School of Ecosystem and Forest Sciences - Research Publications

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    Eight things you should never do in a monitoring program: an Australian perspective
    Lindenmayer, DB ; Woinarski, J ; Legge, S ; Maron, M ; Garnett, ST ; Lavery, T ; Dielenberg, J ; Wintle, BA (SPRINGER, 2022-10-01)
    Monitoring is critical to gauge the effect of environmental management interventions as well as to measure the effects of human disturbances such as climate change. Recognition of the critical need for monitoring means that, at irregular intervals, recommendations are made for new government-instigated programs or to revamp existing ones. Using insights from past well-intentioned (but sadly also often failed) attempts to establish and maintain government-instigated monitoring programs in Australia, we outline eight things that should never be done in environmental monitoring programs (if they aim to be useful). These are the following: (1) Never commence a new environmental management initiative without also committing to a monitoring program. (2) Never start a monitoring program without clear questions. (3) Never implement a monitoring program without first doing a proper experimental design. (4) Never ignore the importance of matching the purpose and objectives of a monitoring program to the design of that program. (5) Never change the way you monitor something without ensuring new methods can be calibrated with the old ones. (6) Never try to monitor everything. (7) Never collect data without planning to curate and report on it. (8) If possible, avoid starting a monitoring program without the necessary resources secured. To balance our "nevers", we provide a checklist of actions that will increase the chances a monitoring program will actually measure the effectiveness of environmental management. Scientists and resource management practitioners need to be part of a stronger narrative for, and key participants in, well-designed, implemented, and maintained government-led monitoring programs. We argue that monitoring programs should be mandated in threatened species conservation programs and all new environmental management initiatives.
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    Mitochondrial phylogeny within the Yellow Chat (Epthianura crocea) does not support subspecific designation of endangered Alligator Rivers population
    Leppitt, R ; Rose, A ; Houston, WA ; Kyne, PM ; Banks, SC ; Woinarski, JCZ ; Garnett, ST (WILEY, 2022-07-01)
    The delineation of subspecies is important in the evaluation and protection of biodiversity. Subspecies delineation is hampered by inconsistently applied criteria and a lack of agreement and shifting standards on how a subspecies should be defined. The Australian endemic Yellow Chat (Epthianura crocea) is split into three subspecies (E. c. crocea, E. c. tunneyi, and E. c. macgregori) based on minor plumage differences and geographical isolation. Both E. c. tunneyi (Endangered) and E. c. macgregori (Critically Endangered) are recognized under Australian legislation as threatened and are the subject of significant conservation effort. We used mitochondrial DNA to evaluate the phylogeny of the Yellow Chat and determine how much genetic variation is present in each of the three subspecies. We found no significant difference in the cytochrome b sequences (833 base pairs) of E. c. crocea and E. c. tunneyi, but approximately 0.70% or 5.83 bp difference between E. c macgregori and both E. c. crocea and E. c. tunneyi. This analysis supports the delineation of E. c. macgregori as a valid subspecies but does not support separation of E. c. crocea from E. c. tunneyi. We also found very low levels of genetic variation within the Yellow Chat, suggesting it may be vulnerable to environmental change. Our results cast doubt upon the geographic isolation of E. c. crocea from E. c. tunneyi, but more advanced genetic sequencing and a robust comparison of plumage are needed to fully resolve taxonomy.
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    Expert range maps of global mammal distributions harmonised to three taxonomic authorities.
