Qaecologist Posts http://feed.informer.com/digests/T57DVXB9YH/feeder Qaecologist Posts Respective post owners and feed distributors Mon, 15 Feb 2016 08:40:04 +0000 Feed Informer http://feed.informer.com/ Australia’s species need an independent champion https://gwheardresearch.wordpress.com/2017/10/17/australias-species-need-an-independent-champion/ Geoff Heard's Research urn:uuid:2dae55e2-b238-9a4d-2d18-d41496693740 Tue, 17 Oct 2017 06:04:09 +0000 Last week myself and colleagues from Charles Sturt University, Deakin University and the University of Queensland wrote a piece for The Conversation arguing that the role of Australia&#8217;s Threatened Species Commissioner should be strengthened and made independent from government. It is a timely piece &#8211; the first Commissioner recently stepped down and his replacement is [&#8230;]<img alt="" border="0" src="https://pixel.wp.com/b.gif?host=gwheardresearch.wordpress.com&#038;blog=25841594&#038;post=1702&#038;subd=gwheardresearch&#038;ref=&#038;feed=1" width="1" height="1" /> <p><img data-attachment-id="1456" data-permalink="https://gwheardresearch.wordpress.com/2017/03/05/2016-herping/img_1196/#main" data-orig-file="https://gwheardresearch.files.wordpress.com/2017/02/img_1196.jpg?w=238&#038;h=158" data-orig-size="5472,3648" data-comments-opened="1" data-image-meta="{&quot;aperture&quot;:&quot;22&quot;,&quot;credit&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;camera&quot;:&quot;Canon EOS 6D&quot;,&quot;caption&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;created_timestamp&quot;:&quot;1459554679&quot;,&quot;copyright&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;focal_length&quot;:&quot;100&quot;,&quot;iso&quot;:&quot;100&quot;,&quot;shutter_speed&quot;:&quot;0.0125&quot;,&quot;title&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;orientation&quot;:&quot;1&quot;}" data-image-title="img_1196" data-image-description="" data-medium-file="https://gwheardresearch.files.wordpress.com/2017/02/img_1196.jpg?w=238&#038;h=158?w=300" data-large-file="https://gwheardresearch.files.wordpress.com/2017/02/img_1196.jpg?w=238&#038;h=158?w=869" class=" wp-image-1456 alignleft" src="https://gwheardresearch.files.wordpress.com/2017/02/img_1196.jpg?w=238&#038;h=158" alt="img_1196" width="238" height="158" srcset="https://gwheardresearch.files.wordpress.com/2017/02/img_1196.jpg?w=238&amp;h=158 238w, https://gwheardresearch.files.wordpress.com/2017/02/img_1196.jpg?w=474&amp;h=316 474w, https://gwheardresearch.files.wordpress.com/2017/02/img_1196.jpg?w=150&amp;h=100 150w, https://gwheardresearch.files.wordpress.com/2017/02/img_1196.jpg?w=300&amp;h=200 300w" sizes="(max-width: 238px) 100vw, 238px" />Last week myself and colleagues from Charles Sturt University, Deakin University and the University of Queensland wrote a piece for The Conversation arguing that the role of Australia&#8217;s <a href="http://www.environment.gov.au/biodiversity/threatened/commissioner">Threatened Species Commissioner</a> should be strengthened and made independent from government. It is a timely piece &#8211; the first Commissioner recently stepped down and his replacement is currently being sought. It represents an important moment to reflect on the successes and failings of the role so far, and ways it could better serve Australia&#8217;s diverse and precious biodiversity.</p> <p>You can read the article in full <a href="https://theconversation.com/australias-species-need-an-independent-champion-83580">here</a>.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p><br />Filed under: <a href='https://gwheardresearch.wordpress.com/category/uncategorized/'>Uncategorized</a> <a rel="nofollow" href="http://feeds.wordpress.com/1.0/gocomments/gwheardresearch.wordpress.com/1702/"><img alt="" border="0" src="http://feeds.wordpress.com/1.0/comments/gwheardresearch.wordpress.com/1702/" /></a> <img alt="" border="0" src="https://pixel.wp.com/b.gif?host=gwheardresearch.wordpress.com&#038;blog=25841594&#038;post=1702&#038;subd=gwheardresearch&#038;ref=&#038;feed=1" width="1" height="1" /> 14th Annual Jane Elith Culinary Competition https://cindyehauser.wordpress.com/2017/10/03/14th-annual-jane-elith-culinary-competition/ Cindy E Hauser urn:uuid:c42609b7-1452-7fd1-b339-c46d3e1efb9d Tue, 03 Oct 2017 10:08:52 +0000 October brings bursts of sunshine and pollen, swooping magpies, and our lab&#8217;s annual culinary competition honouring the birthday of Jane Elith. This year we missed the uber-competitive Mark Burgman, but CEBRA Director Andrew Robinson was a gracious host, and Yung En Chee continues to be a champion co-ordinator. Competitors drew inspiration from their gardens and &#8230; <a class="more-link" href="https://cindyehauser.wordpress.com/2017/10/03/14th-annual-jane-elith-culinary-competition/">More <span class="screen-reader-text">14th Annual Jane Elith Culinary&#160;Competition</span></a><img alt="" border="0" src="https://pixel.wp.com/b.gif?host=cindyehauser.wordpress.com&#038;blog=34509439&#038;post=1776&#038;subd=cindyehauser&#038;ref=&#038;feed=1" width="1" height="1" /> <a href="https://cindyehauser.wordpress.com/2017/10/03/14th-annual-jane-elith-culinary-competition/#gallery-1776-1-slideshow">Click to view slideshow.