examining the carbon sequestration potential of seaweeds supervised by Dr Alecia Bellgrove, A/Prof. Peter Macreadie and Dr Stacey Trevathan-Tackett.  The project will combine advanced analytical chemistry, seascape ecology, modelling, and environmental microbiology to develop novel biomarkers to search for seaweed carbon within marine sediments, uptake and retention rates of seaweed carbon within marine sediments, and model seaweed carbon export from Australian coasts. The research will help fulfil an important gap in our understanding of the contribution of seaweeds to global blue carbon sequestration.

You must be competitive for a PhD scholarship at Deakin University (currently valued at approximately AU$26,682 per annum) and apply in the upcoming scholarship round (due Thursday 15 March, 2018).  In addition to the PhD stipend, you will be supported with up to $11,200 base-level…

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Lab Member Spotlight: Jess Rowland

Conservation Science

This month at the Conservation Science Lab we’ve started a new initiative! We are doing a ‘member spotlight’, and Jessin this post we’ll be highlighting the achievements of one of our PhD students, Jess Rowland.  Jess is into the second year of her PhD, and her outstanding work over the past few years is culminating in some well-deserved recognition.

Prior to starting her PhD, Jess completed a Master of Science at the University of Melbourne.  Her research aimed to increase our understanding of the thermal properties of nest-boxes compared to tree-hollows to improve conservation-management efforts for our native wildlife under a rapidly changing climate.

Jess has achieved excellent impact with this research, with her paper on this research, ‘Comparing the thermal suitability of nest-boxes and tree-hollows for conservation-management of arboreal marsupials’ inspiring a feature post on science communication blog Sandpaw, and winning Society for Conservation Biology Oceania Best Student…

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ARC Discovery grant successes

We were thrilled to learn last week that CIE members were awarded not one, not two, but THREE Discovery Project grants from the Australian Research Council.

We wish a huge congratulations to Prof Andy Bennett, Dr Mathew Berg, Prof Kate Buchanan, Dr Mylene Mariette, Dr Euan Ritchie and their collaborators on their success. Below is a summary of the three projects that will be hosted by the Centre for Integrative Ecology. Prof John Endler is also an investigator on a UQ-led project titled ‘Unravelling reef fish vision through gene-editing and behavioural ecology’. These prestigious grants are hard-won, with this year’s success rate being just 18.9%.

Source
Source

 

Leader of the pack: social structure and predator management

  • Dr Euan Ritchie; Professor Elissa Cameron (University of Tasmania); Professor Robbie McDonald (University of Exeter, UK); Professor Darren Croft (University of Exeter, UK); Dr Jose Montoya (Stanford University, USA)
  • $424,824.00
  • This project aims to quantify the importance of the individual in behaviour and social structures when managing social predator populations to protect economic and environmental assets. Using dingoes as a model system this project will characterise social structure and behaviour under varying management scenarios. This information will be embedded within models of ecological networks to examine the effects of disrupting dingo packs on biological communities. The project expects to improve understanding of how behaviour and social interactions influence ecological outcomes, improving conservation and management.

Genomic diversity, tolerance and ecology of wildlife disease

  • Professor Andy Bennett; Professor Soren Alexandersen; Professor Scott Edwards (Harvard University, USA); Dr Mathew Berg
  • $309,762.00
  • This project aims to understand the regulation of viral disease by vertebrate hosts. Viruses are rapidly evolving threats to humans, agriculture and wildlife and understanding of these threats can be transformed by combining the latest genomic, ecological and immune-pathological approaches. This project expects to reveal how hosts manage the bad effects of viruses in natural populations and fill gaps in fundamental knowledge of virus-host evolution. Anticipated benefits include improved management, risk assessment and decision-making for animal disease and biosecurity in Australia and globally.

