Threatened Species Unit

Australia

Threatened Species Unit

Australia
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Cowie I.D.,Northern Territory Herbarium | Liddle D.T.,Threatened Species Unit
Nuytsia | Year: 2016

A new tropical species, Thismia tectipora Cowie from Melville Island in the far north of the Northern Territory, Australia, is described and illustrated. The species is unique in the genus in having a thickened, fleshy, verrucose, cap-like mitre, the rim of which is reflexed to hide the pores in the upper perianth tube. It appears allied to taxa previously placed in Thismia Griff. sect. Sarcosiphon (Blume) Jonker, Geomitra Becc. and Scaphiophora Schltr. Available evidence suggests T. tectipora has a restricted distribution on Melville Island. Threats to the species, and its conservation status, are discussed. © Department of Parks and Wildlife 2016.


Pacioni C.,Murdoch University | Robertson I.D.,Murdoch University | Maxwell M.,Manjimup | van Weenen J.,Threatened Species Unit | Wayne A.F.,Manjimup
Journal of Wildlife Diseases | Year: 2013

An accurate assessment of animal health is fundamental to disease investigation in wildlife. Blood samples (n5609) from several populations of the endangered woylie or brush-tailed bettong (Bettongia penicillata ogilbyi), collected between March 2006 and April 2010 in Western Australia and South Australia, were used to establish hematologic reference ranges. Differences between populations, sexes, and seasons were also investigated. Significant sex differences in hematocrit, red blood cell, total white blood cell, neutrophil, lymphocyte, and eosinophil counts were evident in at least one population. Generally, males had higher hematocrit and blood cell concentrations than did females. A positive association of the erythron parameters with rainfall was also detected. The hematologic characteristics of woylie populations described in this study greatly increase knowledge of the health status in these populations. The data also represent a baseline to enable monitoring and detection of changes in the health status in these populations as well as representing a valid dataset for comparison with hematologic investigations in other macropods and marsupials. © Wildlife Disease Association 2013.


Searle J.B.,Environmental Planning and Conservation Section | Prince J.B.,Environmental Planning and Conservation Section | Stewart D.,Threatened Species Unit | Lloyd P.,Biodiversity Assessment and Management Pty Ltd.
Emu | Year: 2016

Monitoring of breeding success is important for the effective management of beach-nesting shorebirds, which are vulnerable to impacts of human recreational disturbance and predation by introduced or superabundant native predators. We examined the breeding success of a recently established nesting colony of Little Tern (Sternula albifrons sinensis) on a coastal sandspit in south-east Queensland that is exposed to increasing human recreational use but limited management. Nesting success averaged 36% (15-51%) over 3 years, with sand burial and tidal flooding responsible for most clutch mortality. Annual chick survival from hatching to fledging averaged 41% (26-67%), and annual productivity averaged 0.66 fledglings per pair (0.31-1.24). Annual productivity was lower than at intensively managed Little Tern nesting colonies in New South Wales and Victoria; however, with minimum annual productivity required to maintain a stable population estimated at ∼0.50 fledglings per pair, the population is expected to be increasing. © BirdLife Australia 2016.


Kaluza J.,University of Queensland | Lesley Donald R.,Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service | Gynther I.C.,Threatened Species Unit | Leung L.K-P.,University of Queensland | Allen B.L.,University of Southern Queensland
PLoS ONE | Year: 2016

The water mouse is a small and vulnerable rodent present in coastal areas of south-west Papua New Guinea, and eastern Queensland and the Northern Territory of Australia. Current knowledge regarding the distribution of the water mouse is incomplete and the loss of one local population has been documented in southeast Queensland, a region where pressures from urban and industrial development are increasing. Water mouse populations have not been studied intensively enough to enable the primary factors responsible for the local decline to be identified. We surveyed the distribution and density of the water mouse along the Maroochy River of southeast Queensland, near the southern extent of the species' range, to gather baseline data that may prove valuable for detecting any future decline in this population's size or health. All areas of suitable habitat were surveyed on foot or by kayak or boat over a three-year period. We found 180 water mouse nests, of which ∼94% were active. Permanent camera monitoring of one nest and limited supplementary live trapping suggested that up to three individual mice occupied active nests. Water mouse density was estimated to be 0.44 per hectare of suitable habitat along the Maroochy River. Should future monitoring reveal an adverse change in the water mouse population on the Maroochy River, a concerted effort should be made to identify contributing factors and address proximate reasons for the decline. © 2016 Kaluza et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.


