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        Issue 22: March 2018  
Australasian Bat Society Conference logo
April is a busy month for biodiversity and us, with ARI bat expert Lindy Lumsden heavily involved in organising the the Australasian Bat Society Conference running from 3 – 6 April in Sydney. This attracts a wide range of people including researchers, educators, wildife carers and other bat enthusiasts. Also coming up is World Fish Migration Day on the 21st April, which highlights the importance of river connectivity and restoration, a research area in which ARI has strong credentials. An example of this is the Victorian Environmental Flows Monitoring and Assessment Program, which now has a new component inviting recreational fishers to participate in citizen science. We are asking for help in sampling fish ear bones, to gain extra information about fish ecology to help measure the benefits of environmental watering - just another example of many where the community can contribute to 'real' science - see below for more on this project.

Continuing the theme of involving the community in biodiversity conservation, we are also seeking people who are involved in using nest boxes. We are keen to find out how many are being installed, where they are and what is using them. This information will be used to improve the way nest boxes are used to support wildlife conservation. See the segment below on how to be involved.

As well as the above projects, the items in this issue of ARI eNews include the use of an innovative survey method to find Leadbeater’s Possum colonies, and how research findings on the prolonged ’sleep’ of orchids helps manage threatened species.

Dr Kim Lowe
Research Director
Arthur Rylah Institute for Environmental Research
   Recent Research
A fish otolith (ear bone)
Fishers fishing for fish ear bones
ARI is seeking help from recreational fishers to contribute to fish ear bone (or otolith) sampling by collecting them from fish destined for the dinner table. Otoliths can tell us much about the growth, age, origin and movement history of a fish – information that will be used to help measure the benefits of environmental watering events.
A Leadbeater's Possum caught on a tree-installed camera
Finding Leadbeater's Possums with cameras in trees
To help protect Leadbeater’s Possum colonies in timber production areas, harvesting exclusion zones have been established around verified records in the ash forests of the Central Highlands. To find this cryptic species, ARI worked with arborists to set cameras in trees; which proved to be highly successful. 
Elegant Spider Orchid
Threatened orchids and the dormancy puzzle
Orchid lifecycles include a phase where a plant is alive but does not emerge during the flowering season, which makes management challenging. ARI studies mean we can now predict whether non-emerged orchids are alive or dead. We also identified several responses to dormancy that orchids use to avoid a severe drought.
A Brush-tailed Phascogale in a nest box
Looking for nest box programs in Victoria
ARI is seeking your help in finding community groups and organisations who are involved in installing and/or monitoring nest boxes for wildlife (such as the Brush-tailed Phascogale at left; photo by Jess Lawton).

Nest boxes are widely used in Victoria to enhance habitat for wildlife, especially for species that depend on hollows. Although some information on the use of nest boxes by different species is available, it is limited and does not capture the breadth of where nest boxes are being installed, and their success in enhancing the conservation of species.

We are currently collecting information to:

- better understand where and how many nest boxes there are in Victoria
- help assess how effective nest boxes are in providing nesting sites for native animals
- inform better design, placement and use of nest boxes to suit animals and their conservation needs

If you or someone you know is involved in nest box use, we are keen to ask about your results.

Please contact before 30th April 2018

See the documents below for more information:

One page flyer on finding nest box projects                 
image of VEFMAP poster
ARI journal image
Recent journal articles (link to abstract) and reports (link to PDF) include:
Bland L.M., Rowland, J.A., Regan, T.J., Keith, D.A., Murray, N.J., Lester, R.E., Linn, M., Rodriquez, J.P. and Nicholson, E. (2018) Defining a standardized definition of ecosystem collapse for risk assessment. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 16(1): 29-36
Collins, L., Bradstock, R.A., Rescoe de Dios, V., Duursma, R.A., Velasco, S., and Boer, M.M. (2018) Understorey productivity in temperate grassy woodland responds to soil water availability but not to elevated [CO2]. Global Change Biology (online early)
Durkin, L. and Marriott, P. (2017) Notes on the life cycle of Cryptoptila australana (Torticidae), the Elderberry Panax Leaf Roller moth, in Victoria’s Central Highlands.  Victorian Entomologist 47(6): 125-129
Forsyth,D.M., Ramsey,D.S.L., Perry,M., McKay,M. and Wright,E.F. (2018) Control history, longitude and multiple abiotic and biotic variables predict the abundances of invasive brushtail possums in New Zealand forests. Biological Invasions (online early)
Harley, D., Menkhorst, P., Quin, B., Anderson, R., Tardif, S., Cartwright, K., Murray, N. and Kelly, M. (2018) Twenty-five years of helmeted honeyeater conservation: a government-community partnership poised for recovery success. Pp 227-236 in: Garnett S, Latch P, Lindenmayer D, Woinarski J. (Eds). Recovering Australian threatened species. A Book of Hope. CSIRO Publishing, Clayton.
Kenny, S.A., Bennett, A. F., Clarke, M. F., and Morgan, J. W. (2018) Time-since-fire and climate interact to affect the structural recovery of an Australian semi-arid plant community. Austral Ecology (online early)
Lyon, J.P., Lintermans, M. and Koehn, J.D. (2018) Against the flow: The remarkable recovery of the trout cod in the Murray Darling Basin. Pp 199-206 in: Garnett S, Latch P, Lindenmayer D, Woinarski J. (Eds). Recovering Australian threatened species. A Book of Hope. CSIRO Publishing, Clayton.
Macak, P.V., Rogers, D.I. and Menkhorst, P.W. (2017) Maintaining Straw-necked Ibis habitat at the Western Treatment Plant as pasture is converted to crops. Arthur Rylah Institute for Environmental Research Technical Report Series No. 285. Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning, Heidelberg, Victoria
Moxham, C., Duncan, M. and Moloney, P. (2018) Tree health and regeneration response of Black Box (Eucalyptus largiflorens) to recent flooding. Ecological Management and Restoration 19: 58–65
Nelson, J.L., Durkin, L.K., Cripps, J.K., Scroggie, M.P., Bryant, D.B., Macak, P.V. and Lumsden, L.F. (2017) Targeted surveys to improve Leadbeater's Possum conservation. Arthur Rylah Institute for Environmental Research Technical Report Series No. 278. Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning, Heidelberg, Victoria
Ramsey, D.S.L., Barclay, C., Campbell, C., Dewar, E., MacDonald, A., Modave, E., Quasim, S., and Sarre, S. (2018) Detecting rare carnivores using scats: implications for monitoring a fox incursion into Tasmania. Ecology and Evolution 8(1): 732-743

Ramsey, D.S.L., Forsyth, D., Veltman, C., Richardson,S., Allen,R., Allen,W., Barker,R., Bellingham,P., Jacobson,C., Nicol,S., Robertson, A. and Todd, C. (2018) A management experiment reveals the difficulty of altering seedling growth and palatable plant biomass by culling invasive deer. Wildlife Research 44(8): 623-636
Rueda-Cediel, P., Anderson, K.E., Regan, T.J. and Regan, H.M. (2018) The effects of uncertainty and variability on population declines and IUCN Red List classifications. Conservation Biology (online early)

Stevens, K., Harrisson, K.A., Hogan, F.E, Cooke, R. and Clarke, R.H. (2018) Reduced gene flow in a vulnerable species reflects two centuries of habitat loss and fragmentation. Ecosphere 9(2): e02114

Thompson, G.G., Maguire, L.A. and Regan, T.J. (2018) Evaluation of two approaches to defining extinction risk under the U.S. Endangered Species Act. Risk Analysis (online early)
Warry, F.W., Reich, P., Cook, P.L.M., Mac Nally, R., and Woodland, R.J. (2018) The role of catchment land use and tidal exchange in structuring estuarine fish assemblages. Hydrobiologia 811(1): 173-191

Webb, J.A., Koster, W.M., Stuart, I.G., Reich, P. and Stewardson, M.J. (2018) Make the most of the data you’ve got: Bayesian models and a surrogate species approach to assessing benefits of upstream migration flows for the Endangered Australian Grayling. Environmental Management 61(3): 398–407

Yen, J.D., Thomson, J.R., Keith, J.M., Paganin, D.M., Fleishman, E., Bennett, A.F., Nimmo, D.G., Bennett, J.M., Dobkin, D.S. and Nally, R.M. (2018) Linking species richness and size diversity in birds and fishes. Ecography (online early)
Yellow Robin
ARI Seminar Series
Our 2018 Seminar Series is well underway and has included presentations on Climate adaptation in the Eastern Yellow Robin (see left; photo by Chris Tzaros), Socio-ecological climate resilience and gender, and Peatlands in Victoria and Indonesia. Coming up is Will Mooney from Murray Lower Darling Rivers – Indigenous Nations, speaking on the National Cultural Flows Research Project (9th April), and John Lesku from La Trobe University on 'Sleeping in the sea & air' (23rd April). If you can’t make it to Heidelberg, register for the webinar to watch online. 
To receive ARI seminar series email alerts, including webinar (live online viewing) details and follow-up summaries, email us at
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© The State of Victoria Department of Environment, Land, Water & Planning 2018
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