Revisiting the ontogeny of vocal learning in birds: from neuron to fitness

  • Professor Katherine Buchanan; Dr Mylene Mariette; Professor Robert Dooling (University of Maryland, USA)
  • $393,192.00
  • This project aims to test the hypothesis that acoustic exposure prior to hatching directly affects gene expression, neural development, behaviour and consequently fitness, in wild populations of songbirds. Recent research suggests that animals are receptive to acoustic parental signals long before birth and may use such previously unrecognised signals to make adaptive developmental decisions. This project will quantify the effect on neural development and vocal learning in embryonic birds, employing a model songbird species. The outcomes of this study will transform our understanding of the adaptive potential of prenatal vocal learning, which will have significant benefits for human speech and language development.

CIE Seminar Series 2017 – Surprises from space: evolutionary insights from spatial reasoning

SPEAKER: Dr Ben Phillips, ARC Future Fellow, School of BioSciences, Faculty of Science, University of Melbourne

DATE: Friday, 18th August 2017
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-please report to reception for room details on the day); and Warrnambool Campus, Room J2.22

External visitors – wish to join us and connect to our seminars?
External parties may connect to the live seminar via *N SEBE VMP LES Seminars 52236958@deakin.edu.au [ID.36958] via the methods listed below:

  • For external guests, you can connect as a web guest by clicking HERE. If using Chrome you it will prompt you to install the Cisco Jaba Plugin, then it will prompt you to download the extension which you will need to install. Once this has been installed, you will have a black screen with a call button. You will just need to click call and it should connect into the VMP.
  • For Deakin staff and students, please join via Skype for Business (Lync) – if you have office installed you may already have Skype for business or Lync installed. You just need to look for it on the start menu. If you find it, you can log into skype using your Deakin email and password and then dial 36958.
  • Could not log in? More info on how to connect is available HERE or 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: This is a homily to the role of space in evolution, in three parts.  First I will look at expanding range edges and use the cane toad system to explore the evolutionary implications of range advance.  Second, I will look at geographic variation in a much more stable system.  Using data from climate-relevant traits of a rainforest lizard, I will argue that we can use spatial reasoning to identify when geographic variation is caused by local adaptation (as opposed to plasticity).  Finally, I will head back to the toad system to float an adventurous idea for how we might use evolution to stop their invasion.

BIO: Ben Phillips spent most of the last 12 years working across northern Australia on a range of evolutionary and ecological questions.  Ben has worked on toads, snakes, mammals, beetles, and even simulated organisms. He is particularly interested in how spatial processes change evolutionary and ecological dynamics.  Ben is an ARC Future Fellow and a Senior Lecturer in the School of BioSciences.

Appointments with guest speaker may be made via lee.rollins@deakin.edu.au.

CIE Seminar Series 2017 – Island eradications: prioritisations, bioindicators and ecosystem monitoring

SPEAKER: Dr Justine Shaw, Research Fellow, Centre for Biodiversity and Conservation Science, University of Queensland

DATE: Friday, 11th August 2017
LOCATION: Melbourne Campus at Burwood – Burwood Corporate Centre (attendees-please report to reception for room details on the day)
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?
External parties may connect to the live seminar via *N SEBE VMP LES Seminars 52236958@deakin.edu.au [ID.36958] via the methods listed below:

  • For external guests, you can connect as a web guest by clicking HERE. If using Chrome you it will prompt you to install the Cisco Jaba Plugin, then it will prompt you to download the extension which you will need to install. Once this has been installed, you will have a black screen with a call button. You will just need to click call and it should connect into the VMP.
  • For Deakin staff and students, please join via Skype for Business (Lync) – if you have office installed you may already have Skype for business or Lync installed. You just need to look for it on the start menu. If you find it, you can log into skype using your Deakin email and password and then dial 36958.
  • Could not log in? More info on how to connect is available HERE or 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: Island eradications are becoming more common and more successful. Pest eradications have been undertaken on over 700 islands globally. More and more species are benefitting from these conservation actions. As technological abilities increase, decision science and ecosystem monitoring need to expand and improve to effectively implement large-scale and complex island management. I will present some of my recent work on prioritizing actions for islands, principally “which island do we choose, and what do we target?” I’ll summarize some preliminary findings on island prioritizations involving multiple target species across hundreds of islands.