    Marsh, CJ ; Sica, YV ; Burgin, CJ ; Dorman, WA ; Anderson, RC ; Del Toro Mijares, I ; Vigneron, JG ; Barve, V ; Dombrowik, VL ; Duong, M ; Guralnick, R ; Hart, JA ; Maypole, JK ; McCall, K ; Ranipeta, A ; Schuerkmann, A ; Torselli, MA ; Lacher, T ; Mittermeier, RA ; Rylands, AB ; Sechrest, W ; Wilson, DE ; Abba, AM ; Aguirre, LF ; Arroyo-Cabrales, J ; Astúa, D ; Baker, AM ; Braulik, G ; Braun, JK ; Brito, J ; Busher, PE ; Burneo, SF ; Camacho, MA ; Cavallini, P ; de Almeida Chiquito, E ; Cook, JA ; Cserkész, T ; Csorba, G ; Cuéllar Soto, E ; da Cunha Tavares, V ; Davenport, TRB ; Deméré, T ; Denys, C ; Dickman, CR ; Eldridge, MDB ; Fernandez-Duque, E ; Francis, CM ; Frankham, G ; Franklin, WL ; Freitas, T ; Friend, JA ; Gadsby, EL ; Garbino, GST ; Gaubert, P ; Giannini, N ; Giarla, T ; Gilchrist, JS ; Gongora, J ; Goodman, SM ; Gursky-Doyen, S ; Hackländer, K ; Hafner, MS ; Hawkins, M ; Helgen, KM ; Heritage, S ; Hinckley, A ; Hintsche, S ; Holden, M ; Holekamp, KE ; Honeycutt, RL ; Huffman, BA ; Humle, T ; Hutterer, R ; Ibáñez Ulargui, C ; Jackson, SM ; Janecka, J ; Janecka, M ; Jenkins, P ; Juškaitis, R ; Juste, J ; Kays, R ; Kilpatrick, CW ; Kingston, T ; Koprowski, JL ; Kryštufek, B ; Lavery, T ; Lee, TE ; Leite, YLR ; Novaes, RLM ; Lim, BK ; Lissovsky, A ; López-Antoñanzas, R ; López-Baucells, A ; MacLeod, CD ; Maisels, FG ; Mares, MA ; Marsh, H ; Mattioli, S ; Meijaard, E ; Monadjem, A ; Morton, FB ; Musser, G ; Nadler, T ; Norris, RW ; Ojeda, A ; Ordóñez-Garza, N ; Pardiñas, UFJ ; Patterson, BD ; Pavan, A ; Pennay, M ; Pereira, C ; Prado, J ; Queiroz, HL ; Richardson, M ; Riley, EP ; Rossiter, SJ ; Rubenstein, DI ; Ruelas, D ; Salazar-Bravo, J ; Schai-Braun, S ; Schank, CJ ; Schwitzer, C ; Sheeran, LK ; Shekelle, M ; Shenbrot, G ; Soisook, P ; Solari, S ; Southgate, R ; Superina, M ; Taber, AB ; Talebi, M ; Taylor, P ; Vu Dinh, T ; Ting, N ; Tirira, DG ; Tsang, S ; Turvey, ST ; Valdez, R ; Van Cakenberghe, V ; Veron, G ; Wallis, J ; Wells, R ; Whittaker, D ; Williamson, EA ; Wittemyer, G ; Woinarski, J ; Zinner, D ; Upham, NS ; Jetz, W (Wiley, 2022-05)
    Aim: Comprehensive, global information on species' occurrences is an essential biodiversity variable and central to a range of applications in ecology, evolution, biogeography and conservation. Expert range maps often represent a species' only available distributional information and play an increasing role in conservation assessments and macroecology. We provide global range maps for the native ranges of all extant mammal species harmonised to the taxonomy of the Mammal Diversity Database (MDD) mobilised from two sources, the Handbook of the Mammals of the World (HMW) and the Illustrated Checklist of the Mammals of the World (CMW). Location: Global. Taxon: All extant mammal species. Methods: Range maps were digitally interpreted, georeferenced, error-checked and subsequently taxonomically aligned between the HMW (6253 species), the CMW (6431 species) and the MDD taxonomies (6362 species). Results: Range maps can be evaluated and visualised in an online map browser at Map of Life (mol.org) and accessed for individual or batch download for non-commercial use. Main conclusion: Expert maps of species' global distributions are limited in their spatial detail and temporal specificity, but form a useful basis for broad-scale characterizations and model-based integration with other data. We provide georeferenced range maps for the native ranges of all extant mammal species as shapefiles, with species-level metadata and source information packaged together in geodatabase format. Across the three taxonomic sources our maps entail, there are 1784 taxonomic name differences compared to the maps currently available on the IUCN Red List website. The expert maps provided here are harmonised to the MDD taxonomic authority and linked to a community of online tools that will enable transparent future updates and version control.
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    Design considerations for rapid biodiversity reconnaissance surveys and long-term monitoring to assess the impact of wildfire
    Southwell, D ; Legge, S ; Woinarski, J ; Lindenmayer, D ; Lavery, T ; Wintle, B (WILEY, 2021-10-20)
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    Counting the bodies: Estimating the numbers and spatial variation of Australian reptiles, birds and mammals killed by two invasive mesopredators
    Stobo-Wilson, AM ; Murphy, BP ; Legge, SM ; Caceres-Escobar, H ; Chapple, DG ; Crawford, HM ; Dawson, SJ ; Dickman, CR ; Doherty, TS ; Fleming, PA ; Garnett, ST ; Gentle, M ; Newsome, TM ; Palmer, R ; Rees, MW ; Ritchie, EG ; Speed, J ; Stuart, J-M ; Suarez-Castro, AF ; Thompson, E ; Tulloch, A ; Turpin, JM ; Woinarski, JCZ ; Brito, J (WILEY, 2022-03-15)
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    Testing a global standard for quantifying species recovery and assessing conservation impact.
