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        Issue 24: October 2018  
Wimmera Biodiversity Seminar field trip
We have been celebrating national Biodiversity Month by promoting how ecological research contributes to improving conservation management. This has included participating in various presentations, such as the long-running collaborative Wimmera Biodiversity Seminar, which also involved a tour of a local wildlife sanctuary (pictured left). ARI’s Jo Sharley and Peter Menkhorst spoke about the fauna and rivers of the Wimmera. DELWP recognises outstanding collaboration and impact of science on applied management through its Science Awards presented during National Science Week. ARI staff were among the proud recipients of the David Ashton Biodiversity Award for their work that draws together species records, environmental information and expert opinion. This work helps DELWP make choices about what actions to take to ensure a sustainable future for threatened species. This work is a fundamental plank of DELWP's key management tool: the Strategic Management Prospects.

In this issue of ARI eNews our featured projects include the exciting developments in aquarium-based spawning of Murray Hardyhead and testing salinity tolerance of thier early life stages (a Biodiversity On-Ground Action project), a call out to the community to send in photos of Southern Right Whale to help us identify and track individuals, and the ways in which fish genetics can be used to guide the use of environmental water. We hope you find these interesting.

Dr Kim Lowe
Research Director
Arthur Rylah Institute for Environmental Research
   Recent Research
Murray Hardyhead egg
Murray Hardyhead - salinity tolerance of eggs, larvae and juveniles
The response of the early life stages of this threatened fish to varying levels of salinity is being monitored in ARI’s aquarium. This information will help clarify environmental conditions required to support the species and improve the management of saline wetlands to promote survivorship, particularly via the use of environmental water. 
Southern Right Whale breaching (Photo: Mary Hartney)
Send in your whale callosity photos!
Are you a keen whale-watcher and photographer? DELWP is calling out for people to contribute to identifying Southern Right Whale individuals by sending in photos of head markings (called callosities). Good quality photos of these markings can help track the distribution and movements of this threatened species.
Fish samples for genetic sequencing
How fish genetics can help river management
The genetic make-up of fish can tell us how connected rivers are. ARI is using genomic tools to explore how river flows affect population connectivity for five species, including Murray Cod and Golden Perch. This will help design environmental watering delivery to boost links between populations and improve genetic health.
PhD student Eli Bendall checking a burnt tree
PhD Research – Eli Bendall (University of Wollongong)
ARI/La Trobe supervisor - Luke Collins
The effects of drought and fire frequency on Eucalypts
Eli’s research investigates how climate change will affect how well eucalypts survive wildfire, their post-fire resprouting response and rate of seedling recruitment. Eli’s study is based in dry and wet forests (Eli is seen here examining a burnt-out tree), and incorporates field studies, glasshouse experiments and remote sensing datasets. This multidisciplinary approach will help us better understand how drought, elevated atmospheric CO2 and fire affect eucalypt forests at the plant, population and landscape scale. This research will provide important insights into the possible impacts of future climate change on Australia’s iconic eucalypts, and the potential for multiple interacting disturbances to modify the structure and habitat value of temperate forests of southern Australia.

Eli’s study is being supervised by Ross Bradstock (University of Wollongong), Andy Leigh (University of Technology Sydney), Luke Collins (ARI & La Trobe University) and Matthias Boer (Western Sydney University).                                  

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Recent journal articles (link to abstract) and reports (link to PDF) include:
Collins, L., Griffioen, P., Newell, G. and Mellor, A. (2018) The utility of Random Forests for wildfire severity mapping. Remote Sensing of Environment 216: 374-384
Coulson, G., Cripps, J.K., Garnick, S., Bristow, V. and Beveridge, I. (2018) Parasite insight: assessing fitness costs, infection risks and foraging benefits relating to gastrointestinal nematodes in wild mammalian herbivores. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B 373(1751): 20170197

Ferreira, J., Lennox, G.D., Gardner, T.A., Thomson, J.R., Berenguer, E., Lees, A.C., Mac Nally, R. et al. (2018) Carbon-focused conservation may fail to protect the most biodiverse tropical forests. Nature Climate Change 8: 744-749

