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Coming Up...

Professor Michael Mahony

"Fire, flood and pestilence, but not a plague of frogs"

Please join us at 7:30 pm 
Thursday 7th October 2021



Michael is an Honorary Professor in the School of Environmental and Life Sciences at the University of Newcastle. He is a conservation biologist and his working life has mostly been spent at the University, having studied frogs professionally for over 30 years. Michael spent over a decade on the technical and scientific advisory committee for the Gondwana Rainforests of Australia World Heritage Area and the rainforest fauna is one of main interests, although his first work was on desert frogs. Michael will be presenting:

"Fire, flood and pestilence, but not a plague of frogs"

Understanding and mitigating the impact of intense and widespread wildfires on frogs is a challenging task. Michael will cover some of the efforts and strategies that his research group has taken since the Black Summer fires of 2019-20. He will place this work in the context of thirty years struggling to deal with an invasive pathogen and the gradual progression of climate warming and drought. 

Below: Philoria pughi, Michael Mahony

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Bhagya is a biologist and behavioural ecologist. She studied the calling behaviour and ecology of frogs in Sri Lanka and recently completed her PhD at La Trobe University where she investigated visual and acoustic communication by the Eastern Dwarf Tree Frog (Litoria fallax) which she presents in:

"Complexity of visual and vocal communication in the Eastern Dwarf Tree Frog (Litoria fallax) among genetic, ecological and social constraints"

Complex communication systems are widespread among animals. To fully understand their functional and evolutionary significance, we must examine each dimension of communication together with possible genetic, environmental and ecological constraints. With the extensive use of acoustic signals, anurans are considered excellent models for studying the evolution of such communication systems. However, there is a lack of detailed knowledge on the communication systems of most Australian anurans. The Eastern Dwarf Tree Frog, Litoria fallax, is a native Australian species with a broad distribution along the east coast, although has been introduced to Victoria. By undertaking extensive field work and playback studies, multiple levels of complexity in the species' communication behaviour (which is comprised of both acoustic and visual signals) were identified, with possible geographic variation. The talk will go further into how L. fallax can be a useful model system to disentangle the multiple factors affecting complex communication systems.

Danielle Wallace, Wildlife Ecologist and PhD student at the University of Melbourne talks about the influence of chytrid on breeding behaviour and other aspects of reproduction.

Dani includes how she will be exploring the effects of chytrid fungus on the calling characteristics, breeding colouration and male competitive behaviour of frogs.

Updated: Jul 5

Matt Clancy, an Ecologist and Wildlife Photographer with a passion for frogs, presenting "Monsoon, Mud and Mozzies: Modelling the distribution of a range restricted frog" about the Howard Springs Toadlet (Uperoleia daviesae) - the first frog to be recognised as threatened in the Northern Territory. Matt is speaking about his Honours research with University of Melbourne and Department of Environment, Parks and Water Security (NT) - how developing models of the distribution and habitat requirements of species is fundamental to conservation planning, especially for species with narrow habitat requirements or restricted distributions.

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