Berry M.,University of Queensland | Booth D.T.,University of Queensland | Limpus C.J.,Threatened Species Unit
Australian Journal of Zoology | Year: 2013

Coastal development adjacent to sea turtle nesting beaches can result in an increase in exposure to artificial lighting at night. That lighting can repel nesting females and interfere with the orientation of hatchlings from the nest to the sea. Disrupted hatchling orientation is a serious source of turtle mortality, sufficient to reduce recruitment and contribute to a long-term marine turtle population decline. The purpose of this study was to assess whether artificial lighting disrupts hatchling sea-finding behaviour at the largest loggerhead rookery in the South Pacific, the Woongarra coast, south-east Queensland. The crawling tracks of hatchlings that emerged from nests, as well as staged emergences, were used to assess the effect of lighting conditions at several local beaches on hatchling sea-finding behaviour. Disrupted orientation was observed at only a few locations, excluding the majority of the main nesting beach at Mon Repos Conservation Park. At the sites where orientation was disrupted, normal orientation was restored when a full moon was visible, presumably because lunar illumination reduced the perceived brightness of the artificial lights. The controlled use of lights used for guided turtle-viewing tour groups within Mon Repos conservation Park did not interfere with the sea-finding behaviour of hatchling turtles. Further coastal development, especially at the nearby town of Bargara, requires that a light management plan be formulated to ensure that development does not adversely affect the marine turtles that utilise the local nesting beaches. © 2013 CSIRO.


Meager J.J.,Threatened Species Unit | Limpus C.,Threatened Species Unit
PLoS ONE | Year: 2014

Understanding environmental and climatic drivers of natural mortality of marine mammals is critical for managing populations effectively and for predicting responses to climate change. Here we use a 17-year dataset to demonstrate a clear relationship between environmental forcing and natural mortality of inshore marine mammals across a subtropicaltropical coastline spanning a latitudinal gradient of 13u (.2000 km of coastline). Peak mortality of inshore dolphins and dugongs followed sustained periods of elevated freshwater discharge (9 months) and low air temperature (3 months). At a regional scale, these results translated into a strong relationship between annual mortality and an index of El Nin o-Southern Oscillation. The number of cyclones crossing the coastline had a comparatively weak effect on inshore marine mammal mortality, and only in the tropics. Natural mortality of offshore/migratory cetaceans was not predicted by freshwater discharge, but was related to lagged air temperature. These results represent the first quantitative link between environmental forcing and marine mammal mortality in the tropics, and form the basis of a predictive tool for managers to prepare responses to periods of elevated marine mammal mortality. © 2014 Meager, Limpus.


Observations of Large-tailed Nightjar Caprimulgus macrurus made during 2012 and 2013 in cstuarine wetland habitats of the Maroochy River of southeast Queensland apparendy represent the first records of the species from the Sunshine Coast and indicate that the lower Maroochy River area supports a resident, breeding population. This locality is more than 60 km south of the previously published coastal limit of distribution of the Large-tailed Nightjar. Although constituting only a minor extension to the species' known distribution, these records are nevertheless significant because they strongly suggest this population is a newly established one. Climate change offers a plausible explanation for the bird's southward range expansion into previously unoccupied areas. With ongoing climatic warming predicted, the Large-tailed Nightjar may be expected to continue expanding its Queensland distribution southwards.


Villa C.A.,University of Queensland | Finlayson S.,39 Health | Limpus C.,Threatened Species Unit | Gaus C.,University of Queensland
Science of the Total Environment | Year: 2015

