“Novel ecosystems”

There are very, if any, ecosystems on Earth that are not substantially influenced by human activities. In most ecosystems, humans have changed many abiotic and biotic components, for example by changing disturbance or nutrient regimes and by adding or removing species. In many cases, the ecosystems that currently exist have no historical analogues; this greatly complicates the task of managers who seek to conserve local, regional and global biodiversity and to ensure the sustainable delivery of ecosystem services.

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Modelling the effect of biocontrol agents on Acacia cyclops
The weevil Melanterius servulus. (Photo credits: Fiona Impson and John Hoffmann©)

Modelling the effect of biocontrol agents on Acacia cyclops

In a paper published by C·I·B researchers, Rainer Krug and Dave Richardson examined a system consisting of two seed-attacking biocontrol agents (a midge, Dasineura dielsi and a weevil, Melanterius servulus) and one invasive alien plant (Acacia cyclops).

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Habitat linked to the level of signalling in lizards
Schreiber's fringe-fingered lizard (Acanthodactylus schreiberi) (Photo credit: Aviad Ba; http://www.arkive.org.

Habitat linked to the level of signalling in lizards

C·I·B post-doctoral fellow, Dr Shelley Edwards, is a co-author on a recently published study looking at links between the chemical communication system of lizards and their environment.

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Historical specimens shed new light on invasive species
Fireweed (Senecio madagascariensis) Photo credit: Forest and Kim Starr (Wikimedia creative commons)

Historical specimens shed new light on invasive species

C·I·B alumnus James Rodger is a co-author on a recently published study that traces the invasion history of fire weed (Senecio madagascariensis) in Australia, using DNA from herbarium specimens dating back to its introduction, as well as present-day collections. This is one of the first studies to use this approach.

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Stakeholder perspectives crucial for mainstreaming ecosystem services in development planning
Site visit to discuss social-ecological challenges

Stakeholder perspectives crucial for mainstreaming ecosystem services in development planning

Nature provides us with benefits such as fresh water, food, climate regulation, nutrient recycling and a sense of place. These benefits, also known as “ecosystem services”, are critical for our well-being and underpin any future development. Despite an increase in research on ecosystem services, and how these services link to development, it would seem that there is still a gap between ecosystem service research and the implementation of management activities on the ground.

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