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Articles related to ecology

Browse: The fine line between playing God and saving species
Feature: Driving Mosquitoes out of Town
Existing techniques to control mosquito-borne diseases are coming up short. Can gene drives offer hope to the millions affected?
Feature: The Future of Pest Control Lies Within (the Pest)
Gene drives could improve global food security by turning pest biology against itself.
Feature: Gene Drives: A Fork in the Road for the GMO Debate
What are the moral and ethical concerns about gene drives, and how should the technology be regulated?
Browse: Toad-Proof Fence Browse: Cane Toad Invasion Front Is Accelerating in Straight Lines
Browse: Fertilisers Make Plants Weaker
Feature: The Social Lives of Sharks
Tracking technology reveals that Port Jackson sharks have buddies of similar age and gender, and can navigate across Bass Strait to the same breeding grounds.
Browse: 10% of Wilderness Lost in Two Decades Browse: Oil Spill Rehab Is Worth It
Browse: Lady Gaga-ntuan Was Born (and Died) This Way
The longest stick insect in Australia has been rediscovered in Far North Queensland by bug hunters from Museum Victoria.
Browse: Plankton Chemistry Points to Future Carbon Cycle Issues
cane toad
Feature: Tolerate Thy Neighbour
Cane toads have been wiping out native species, but one fish species has learnt to avoid toxic toadpoles.
Browse: NZ Penguin Extinction Dated to Polynesian Arrival
Browse: Bomb Curve Solves Age-Old Lungfish Problem
Feature: The Wide Net of Seafood Slavery
Labour abuses are allowing fishing fleets to remain profitable while depleting fisheries ever-further from the coast.
Browse: Seaweed-Free Beaches Predicted as Oceans Warm
Little penguins
Feature: Predator in a Penguin Suit
Miniature video cameras and GPS have given an underwater bird’s-eye view of the hunting behaviours of the world’s smallest penguin.
Credit: Mopic
Feature: Welcome to the Anthropocene
Say goodbye to the Holocene. Later this year a new epoch might be formally recognised.
Feature: Cultural Evolution in Darwin’s Finches
A new study is analysing the songs of Darwin’s finches to determine the role of cultural evolution in speciation.
Different phytoplankton species, including diatoms and algae. Image courtesy of
Feature: The Ghosts of Climate Past – and of Climate Future
Ancient plankton DNA is revealing how marine ecosystems have responded to long-lasting changes in past climate – and enabling us to predict the future.
Cover Story: Oz Mammal Genomics
A large project to sequence the genomes of Australia’s mammals will provide the first complete picture of their interrelationships and evolutionary history – and aid their conservation.
Tiny bumps on cicada wings repel water and dirt.
Feature: The Genius of the Cicada Wing
The nanostructure of cicada wings is inspiring new materials that are self-cleaning, repel water and can kill bacteria.
Superb fairy-wren
Feature: Learning Before Birth
Superb fairy-wrens sing to their chicks before they hatch, teaching them a begging call that identifies them before cuckoo chicks can predate the nest.
The installation of 3000 clear plastic panels simulates an El Niño drought
Feature: A Raincoat for a Rainforest
How do you study the effects of drought in a rainforest? Try covering one in plastic.
A green oasis of Antarctic mosses in the Windmill Islands. Zbyněk Malenovský
Feature: Will Antarctic Oases Remain Green?
Antarctic mosses are threatened by climatic change and human activity, but researchers can now detect their health by analysing spectral patterns imaged from the ground or remotely by drones.
Feature: Changes in Our Global Footprint
Our impacts on the Earth are slowing down relative to population and economic growth.
Credit: Peter McDonald
Feature: Something New, but Old, from Australia’s Dead Heart
The identification of an ancient gecko species discovered hiding in Central Australia has provided new insights into how and when Australia’s deserts began to form 10 million years ago.
Credit: Aidenvironment/CC BY-SA 2.0
Feature: It Pays to Grow Trees
When economic forces threaten irreplaceable ecosystems in developing countries it makes sense to employ economic incentives that place a value on forests.
Feature: The Future of Frogs in the Face of Fire
The increasing risk of bushfires due to climate change is escalating the risk of extinction for frogs in Australia’s south-east.
Feature: Can Sea Turtles Cope with Climate Change?
Rising temperatures due to climate change are skewing gender ratios among turtles and increasing the mortality rate of hatchlings. Can they adapt?
Feature: Along Came a Spider
Genetic studies reveal that trapdoor spiders colonised Kangaroo Island after surviving a remarkable rafting journey from South Africa.
Feature: Cathedrals in the Desert
Termite mounds populate the northern Australian landscape like miniature skyscrapers, yet genetic analyses reveal that the first termites that rafted to our shores originally built their nests in trees. Why did they do this?
Feature: Extinct Burrowing Bats Betray Biodiversity Loss
The fossilised remains of burrowing bats that lived millions of years ago shed light on this remarkable group of mammals while signalling loss of biodiversity in New Zealand.
Feature: The Tree That Waters Itself
Island gigantism might have driven the evolution of one of the most bizarre adaptations in the plant kingdom.
Feature: Evolution on an Ecological Scale
Darwin’s theory of natural selection may be simple and intuitive, but some of its key assumptions are now being called into question.
Feature: How Oil Palm Can Become More Ecologically Friendly
Oil palm is not a suitable habitat for most terrestrial mammals, but there are ways to improve it and promote the conservation value of these landscapes.
Feature: Wind Farms: Their True Impact on Birds and Bats
Monitoring wind farms for impacts on birds and bats is an expense that could be better directed at conservation programs for threatened species.