</a> <p>October brings bursts of sunshine and pollen, swooping magpies, and our lab&#8217;s annual culinary competition honouring the birthday of <a href="https://janeresearch.wordpress.com/">Jane Elith</a>. This year we missed the uber-competitive <a href="https://www.imperial.ac.uk/people/m.burgman">Mark Burgman</a>, but CEBRA Director <a href="http://www.ms.unimelb.edu.au/~apro@unimelb/">Andrew Robinson</a> was a gracious host, and <a href="https://yungresearch.wordpress.com/">Yung En Chee</a> continues to be a champion co-ordinator.</p> <p>Competitors drew inspiration from their gardens and other local ingredients, from famous chefs and family members, from their cultures of origin and even from their ecological field sites. And after all was said and eaten, to whom did Jane&#8217;s three sons award the grand prize? You&#8217;ll have to see the slide show through to find out.</p> <p>The food pics are mine; a special thanks to Yung for capturing the crowd. You can also click back for slideshows from <a href="https://cindyehauser.wordpress.com/2016/10/05/13th-annual-jane-elith-culinary-competition/">2016</a> and <a href="https://cindyehauser.wordpress.com/2015/10/15/12th-annual-jane-elith-culinary-competition/">2015</a>.</p><img alt="" border="0" src="https://pixel.wp.com/b.gif?host=cindyehauser.wordpress.com&#038;blog=34509439&#038;post=1776&#038;subd=cindyehauser&#038;ref=&#038;feed=1" width="1" height="1" /> Open source hardware for conservation https://joselahozresearch.wordpress.com/2017/10/02/open-source-hardware-for-conservation/ José J. Lahoz-Monfort urn:uuid:9c1ecc39-c40f-cdb5-3cba-1a808dceb6e8 Mon, 02 Oct 2017 00:53:28 +0000 Last week I was happy to find several papers in Methods in Ecology and Evolution (one of my favourite journals) that presented open-source tools. Two of these present open-source software (the ViXeN stand-alone package for camera trap picture management, by &#8230; <a href="https://joselahozresearch.wordpress.com/2017/10/02/open-source-hardware-for-conservation/">Continue reading <span class="meta-nav">&#8594;</span></a><img alt="" border="0" src="https://pixel.wp.com/b.gif?host=joselahozresearch.wordpress.com&#038;blog=42575490&#038;post=490&#038;subd=joselahozresearch&#038;ref=&#038;feed=1" width="1" height="1" /> <p><span style="color:#000000;">Last week I was happy to find several papers in Methods in Ecology and Evolution (one of my favourite journals) that presented open-source tools. Two of these present open-source software (the <a href="http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/2041-210X.12892/abstract?campaign=wolacceptedarticle" target="_blank" rel="noopener">ViXeN</a> stand-alone package for camera trap picture management, by Ramachandran &amp; Devarajan; and the R package ‘<a href="http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/2041-210X.12861/abstract?campaign=wolearlyview" target="_blank" rel="noopener">BIEN</a>’ to access the Botanical Information and Ecology Network database, by Maitner <em>et al.</em>). These follow the increasingly established culture of sharing software tools in an open way, often linking to data access.</span></p> <p><span style="color:#000000;">But the prompt for this blog entry is actually the third paper, by <a href="http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com.ezp.lib.unimelb.edu.au/doi/10.1111/2041-210X.12893/abstract?campaign=wolacceptedarticle" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Shipley et al.</a>, who present an <strong>open-source sensor-logger for recording vertical movement</strong> in free-living organisms. Not very often one finds the concept of open-source applied to <em>hardware</em>, the physical part of a device (including the electronics and mechanical parts; although often intrinsically linked to some piece of software that controls its functionality). Some other recent papers that present open source hardware include (<a href="http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com.ezp.lib.unimelb.edu.au/doi/10.1111/2041-210X.12678/abstract" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Whytock &amp; Christie 2016</a>) and (<a href="http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com.ezp.lib.unimelb.edu.au/doi/10.1111/jofo.12182/full" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Prinz <em>et al.</em> 2016</a>).</span></p> <p><span style="color:#000000;">Interestingly, a new journal called <strong><a href="https://www.journals.elsevier.com/hardwarex/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">HardwareX</a></strong> (Elsevier; 1<sup>st</sup> issue April 2017) is entirely dedicated to “promoting free and open source designing, building and customizing of scientific infrastructure (hardware)”. It is not specific to the study of biodiversity, but I expect to see a growing number of relevant papers; check for example the “time-sorting pitfall trap and temperature datalogger for the sampling of surface-active arthropods” (<a href="http://www.sciencedirect.com.ezp.lib.unimelb.edu.au/science/article/pii/S2468067216300220" target="_blank" rel="noopener">McMunn 2017</a>).