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Gotta Conserve 'em All

CBER PhD Student Fiona Spooner discusses how the release of Pokemon Go can have an effect on conservation, and what can be learnt from the popular game.

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Research Image as Art

When taking pictures photographers try to capture the best angle, the perfect composition, and the ideal light. It is almost as if they were building the image themselves and the result, as we know, can be really impressive. On the other hand, when setting up automatic cameras to record wildlife none of the photographer’s concerns are high in my list of priorities; I’m simply aiming to obtain records of animals. These photographic records are the data I use in my research, and with them I can test hypothesis and describe patterns about the ecology of elusive species. In my PhD, for example, I’m using data from automatic cameras to investigate the effectiveness of parks and natural reserves in protecting large mammals in the Brazilian Cerrado. So, a blurred photo featuring only part of a maned wolf’s body or a distant and dull armadillo almost out of the frame is all I need to identify the species and have the much-needed data for analysis.

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Seirian Sumner joins CBER

Dr. Seirian Sumner recently joined CBER, her work seeks to explore the interface between behavioural ecology, biodiversity and conservation. She uses a combination of field ecology and genomics techniques to address questions about how and why animals live in societies.

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Where, when and what do citizen science volunteers record?

The often opportunistic nature of biological recording via citizen science initiatives can lead to data that are biased towards particular species, places or seasons. However, such biases may give valuable insight into volunteers’ recording behaviour.

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Impact of climate change on Sargassum epifauna

As part of her MRes project with CBER, Jennifer Choyce spent two months in Bermuda looking into the impacts of climate change on calcifying species associated with Sargassum seaweed. Here, she talks about her experience on the project.

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The environmental impacts of alien birds

Thousands of species have been moved by people to areas where they do not naturally occur. These alien species can have negative impacts on the environments into which they are introduced. Given the vast number of aliens, and the broad range of impacts they can have, how do we identify which are the worst in order to prioritise our remedial or preventative actions? One method that shows a lot of promise is the Environmental Impact Classification for Alien Taxa (EICAT).

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A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush: Tracking the regent honeyeater in southeast Australia

April 2015 saw the 4th, and largest release of captive bred Regent Honeyeaters (Anthochaera Phrygia) into Chiltern Mt-Pilot National Park, VIC, Australia, and the start of the first field season of my PhD. The captive breeding and release of these birds is a huge collaborative project between BirdLife Australia, Taronga Zoo and The Victorian Government Department of Land, Water and Planning (DELWP).

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Predicting disease outbreaks using environmental changes

A model that predicts outbreaks of zoonotic diseases – those originating in livestock or wildlife such as Ebola and Zika – based on changes in climate, population growth and land use has been developed by a UCL-led team of researchers.

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Improving the assessment of extinction risk

The identification of species at risk of extinction is a central goal of conservation, a process that has been spearheaded by the IUCN Red List. Quantitative assessments of more than 80,000 species now exist, forming the basis of a broad set of biodiversity conservation goals and actions, including global and regional target setting, conservation planning, and informing legislative frameworks to protect species.

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