    Grace, MK ; Akçakaya, HR ; Bennett, EL ; Brooks, TM ; Heath, A ; Hedges, S ; Hilton-Taylor, C ; Hoffmann, M ; Hochkirch, A ; Jenkins, R ; Keith, DA ; Long, B ; Mallon, DP ; Meijaard, E ; Milner-Gulland, EJ ; Rodriguez, JP ; Stephenson, PJ ; Stuart, SN ; Young, RP ; Acebes, P ; Alfaro-Shigueto, J ; Alvarez-Clare, S ; Andriantsimanarilafy, RR ; Arbetman, M ; Azat, C ; Bacchetta, G ; Badola, R ; Barcelos, LMD ; Barreiros, JP ; Basak, S ; Berger, DJ ; Bhattacharyya, S ; Bino, G ; Borges, PAV ; Boughton, RK ; Brockmann, HJ ; Buckley, HL ; Burfield, IJ ; Burton, J ; Camacho-Badani, T ; Cano-Alonso, LS ; Carmichael, RH ; Carrero, C ; Carroll, JP ; Catsadorakis, G ; Chapple, DG ; Chapron, G ; Chowdhury, GW ; Claassens, L ; Cogoni, D ; Constantine, R ; Craig, CA ; Cunningham, AA ; Dahal, N ; Daltry, JC ; Das, GC ; Dasgupta, N ; Davey, A ; Davies, K ; Develey, P ; Elangovan, V ; Fairclough, D ; Febbraro, MD ; Fenu, G ; Fernandes, FM ; Fernandez, EP ; Finucci, B ; Földesi, R ; Foley, CM ; Ford, M ; Forstner, MRJ ; García, N ; Garcia-Sandoval, R ; Gardner, PC ; Garibay-Orijel, R ; Gatan-Balbas, M ; Gauto, I ; Ghazi, MGU ; Godfrey, SS ; Gollock, M ; González, BA ; Grant, TD ; Gray, T ; Gregory, AJ ; van Grunsven, RHA ; Gryzenhout, M ; Guernsey, NC ; Gupta, G ; Hagen, C ; Hagen, CA ; Hall, MB ; Hallerman, E ; Hare, K ; Hart, T ; Hartdegen, R ; Harvey-Brown, Y ; Hatfield, R ; Hawke, T ; Hermes, C ; Hitchmough, R ; Hoffmann, PM ; Howarth, C ; Hudson, MA ; Hussain, SA ; Huveneers, C ; Jacques, H ; Jorgensen, D ; Katdare, S ; Katsis, LKD ; Kaul, R ; Kaunda-Arara, B ; Keith-Diagne, L ; Kraus, DT ; de Lima, TM ; Lindeman, K ; Linsky, J ; Louis, E ; Loy, A ; Lughadha, EN ; Mangel, JC ; Marinari, PE ; Martin, GM ; Martinelli, G ; McGowan, PJK ; McInnes, A ; Teles Barbosa Mendes, E ; Millard, MJ ; Mirande, C ; Money, D ; Monks, JM ; Morales, CL ; Mumu, NN ; Negrao, R ; Nguyen, AH ; Niloy, MNH ; Norbury, GL ; Nordmeyer, C ; Norris, D ; O'Brien, M ; Oda, GA ; Orsenigo, S ; Outerbridge, ME ; Pasachnik, S ; Pérez-Jiménez, JC ; Pike, C ; Pilkington, F ; Plumb, G ; Portela, RDCQ ; Prohaska, A ; Quintana, MG ; Rakotondrasoa, EF ; Ranglack, DH ; Rankou, H ; Rawat, AP ; Reardon, JT ; Rheingantz, ML ; Richter, SC ; Rivers, MC ; Rogers, LR ; da Rosa, P ; Rose, P ; Royer, E ; Ryan, C ; de Mitcheson, YJS ; Salmon, L ; Salvador, CH ; Samways, MJ ; Sanjuan, T ; Souza Dos Santos, A ; Sasaki, H ; Schutz, E ; Scott, HA ; Scott, RM ; Serena, F ; Sharma, SP ; Shuey, JA ; Silva, CJP ; Simaika, JP ; Smith, DR ; Spaet, JLY ; Sultana, S ; Talukdar, BK ; Tatayah, V ; Thomas, P ; Tringali, A ; Trinh-Dinh, H ; Tuboi, C ; Usmani, AA ; Vasco-Palacios, AM ; Vié, J-C ; Virens, J ; Walker, A ; Wallace, B ; Waller, LJ ; Wang, H ; Wearn, OR ; van Weerd, M ; Weigmann, S ; Willcox, D ; Woinarski, J ; Yong, JWH ; Young, S (Wiley, 2021-12)
    Recognizing the imperative to evaluate species recovery and conservation impact, in 2012 the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) called for development of a "Green List of Species" (now the IUCN Green Status of Species). A draft Green Status framework for assessing species' progress toward recovery, published in 2018, proposed 2 separate but interlinked components: a standardized method (i.e., measurement against benchmarks of species' viability, functionality, and preimpact distribution) to determine current species recovery status (herein species recovery score) and application of that method to estimate past and potential future impacts of conservation based on 4 metrics (conservation legacy, conservation dependence, conservation gain, and recovery potential). We tested the framework with 181 species representing diverse taxa, life histories, biomes, and IUCN Red List categories (extinction risk). Based on the observed distribution of species' recovery scores, we propose the following species recovery categories: fully recovered, slightly depleted, moderately depleted, largely depleted, critically depleted, extinct in the wild, and indeterminate. Fifty-nine percent of