</span></p> <div data-shortcode="caption" id="attachment_498" style="width: 665px" class="wp-caption aligncenter"><img data-attachment-id="498" data-permalink="https://joselahozresearch.wordpress.com/2017/10/02/open-source-hardware-for-conservation/fig1sm/" data-orig-file="https://joselahozresearch.files.wordpress.com/2017/09/fig1sm.jpg?w=640" data-orig-size="655,228" data-comments-opened="1" data-image-meta="{&quot;aperture&quot;:&quot;0&quot;,&quot;credit&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;camera&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;caption&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;created_timestamp&quot;:&quot;0&quot;,&quot;copyright&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;focal_length&quot;:&quot;0&quot;,&quot;iso&quot;:&quot;0&quot;,&quot;shutter_speed&quot;:&quot;0&quot;,&quot;title&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;orientation&quot;:&quot;1&quot;}" data-image-title="fig1sm" data-image-description="" data-medium-file="https://joselahozresearch.files.wordpress.com/2017/09/fig1sm.jpg?w=640?w=300" data-large-file="https://joselahozresearch.files.wordpress.com/2017/09/fig1sm.jpg?w=640?w=640" class=" size-full wp-image-498 aligncenter" src="https://joselahozresearch.files.wordpress.com/2017/09/fig1sm.jpg?w=640" alt="fig1sm" srcset="https://joselahozresearch.files.wordpress.com/2017/09/fig1sm.jpg?w=640 640w, https://joselahozresearch.files.wordpress.com/2017/09/fig1sm.jpg?w=150 150w, https://joselahozresearch.files.wordpress.com/2017/09/fig1sm.jpg?w=300 300w, https://joselahozresearch.files.wordpress.com/2017/09/fig1sm.jpg 655w" sizes="(max-width: 640px) 100vw, 640px" /><p class="wp-caption-text"><span style="color:#000000;">Pitfall trap and datalogger from McMunn (2017). Left: trap layout. Right: wiring diagram for the Arduino-controlled system.</span></p></div> <p><span style="color:#000000;"><strong><em>Open source hardware</em></strong> (or <strong><em>open hardware</em></strong>) is a growing and maturing movement worldwide with a fascinating history (which deserves its own blog entry!). I’ll just say here that the basic philosophy is simple and will be familiar to anyone doing any coding: if we all shared our hardware designs, and let others modify them and re-distribute their derived designs (as we already do with code and programs), the whole community would end up benefitting of an increased diversity of products, knowledge and support (as we already experience with code, e.g. the R community).</span></p> <p><span style="color:#000000;">There is a growing open source hardware community in other scientific disciplines, particularly wet labs (<a href="http://science.sciencemag.org.ezp.lib.unimelb.edu.au/content/337/6100/1303" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Pearce 2012</a>) and it is now slowly getting into ecology and conservation too. As an engineer, I am really fascinated by this topic! And as an applied ecologist and conservation scientist, I believe open source hardware has an important role to play in the developing ‘conservation technology revolution’.</span></p> <p><span style="color:#000000;">At the last <strong>International Congress for Conservation Biology</strong> (ICCB 2017, Cartagena, Colombia), we discussed a fair bit about <strong>conservation technology</strong>. And there was a very clear excitement about the open source way and its potential for conservation. As chair of the <strong><a href="https://conbio.org/groups/working-groups/conservation-technology-working-group/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Conservation Technology Working Group</a> (CTWG)</strong> of the Society for Conservation Biology, I can say we will do our best to promote the agenda of open source hardware in our discipline!</span></p> <p><span style="color:#000000;">Stay tuned…</span></p><img alt="" border="0" src="https://pixel.wp.com/b.gif?host=joselahozresearch.wordpress.com&#038;blog=42575490&#038;post=490&#038;subd=joselahozresearch&#038;ref=&#038;feed=1" width="1" height="1" /> Incorporating overhead costs and handling times into invasive species control https://cbakerresearch.wordpress.com/2017/09/13/incorporating-overhead-costs-and-handling-times-into-invasive-species-control/ Chris Baker urn:uuid:383010d5-04ff-f650-6c5e-3df5a311f01b Wed, 13 Sep 2017 02:18:04 +0000 I have a new paper out, focused on optimising resource allocation with multiple control methods. Invasive species eradications involve complicated logistics and cost structures, and my PhD optimal papers didn’t really consider this (though see my Ashmore Reef &#38; fire &#8230; <a href="https://cbakerresearch.wordpress.com/2017/09/13/incorporating-overhead-costs-and-handling-times-into-invasive-species-control/">Continue