UoW RESEARCH & INNOVATION NEWS – JULY-SEPTEMBER 2014

The Latest UOW Research magazine is out today online —> Here.

anemones

There is some marine science action this edition with an interesting article ‘Behind anemone lines’ on the fighting tactics and abilities of sea anemones by Prof David Ayre and I (Lachlan) have got a short write up on my research in the student profile section. Moving off marine science there are interesting stories on climate change, emerging technology, 3D printing  & more. Worth a read and its free to boot!

Defining geographic boundaries for shark populations

by Dr Pascal T Geraghty

Declining fish stocks and increasing fishing capability worldwide have placed an ever growing emphasis on the need for responsible fishery and species management at appropriate spatial scales. To achieve this, delineating the discrete breeding groups (or populations) of a target species within a given geographical area is of utmost importance. This is particularly challenging in the marine realm, however, where population boundaries are dictated by cryptic barriers to dispersal, a species’ potential for travel and reproductive behavioural traits. Nevertheless, genetic techniques have become an invaluable tool for uncovering population structure in exploited marine creatures.

fishingimage

Demersal longline shark fishing in northern NSW waters as observed during 2008/09. Photo: Dr Geraghty.

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Close to Home: What Drives the Distribution of Intertidal Rockpool Fishes?

Read below for a great summary by Kai Paijmans on his research examining the distribution of rockpool fishes. Kai’s project was for a 3rd year UOW research subject, where he was supervised by Dr. Marian Wong and Ben Gooden.

Close to Home: What Drives the Distribution of Intertidal Rockpool Fishes?

Rocky intertidal shores are right on the edge of our home – between the known of the shores and the vast unknown of the world’s oceans. Although regularly overstepped by many of us, rockpool life is largely overlooked in favor of large charismatic and untouchable creatures of the open and comparatively inaccessible ocean. It is important to understand the ecological processes occurring on rocky shores as they are right on our doorstep; heavily used for, and potentially impacted upon by recreation. Continue reading

Urbanisation impacts abundance (but not richness) of salt marsh molluscs

Matt Rees:

A great summary by Ben Gooden on Geoff Clarke’s research examining the impact of urbanisation on salt marsh snails. It was a lot of fun hanging out counting snails in the mud, especially along the shores of Lake Illawarra (we saw some weird things). Make sure you head over to Ben’s blog for more interesting ecological posts!

Originally posted on Ben Gooden - Ecological Research:

salt marsh impactThe preliminary results are now in: urbanisation at the landward boundary of coastal salt marshes is associated with a two-fold reduction in the density of molluscs inhabiting adjacent coastal salt marsh. Our results found, however, that despite this reduction in overall molluscan abundance, urbanisation had no effect on the number of different mollusc species (i.e. richness) present in adjacent salt marshes.

The overall aim of this project was to examine effects of shoreline urbanisation on the unique molluscan fauna within endangered salt marsh of south-eastern Australia. My student, Geoff Clarke did a stellar job with this project, counting and identifying over 7,500 individual snails from six species, most of which are restricted to salt marsh or similar vegetation that borders estuaries and coastal embayments.

Geoff surveyed 9 ‘urbanised’ and 9 ‘forested’ (which he termed natural) reference sites across three embayments (see accompanying satellite images). Each site consisted of a…

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Surrogates for temperate reef biodiversity and their use in conservation

Earlier this year my co-authors and I published a paper in Diversity and Distributions that examined a cost-effective way of predicting reef biodiversity for conservation purposes. Here is some background on the issues surrounding the design of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) and a brief summary of our research findings.

reef

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Western Australian Shark Hazard Mitigation Drum Line Program

Lachlan Fetterplace:

 

Marty over at SQUIDDLED THOUGHTS posted today on where to go to make a submission on the proposed WA Shark Hazard Mitigation Drum Line Program 2014 – 2017. If its something you are interested in or care about then its worth taking a look.

Originally posted on Squiddled thoughts:

White_shark

The Environmental Protection Agency in Western Australian are now accepting submissions for public comment on the proposed WA Shark Hazard Mitigation Drum Line Program 2014 – 2017.

I would urge people to have a look at the documentation here and to make a submission here. On the face of it, I am personally opposed to the idea for the following reasons:

  1. I like sharks.
  2. Many species of non-target sharks are captured on drum lines.
  3. Other forms of marine life such as whales and turtles could become entangled.
  4. Great White Sharks, one of the “target” species, are listed as vulnerable under Western Australia’s legislation (Wildlife Conservation Act 1950 (Western Australia)). Great White Sharks are also listed as vulnerable under national legislation (Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999). 
  5. Shark control programs such as those implemented in NSW and Qld have not significantly reduced shark attacks.
  6. Many, many more people die…

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