26 Works

Rates of dispersal of cane toads during their global invasion

Richard Shine, Ross Alford, Ryan Blennerhasset, Gregory Brown, Jayna DeVore, Simon Ducatez, Patrick Finnerty, Matthew Greenlees, Shannon Kaiser, Samantha McCann, Lachlan Pettit, Ligia Pizzatto, Lin Schwarzkopf, Georgia Ward-Fear & Benjamin Phillips
Invasions often accelerate through time, as dispersal-enhancing traits accumulate at the expanding range edge. How does the dispersal behaviour of individual organisms shift to increase rates of population spread? We collate data from 44 radio-tracking studies (in total, of 650 animals) of cane toads (Rhinella marina) to quantify distances moved per day, and the frequency of displacement in their native range (French Guiana) and two invaded areas (Hawai’i and Australia). Here we show that toads...

Taxonomic revision reveals potential impacts of Black Summer megafires on a cryptic species

Chris Jolly, Harry Moore, Mitchell Cowan, Teigan Cremona, Judy Dunlop, Sarah Legge, Grant Linley, Vivianna Miritis, John Woinarski & Dale Nimmo
Context: Sound taxonomy is the cornerstone of biodiversity conservation. Without a fundamental understanding of species delimitations, as well as their distributions and ecological requirements, our ability to conserve them is drastically impeded. Cryptic species – two or more distinct species currently classified as a single species – present a significant challenge to biodiversity conservation. How do we assess the conservation status and address potential drivers of extinction if we are unaware of a species’ existence?...

Host genetics, phenotype and geography structure the microbiome of a foundational seaweed

Georgina Wood, Georgina Wood, Peter Steinberg, Alexandra Campbell, Adriana Verges, Melinda Coleman & Ezequiel Marzinelli
Interactions between hosts and their microbiota are critical to the functioning and resilience of eukaryotic macro-organisms. Critically, for hosts that play foundational roles in communities, understanding what drives these interactions is essential for informing restoration and conservation of entire ecosystems. Here, we investigated the relative influence of host traits and the surrounding environment on microbial communities associated with the foundational seaweed Phyllospora comosa. We collected data on 16 morphological and functional phenotypic traits, host genetics...

Different genes are recruited during convergent evolution of pregnancy and the placenta

Charles Foster, James Van Dyke, Michael Thompson, Nicholas Smith, Colin Simpfendorfer, Christopher Murphy & Camilla Whittington
The repeated evolution of the same traits in distantly related groups (convergent evolution) raises a key question in evolutionary biology: do the same genes underpin convergent phenotypes? Here, we explore one such trait, viviparity (live birth), which, qualitative studies suggest, may indeed have evolved via genetic convergence. There are 150 independent origins of live birth in vertebrates, providing a uniquely powerful system to test the mechanisms underpinning convergence in morphology, physiology, and/or gene recruitment during...

Future-proofing the koala: synergizing genomic and environmental data for effective species management

Matthew Lott, Belinda Wright, Linda Neaves, Greta Frankham, Siobhan Dennison, Mark Eldridge, Sally Potter, David Alquezar-Planas, Carolyn Hogg, Katherine Belov & Rebecca Johnson
Climatic and evolutionary processes are inextricably linked to conservation. Avoiding extinction in rapidly changing environments often depends upon a species’ capacity to adapt in the face of extreme selective pressures. Here, we employed exon capture and high-throughput next-generation sequencing to investigate the mechanisms underlying population structure and adaptive genetic variation in the koala (Phascolarctos cinereus), an iconic Australian marsupial that represents a unique conservation challenge because it is not uniformly threatened across its range. An...

Restoring faith in conservation action: maintaining wild genetic diversity through the Tasmanian devil insurance program

Elspeth McLennan, Katherine Farquharson, Yuanyuan Cheng, Lauren Alexander, Samantha Fox, Andrew Lee, Katherine Belov & Carolyn Hogg
Conservation breeding programs aim to maintain 90% wild genetic diversity, but rarely assess functional diversity. Here, we compare both genome-wide and functional diversity (in over 500 genes) of Tasmanian devils (Sarcophilus harrisii) within the insurance metapopulation and across the species’ range (64,519 km2). Populations have declined by 80% since 1996 due to a contagious cancer, devil facial tumour disease (DFTD). However, predicted local extinctions have not occurred. Recent suggestions of selection for “resistance” alleles in...