reading <span class="meta-nav">&#8594;</span></a><img alt="" border="0" src="https://pixel.wp.com/b.gif?host=cbakerresearch.wordpress.com&#038;blog=47894953&#038;post=210&#038;subd=cbakerresearch&#038;ref=&#038;feed=1" width="1" height="1" /> <p>I have a new paper out, focused on <a href="https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s12080-017-0344-1?wt_mc=Internal.Event.1.SEM.ArticleAuthorOnlineFirst">optimising resource allocation with multiple control methods</a>. Invasive species eradications involve complicated logistics and cost structures, and my PhD optimal papers didn’t really consider this (though see my <a href="http://Modelling tropical fire ant (Solenopsis geminata) dynamics and detection to inform an eradication project" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Ashmore Reef &amp; fire ant chapter</a> for an application of overhead and start-up costs to optimal detection). I tried to break down some of these assumptions to understand their effect on optimal management, with the help of Paul Armsworth and Suzanne Lenhart from the University of Tennessee and the National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis. In my PhD I looked at how to allocate resources for a single control method, but there are usually multiple options available, and it is common to use several in a single eradication. Hence, we asked: how do you split your budget between two different control methods.</p> <p>The key difference between the control methods was that one had an overhead cost and the other had a handling time. Overhead costs are costs that must be constantly paid to have a control method available. These differ from start-up costs. A start-up cost is a once-off payment that allows a method to be used in the future; this models initial training or purchase costs. Overhead costs model things like aircraft rental for aerial baiting. The cost of the aircraft does not change with how much you use it (only fuel, bait and personnel costs). Handling times impose a limit to how quickly species can be removed, and they typically apply to ground-based control methods, such as trapping. If traps are checked daily, then a single trap cannot remove more than one individual per day, even if many more individuals encounter the trap. There is a fixed amount of time associated with each removal.</p> <p>One of the reasons that I started this work was that I had understood that the standard wisdom was to start eradications with expensive broad-scale methods and then switch towards the end. While this makes some intuitive sense, I wondered why and whether it is the best strategy or not. Essentially, should you start by using methods with high overhead costs and switch at the end? The results from this paper would say ‘yes’, but there is some nuance. We always found that the high overhead cost method should be used from the start, and, depending on the magnitude of the overhead cost, be phased out at some stage. Though, for small overhead costs, the effort is just reduced towards the end, rather than a complete stop. The other result is that we found that the ground-based method with handling time should commence before the overhead cost method is ceased. So, rather than a direct switch, a gradual change from one method to the other is optimal.</p> <p><img data-attachment-id="212" data-permalink="https://cbakerresearch.wordpress.com/2017/09/13/incorporating-overhead-costs-and-handling-times-into-invasive-species-control/overheads_finalplot/" data-orig-file="https://cbakerresearch.files.wordpress.com/2017/08/overheads_finalplot.png?w=640" data-orig-size="1543,837" data-comments-opened="1" data-image-meta="{&quot;aperture&quot;:&quot;0&quot;,&quot;credit&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;camera&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;caption&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;created_timestamp&quot;:&quot;0&quot;,&quot;copyright&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;focal_length&quot;:&quot;0&quot;,&quot;iso&quot;:&quot;0&quot;,&quot;shutter_speed&quot;:&quot;0&quot;,&quot;title&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;orientation&quot;:&quot;0&quot;}" data-image-title="overheads_finalplot" data-image-description="" data-medium-file="https://cbakerresearch.files.wordpress.com/2017/08/overheads_finalplot.png?w=640?w=300" data-large-file="https://cbakerresearch.files.wordpress.com/2017/08/overheads_finalplot.png?w=640?w=640" class="alignnone size-full wp-image-212" src="https://cbakerresearch.files.wordpress.com/2017/08/overheads_finalplot.png?w=640" alt="overheads_finalplot" srcset="https://cbakerresearch.files.wordpress.com/2017/08/overheads_finalplot.png?w=640 640w, https://cbakerresearch.files.wordpress.com/2017/08/overheads_finalplot.png?w=1280 1280w, https://cbakerresearch.files.wordpress.com/2017/08/overheads_finalplot.png?w=150 150w, https://cbakerresearch.files.wordpress.com/2017/08/overheads_finalplot.png?w=300 