Once projects have been chosen and successfully implemented we are then faced with evaluating their efficacy in restoring ecosystem structure and function.  Our recent work on Macquarie Island is a good example of this process, where we are utilizing existing long-term datasets (some over 30 years old) and are undertaking new fieldwork. We’ve identified sites, species and environmental parameters for tracking ecosystem change into the future including habitat recovery and prey switching following rabbit, cat, mouse and rat eradication. I’ll highlight one of our biggest challenges in this work – how to address shifting baselines and their role in monitoring large scale conservation projects. Human-induced ecological change spans much longer periods of time than most formal monitoring data. Therefore, to understand the magnitude and dynamics of past ecosystem change, we need to seek data on past change from alternative sources.

BIO: Justine Shaw is a Research Fellow at the Centre for Biodiversity and Conservation Science, The University of Queensland. Her research focus is the conservation of island ecosystems and terrestrial Antarctica. Justine is interested in understanding the way in which species interact with each other and their role in ecosystem function. She is currently examining the risks posed by non-native species to Antarctic protected areas, examining the interactions between indigenous and non-native species and investigating how invasive species influence island ecosystems, in particular the impacts on threatened species. Her research focuses on informing management.  She is interested in ways of dealing with ecosystem uncertainty in large scale eradication attempts.  Justine has been working on sub-Antarctic islands for 19 years.  Her current research is funded through the National Environmental Science Program, Threatened Species Recovery Hub.

Appointments with guest speaker may be made via Tim Doherty.

 

 

Webinar: Blue Carbon – A new weapon in the fight against climate change

What: Webinar
When: 14 June 2017, 12:30 pm to 1:30 pm

In this webinar, Dr Peter Macreadie will provide an overview of research into the distribution, value, and dynamics of Australia’s blue carbon; showcase emerging research into the development of decision tools to predict how different management plans will affect the persistence of coastal ecosystems and their capacity to sequester carbon; and discuss the current status of blue carbon offset initiatives under the Federal Government’s Emission Reduction Fund.

For more information about this event and on how to register please CLICK HERE

Dr Lucie Bland – 2017 Finalist @ The Victorian Young Achiever Awards

Congratulations to Dr Lucie Bland for being a finalist for the Victorian Young Achiever Awards (Research Impact Award).

The purpose of the Victorian Young Achiever Awards is to acknowledge, encourage and most importantly promote the positive achievements of all young people up to and including 29 years of age as of 31st December each year.

For more information about the Victorian Young Achiever Awards and full list of VIC 2017 finalists CLICK HERE.

2017 Australasian Ornithological Conference – To be held at Deakin University, Waterfront Campus in Geelong

australasian-ornithological-conference-2017BirdLife Australia and Birds New Zealand bring you our biennial conference for all those interested in the study and conservation of Australasian birds.

Conference dates: 8th – 11th November, 2017. The conference will be held at Deakin University, Waterfront Campus in Geelong, Victoria.

Conference website: CLICK HERE.

In addition to talks and workshops to facilitate the advancement of avian research and conservation, we anticipate holding a number of social events to promote the jubilation and wellness of members of our community.

Need more information? Want to take part or become a sponsor?

  • For more information regarding the upcoming conference please contact: Professor Kate Buchanan, Deakin University.
  • For more information on the Australasian Ornithological Conference website please contact: Dr. Ondi Crino, Deakin University.

We need your help in spreading the word!! Please share this to your networks and stay tuned for more information to follow on the conference website.

Please feel free to print and post the official aoc-advertisement (PDF).

CIE-HDR conference 2016 – A success story!

Following the success of our 2016 CIE conference held recently, we are happy to report that the feedback received has been overwhelmingly positive, showcasing that the Centre of Integrative Ecology has greatly established itself as part of Deakin-School of Life and Environmental Sciences/Faculty of SEBE.

CIE Group # 1
CIE Group # 1

On behalf of the conference organising committee, we would like to sincerely thank you all for your support and contribution that you have made to the growing reputation of the Centre. We are proud of what we have achieved together in the last few years, and look forward to sharing another happy CIE conference-2017 with our membership.

Be advised that the conference group photos have now been uploaded and can be viewed HERE.

Also, our winners of the photo competition have also been uploaded. Please check out the beautiful photography!

See you next year 🙂