THE
ECOLOGICAL CASCADES LAB

 The University of Queensland 
School of Biological Sciences
Centre for Biodiversity & Conservation Science

(based in Brisbane, Australia)

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Wildlife

ECL News:

               🦘WildObs is happening! learn more here [link]... 

Dec 2022 - New ECL pub led by Zach in Ecology & Evolution on inferring predatory interactions [link]

New ECL pub led by Alex in Ecosphere on why arboreal wild cats are more threatened [link]

Nov 2022 New ECL pub in Science Advances on Asian megafauna extinctions [link]

       In the news: media coverage by Sydney Herald + a dozen others [link]

Oct 2022 - The ECL is back in Africa's Congo Basin rainforests to study wildlife seed dispersal [link]

  • Good luck Bastien and Matthew, see you back at UQ in January!

Sept 2022 - ECL hosts GBIF workshop in Chitwan, Nepal. Led by Drs Arjun Thapa

                        Attended by Calebe Mendes & CI Luskin, more info here [link]

 In the news: WildObs on Channel 9 News (watch Zach's interview here link) + in Cosmos Science (link)

Aug 2022 - ECL goes to Singapore & Malaysia to document the mortality of wild pigs from African Swine Fever

 In the news: WildObs is a featured project at UQ's Research & Innovation Week (link)

Welcome to the ECL MSc Ben Charnley [link]

July 2022 - ECL hosts the inaugural WildObs Summit at Lamington NP rainforest retreat (more info link)

ECL leads a $3M ARC LIEF bid to fund WildObs (decision out in Dec)

Welcome to the ECL Samantha Wong-Topp [link], Samuel Kusuma [link], & Nathan Travell [link]

June 2022 - ECL PhD student Zachary Amir on 🔥: (i) presentation at ATBC in Columbia

(ii) presentation at the International Statistical Ecology Conference in South Africa

(iii) funding for camera traps by Wild Idea, (iv) coauthored 2 pubs!

May 2022 - Welcome back to the ECL postdoc Dr Calebe Mendes! [link

     Thank you private donors for supporting the Congo Basin duiker GPS collaring project!

 

April 2022 New ECL pub in Ecology & Evolution on banded civet ecology and conservation [pdf link]

  

Feb 2022 Welcome to the ECL postdoc Dr Tom Bruce! [link]    Tom will lead WildObs.

Jan 2022 New ECL pub in J of Animal Ecology on palm civet conservation & zoonotic diseases [pdf link]

 

Dec 2021 Welcome to the ECL: UQ PhDs Ilyas Nursyamsi (link) & Sebastian Fester(link) ! 

UQ Honours: Sam Lee (link) & Chervil Ho (link) & MPhil Saurav Kumar (link) !

Nov 2021 - In the news: The Conversation covers how Borneo's ancient hunting traditions are changing [link]

Oct 2021 - APPLY: 2 postdocs with the ECL@UQ to establish a Wildlife Observatory! 

    • partnership with UQ Centre for Biodiversity and Conservation Science [link]

    • focus on providing camera trap data analysis and synthesis for Australia

APPLY: 3rd new postdoc opportunity with Drs Luskin and Prof David Wardle to study the impacts of wild boar recolonization in Singapore [link]

Sept 2021 New paper in Forests & People on Borneo's hunters [pdf link] & news by The Californian [link]

       • Collaboration with Dave Kurz & UC Berkeley profs Justin Brashares & Matthew Potts 

   New paper in BioScience on oil palm & deforestation [pdf linkwith news coverage in Mongabay [link]

       • Outcome from SNAPP working group in Santa Baraba with Kim Carlson & Robert Heilmayr

  New paper in Annual Review of Ecology, Evolution, & Systematics [pdf link]

       • Outcome from NTU-ForestGEO workshop & Prof David Wardle on Tropical Invasions 

   New paper in Animal Conservation on tenrec hunting in Madagascar [pdf link]

      Collaboration with BBF Prof Chris Golden at Harvard

August 2021 - ECL receives $33K grant from GBIF to support data mobilisation [link]

    • Adding camera trapping into global occurrence datasets with new ECL postdoc Dr Arjun Thrapa

July 2021 -    In the news: The New York Times investigates Sumatran forest conservation

      • references ECL work with WCS on tigers & deforestation [article & podcast link]

   In the news: African Swine Fever threatens conservation, a joint statement by FAO, IUCN, & OIE

     • Based on ECL research paper [link], with a new press release [link]

June 2021 - CI Luskin gives CForBio seminar - "Chinese Forest Biodiversity Monitoring Network" [link]

         • Large wildlife & conspecific negative density dependence

   + CI Luskin gives JCU-Cairns TESS seminar hosted by Bill Laurance [Watch the video link]

     • Creating an Australian collaborative camera trapping network to improve wildlife conservation

 

     + Luskin & Zach present at the Indonesia Council Open Conference [link] (Predators & hunting in Indonesia)

Welcome to the ECL winter interns: Adriana Santivanezolazo, Aishwarya Bhandari, Arata Honda, Callum Waite, Ella McAlister, Elliot Carr, Maria Belen Font, Moses Pillay, & Tylah Mills

May 2021 - $1.3M NASA grant on Congo's megafauna seed dispersers! 