300w, https://cbakerresearch.files.wordpress.com/2017/08/overheads_finalplot.png?w=768 768w, https://cbakerresearch.files.wordpress.com/2017/08/overheads_finalplot.png?w=1024 1024w" sizes="(max-width: 640px) 100vw, 640px" /></p><img alt="" border="0" src="https://pixel.wp.com/b.gif?host=cbakerresearch.wordpress.com&#038;blog=47894953&#038;post=210&#038;subd=cbakerresearch&#038;ref=&#038;feed=1" width="1" height="1" /> A visit to Christmas Island https://michaelaplein.wordpress.com/2017/09/12/a-visit-to-christmas-island/ Michaela Plein's Research urn:uuid:47315702-0be9-0f9c-13c7-f19e30e386a2 Tue, 12 Sep 2017 07:06:15 +0000 Last week I ventured to Christmas Island to discuss my research with other scientists and staff from Park Australia. This was my first trip to the island and I have to admit, I hope it won&#8217;t be my last! Christmas Island is a Australian island in the Indian Ocean, far away from the Australian mainland &#8230; <a class="more-link" href="https://michaelaplein.wordpress.com/2017/09/12/a-visit-to-christmas-island/">More <span class="screen-reader-text">A visit to Christmas&#160;Island</span></a><img alt="" border="0" src="https://pixel.wp.com/b.gif?host=michaelaplein.wordpress.com&#038;blog=36821819&#038;post=1002&#038;subd=michaelaplein&#038;ref=&#038;feed=1" width="1" height="1" /> <p>Last week I ventured to Christmas Island to discuss my research with other scientists and staff from Park Australia. This was my first trip to the island and I have to admit, I hope it won&#8217;t be my last!</p> <p>Christmas Island is a Australian island in the Indian Ocean, far away from the Australian mainland and closest to Java. It is only 135 square kilometres but harbours a multitude of native and endemic wildlife, like seabirds, reptiles, a flying fox (and most fascinating to me) 20 species of land crabs of which I was lucky enough to encounter four. The most iconic of these species must be the red crab, which migrates in masses to the beaches in the early wet season to lay their eggs.</p> <figure data-shortcode="caption" id="attachment_1140" style="width: 640px" class="wp-caption alignnone"><img data-attachment-id="1140" data-permalink="https://michaelaplein.wordpress.com/2017/09/12/a-visit-to-christmas-island/dsc_6990-2/" data-orig-file="https://michaelaplein.files.wordpress.com/2017/09/dsc_69901.jpg?w=748" data-orig-size="640,424" data-comments-opened="1" data-image-meta="{&quot;aperture&quot;:&quot;4.5&quot;,&quot;credit&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;camera&quot;:&quot;NIKON D7000&quot;,&quot;caption&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;created_timestamp&quot;:&quot;1504624716&quot;,&quot;copyright&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;focal_length&quot;:&quot;92&quot;,&quot;iso&quot;:&quot;2500&quot;,&quot;shutter_speed&quot;:&quot;0.00625&quot;,&quot;title&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;orientation&quot;:&quot;1&quot;}" data-image-title="DSC_6990" data-image-description="" data-medium-file="https://michaelaplein.files.wordpress.com/2017/09/dsc_69901.jpg?w=748?w=300" data-large-file="https://michaelaplein.files.wordpress.com/2017/09/dsc_69901.jpg?w=748?w=640" class="alignnone size-full wp-image-1140" src="https://michaelaplein.files.wordpress.com/2017/09/dsc_69901.jpg?w=748" alt="DSC_6990" srcset="https://michaelaplein.files.wordpress.com/2017/09/dsc_69901.jpg 640w, https://michaelaplein.files.wordpress.com/2017/09/dsc_69901.jpg?w=150 150w, https://michaelaplein.files.wordpress.com/2017/09/dsc_69901.jpg?w=300 300w" sizes="(max-width: 640px) 100vw, 640px" /><figcaption class="wp-caption-text">Red crab &#8211; not migrating just hanging out and probably searching for food</figcaption></figure> <p>As mentioned in a <a href="https://michaelaplein.wordpress.com/2016/05/09/christmas-island/">previous post</a>, invasive species, especially feral cats, may have caused the extinction of native species on the island and continue to threaten its biodiversity. For this reason, cat control had commenced in residential areas of the island in 2010 and was extended to the entire island in 2015, resulting in the removal of around 950 cats so far.</p> <div class="embed-twitter"> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-width="550"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr">Over 950 feral cats have been removed from Christmas Island since 2010 to protect threatened species. