Dbytes #121 (9 October 2013)

Dbytes #121 (9 October 2013)
Info & news for members and associates of the Environmental Decision Group

“September 2013 has been Australia’s warmest on record.”
Bureau of Meteorology (see item 1)

General News

1. September 2013 (and 2013 in general) is a record breaker
2. Biodiversity protection prioritisation: a 25-year review
3. Climate change belief is a question of trust
4. Who’s Afraid of Peer Review? (little or no scrutiny at many open-access journals)
5. Maximise your use of social media

EDG News
(more details on these items follows general news)

Canberra: Laura Rayner asks: Are protected areas maintaining bird diversity?
Perth: Leonie Valentine on the loss of Australian digging mammals
Melbourne: EDG researchers contribute to Hunter and Central Coast Regional Environmental Management Strategy
Brisbane: James, Nathalie and Tak write on cost-effective conservation under climate change

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General News

1. September 2013 (and 2013 in general) is a record breaker

Be in no doubt, as a new government takes the helm, climate change is real and looming. And, according to the Bureau of Meteorology, September (the month of the election), has seen 37 maximum and 23 minimum early-season temperature records broken. The BOM has put out a special report itemising them all. The report also points out that 2013 has been a record-breaking year. It points out that 2013 has seen:
-Australia’s warmest month on record (January)
-Australia’s warmest September on record
-Australia’s largest positive monthly anomaly on record (September)
-Australia’s warmest summer on record (December 2012 to February 2013)
-Australia’s warmest January to September period on record
-Australia’s warmest 12-month period on record (broken twice, for the periods ending August and September)
-Indeed, Australia’s warmest period on record for all periods 1 to 18 months long ending September 2013
Two significant daily maximum temperature records were also set this year:
-Australia’s hottest summer day on record (7 January)
-Australia’s warmest winter day on record (31 August)

http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/current/statements/scs46.pdf

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2. Biodiversity protection prioritisation: a 25-year review

There are insufficient resources available globally, nationally and in many regions, to conserve all species, habitats and ecosystems. Approaches to prioritisation have evolved during the past 25 years as researchers from several disciplines, including biology, ecology, decision sciences, mathematics and economics, have sought ways to achieve greater output from the resources available for biodiversity conservation. This review surveys the literature and groups prioritisation approaches into the following four categories: reserves and reserve selection, prescriptive costed biodiversity prioritisation, ranked costed biodiversity projects and contracted costed conservation actions. A concluding section considers the limitations of current prioritisation approaches and points to areas for further development.
Ref: Ross Cullen (2012). Wildlife Research 40(2) 108-116.

http://www.publish.csiro.au/?paper=WR12065

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3. Climate change belief is a question of trust
The Drum, By Margaret Boulos
“Those who don’t accept the science on climate change aren’t “dumb” or “misinformed” – they are just basing their logic on a form of trust that the scientific community doesn’t offer.”
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-09-26/boulos-climate-change-belief-is-a-question-of-trust/4982486

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4. Who’s Afraid of Peer Review? (little or no scrutiny at many open-access journals)
[Recommended by Don Driscoll]

Who’s Afraid of Peer Review? By John Bohannon
A spoof paper concocted by Science reveals little or no scrutiny at many open-access journals.
On 4 July, good news arrived in the inbox of Ocorrafoo Cobange, a biologist at the Wassee Institute of Medicine in Asmara. It was the official letter of acceptance for a paper he had submitted 2 months earlier to the Journal of Natural Pharmaceuticals, describing the anticancer properties of a chemical that Cobange had extracted from a lichen.
In fact, it should have been promptly rejected. Any reviewer with more than a high-school knowledge of chemistry and the ability to understand a basic data plot should have spotted the paper’s short-comings immediately. Its experiments are so hopelessly flawed that the results are meaningless

http://www.sciencemag.org/content/342/6154/60.full

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5. Maximise your use of social media

Science Media Space is for scientists to learn how to maximise their use of social media. The course delivers 10 modules over 3 weeks, showing scientists how they can use a range of social media tools and practices more effectively to maximise their interactions with the broader public. We will be holding online social media training for Australian and overseas scientists in late October (28 Oct – 15 Nov). And there will also be a pre-festive December course (2- 20 December).

