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Author Topic: Recent enviro news & facts  (Read 3237 times)  Share 

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Bri MT

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Recent enviro news & facts
« on: February 13, 2019, 10:19:17 am »
Pretty self-explanatory, let's share news that relates to environmental science and if you come across an interesting fact feel free to share that too :)

I'm going to start with a fairly standard category of one to begin with, that I like to call "how is climate change making things unbalanced now "

From The Conversation Climate change is killing off Earth's little creatures    (12/02/19)


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Re: Recent enviro news & facts
« Reply #1 on: February 21, 2019, 04:55:53 pm »
On the 18th of February the minister for the environment officially changed the status of the Bramble Cay Melomys from endangered to extinct on the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act threatened species list. This change makes it the first mammal species to have officially become extinct as a result of climate change.

If you've heard of this species before then you might be slightly confused. A 2016 report failed to find any evidence of surviving individuals despite extensive surveys and therefore recommended that the species be listed as extinct under Queensland and Australian legislation, but remain as critically endangered under IUCN legislation due to the possibility of its existence on islands outside of Australia that had yet to be extensively surveyed. On the 20th of February the IUCN redlist was updated to also list the Bramble Cay Melomys as extinct.

A thorough survey effort involving 900 small mammal trap-nights, 60 camera trap-nights and two hours of active daytime searches produced no records of the species, confirming that the only known population of this rodent is now extinct. Anecdotal information obtained from a professional fisherman who visited Bramble Cay annually for the past ten years suggested that the last known sighting of the Bramble Cay melomys was made in late 2009.

During the August–September 2014 survey, we documented the cay’s physical environment, measured the extent of the herbaceous vegetation and gathered evidence of physical processes that may have impacted adversely on the Bramble Cay melomys. The key factor responsible for the extirpation of this population was almost certainly ocean inundation of the low-lying cay, very likely on multiple occasions, during the last decade, causing dramatic habitat loss and perhaps also direct mortality of individuals. Available information about sea-level rise and the increased frequency and intensity of weather events producing extreme high water levels and damaging storm surges in the Torres Strait region over this period point to human-induced climate change being the root cause of the loss of the Bramble Cay melomys.

Because exhaustive efforts have failed to record the Bramble Cay melomys at its only known location
and extensive surveys have not found it on any other Torres Strait or Great Barrier Reef island, the assertion that Australia has lost another mammal species can be made with considerable confidence. On this basis, the Bramble Cay melomys qualifies for listing as extinct in the wild under both state and federal legislation. Significantly, this probably represents the first recorded mammalian extinction due to anthropogenic climate change.
In conclusion, more than 25 years after Limpus et al. (1983) warned that the survival of the Bramble Cay melomys was in jeopardy, the population has been lost. It appears likely that numbers declined from around the late 1970s, with the species eventually disappearing from the island at some point between late 2009 and December 2011, an event that represented the extinction of the only known population.

According to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), which each year produces a 'red list' of threatened species, about 600 Australian species are in a vulnerable state. Another 100 species are endangered.

Senate estimates heard on Monday there are 176 species and ecological communities that require a recovery plan but do not yet have one.

The Bramble Cay melomys had a recovery plan drafted in 2008, when the species was not yet extinct. But according to Professor Woinarski, who was on the national committee that approved the plan, it was never implemented.

"That's part of the problem," he told Hack.

"Lot's of plans get written for recovery and threatened species but there's not necessarily the funding."
2019: B. Environment and Sustainability/B. Science @ ANU
2020: Just Vibing
2021: B. Paramedicine/B. Nursing @ ACU Canberra