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/ThreatenedSpeciesDay?src=hash">#ThreatenedSpeciesDay</a> <a href="https://t.co/hhRkVmSxhV">pic.twitter.com/hhRkVmSxhV</a></p> <p>&mdash; ParksAustralia (@Parks_Australia) <a href="https://twitter.com/Parks_Australia/status/905642085985824770">September 7, 2017</a></p></blockquote> <p><script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script></div> <p>Although the vast majority of cat control programs is very successful, in a few cases control of these top predators has led to unexpected flow-on effects. The eradication of cats on Macquarie Island led to an increase in the rabbit population leading to a <a href="http://www.antarctica.gov.au/news/2009/lessons-learned-from-devastating-effects-of-cat-eradication-on-macquarie-island">change in the habitat structure</a>. The effects of an eradication can also vary in different habitats on the same island as it happened on Little Barrier Island, NZ, <a href="http://www.pnas.org/content/104/52/20862">where the eradication of cats led to increases in the population size of Pacific rats, but only in high altitudes</a>. My research and the research of our PhD student <a href="http://www.nespthreatenedspecies.edu.au/people/rosalie-willacy">Rosie Willacy </a>(co-supervised by Sarah Legge and Eve McDonald Madden) will investigate if the decline in cat abundances could lead to a change in the black rat population or if it does not affect this invasive mesopredator.</p> <figure data-shortcode="caption" id="attachment_1079" style="width: 640px" class="wp-caption alignnone"><img data-attachment-id="1079" data-permalink="https://michaelaplein.wordpress.com/2017/09/12/a-visit-to-christmas-island/dsc_6831/" data-orig-file="https://michaelaplein.files.wordpress.com/2017/09/dsc_6831.jpg?w=748" data-orig-size="640,424" data-comments-opened="1" data-image-meta="{&quot;aperture&quot;:&quot;13&quot;,&quot;credit&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;camera&quot;:&quot;NIKON D7000&quot;,&quot;caption&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;created_timestamp&quot;:&quot;1504613331&quot;,&quot;copyright&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;focal_length&quot;:&quot;58&quot;,&quot;iso&quot;:&quot;3200&quot;,&quot;shutter_speed&quot;:&quot;0.0004&quot;,&quot;title&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;orientation&quot;:&quot;1&quot;}" data-image-title="DSC_6831" data-image-description="" data-medium-file="https://michaelaplein.files.wordpress.com/2017/09/dsc_6831.jpg?w=748?w=300" data-large-file="https://michaelaplein.files.wordpress.com/2017/09/dsc_6831.jpg?w=748?w=640" class="alignnone size-full wp-image-1079" src="https://michaelaplein.files.wordpress.com/2017/09/dsc_6831.jpg?w=748" alt="DSC_6831" srcset="https://michaelaplein.files.wordpress.com/2017/09/dsc_6831.jpg 640w, https://michaelaplein.files.wordpress.com/2017/09/dsc_6831.jpg?w=150 150w, https://michaelaplein.files.wordpress.com/2017/09/dsc_6831.jpg?w=300 300w" sizes="(max-width: 640px) 100vw, 640px" /><figcaption class="wp-caption-text">Rosie checking her motion cameras on a ground-breeding bird&#8217;s nest.</figcaption></figure> <p>But Christmas Island has many more ongoing research projects!</p> <p>In my week on CI, I was lucky enough to attend a “Meet the researcher” event organized by Parks Australia for the community to hear about the current research on the island. There, we were presented with work on the <a href="http://www.environment.gov.au/resource/crazy-ant-biocontrol">biocontrol project on yellow crazy ants</a> that aims to reduce the scale insect population that enables the YCA to form supercolonies.</p> <figure data-shortcode="caption" id="attachment_1083" style="width: 640px" class="wp-caption alignnone"><img data-attachment-id="1083" data-permalink="https://michaelaplein.wordpress.com/2017/09/12/a-visit-to-christmas-island/dsc_7147/" data-orig-file="https://michaelaplein.files.wordpress.com/2017/09/dsc_7147.jpg?w=748" data-orig-size="640,424" data-comments-opened="1" data-image-meta="{&quot;aperture&quot;:&quot;13&quot;,&quot;credit&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;camera&quot;:&quot;NIKON D7000&quot;,&quot;caption&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;created_timestamp&quot;:&quot;1504800416&quot;,&quot;copyright&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;focal_length&quot;:&quot;21&quot;,&quot;iso&quot;:&quot;800&quot;,&quot;shutter_speed&quot;:&quot;0.0015625&quot;,&quot;title&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;orientation&quot;:&quot;1&quot;}" data-image-title="DSC_7147" data-image-description="" data-medium-file="https://michaelaplein.files.wordpress.com/2017/09/dsc_7147.jpg?w=748?w=300" data-large-file="https://michaelaplein.files.wordpress.com/2017/09/dsc_7147.jpg?w=748?w=640" class="alignnone size-full wp-image-1083" src="https://michaelaplein.files.wordpress.com/2017/09/dsc_7147.jpg?w=748" alt="DSC_7147" srcset="https://michaelaplein.files.wordpress.com/2017/09/dsc_7147.jpg 640w, https://michaelaplein.files.wordpress.com/2017/09/dsc_7147.jpg?w=150 150w, https://michaelaplein.files.wordpress.com/2017/09/dsc_7147.jpg?w=300 300w" sizes="(max-width: 640px) 100vw, 640px" /><figcaption class="wp-caption-text">Breeding facility for the yellow crazy ant biocontrol agent</figcaption></figure> <p>An update on the cat control program was given by <a href="https://science.dpaw.wa.gov.au/people/?sid=1">David Algar</a> (Western Australian Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions) and Parks Australia employee Caitlyn Pink, who positively surprised me with her finding the diet of black rats on the Island is largely herbivorous.