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The Entrance, Australia

Maina J.,University of Queensland | Kithiia J.,Center for Rainforest Studies | Cinner J.,James Cook University | Neale E.,Wildlife Conservation Society | And 4 more authors.
Regional Environmental Change | Year: 2015

A major gap exists in integrating climate projections and social–ecological vulnerability analyses at scales that matter, which has affected local-scale adaptation planning and actions to date. We address this gap by providing a novel methodology that integrates information on: (i) the expected future climate, including climate-related extreme events, at the village level; (ii) an ecological assessment of the impacts of these climate forecasts on coral reefs; and (iii) the social adaptive capacity of the artisanal fishers, to create an integrated vulnerability assessment on coastal communities in five villages in Papua New Guinea. We show that, despite relatively proximate geographies, there are substantial differences in both the predicted extreme rainfall and temperature events and the social adaptive capacity among the five fishing-dependent communities, meaning that they have likely different vulnerabilities to future climate change. Our methodology shows that it is possible to capture social information and integrate this with climate and ecological modeling in ways that are best suited to address the impacts of climate-mediated environmental changes currently underway across different scales. © 2015 Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg Source

Heise-Pavlov S.R.,Center for Rainforest Studies | Paleologo K.,Wellesley College | Glenny W.,Gonzaga University
Journal of Pest Science | Year: 2014

The development of biological control measures to reduce the impact of invasive species is a desired goal. Rhabdias species have recently been advocated as biological control agents for invasive anurans. This study describes a field-based approach to support laboratory results on the potential impact of the lung nematode Rhabdias pseudosphaerocephala on the prey consumption of its host, the invasive cane toad (Rhinella marina, Bufonidae). Toads were sampled from various populations in the Wet Tropics of Australia during the wet seasons of 2010 and 2012. Consumed prey items were counted in 212 cane toads and identified to class and order levels and the number of lung nematodes was counted for each toad. The number of R. pseudosphaerocephala in free-ranging cane toads affected negatively the diversity of prey items consumed, but was not related to the number of prey items or the number of ants consumed. The results suggest that infection of free-ranging cane toads by the lung nematode reduces their range of prey items. Possible reasons could be a reduced locomotor activity resulting in changes of foraging modes of infected toads which was reported from some laboratory trials. Infection of cane toads by R. pseudosphaerocephala may therefore have the potential to alter the impact of cane toads on invertebrate communities and their competition for food resources with native Australian anurans. © 2013 Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg. Source

Elgar A.T.,Griffith University | Freebody K.,Griffith University | Freebody K.,Tablelands Community Revegetation Unit | Pohlman C.L.,Center for Rainforest Studies | And 2 more authors.
Frontiers in Plant Science | Year: 2014

Combating the legacy of deforestation on tropical biodiversity requires the conversion to forest of large areas of established pasture, where barriers to native plant regeneration include competition with pasture grasses and poor propagule supply (seed availability). In addition, initial woody plants that colonise pasture are often invasive, non-native species whose ecological roles and management in the context of forest regeneration are contested. In a restoration experiment at two 0.64 ha sites we quantified the response of native woody vegetation recruitment to (1) release from competition with introduced pasture grasses, and (2) local facilitation of frugivore-assisted seed dispersal provided by scattered woody plants and artificial bird perches. Herbicide pasture grass suppression during 20 months caused a significant but modest increase in density of native woody seedlings, together with abundant co-recruitment of the prominent non-native pioneer wild tobacco (Solanum mauritianum). Recruitment of native species was further enhanced by local structure in herbicide-treated areas, being consistently greater under live trees and dead non-native shrubs (herbicide-treated) than in open areas, and intermediate under bird perches. Native seedling recruitment comprised 28 species across 0.25 ha sampled but was dominated by two rainforest pioneers (Homalanthus novoguineensis, Polyscias murrayi). These early results are consistent with the expected increase in woody vegetation recruitment in response to release from competitive and dispersive barriers to rainforest regeneration. The findings highlight the need for a pragmatic consideration of the ecological roles of woody weeds and the potential roles of "new forests" more broadly in accelerating succession of humid tropical forest across large areas of retired agricultural land. © 2014 Elgar, Freebody, Pohlman, Shoo and Catterall. Source

Heise-Pavlov S.R.,Center for Rainforest Studies | Longway L.J.,Bard College at Simons Rock
Ecological Management and Restoration | Year: 2011

Cane Toads (Rhinella marina, formerly Bufo marinus) in restoration sites on the Atherton Tableland in NE Australia consumed invertebrates belonging to 11 different taxa with ants being the most abundant prey item. Principal component analyses showed that the composition of invertebrates in Cane Toad diet is largely a reflection of invertebrates found in pitfall and leaf litter samples suggesting that the species is an indiscriminant feeder. However, pitfall samples contained more Collembola and Isopoda than were found in Cane Toad stomachs. The Cane Toad may benefit from restoration management practices by utilizing food resources enhanced by mulching and providing microhabitats (e.g. rock piles, logs) as shelter. While further studies would be needed to test this practitioners working in areas where the Cane Toad is problematic may consider trade-offs between attracting invertebrates and Cane Toads by monitoring provided microhabitat features. © 2011 Ecological Society of Australia. Source

Heise-Pavlov S.,Center for Rainforest Studies | Anderson C.,Wildlife Habitat | Moshier A.,Clark University
Australian Mammalogy | Year: 2014

Food preferences of the arboreal Lumholtz's tree-kangaroo (Dendrolagus lumholtzi), endemic to the tropical rainforests of north-eastern Australia, are largely unknown, but are likely to affect the movements of this mammal within its home range and across a fragmented landscape. Food selection was investigated by applying a consumption ranking system to 35 browse species provided to six captive animals throughout different years. Animals consumed foliage from a wide range of rainforest tree species, but at different intensities, suggesting that Lumholtz's tree-kangaroo is a selective folivore. All studied animals showed a general preference for the foliage of the northern olive (Chionanthus ramiflorus) and the umbrella tree (Schefflera actinophylla) throughout the year while foliage from acacias (Acacia spp.), milky pine (Alstonia scholaris) and pink ash (Alphitonia petriei) was less frequently consumed. Foliage from figs (Ficus spp.) and the northern tamarind (Diploglottis diphyllostegia) was consumed at higher rates only at certain times of the year, suggesting the existence of seasonal preferences. The knowledge of general and seasonal food preferences of this large arboreal mammal may allow a better prediction of animal movements and therefore can assist in conservation efforts. Recommendations for the integration of these findings in restoration projects are given. © Australian Mammal Society 2014. Source

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