Richness and abundance of both butterflies and floral resources in residential gardens across southwestern Melbourne, Australia’s greater metropolitan area

Jessica Kurylo, Karl Evans, Kirsten Parris, Nicholas Williams & Caragh Threlfall
Wildlife gardening is a popular activity undertaken within residential areas. It is broadly promoted as a means of encouraging residents to make their gardens more ‘wildlife friendly’. While theory and anecdotal evidence suggest these schemes should be effective, quantitative evaluation of wildlife gardening practices and programs is lacking across most taxa they target. Our overall objective in collecting this data was to determine if there was a difference in butterfly richness or abundance between gardens...

Phosphorus supply increases nitrogen transformation rates and retention in soil: a global meta-analysis

Ruzhen Wang, Bahareh Bicharanloo, Enqing Hou & Yong Jiang
Interactions between nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) are important for plant growth and ecosystem carbon (C) sequestration. While effects of N supply on P dynamics have been much studied, much less is known about the opposite (P-effect on N). We conducted a meta-analysis by compiling a total of 1734 individual experimental observations from 116 peer-reviewed publications to assess P-addition effects on soil N dynamics. Globally, P additions increased the soil total N (TN) pool, potentially...

Counting the bodies: estimating the numbers and spatial variation of Australian reptiles, birds and mammals killed by two invasive mesopredators

Alyson Stobo-Wilson, Brett Murphy, Sarah Legge, Hernan Caceres-Escobar, David Chapple, Heather Crawford, Stuart Dawson, Chris Dickman, Tim Doherty, Patricia Fleming, Stephen Garnett, Matthew Gentle, Thomas Newsome, Russell Palmer, Matthew Rees, Euan Ritchie, James Speed, John-Michael Stuart, Andres Suarez-Castro, Eilysh Thompson, Ayesha Tulloch, Jeff Turpin & John Woinarski
Aim: Introduced predators negatively impact biodiversity globally, with insular fauna often most severely affected. Here, we assess spatial variation in the number of terrestrial vertebrates (excluding amphibians) killed by two mammalian mesopredators introduced to Australia, the red fox (Vulpes vulpes) and feral cat (Felis catus). We aim to identify prey groups that suffer especially high rates of predation, and regions where losses to foxes and/or cats are most substantial. Location: Australia Methods: We draw information...

Country specific extinction-risk footprint details

Amanda Irwin

Country interaction matrix for territorial footprints

Amanda Irwin

Patch quality and habitat fragmentation shape the foraging patterns of a specialist folivore

Mathew Crowther, Adrian Rus, Valentina Mella, Mark Krockenberger, Jasmine Lindsay, Ben Moore & Clare McArthur
Research on use of foraging patches has focused on why herbivores visit or quit patches, yet little is known about visits to patches over time. Food quality, as reflected by higher nutritional quality and lower plant defences, and physical patch characteristics, which offer protection from predators and weather, affect patch use and hence should influence their revisitation. Due to the potentially high costs of moving between patches, fragmented habitats are predicted to complicate foraging decisions...

Phylogenetic analysis of policistronic amino-acid sequences encoded by 116 flavivirus genomes

Lars Jermiin, Vivek Jayaswal & John Robinson
Recently, Genome Biology and Evolution (11:3341-3352) published three statistical tests for testing whether alignments of sequence data violate the phylogenetic assumption of evolution under homogeneous conditions. The tests extend the matched-pairs tests of symmetry, marginal symmetry, and internal symmetry for pairs of aligned homologous sequences to the case where a whole alignment is considered. Here we reveal that the new tests are misleading. We explain why this is so, reveal how the tests of whole...

