Media & events

Media Releases

 Ecological Society of Australia Media Releases are posted on this page once their embargo period has passed.
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Media Releases

29 November 2019
Without ecologists at the policy table, new nature laws could lead to extinctions

“Ecologists have important data and expertise to inform the review of Australia’s nature laws so they can be more effective at protecting species and ecosystems,” says Dr April Reside from the University of Queensland.

29 November 2019
New research highlights the suppression of ecological and conservation science
It’s not just the media that needs freedom to report on important issues of public interest. Science suppression is keeping the media, public and even policymakers in the dark on topics ranging from bushfires to species extinctions, a new survey reveals. Now 600 scientists have endorsed a statement by the Ecological Society of Australia calling for governments, universities and industry to stop the censorship and suppression of science and scientists, which they say is harming nature and society and violating democratic principles.

28 November 2019
From quolls to emus: how the animals of the Tasmanian Midlands help guide conservation 

Ecologists gathering in Launceston this week are discussing how the animals of the Tasmanian Midlands can guide conservation priorities in the region. From the lack of data on Tasmanian birds, to the movement of quolls, and why there are no longer emus roaming here.

27 November 2019
Hairy crayfish; forest ghosts; Tarkine reflections; and more amazing nature images – ecology photo competition winners announced

Winning images from the annual Ecology in Action Photo Competition have been announced at the Ecological Society of Australia Conference in Launceston.

26 November 2019
Productive farms are critical to saving species and protecting biodiversity in Tasmania and beyond

Farmers helping to conserve Tasmanian midlands’ unique biodiversity; does money grow on trees? The business case for trees on farms; native insects could make like ‘busy bees’ and help pollinate crops; what have we learned from 10 years of habitat restoration in the Tasmanian midlands?

26 November 2019
Big knowledge needed to help answer big questions when managing Country

The First Australians helped plants branch out; fire season calendar a guide for better burns; Indigenous ecological knowledge helps shape better weather forecasts Kiwirrkurra people eat cats; save bilbies and the great desert skink; ‘Right way science’ the way for land management.

25 November 2019
Saving our Tassie Devils: new insights in the fight against contagious cancers
Closing in on a blood test diagnosis; how baits could be used to deliver vaccines; Devils fighting off their own tumours; infected populations growing up too fast; how devils protect threatened species from feral cats; and why the boys are to blame.

24 November 2019
Call for citizen scientists - ecologists gathering in Launceston want to know what nature is in your backyard

600 ecologists gathering in Launceston have called for locals’ help to snap local plants, fungi and animals – with one researcher particularly interested in hearing about local Honeyeaters. During the Ecological Society of Australia conference, delegates and the Launceston community are being invited to contribute to science and environmental decision-making by participating in a BioBlitz.

21 November 2019

From preventing bushfire to saving species, ecology offers practical solutions
Over 600 ecologists gathering to discuss how we address the big issues facing our planet at the Ecological Society of Australia Conference in Launceston, Tasmania 25 to 29

4 October 2019

Weather radars reign for info on flying animals
Scientists are using weather radars, originally developed to measure rainfall, to study the flight patterns of birds, bats and insects. However, a researcher claims we should use radars to measure flying animals more often.

8 May 2019
Australia should seize the opportunity to become a global conservation leader

One million plant and animal species are threatened with extinction, and the current laws and policies in place are not enough to conserve the natural world and the ecosystem services it provides. This is the warning from the latest Global Assessment of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES). The report also warns that the accelerating rate of species extinctions has serious implications for both the natural world and society as a whole.

8 April 2019
Native plants are taking back their homes

Native plant species are reclaiming their territory as they bounce back in habitats that we’ve disturbed. This is the heartening finding from University of New South Wales researcher, Ms Susan Everingham.

11 March 2019 
Accelerating land clearing is increasing bushfires and droughts and compounding Australia’s extinction crisis: 300 scientists call for immediate action

Large-scale land clearing is nullifying our carbon abatement efforts, placing native species at higher likelihood of extinction, and is actually increasing the risk of drought and bushfire, according to a statement released today by Australian scientists.

31 January 2019
The science is in: aerial cull of feral horses needed to reduce their impacts in the Australian Alps
A suite of research papers published today in a special issue of the journal Ecological Management & Restoration together show that feral horses degrade the alpine environment, and aerial culling is urgently needed to stop them driving already threatened species closer to extinction, and promote recovery of already degraded habitats.