Biomonitoring of blood is commonly used to identify and quantify occupational or environmental exposure to chemical contaminants. Increasingly, this technique has been applied to wildlife contaminant monitoring, including for green turtles, allowing for the non-lethal evaluation of chemical exposure in their nearshore environment. The sources, composition, bioavailability and toxicity of metals in the marine environment are, however, often unknown and influenced by numerous biotic and abiotic factors. These factors can vary considerably across time and space making the selection of the most informative elements for biomonitoring challenging. This study aimed to validate an ICP-MS multi-element screening method for green turtle blood in order to identify and facilitate prioritisation of target metals for subsequent fully quantitative analysis. Multi-element screening provided semiquantitative results for 70 elements, 28 of which were also determined through fully quantitative analysis. Of the 28 comparable elements, 23 of the semiquantitative results had an accuracy between 67% and 112% relative to the fully quantified values. In lieu of any available turtle certified reference materials (CRMs), we evaluated the use of human blood CRMs as a matrix surrogate for quality control, and compared two commonly used sample preparation methods for matrix related effects. The results demonstrate that human blood provides an appropriate matrix for use as a quality control material in the fully quantitative analysis of metals in turtle blood. An example for the application of this screening method is provided by comparing screening results from blood of green turtles foraging in an urban and rural region in Queensland, Australia. Potential targets for future metal biomonitoring in these regions were identified by this approach. © 2014 Elsevier B.V.


PubMed | Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service, Threatened Species Unit, University of Queensland and University of Southern Queensland
Type: Journal Article | Journal: PloS one | Year: 2016

The water mouse is a small and vulnerable rodent present in coastal areas of south-west Papua New Guinea, and eastern Queensland and the Northern Territory of Australia. Current knowledge regarding the distribution of the water mouse is incomplete and the loss of one local population has been documented in southeast Queensland, a region where pressures from urban and industrial development are increasing. Water mouse populations have not been studied intensively enough to enable the primary factors responsible for the local decline to be identified. We surveyed the distribution and density of the water mouse along the Maroochy River of southeast Queensland, near the southern extent of the species range, to gather baseline data that may prove valuable for detecting any future decline in this populations size or health. All areas of suitable habitat were surveyed on foot or by kayak or boat over a three-year period. We found 180 water mouse nests, of which ~94% were active. Permanent camera monitoring of one nest and limited supplementary live trapping suggested that up to three individual mice occupied active nests. Water mouse density was estimated to be 0.44 per hectare of suitable habitat along the Maroochy River. Should future monitoring reveal an adverse change in the water mouse population on the Maroochy River, a concerted effort should be made to identify contributing factors and address proximate reasons for the decline.


News Article | February 11, 2016
Site: www.techtimes.com

Volunteers faced a surprising discovery when they surveyed turtle nests along Queensland, Australia's Castaways Beach and found an extremely rare albino green turtle. The green baby turtle wasn't green. Volunteers from Coolum and North Shore Coast Care, named the pearl white hatchling, Alby. The baby turtle was one of 122 hatchlings that traveled back to the ocean. "Alby was born at Castaways Beach and happily made his/her way across the dunes into the ocean yesterday. Alby was the straggler in the nest, with his siblings having hatched on Friday evening when no-one was watching," the organization posted in its Facebook page. "May the oceans be kind to this unique little green turtle!" the post says. According to Dr. Col Limpus, chief of the Threatened Species Unit of Queensland, albinism in turtles is very rare and may occur in one in many hundreds of thousands of eggs. He added that in his 50 years of experience, he has never encountered an albino as a nesting turtle. This means that there is a slim chance of survival for these rare turtles. These turtles seldom survive coming out of the nest and when they do, they are faced with a daunting task of adapting to the environment. Albino turtles have a hard time surviving in the ocean because of their color and inability to camouflage, making them prone to predator attack. "They're not particularly suited with colour patterns that would blend and camouflage within the environment and they're more likely to be taken by predators," Dr. Limpus added. Green turtles as a whole have a slim chance of survival with just one in 1,000 turtle that reaches maturity. Albino green turtles have an even slimmer chance. "They get in the great eastern current so they have a whole lot of threats that face them, not just predators but plastic debris, and fishing in Chile," Linda Warneminde, president of Coolum and North Shore Coast Care, said. Though rare, albino green turtles have been born in other parts of the world. In 2015, four albino green turtles hatched on Vamizi Island in Mozambique. Only two survived as they made their way into the ocean. "Albinism is often associated with other malformations, which is why most animals die a few hours after being born, so having two true albino hatchlings surviving and having no apparent external malformations can then be considered quite rare," Joana Trindade, conservation and community manager in the island said.

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