Endocrine disruption from plastic pollution and warming interact to increase the energetic cost of growth in a fish

Frank Seebacher, Nicholas Wu & Rubin Alexander
Energetic cost of growth determines how much food-derived energy is needed to produce a given amount of new biomass, and thereby influences energy transduction between trophic levels. Growth and development are regulated by hormones and are therefore sensitive to changes in temperature and environmental endocrine disruption. Here we show that the endocrine disruptor bisphenol A at an environmentally relevant concentration (BPA; 10 µg l⁻¹) decreased fish (Danio rerio) size at 30 oC water temperature. Under...

Data for Rates of warming impact oxidative stress in zebrafish (Danio rerio)

Frank Seebacher, Isabella Loughland, Giggi Y. Lau & Jordan Jolly
Potentially negative effects of thermal variation on physiological functions may be modulated by compensatory responses, but their efficacy depends on the timescale of phenotypic adjustment relative to the rate of temperature change. Increasing temperatures in particular can affect mitochondrial bioenergetics and rates of reactive oxygen species (ROS) production. Our aim was to test whether different rates of temperature increase impact mitochondrial bioenergetics and modulate oxidative stress. We exposed zebrafish (Danio rerio) to warming from 20...

Bait uptake by scavengers in tropical waterbodies

Richard Shine, Abhilasha Aiyer, Tina Bell, Ruchira Somaweera, Miles Bruny & Georgia Ward-Fear
In tropical Australia, conditioned taste aversion can buffer vulnerable native predators from the invasion of a toxic prey species (cane toads, Rhinella marina). Thus, we need to develop methods to deploy aversion-inducing baits in the field, in ways that maximize uptake by vulnerable species (but not other taxa). We constructed and field-tested baiting devices, in situ with wild animals. Apparatus were set next to waterbodies and baited concurrently at multiple locations (over water, water’s edge...

Transcript- and annotation-guided genome assembly of the European starling

Katarina Stuart, Richard Edwards, Yuanyuan Cheng, Wes Warren, Dave Burt, William Sherwin, Natalie Hofmeister, Scott Werner, Gregory Ball, Melissa Bateson, Matthew Brandley, Katherine Buchanan, Phillip Cassey, David Clayton, Tim De Meyer, Simone Meddle & Lee Rollins
The European starling, Sturnus vulgaris, is an ecologically significant, globally invasive avian species that is also suffering from a major decline in its native range. Here, we present the genome assembly and long-read transcriptome of an Australian-sourced European starling (S. vulgaris vAU), and a second North American genome (S. vulgaris vNA), as complementary reference genomes for population genetic and evolutionary characterisation. S. vulgaris vAU combined 10x Genomics linked-reads, low-coverage Nanopore sequencing, and PacBio Iso-Seq full-length...

The HINTS examination and STANDING algorithm in acute vestibular syndrome involving frontline point-of-care emergency physicians

Millie Nakatsuka & Emma Molloy
This systematic review and meta-analysis aims to evaluate whether point-of-care emergency physicians, without special equipment, can perform the HINTS examination or STANDING algorithm to differentiate between central and non-central vertigo in acute vestibular syndrome with diagnostic accuracy and reliability comparable to more specialized physicians (neuro-ophthalmologists and neuro-otologists). This dataset contains the findings from the five studies that we included in the qualitative synthesis, including previously unpublished data. The search strategy for MEDLINE and Embase has...

QDataSet: Quantum Datasets for Machine Learning

Christopher Ferrie, Elija Perrier, Akram Youssry & Dacheng Tao

Belowground ecosystem engineers enhance biodiversity and function in a polluted ecosystem

Ana Bugnot, Paul Gribben, Wayne O'Connor, Katherine Erickson, Ross Coleman & Katherine Dafforn
Many important ecosystem functions are underpinned by belowground biodiversity and processes. Marine sediments, one of the most abundant habitats on earth, are essential to the mineralisation of organic matter. However, they are increasingly polluted by urban activities leading to the loss of biodiversity and the functions they provide. While traditional sediment remediation strategies are focussed on microbial and engineering solutions, we propose that the reintroduction of belowground ecosystem engineers (bioturbators) is important to rehabilitate polluted...

