McNellie M.J.,Office of Environment and Heritage New South Wales |
McNellie M.J.,Australian National University |
Oliver I.,University of New South Wales |
Oliver I.,University of New England of Australia |
Gibbons P.,Australian National University
Ecological Informatics | Year: 2015
Most predictive models rely on 'the known' to infer 'the unknown'. Geo-referenced, on-ground observational data are the 'point of truth' upon which many vegetation models are built. We focus on some of the enigmatic errors that we have uncovered when using vegetation plot data. Using a case study, we sourced 9362 sites to examine the prevalence of spatial errors. We found that an incorrect datum was recorded for 5% of sites; less than 2% of sites were duplicated and up to 34% of sites were located within 1000. m of each other. Whilst sites within a 1000. m neighbourhood are not necessarily errors, they do need to be considered within the context of using spatial environmental layers and predictive modelling. We offer solutions for identifying and managing spatial locations of point data to ensure that the information-rich resource held in data repositories is not compromised by unidentified spatial error. © 2015 .
Bush A.,Macquarie University |
Hermoso V.,Griffith University |
Linke S.,Griffith University |
Nipperess D.,Macquarie University |
And 2 more authors.
Journal of Applied Ecology | Year: 2014
Climate change represents a major challenge for conservation in the future and undermines protection within reserve boundaries. Freshwater biodiversity is still under-represented within reserves world-wide, and connectivity among reserves will become increasingly crucial if species are to persist under climate change. We tested the likely benefits of including predicted species distributions in systematic reserve design for rivers under climate change and the impact of varying connectivity requirements on future representation. We used the modelled distribution of 126 east Australian Odonata to identify reserve networks using data for current or future (2055 and 2085) distributions either by filling gaps additively, or as separate targets in a single solution. We then assessed the potential improvements to species representation in the future using different types of connectivity penalties that emphasized either longitudinal riverine connections or connections to all neighbouring subcatchments. Solutions that did not include future distributions in the planning stages were 16 to 30% less likely to protect the same species by 2055 and 2085, respectively. Inclusion of species' future distributions in the design phase leads to short-term increases in cost, but in the longer term fewer additional areas are required to meet targets and this strategy is likely to be significantly more efficient than implementing systematic design in stages. In addition, solely targeting riverine connectivity was significantly less likely to protect current species in the future than if cross-catchment connections were included. Synthesis and applications. Where protected areas can be expanded to assist species adaptation to climate change, significant gains in efficiency are possible if longer term goals are considered when selecting sites. Furthermore, to improve the representation of species under future climates, reserve selection should consider inter-catchment connectivity, although the nature of optimal solutions will depend heavily on the range of taxa included, their dispersal capacity, and the availability of climatic refugia. Where protected areas can be expanded to assist species adaptation to climate change, significant gains in efficiency are possible if longer term goals are considered when selecting sites. Furthermore, to improve the representation of species under future climates, reserve selection should consider inter-catchment connectivity, although the nature of optimal solutions will depend heavily on the range of taxa included, their dispersal capacity, and the availability of climatic refugia. © 2014 British Ecological Society.
Theischinger G.,Office of Environment and Heritage New South Wales |
Theischinger G.,College Street |
Richards S.J.,South Australian Museum |
Richards S.J.,Wildlife Conservation Society
Zootaxa | Year: 2014
Drepanosticta machadoi sp. nov. (Holotype ♂: Dablin Creek, Hindenburg Range) from Papua New Guinea is described. The new species is a predominantly black damselfly, the male with four pale/bright pattern elements on each side of the synthorax, dorsum of segments 9 and 10 largely bright blue, and a uniquely shaped posterior lobe of the pronotum which is a wide-angled fork with rather straight, narrow finger-like prongs. It is referred to the Drepanosticta conica group of species and a key to the males of the D. conica group is provided. Copyright © 2014 Magnolia Press.
Davies N.A.,University of Queensland |
Gramotnev G.,University of Queensland |
McAlpine C.,University of Queensland |
Seabrook L.,University of Queensland |
And 5 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2013
Recent research has shown that the ecology of stress has hitherto been neglected, but it is in fact an important influence on the distribution and numbers of wild vertebrates. Environmental changes have the potential to cause physiological stress that can affect population dynamics. Detailed information on the influence of environmental variables on glucocorticoid levels (a measure of stress) at the trailing edge of a species' distribution can highlight stressors that potentially threaten species and thereby help explain how environmental challenges, such as climate change, will affect the survival of these populations. Rainfall determines leaf moisture and/or nutritional content, which in turn impacts on cortisol concentrations. We show that higher faecal cortisol metabolite (FCM) levels in koala populations at the trailing arid edge of their range in southwestern Queensland are associated with lower rainfall levels (especially rainfall from the previous two months), indicating an increase in physiological stress when moisture levels are low. These results show that koalas at the semi-arid, inland edge of their geographic range, will fail to cope with increasing aridity from climate change. The results demonstrate the importance of integrating physiological assessments into ecological studies to identify stressors that have the potential to compromise the long-term survival of threatened species. This finding points to the need for research to link these stressors to demographic decline to ensure a more comprehensive understanding of species' responses to climate change. © 2013 Davies et al.
Chapple R.S.,University of New South Wales |
Ramp D.,University of New South Wales |
Bradstock R.A.,University of Wollongong |
Kingsford R.T.,University of New South Wales |
And 4 more authors.
Environmental Management | Year: 2011
Effective management of large protected conservation areas is challenged by political, institutional and environmental complexity and inconsistency. Knowledge generation and its uptake into management are crucial to address these challenges. We reflect on practice at the interface between science and management of the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area (GBMWHA), which covers approximately 1 million hectares west of Sydney, Australia. Multiple government agencies and other stakeholders are involved in its management, and decision-making is confounded by numerous plans of management and competing values and goals, reflecting the different objectives and responsibilities of stakeholders. To highlight the complexities of the decision-making process for this large area, we draw on the outcomes of a recent collaborative research project and focus on fire regimes and wild-dog control as examples of how existing knowledge is integrated into management. The collaborative research project achieved the objectives of collating and synthesizing biological data for the region; however, transfer of the project's outcomes to management has proved problematic. Reasons attributed to this include lack of clearly defined management objectives to guide research directions and uptake, and scientific information not being made more understandable and accessible. A key role of a local bridging organisation (e.g., the Blue Mountains World Heritage Institute) in linking science and management is ensuring that research results with management significance can be effectively transmitted to agencies and that outcomes are explained for nonspecialists as well as more widely distributed. We conclude that improved links between science, policy, and management within an adaptive learning-by-doing framework for the GBMWHA would assist the usefulness and uptake of future research. © 2011 Springer Science+Business Media, LLC.