tested species were considered largely or critically depleted. Although there was a negative relationship between extinction risk and species recovery score, variation was considerable. Some species in lower risk categories were assessed as farther from recovery than those at higher risk. This emphasizes that species recovery is conceptually different from extinction risk and reinforces the utility of the IUCN Green Status of Species to more fully understand species conservation status. Although extinction risk did not predict conservation legacy, conservation dependence, or conservation gain, it was positively correlated with recovery potential. Only 1.7% of tested species were categorized as zero across all 4 of these conservation impact metrics, indicating that conservation has, or will, play a role in improving or maintaining species status for the vast majority of these species. Based on our results, we devised an updated assessment framework that introduces the option of using a dynamic baseline to assess future impacts of conservation over the short term to avoid misleading results which were generated in a small number of cases, and redefines short term as 10 years to better align with conservation planning. These changes are reflected in the IUCN Green Status of Species Standard.
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    Reptiles as food: predation of Australian reptiles by introduced red foxes compounds and complements predation by cats
    Stobo-Wilson, AM ; Murphy, BP ; Legge, SM ; Chapple, DG ; Crawford, HM ; Dawson, SJ ; Dickman, CR ; Doherty, TS ; Fleming, PA ; Gentle, M ; Newsome, TM ; Palmer, R ; Rees, MW ; Ritchie, EG ; Speed, J ; Stuart, J-M ; Thompson, E ; Turpin, J ; Woinarski, JCZ (CSIRO PUBLISHING, 2021-07-14)
    ContextInvasive species are a major cause of biodiversity loss across much of the world, and a key threat to Australia’s diverse reptile fauna. There has been no previous comprehensive analysis of the potential impact of the introduced European red fox, Vulpes vulpes, on Australian reptiles. AimsWe seek to provide an inventory of all Australian reptile species known to be consumed by the fox, and identify characteristics of squamate species associated with such predation. We also compare these tallies and characteristics with reptile species known to be consumed by the domestic cat, Felis catus, to examine whether predation by these two introduced species is compounded (i.e. affecting much the same set of species) or complementary (affecting different groups of species). Methods We collated records of Australian reptiles consumed by foxes in Australia, with most records deriving from fox dietary studies (tallying >35000 samples). We modelled presence or absence of fox predation records against a set of biological and other traits, and population trends, for squamate species. Key resultsIn total, 108 reptile species (~11% of Australia’s terrestrial reptile fauna) have been recorded as consumed by foxes, fewer than that reported for cats (263 species). Eighty-six species have been reported to be eaten by both predators. More Australian turtle species have been reported as consumed by foxes than by cats, including many that suffer high levels of predation on egg clutches. Twenty threatened reptile species have been reported as consumed by foxes, and 15 by cats. Squamate species consumed by foxes are more likely to be undergoing population decline than those not known to be consumed by foxes. The likelihood of predation by foxes increased with squamate species’ adult body mass, in contrast to the relationship for predation by cats, which peaked at ~217g. Foxes, but not cats, were also less likely to consume venomous snakes. ConclusionsThe two introduced, and now widespread, predators have both compounding and complementary impacts on the Australian reptile fauna. ImplicationsEnhanced and integrated management of the two introduced predators is likely to provide substantial conservation benefits to much of the Australian reptile fauna.