29 November 2018
Evidence ignored – or wilfully dismissed – in environmental policy decisions
800 scientists have endorsed a statement by the Ecological Society of Australia (ESA) calling for more consideration of scientific knowledge in policy, legislation, and environmental decisions to prevent further declines in Australian species.

28 November 2018
Which species will inherit the Earth?
Life is likely to continue on Earth after humans have gone, with invasive species such as feral cats and cane toads set to have the upper hand. This is the view of Professor David Watson, an ecological researcher from Charles Sturt University’s Institute for Land, Water and Society. He presented his findings this week in Brisbane at the annual conference of the Ecological Society of Australia.

28 November 2018
Australian threatened bird populations drop by half in 30 years on average
On average, populations of Australia’s threatened birds have decreased by half since 1985, according to Australia’s new Threatened Bird Index. According to Lead researcher Dr Elisa Bayraktarov from the University of Queensland, some bird species have decreased by more and others by less, but that is the average trend across species for which data is available.

27 November 2018
Which witchetty grubs to grab: choose your insect dinner wisely

A new classification of witchetty grubs in Australia will help maintain traditional knowledge about edible insects, help tourists avoid eating poisonous species, and may help food security.

26 November 2018
Shark spotting from the sky supports surfer safety

A blimp on shark patrol is making Australian beaches safer for swimmers and surfers. University of Wollongong marine biology PhD student, Kye Adams, has successfully tested a five-metre long blimp mounted with a camera and tethered 120 metres above the sea to continuously scan for sharks, rays and other species.

22 November 2018
Birds shrinking, plants dying, some insects thriving due to climate change

Researchers have observed numerous examples of climate change already affecting Australian plants and animals, including plant extinctions, dieback in forests, changes to vegetation, changes in the size of birds, and shifts in reproduction behaviour.

27 September 2018
Magpies dominance set to continue: scientific study

Magpies are remarkably adaptable to pressure across wide areas of Australia. That is the finding from Dr Heather Neilly, an ecologist who has examined the impacts on native wildlife of different agricultural practices.

24 September 2018
Ten years of forest restoration in the Upwey Corridor, Dandenong Ranges
Over the past 10 years, Friends of Ferny Creek have led a successful ongoing restoration project in the Upwey Corridor. The Corridor connects the Ferntree Gully and Sherbrooke sections of the Dandenong Ranges National Park east of Melbourne.

7 August 2018
A burning issue: Forest fires make more fires

The most comprehensive analysis ever performed of fires in the Australian Alps has revealed that fire has made the forests more likely to burn. Frequent fire increases the risk of fire and of ecosystem collapse in mountain forests, which are highly vulnerable to climate change. 

22 May 2018
Students bee good, not waspish, in citizen science projects
Students aged seven to 17 have helped scientists better understand the urban habitats for bees, wasps and flies, while themselves gaining a better understanding of science. Scientists have published the resulting research paper in partnership with students from five schools throughout Australia.

28 March 2018
Could dingoes follow the Tasmanian tiger to extinction?
The persecution of dingoes has reduced their distribution and could accelerate the demise of this species, says Australia’s peak professional ecological body, the Ecological Society of Australia.

16 March 2018
Australia’s nature strategy needs a bolder, science-based vision
Representatives of Australia’s peak professional ecological body, the Ecological Society of Australia, are deeply concerned that the Federal Government’s draft strategy for nature 2018–2030 will not protect Australia’s biodiversity.

12 February 2018
Deakin study shows fire is dingo's friend but fox's foe
Fire and dingoes could be the dynamic duo that hold the key to helping stop destructive foxes in Victoria’s Big Desert region, according to new Deakin University research.

1 December 2017
Bringing nature back to cities
There are many benefits of bringing nature back into urban areas, but new research shows that besides using the right species for the local environment, their social acceptability, economic use and Indigenous significance need to be carefully considered.​

30 November 2017
Imminent collapse of mountain ash forest: choose paper or possum
Mountain ash forest in south-eastern Australia will almost certainly collapse in the next 50 years, according to an assessment to be presented today.

30 November 2017
The sounds of nature captured in world’s first national acoustic observatory
Ecologists and computer scientists have joined forces to map the sounds of the landscape. They are building an Australian acoustic observatory, consisting of an array of 400 microphones across the country to track changes to ecosystems.