</p> <figure data-shortcode="caption" id="attachment_1087" style="width: 640px" class="wp-caption alignnone"><img data-attachment-id="1087" data-permalink="https://michaelaplein.wordpress.com/2017/09/12/a-visit-to-christmas-island/dsc_7003/" data-orig-file="https://michaelaplein.files.wordpress.com/2017/09/dsc_7003.jpg?w=748" data-orig-size="640,424" data-comments-opened="1" data-image-meta="{&quot;aperture&quot;:&quot;11&quot;,&quot;credit&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;camera&quot;:&quot;NIKON D7000&quot;,&quot;caption&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;created_timestamp&quot;:&quot;1504716821&quot;,&quot;copyright&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;focal_length&quot;:&quot;70&quot;,&quot;iso&quot;:&quot;2500&quot;,&quot;shutter_speed&quot;:&quot;0.002&quot;,&quot;title&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;orientation&quot;:&quot;1&quot;}" data-image-title="DSC_7003" data-image-description="" data-medium-file="https://michaelaplein.files.wordpress.com/2017/09/dsc_7003.jpg?w=748?w=300" data-large-file="https://michaelaplein.files.wordpress.com/2017/09/dsc_7003.jpg?w=748?w=640" class="alignnone size-full wp-image-1087" src="https://michaelaplein.files.wordpress.com/2017/09/dsc_7003.jpg?w=748" alt="DSC_7003" srcset="https://michaelaplein.files.wordpress.com/2017/09/dsc_7003.jpg 640w, https://michaelaplein.files.wordpress.com/2017/09/dsc_7003.jpg?w=150 150w, https://michaelaplein.files.wordpress.com/2017/09/dsc_7003.jpg?w=300 300w" sizes="(max-width: 640px) 100vw, 640px" /><figcaption class="wp-caption-text">Cage trap for cat control.</figcaption></figure> <p>Another amazing achievement is the captive breeding of the Blue-tailed skink and the Lister’s Gecko, two reptiles that are extinct in the wild but <a href="http://www.environment.gov.au/mediarelease/geckos-and-skinks-back-brink">breed well in captivity.</a> The aim is to release them once the population is high enough and the research on <a href="http://www.nespthreatenedspecies.edu.au/people/jp-emery">predators</a> and a <a href="http://theregistry.org.au/about/Jessica-Agius">new disease</a> is finished.</p> <figure data-shortcode="caption" id="attachment_1091" style="width: 655px" class="wp-caption alignnone"><img data-attachment-id="1091" data-permalink="https://michaelaplein.wordpress.com/2017/09/12/a-visit-to-christmas-island/dsc_7194/" data-orig-file="https://michaelaplein.files.wordpress.com/2017/09/dsc_7194-e1505196259479.jpg?w=655&#038;h=433" data-orig-size="458,303" data-comments-opened="1" data-image-meta="{&quot;aperture&quot;:&quot;0&quot;,&quot;credit&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;camera&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;caption&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;created_timestamp&quot;:&quot;0&quot;,&quot;copyright&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;focal_length&quot;:&quot;0&quot;,&quot;iso&quot;:&quot;0&quot;,&quot;shutter_speed&quot;:&quot;0&quot;,&quot;title&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;orientation&quot;:&quot;0&quot;}" data-image-title="DSC_7194" data-image-description="" data-medium-file="https://michaelaplein.files.wordpress.com/2017/09/dsc_7194-e1505196259479.jpg?w=655&#038;h=433?w=300" data-large-file="https://michaelaplein.files.wordpress.com/2017/09/dsc_7194-e1505196259479.jpg?w=655&#038;h=433?w=458" class="alignnone wp-image-1091" src="https://michaelaplein.files.wordpress.com/2017/09/dsc_7194-e1505196259479.jpg?w=655&#038;h=433" alt="DSC_7194" width="655" height="433" srcset="https://michaelaplein.files.wordpress.com/2017/09/dsc_7194-e1505196259479.jpg 458w, https://michaelaplein.files.wordpress.com/2017/09/dsc_7194-e1505196259479.jpg?w=150&amp;h=99 150w, https://michaelaplein.files.wordpress.com/2017/09/dsc_7194-e1505196259479.jpg?w=300&amp;h=198 300w" sizes="(max-width: 655px) 100vw, 655px" /><figcaption class="wp-caption-text">Blue-tailed skink at lunchtime</figcaption></figure> <p>From Mark Holdsworth, we heard that CI Goshawks like are best lured with teddy-bear legs and there more research on many other species and aspects, <a href="http://fennerschool.anu.edu.au/about-us/people/melissa-wynn">giant geckos</a>, the <a href="http://www.animalecologylab.org/christopher-todd.html">ecology</a> and <a href="http://theregistry.org.au/about/Laura-Pulscher">health</a> of flying foxes and the question of <a href="https://origamicrab.wordpress.com">how the crabs made it to the land </a>is being studied as well.