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    Red hot frogs: identifying the Australian frogs most at risk of extinction
    Geyle, HM ; Hoskin, CJ ; Bower, DS ; Catullo, R ; Clulow, S ; Driessen, M ; Daniels, K ; Garnett, ST ; Gilbert, D ; Heard, GW ; Hero, J-M ; Hines, HB ; Hoffmann, EP ; Hollis, G ; Hunter, DA ; Lemckert, F ; Mahony, M ; Marantelli, G ; McDonald, KR ; Mitchell, NJ ; Newell, D ; Roberts, JD ; Scheele, BC ; Scroggie, M ; Vanderduys, E ; Wassens, S ; West, M ; Woinarski, JCZ ; Gillespie, GR (CSIRO PUBLISHING, 2021-08-20)
    More than a third of the world’s amphibian species are listed as Threatened or Extinct, with a recent assessment identifying 45 Australian frogs (18.4% of the currently recognised species) as ‘Threatened’ based on IUCN criteria. We applied structured expert elicitation to 26 frogs assessed as Critically Endangered and Endangered to estimate their probability of extinction by 2040. We also investigated whether participant experience (measured as a self-assigned categorical score, i.e. ‘expert’ or ‘non-expert’) influenced the estimates. Collation and analysis of participant opinion indicated that eight species are at high risk (>50% chance) of becoming extinct by 2040, with the disease chytridiomycosis identified as the primary threat. A further five species are at moderate–high risk (30–50% chance), primarily due to climate change. Fourteen of the 26 frog species are endemic to Queensland, with many species restricted to small geographic ranges that are susceptible to stochastic events (e.g. a severe heatwave or a large bushfire). Experts were more likely to rate extinction probability higher for poorly known species (those with <10 experts), while non-experts were more likely to rate extinction probability higher for better-known species. However, scores converged following discussion, indicating that there was greater consensus in the estimates of extinction probability. Increased resourcing and management intervention are urgently needed to avert future extinctions of Australia’s frogs. Key priorities include developing and supporting captive management and establishing or extending in-situ population refuges to alleviate the impacts of disease and climate change.
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    Rapid assessment of the biodiversity impacts of the 2019-2020 Australian megafires to guide urgent management intervention and recovery and lessons for other regions
    Legge, S ; Woinarski, JCZ ; Scheele, BC ; Garnett, ST ; Lintermans, M ; Nimmo, DG ; Whiterod, NS ; Southwell, DM ; Ehmke, G ; Buchan, A ; Gray, J ; Metcalfe, DJ ; Page, M ; Rumpff, L ; van Leeuwen, S ; Williams, D ; Ahyong, ST ; Chapple, DG ; Cowan, M ; Hossain, MA ; Kennard, M ; Macdonald, S ; Moore, H ; Marsh, J ; McCormack, RB ; Michael, D ; Mitchell, N ; Newell, D ; Raadik, TA ; Tingley, R ; Boer, M (WILEY, 2021-10-21)
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    The conservation impacts of ecological disturbance: Time-bound estimates of population loss and recovery for fauna affected by the 2019-2020 Australian megafires
    Legge, S ; Rumpff, L ; Woinarski, JCZ ; Whiterod, NS ; Ward, M ; Southwell, DG ; Scheele, BC ; Nimmo, DG ; Lintermans, M ; Geyle, HM ; Garnett, ST ; Hayward-Brown, B ; Ensbey, M ; Ehmke, G ; Ahyong, ST ; Blackmore, CJ ; Bower, DS ; Brizuela-Torres, D ; Burbidge, AH ; Burns, PA ; Butler, G ; Catullo, R ; Chapple, DG ; Dickman, CR ; Doyle, KE ; Ferris, J ; Fisher, D ; Gallagher, R ; Gillespie, GR ; Greenlees, MJ ; Hohnen, R ; Hoskin, CJ ; Hunter, D ; Jolly, C ; Kennard, M ; King, A ; Kuchinke, D ; Law, B ; Lawler, I ; Lawler, S ; Loyn, R ; Lunney, D ; Lyon, J ; MacHunter, J ; Mahony, M ; Mahony, S ; McCormack, RB ; Melville, J ; Menkhorst, P ; Michael, D ; Mitchell, N ; Mulder, E ; Newell, D ; Pearce, L ; Raadik, TA ; Rowley, JJL ; Sitters, H ; Spencer, R ; Valavi, R ; West, M ; Wilkinson, DP ; Zukowski, S ; Nolan, R (WILEY, 2022-03-01)