        • Partnership with Prof Tom Smith & Elsa Ordway at UCLA Congo Basin Institute [link]

April 2021 - New paper in Nature Communications  on impacts of seed predators are compensatory, not additive, with major implications on the cascading impacts from defaunation [pdf link]

March 2021 - New pub in Proceeding Royal Society-B  on how megafauna alter tree diversity [link]

    • In the news: media coverage of PRSB paper in The Independent + others [link1] [link2]

Feb 2021 - New pub in Ecology LettersWhen do Janzen-Connell effects matter? [link]

      Welcome postdocs Dr Adia Sovie [link], Dr Dipanjan Nala [linkPhD student Bastien Dehaudt! [link]   
Jan 2021 - New pub in Conservation Letters: African Swine Fever threatens 11 Asian pigs [pdf link]

       In the news: media coverage by Mongabay + others [link]

       CI Luskin gives SCB Emerging Issues Seminar [Watch here link]     

Dec 2020 - New pub in Biological Conservation: outcomes of the SI-ForestGEO network [pdf link] 

Welcome ECL summer interns: Harsh Pahuja, Victor Yiqian Li, Emma Valette, Carolina Zulueta, Thaung Ret, Alexander Hendry, Lindsey Arnold, Gary Young, Bora Aska, Jeffrey Lau, Xiaohan Liu, Lin Gan, Jessica Morrison, Abigail Rose Natusch, Tamzin Barber, "Niel" Nguyen Tran

    Fellowship winners: Henri Decoeur, Samuel Lee Tham, Ashlea Dunn, & Ilyas Nursamsi

Nov 2020 - ECL awarded $430K grant(ARC DECRA to Matthew)

    •  title: "Ecological cascades in Queensland rainforests" + funding 2 PhD students - please apply [link]

 

October 2020Matthew gives the Smithsonian ForestGEO Seminar (watch link, passcode: gHFh$0a! ) 

June -September 2020 - Welcome postdocs Dr Calebe Mendes [link]Dr Therese Lamperty [link]

    • Welcome PhD student Zach Amir, MSc Francis Chicas & honours Courtney Mueller!

May 2020 - ECL awarded $500K grant for partnership w/ NParks-NTU & Prof David Wardle

    •  Study of wild boar recolonization in Singapore + welcome researcher Shane (Wen Xuan) Chiok! 

March 2020 - In the news: Matthew writes a Jakarta Post article on African Swine Fever [link]

2019 - New pub in J of Applied Ecology on how wildlife supports lianas over trees [link]

2018 - New pub in PNAS on global impacts of herbivores and plants (pdf link) & media coverage [link]

2017 - Two new pubs in Nature Communications... 

    • Sumatran tiger conservation [pdf link] + coverage on NYTimes & National Geographic [link]

    • Oil palm (food subsidies) to wildlife degrade forests [pdf link] +media National Geographic [link]

ECOLOGICAL CASCADES the secondary food web effects triggered by disturbances like hunting, predator loss, or deforestation

How is rainforest biodiversity generated, maintained and eroded?

Our mission  The ECL strives to understand the key mechanisms that structure food webs. Disturbances can alter important regulating mechanisms that keep ecosystems in a dynamic equilibrium. The loss of one species such an apex predator can cause food webs to disassemble and ecosystems to collapse. For example, in some places, the poaching of wolves or tigers eliminates predation control of herbivore populations and triggers cascading impacts on the vegetation. In other locations, the loss of predators produces negligible cascading impacts. 
The ECL wants to understand why
 
 Basic research on how food webs are governed has applied uses in conservation. For protected areas and parks to maintain high diversity over the long term, we must identify and protect the key mechanism structuring those ecosystems. Thus, while the ECL focuses on conducting fundamental research, our findings will play a crucial role in maintaining healthy plant and animal communities in the coming decades.

Apex predators are crucial to regulating the populations of large herbivores in some ecosystems. We camera trapped this tiger in Sumatra, which experienced the highest deforestation rates globally from 2000-2015. Our estimates of this critically endangered species population (618 tigers) and home range (180 km2) help guide Indonesia’s conservation program (Luskin et al. 2017a).

Our follow up work examines tigers' importance for maintaining healthy food webs. We do this by comparing the food web structure in a dozen forests in Thailand, Malaysia, and Indonesia, some which have lost tigers.

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Where we work

The Ecological Cascades Lab conducts wildlife sampling in Southeast Asia

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Matthew Luskin