</p> <a href='https://michaelaplein.wordpress.com/2017/09/12/a-visit-to-christmas-island/dsc_7431-2/'><img width="150" height="99" src="https://michaelaplein.files.wordpress.com/2017/09/dsc_74311.jpg?w=150&#038;h=99" class="attachment-thumbnail size-thumbnail" alt="" srcset="https://michaelaplein.files.wordpress.com/2017/09/dsc_74311.jpg?w=150&#038;h=99 150w, https://michaelaplein.files.wordpress.com/2017/09/dsc_74311.jpg?w=300 300w" sizes="(max-width: 150px) 100vw, 150px" data-attachment-id="1131" data-permalink="https://michaelaplein.wordpress.com/2017/09/12/a-visit-to-christmas-island/dsc_7431-2/" data-orig-file="https://michaelaplein.files.wordpress.com/2017/09/dsc_74311.jpg" data-orig-size="640,424" data-comments-opened="1" data-image-meta="{&quot;aperture&quot;:&quot;5.6&quot;,&quot;credit&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;camera&quot;:&quot;NIKON D7000&quot;,&quot;caption&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;created_timestamp&quot;:&quot;1504876295&quot;,&quot;copyright&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;focal_length&quot;:&quot;300&quot;,&quot;iso&quot;:&quot;800&quot;,&quot;shutter_speed&quot;:&quot;0.0005&quot;,&quot;title&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;orientation&quot;:&quot;1&quot;}" data-image-title="DSC_7431" data-image-description="" data-medium-file="https://michaelaplein.files.wordpress.com/2017/09/dsc_74311.jpg?w=300" data-large-file="https://michaelaplein.files.wordpress.com/2017/09/dsc_74311.jpg?w=640" /></a> <a href='https://michaelaplein.wordpress.com/2017/09/12/a-visit-to-christmas-island/dsc_6941-2/'><img width="150" height="99" src="https://michaelaplein.files.wordpress.com/2017/09/dsc_69411.jpg?w=150&#038;h=99" class="attachment-thumbnail size-thumbnail" alt="" srcset="https://michaelaplein.files.wordpress.com/2017/09/dsc_69411.jpg?w=150&#038;h=99 150w, https://michaelaplein.files.wordpress.com/2017/09/dsc_69411.jpg?w=300 300w" sizes="(max-width: 150px) 100vw, 150px" data-attachment-id="1150" data-permalink="https://michaelaplein.wordpress.com/2017/09/12/a-visit-to-christmas-island/dsc_6941-2/" data-orig-file="https://michaelaplein.files.wordpress.com/2017/09/dsc_69411.jpg" data-orig-size="640,424" data-comments-opened="1" data-image-meta="{&quot;aperture&quot;:&quot;8&quot;,&quot;credit&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;camera&quot;:&quot;NIKON 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sizes="(max-width: 150px) 100vw, 150px" data-attachment-id="1155" data-permalink="https://michaelaplein.wordpress.com/2017/09/12/a-visit-to-christmas-island/dsc_6828-2/" data-orig-file="https://michaelaplein.files.wordpress.com/2017/09/dsc_68281.jpg" data-orig-size="640,424" data-comments-opened="1" data-image-meta="{&quot;aperture&quot;:&quot;8&quot;,&quot;credit&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;camera&quot;:&quot;NIKON D7000&quot;,&quot;caption&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;created_timestamp&quot;:&quot;1504613316&quot;,&quot;copyright&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;focal_length&quot;:&quot;58&quot;,&quot;iso&quot;:&quot;3200&quot;,&quot;shutter_speed&quot;:&quot;0.001&quot;,&quot;title&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;orientation&quot;:&quot;1&quot;}" data-image-title="DSC_6828" data-image-description="" data-medium-file="https://michaelaplein.files.wordpress.com/2017/09/dsc_68281.jpg?w=300" data-large-file="https://michaelaplein.files.wordpress.com/2017/09/dsc_68281.jpg?w=640" /></a> <a href='https://michaelaplein.wordpress.com/2017/09/12/a-visit-to-christmas-island/dsc_6803-2/'><img width="150" height="99" src="https://michaelaplein.files.wordpress.com/2017/09/dsc_68031.jpg?w=150&#038;h=99" class="attachment-thumbnail size-thumbnail" alt="" srcset="https://michaelaplein.files.wordpress.com/2017/09/dsc_68031.jpg?w=150&#038;h=99 150w, https://michaelaplein.files.wordpress.com/2017/09/dsc_68031.jpg?w=300 300w" sizes="(max-width: 150px) 100vw, 150px" data-attachment-id="1153" data-permalink="https://michaelaplein.wordpress.com/2017/09/12/a-visit-to-christmas-island/dsc_6803-2/" data-orig-file="https://michaelaplein.files.wordpress.com/2017/09/dsc_68031.jpg" data-orig-size="640,424" data-comments-opened="1" data-image-meta="{&quot;aperture&quot;:&quot;8&quot;,&quot;credit&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;camera&quot;:&quot;NIKON 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href='https://michaelaplein.wordpress.com/2017/09/12/a-visit-to-christmas-island/dsc_6937-2/'><img width="150" height="99" src="https://michaelaplein.files.wordpress.com/2017/09/dsc_69371.jpg?w=150&#038;h=99" class="attachment-thumbnail size-thumbnail" alt="" srcset="https://michaelaplein.files.wordpress.com/2017/09/dsc_69371.jpg?w=150&#038;h=99 150w, https://michaelaplein.files.wordpress.com/2017/09/dsc_69371.jpg?w=300 300w" sizes="(max-width: 150px) 100vw, 150px" data-attachment-id="1149" data-permalink="https://michaelaplein.wordpress.com/2017/09/12/a-visit-to-christmas-island/dsc_6937-2/" data-orig-file="https://michaelaplein.files.wordpress.com/2017/09/dsc_69371.jpg" data-orig-size="640,424" data-comments-opened="1" data-image-meta="{&quot;aperture&quot;:&quot;8&quot;,&quot;credit&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;camera&quot;:&quot;NIKON 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