Feature: Swimming in a River of Drugs
A study finds that more than 65 pharmaceuticals accumulate in aquatic invertebrates and riparian spiders, and can then spread through the food chain to birds and other terrestrial animals.
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Browse: A False Eye on Threats
Juvenile damselfish respond to the presence of predators by changing their body shape and expanding the size of their eye spots, but the mechanism for this development is still unknown.
Browse: Species Relocation Made More Objective
As climate change makes existing habitat unsuitable for many species, conservation managers will increasingly be faced with the decision over whether to relocate their charges to cooler locations. An Australian–New Zealand collaboration has provided a mechanism to assist such judgements.
Browse: Penguins on a Slippery Slope Browse: Kangaroos Eating Reptiles out of House and Home
Browse: Cockies Win, Swallows Lose when Roos Come to Town Browse: Mangrove Dieback “Unprecedented”
Browse: Isotopes reveal that whale sharks stay close to home Browse: Business as usual for Antarctic krill despite increasing ocean acidification
Browse: Cane Toads Develop Shady Habits conSCIENCE: Economics on an Even Keel
Can economics balance its books with the limits of ecology?
conSCIENCE: Australia’s Iconic Top Predator Must Be Protected
Lethal control programs treat dingoes like pests, yet the evidence is mounting that this damages ecosystems by enabling foxes and feral cats to thrive.
conSCIENCE: Seeds of Doubt Remain About Nanotechnology Use in Agriculture
A new meta-analysis has attempted to give a scientific grounding to claims about the risks and benefits of nano-agrochemicals, but knowledge gaps remain.
conSCIENCE: Whales and Sharks Must Be Protected from Global Shipping
Road ecology is being applied to shipping routes to stop marine giants from becoming “roadkill”.
Eco Logic: Efficiency vs Sufficiency in Conservation
Comparing how much money is needed to ensure a conservation outcome with how to deliver the biggest outcome for a fixed investment are two sides of the same coin.
Eco Logic: History of an “Outcome”
Assigning an outcome to any single grant, paper or person makes a mockery of the scientific process.
Eco Logic: Complex Ideas in Ecology Made Simple
Have you just published an important journal article? Why not turn it into a movie?
Eco Logic: Restoring Urban Drains to Living Streams
A creek restoration in a Perth suburb has increased the median home price within 200 metres of the project by around 5%.
Eco Logic: Reviewing Climate Change Impacts on Ecosystem Services
What is the state of our understanding of the connection between climate change and ecosystem-service assessment?
Eco Logic: Revolving Private Land to Conserve Nature
Buying, protecting and reselling private land can be an effective way to conserve nature, but relies upon selecting the right properties.
Expert Opinion: The Biodiversity Benefits of Limiting Warming to 1.5°C
Global temperatures are on track to rise by 3.2°C by 2100. A new study estimates that if this occurs, 26% of vertebrates, 49% of insects and 44% of plants would be unable to survive in about half of the areas they currently inhabit, compared with just 4% of vertebrates, 6% of insects and 8% of plants if warming is limited to 1.5°C.
Expert Opinion: Mozzies Knocked out with Gene Drive
Researchers say they've successfully used a CRISPR-based gene drive to cause the collapse of a population of caged malaria-carrying mosquitoes by targeting a gene that determines whether an individual mosquito develops as a male or a female.
Up Close: Prey for the oceans: How marine predators influence reef ecology
Marine biologist, Prof Robert Warner, discusses the relationship between marine predators and their prey. He also explains why marine environments may be more robust than terrestrial ecosystems in the face of human impacts.
Up Close: Natural value: Pricing ecosystems, and its implications for conservation policy
Conservation ecologist Assoc. Prof. Brendan Wintle considers the difficult questions and dilemmas that arise in decisions around species and ecosystem conservation, and whether a monetary value can or should be applied to nature.
Up Close: The end of sustainability: Realism and resilience in managing our natural resources
Environmental legal scholar Prof. Robin Craig argues that the doctrine of sustainability in managing our natural resources fails to take into account an emerging age of ecological uncertainty. Instead, notions of sustainability and sustainable development need to make way for approaches based on resilience thinking, which attempts to factor in and adapt to coming large-scale social and ecological shifts brought about by climate change.
Up Front: A New Twist in the DNA Revolution
Gene drives take genetic modification to the population level, with applications in health, conservation and agriculture, but there are also practical and ethical concerns.
Online Feature: Small Dams Create Bigger Problems
A global push for small hydropower projects to reduce greenhouse gas emissions may cause significant losses of biodiversity.
Online Feature: It’s not a jungle out there: rocking the ecological boat
If you were a pharmaceutical company searching for a natural plant compound to use as the basis for a new line of drugs, where would you begin?
Online Feature: Top ten species reveal process of discovery and further mysteries about life on earth
The top ten species of 2014 have been released by the International Institute for Species Exploration.
Online Feature: The 2017 budget has axed research to help Australia adapt to climate change Online Feature: Why do some graziers want to retain, not kill, dingoes?
A queue of logging trucks in Southeast Asia. Credit: Jeff Vincent
Feature: China’s growing footprint on the globe threatens to trample the natural world
China’s unprecedented development schemes are transforming the entire world, yet its leaders assure us these activities will be environmentally and socially sustainable. Should we trust the promises?
Photo: Carl Charter
Feature: ‘Rock stars of the sea’ put on amazing underwater show in South Australia
Flowing arms, skins that change colour in an instant, dance battles and petite males disguised as females to trick their rivals – the courting behaviour of the alien-like Giant Australian Cuttlefish would look more at home in a Star Wars night club.
Browse: Loch Ness Waters Sampled for Monster's DNA