29 November 2017
Stunning photos capture Australian nature in action
Colourful critters, magnificent marine life, resplendent reptiles and researchers at work are among the award-winning photos of Australian nature to be recognised today. The Ecological Society of Australia has announced its 2017 Photo Competition winners at its annual conference in the Hunter Valley.

27 November 2017
Dogs are now nature’s best friend, too
A new study has found that dogs can greatly aid conservation efforts in finding rare species by smelling out their poo.

27 November 2017
Here kitty! Cat tracker shows owners just how far their feline friends wander
Cat owners greatly underestimate the vast distances their moggies travel, according to results from a citizen science project that tracked more than 200 cats day and night.

5 September 2017
Governments fail to save the forests for the trees
Australia’s Regional Forest Agreements are failing the very values that they were designed to protect, according to Professor David Lindenmayer, one of Australia’s pre-eminent ecologists.

15 August 2017
Word games to help scientists save animals from extinction
A Canberra researcher is developing a way for scientists to keep up with the ever-increasing number of academic papers.

17 July 2017
Race to protect Australia’s migratory birds: Australian Ecology Research Award winner for 2017
​Australian research reveals that migratory bird numbers are declining with staggering severity and rapidity.

17 July 2017
Iconic Australian marsupial heading for extinction
Greater gliders are Australia's largest gliding marsupial but some groups are heading for extinction: with the species conservation status now declared ‘vulnerable’.

29 June 2017
If we want to save the environment, choose hope
Environmental scientists need to avoid being doomsayers to increase public trust in, and use of, their research, warned a renowned ecologist. 

8 June 2017
Thwop! What are whales really saying?
What motivates whales to make social sounds, and will it matter if the noise from increased shipping means they can’t hear each other? 

8 June 2017
The wild life of female promiscuity and the evolution of family living
A mystery of evolution – that is, why animals cooperate when cheating helps the fittest survive – is being addressed thanks to new wildlife funding that could explain the origins of family living.

8 June 2017
New research fund to illuminate how bright lights cause sleepless nights
City lights may make you feel safe, but they might also keep animals up at night.

8 June 2017
Superb: funds to find why female lyrebirds mimic predators
Male superb lyrebirds are renowned for their celebrated vocal mimicry, but researchers have recently found that female lyrebirds are spectacular mimics, too.

8 June 2017
Dolphins & devils, corals & cane toads: million-dollar endowment funds Australia’s newest ecologists
More than $1 million in funds for students were announced today by the Ecological Society of Australia. Professor Don Driscoll, President of the Ecological Society of Australia, says the fund supports post-graduate students conducting research in ecology, wildlife management, and conservation biology.

29 May 2017
Fore! Using golf balls to manage controlled-burning and save species
Researchers are working with park rangers and government managers to monitor the environment using golf balls.

29 March 2017
Cockroaches might beat a nuclear war, but not Black Saturday’s fires
While there may be some truth to the story that cockroaches can survive radiation following a nuclear explosion, scientists have found cockroaches can struggle to return to burnt areas following severe bushfires.

21 March 2017
Billions, not millions, needed to prevent further extinctions of threatened species
The Ecological Society of Australia (ESA) says the Federal Government’s new prospectus to save Australia’s threatened species is a positive initiative, but highlights the current Government is unwilling to invest what’s required to prevent extinctions of our native biodivesity.

9 March 2017
Ecological Society of Australia supports control of introduced rabbits
The Ecological Society of Australia supports this month’s release of a virus to control rabbits.

8 March 2017
Ecologists dismayed by loss of biodiversity identified in State of the Environment​
The Ecological Society of Australia (ESA) is dismayed that Australia’s biodiversity is continuing to decline, as identified by the latest State of the Environment report.​

1 March 2017
Over $1 million in funds proves that it's the ecology, stupid
The man behind more than $1 million in funds for students, announced today by the Ecological Society of Australia, says it’s rare for philanthropists to donate for the environment.

2 December 2016
The epic duck challenge: Sky cameras improve wildlife monitoring
​Researchers have created colonies of model birds to show that unmanned aerial vehicles provide a highly accurate and inexpensive way of monitoring wildlife populations.

1 December 2016
Birds’ wings growing to help escape the heat?
The wing length of Ringneck Parrots in the south-west of Western Australia has been increasing since the 1970s, coinciding with that region becoming hotter and drier. This is a possible rapid evolutionary response to changing climate.