Gorfine, H., Thomson, J., Spring, D. and Cleland, M. (2018) Modelling trends including effects of natural disturbance in an abalone dive fishery in Australia. Natural Resource Modeling 31(3): e12175
Huang, J., Liu, C., Guo, Z., Ma, K., Zang, R., Ding, Y., Lu, X., Wang, J. and Yu, R. (2018) Seed plant features, distribution patterns, diversity hotspots, and conservation gaps in Xinjiang, China. Nature Conservation 27:1-15
Hunter, D., Clemann, N., Coote, D., Gillespie, G.R., Hollis, G., Scheele, B., Philips, A. and West, M. (2018) Frog declines and associated management response in south-eastern mainland Australia and Tasmania. Pp 39-58 in: Heatwole, H. and Rowley, J.J.L (eds). Status of Conservation and Decline of Amphibians: Australia, New Zealand and Pacific Islands. CSIRO Publishing, Clayton

Liu, C., Newell, G. and White, M. (2018) The effect of sample size on the accuracy of species distribution models: considering both presences and pseudo-absences or background sites. Ecography (online early)

McComb, L.B., Lentini, P.E., Harley, D.K.P., Lumsden, L.F., Antrobus, J.S., Eyre, A.C. and Briscoe, N.J. (2018) Feral cat predation on Leadbeater’s possum (Gymnobelideus leadbeateri) and observations of arboreal hunting at nest boxes. Australian Mammalogy (online early)
Morales, H.E., Pavlova, A., Amos, N., Major, R., Kilian, A., Greening, C. and Sunnucks, P. (2018) Concordant divergence of mitogenomes and a mitonuclear gene cluster in bird lineages inhabiting different climates. Nature Ecology & Evolution 2: 1258-1267
Robley, A., Ramsey, D.S.L. and Woodford, L. (2018) Estimating population changes in wild dogs, feral cats and foxes in relation to an aerial baiting operation in eastern Victoria. Arthur Rylah Institute for Environmental Research Technical Report Series No. 292. Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning, Heidelberg, Victoria
Robley, A., Woodford, L., Thompson, M., Taglierini, A. and Hradsky, B. (2018) Protecting Hattah-Kulkyne Ramsar wetlands from introduced predators: final report 2017-2018. Arthur Rylah Institute for Environmental Research Technical Report Series No. 291. Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning, Heidelberg, Victoria
Scroggie, M.P.,  Forsyth, D.M.,  McPhee, S.R.,  Matthews, J., Stuart, I.G., Stamation, K.A., Lindeman, M. and Ramsey, D.S.L. (2018) Invasive prey controlling invasive predators? European rabbit abundance does not determine red fox population dynamics. Journal of Applied Ecology (online early)
Sinclair, S., Scott-Walker, G., Collins, G. and Neil, J. (2018) Austral Trefoil Lotus australis var. australis appears in former cropland at Mount Cottrell, Victoria. Victorian Naturalist 135(2): 58-60

Stoessel, D.J., Morrongiello, J.R., Raadik, T.A., Lyon, J.P. and Nicol, M.D. (2018) Determinants of year class strength and growth of estuary perch Macquaria colonorum in a highly regulated system. Marine and Freshwater Research (online early)

Stuart, I.G. and Conallin, A.J. (2018) Control of globally invasive Common Carp: an 11 -year commercial trial of the Williams' cage. North American Journal of Fisheries Management (online early)

Todd, C.R., Whiterod, N., Raymond, S.M.C., Zukowski, S., Asmus, M. and Todd, M.J. (2018) Integrating fishing and conservation in a risk framework: a stochastic population model to guide the proactive management of a threatened freshwater crayfish. Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems 28(4): 954-968
Barred Galaxias
ARI Seminar Series
Our 2018 Seminar Series has recently included presentations on artificial hollows for Leadbeater’s Possum, fishways, recovery of the Barred Galaxias (pictured left), weed control in threatened grasslands, and water governance. More seminars are currently being scheduled for October – stay tuned! If you can’t make it to Heidelberg, register for the webinar to listen and view slides 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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