An iconic species of the Australian Alps, the mountain pygmy possum (Burramys parvus) is found in a unique and fragile habitat that is highly sensitive to environmental change. Habitat conservation and genetic rescue-based conservation efforts have allowed some populations to rebound, but the possum is facing new threats, and the species remains Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. The Bogong moth, a key food source in the mountain pygmy possum diet, has declined in recent years. Efforts to understand Bogong moth biology are underway.
The kingdom of fungi is an important, though often underappreciated, family of organisms which include yeasts, rusts, moulds, smuts, mildews, stinkhorns and mushrooms. Of the vast range of living things on the Earth, fungi make up an impressive 9% of all biodiversity. The immensity of the mighty fungi kingdom and the diversity of fungal organisms and functions means we can’t fit everything into a brief exploration; however, mycologist Dr Sapphire McMullan-Fisher gave us some comprehensive insights to the mysterious world of fungi to share.
Our climate is already changing. Under the Paris Agreement, Australia and the world’s great nations have committed to reducing global temperatures to a 1.5-2°C rise over pre-industrial levels. Should this exercise prove successful, a 2°C rise will still have far-reaching climate effects, with major implications for the State of Victoria. This panel of senior scientists were gathered together by the Governor of Victoria to showcase some of the work in climate adaptation produced in our state and, most importantly, share actions we could all take in our personal and professional lives to adapt to the “new normal.”
This Deakin University study raises concern for the reproductive success of woodland birds in Box-Ironbark forests of Central Victoria. Box-Ironbark forest is of high conservation significance, with its component tree species providing year-round flowering, and thus food resources for many species of birds and animals. Many bird species, including the endangered Regent Honeyeater (Anthochaera phrygia), are more abundant in Box-Ironbark than elsewhere. However, these forests in Central Victoria have become highly fragmented and structurally degraded, due primarily to the history of gold exploration and habitat clearance in the region. The study suggests that a consequence of this may be a greater abundance and widespread distribution of generalist egg predators throughout the region.
It’s NAIDOC Week, and what better time to reflect on the significance of the world’s oldest continuous cultures and the incredibly complex knowledge systems that have been sustained through the remarkable practice of “orality?” Dr Duane Hamacher and Krystal de Napoli from Monash University have delivered a number of terrific lectures for audiences across Victoria this year for the Inspiring Australia program, and we’ve prepared these highlights from Duane’s presentation to the Royal Society of Victoria in February to share his passion for the science traditionally encoded in story, song, dance, landscape and skyscape by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in Australia.