29 November 2016
Stunning photos of Australian animals and plants
The Ecological Society of Australia has announced its 2016 Photo Competition winners at its annual conference in Fremantle. The stunning winning images are at http://www.ecolsoc.org.au/events-and-activities/esa-photocompetition

28 November 2016
Small native mammals disappearing from south-east Australia
​Four decades of research and monitoring of small native mammals in Victoria’s eastern Otway Ranges reveals ongoing declines in numbers, including some threatened species.

25 November 2016
Cane toads and surfing plankton scoop ecology prizes
The Ecological Society of Australia (ESA) has announced the recipients of awards totalling more than $40,000, recognising four of Australia’s brightest ecological minds for their contribution to understanding the environment.

12 April 2016
Ecological Society Open Letter to PM:Time to expand, not reduce, public-good ecological research in CSIRO
Australia's peak scientific body for ecology urged the Government to expand, not reduce ecological research capacity within CSIRO, in a letter to the Prime Minister and the Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science today.

1 April 2016
Pythons moving into Attics
Endangered Carpet Pythons are moving into people's homes in response to a lack of natural shelters.

4 December 2015
“Pop-up parks” in the city benefit wildlife and people
A “pop-up park” in the heart of Melbourne more than doubled the number of beneficial insects in an urban green space according to a Melbourne researcher.

4 December 2015
Fire Ignites Ecology Conference
With Australia already in the grip of another devastating fire season, landowners are being encouraged to join forces with scientists, fire agencies and land managers to have the best chance of fighting the bushfire risk, say a group of fire ecologists meeting in Adelaide this week.

3 December 2015
Crop production at risk if we rely on honeybees alone
Honeybees pollinate 75% of food crops but relying solely on honeybees could place crop production at risk warned a CSIRO scientist.

3 December 2015
Australia’s Best Ecology Photos of 2015 Revealed
Australia’s best photos of native plants, animals, landscapes and the scientists who work on them were revealed as a highlight of the major national ecological conference this week.

3 December 2015
Males without testicles live longer
Male quolls that lose their testicles can live twice as long as the rest of the male quoll population. Jaime Heiniger from the University of Queensland reported this unusual observation at the annual meeting of the Ecological Society of Australia this week.

2 December 2015
Poachers expected to use green drones to kill endangered wildlife 
Cheap drones, used by conservationists to survey endangered animals, risk being used by poachers to kill wildlife, according to a leading scientist.

30 November 2015
Science, not sex, sells!
Explicit pornographic images were circulated at the annual meeting of the Ecological Society of Australia, offending scientists on both sides of the Tasman.

30 November 2015
Ecological Society of Australia Annual Conference starts today
The annual conference of the Ecological Society of Australia begins today in Adelaide.  The conference brings together over 600 ecologists from around Australia to discuss the ecology, conservation and management of ecosystems in Australia and world-wide.

27 November 2015
Climate change is killing our trees
Climate change and extreme climatic events appear to be killing trees around the world. 

27 October  2015
Ocean warming is driving marine species polewards with potential for impacts on the economy, health and ecosystems
Over 100 marine species have been documented as shifting their geographic distribution pole-wards along the south-east coast of Australia.

20 October 2015
Climate change puts the humble seed at risk
Climate is already having impacts on where and when seeds germinate, and has the potential to become a major driver of change in Australia's natural ecosystems.

21 September 2015
Bee scientist wins Australian research prize
A CSIRO scientist who works on the bees and insects that pollinate food crops has won a prestigious national Australian research prize.

18 September 2015
Plants, Ants , And Fungi – Award Winning Three Way Partners
Research examining the fascinating partnership between plants, ants and fungi has won a major fundamental research award.  

4 September 2015
World Ecologists urge world leaders to take decisive action over Climate Change in Paris
World Ecologists urge the Parties meeting this December at the 21st Conference of the Parties in Paris to take decisive steps against climatic change

11 August 2015
2015 The Nature Conservancy Australia Applied Science Award winner
Melbourne University student, Michael Sivers, wins prestigious conservation award for his work on frogs in artificial wetlands.

3 August 2015
Can Barnacles unlock the secrets of MH370 and Turtle migration?While forensic scientists ponder the source of a barnacle-encrusted aeroplane wing thought to come from missing airline flight MH370, a PhD student is pioneering new research that could enable barnacles to reveal migration paths through the ocean.