The global distribution of known and undiscovered ant biodiversity

Jamie Kass, Benoit Guénard, Kenneth Dudley, Clinton Jenkins, Fumika Azuma, Brian Fisher, Catherine Parr, Heloise Gibb, John Longino, Philip Ward, Anne Chao, David Lubertazzi, Michael Weiser, Walter Jetz, Robert Guralnick, Rumsaïs Blatrix, James Des Lauriers, David Donoso, Christos Georgiadis, Kiko Gomez, Peter Hawkes, Robert Johnson, John Lattke, Joe MacGown, William Mackay … & Evan Economo
Invertebrates constitute the majority of animal species and are critical for ecosystem functioning and services. Nonetheless, global invertebrate biodiversity patterns and their congruences with vertebrates remain largely unknown. We resolve the first high-resolution (~20-km) global diversity map for a major invertebrate clade, ants, using biodiversity informatics, range modeling, and machine learning to synthesize existing knowledge and predict the distribution of undiscovered diversity. We find that ants and different vertebrate groups have distinct features in their...

Toxin cues affect cannibalism responses of cane toad tadpoles

Michael Crossland, Richard Shine & Jayna DeVore
In many species cannibalism is uncommon and involves non-selective consumption of conspecifics as well as heterospecifics. However, within their invasive Australian range cane toad larvae (Rhinella marina) specifically target and voraciously consume the eggs and hatchlings of conspecifics, often extirpating entire clutches. In contrast, toad larvae rarely consume the eggs and hatchlings of native frogs. Here, we use laboratory studies to demonstrate that this selective consumption is triggered by species-specific chemical cues: maternally-invested bufadienolide toxins...

Data from: Variation in red fox Vulpes vulpes diet in five continents

Irene Castañeda, Tim S. Doherty, Patricia A. Fleming, Alyson M. Stobo-Wilson, John C. Z. Woinarski & Thomas M. Newsome
Understanding variation in the diet of widely distributed species can help us to predict how they respond to future environmental and anthropogenic changes. We studied the diet of the red fox Vulpes vulpes, one of the world’s most widely distributed carnivores. We compiled dietary data from 217 studies at 276 locations in five continents to assess how fox diet composition varied according to geographic location, climate, anthropogenic impact and sampling method. The diet of foxes...

Recent reconfiguration of an ancient developmental gene regulatory network in Heliocidaris Sea Urchins

Phillip Davidson, Haobing Guo, Abdull Massri, Jane Swart, Allison Edgar, Haobing Guo, Hannah Devens, Alejandro Berrio, Lingyu Wang, Demian Koop, Paula Cisternas, He Zhang, Yaloei Zhang, Maria Byrne, Guangyi Fan & Gregory Wray
Changes in developmental gene regulatory networks (dGRNs) underlie much of the diversity of life, but the evolutionary mechanisms that operate on interactions with these networks remain poorly understood. Closely related species with extreme phenotypic divergence provide a valuable window into the genetic and molecular basis for changes in dGRNs and their relationship to adaptive changes in organismal traits. Here we analyze genomes, epigenomes, and transcriptomes during early development in two sea urchin species in the...

Thermal tolerance of Arbacia lixula

Shawna Foo
As the ocean warms, the thermal tolerance of marine invertebrates is key to determining their distributional change, where acclimation to low pH may impact the thermal range of optimal development. We compared thermal tolerance of progeny from a low pH-acclimated sea urchin (Arbacia lixula) population from the CO2 vents of Ischia (Italy), and a nearby population living at ambient pH. The percentage of normally developing gastrulae and two-armed larvae were determined across 10 temperatures representing...

Registration Year

  • 2022

Resource Types

  • Dataset


  • University of Sydney
  • Macquarie University
  • University of Queensland
  • University of Melbourne
  • UNSW Sydney
  • Charles Darwin University
  • Murdoch University
  • Australian National University
  • La Trobe University
  • Deakin University