Course modules address topics such as why social media is important, how to write good tweets, Facebook posts and blogs, how to overcome bloggers’ block, guidelines for social media interaction and how to create the ultimate online profile. Scientists can study from home, the office or the lab and activities are completed in our dedicated forum. Daily feedback on modules and activities will be given by us at Bridge8 and Econnect Communication.

http://sciencemediaspace.com.au/

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EDG News

Canberra: Laura Rayner asks: Are protected areas maintaining bird diversity?
Here, we present an empirical evaluation of protected-area effectiveness using long-term measures of a vulnerable assemblage of species. We compare forest and woodland bird diversity in the Australian Capital Territory over 11 yr on protected and unprotected areas located in temperate eucalypt woodland and matched by key habitat attributes. We found that protected areas were effective in maintaining woody vegetation cover in the study region, but were less effective in the protection of the target bird species assemblage.
Rayner, L., Lindenmayer, D.B., Wood, J.T., Gibbons, P., and Manning, A.D. (2013). Are protected areas maintaining biodiversity? Ecography, doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0587.2013.00388.x.

Perth: Leonie Valentine on the loss of Australian digging mammals
Leonie Valentine and collaborators question whether the loss of Australian digging mammals is contributing to a deterioration in ecosystem function.
Reference: Fleming, PA, Anderson, A, Prendergast, AS, Bretz, MR, Valentine, LE and Hardy, GEStJ (in press) Is the loss of Australian digging mammals contributing to a deterioration in ecosystem function? Mammal Review.
http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/mam.12014/abstract
Leonie is also presenting on the Ecosystem Services of Australia’s Digging Mammals at Deakin University on Friday 11th October
http://cie-deakin.com/seminars2013/

Melbourne: EDG researchers contribute to Hunter and Central Coast Regional Environmental Management Strategy
Working with the Landscapes and Policy (LaP) Hub, NERP ED researchers from RMIT and the University of Melbourne have contributed to a seminar on the Hunter and Central Coast Regional Environmental Management Strategy. Several fact sheets on the presentations are now available at the LaP website http://www.nerplandscapes.edu.au/publication/lower-hunter-sustainable-regional-development-information-sheets
Amy Whitehead and Heini Kujala (University of Melbourne)
Biodiversity Assessment fact sheet
http://www.nerplandscapes.edu.au/system/files/ED%20-%20Biodiversity%20Assessment%20-%20Information%20Sheet.pdf
Christopher Ives and Cathy Oke (RMIT)
Planning for Green Open Spaces fact sheet
http://www.nerplandscapes.edu.au/system/files/ED%20-%20Open%20Space%20-%20Information%20Sheet.pdf   

Brisbane: James, Nathalie and Tak write on cost-effective conservation under climate change
An editorial on The Conversation
“As the dust settles on the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report on the science of climate change, the obvious question is: what do we do next?

Our research, published in Nature Climate Change in September, uses a new approach to map which parts of the world are most and least vulnerable to climate change – one of the key areas being examined in the next IPCC report on climate impacts, adaptation and vulnerability, due out in March next year.”
https://theconversation.com/adapt-or-die-where-in-the-world-we-should-start-on-cost-effective-conservation-18540

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About Dbytes
Dbytes is the eNewsletter of the Environmental Decisions Group. If you have any contributions to Dbytes (ie, opportunities and resources that you think might think be of value to other Dbyte readers) please send them to David Salt (David.Salt@anu.edu.au). Please keep them short and provide a link for more info. Also, email David if you want to unsubscribe (or subscribe someone else). While Dbytes is primarily aimed at members of the EDG, anyone is welcome to receive it.

About EDG
The Environmental Decision Group (EDG) is a network of conservation researchers working on the science of effective decision making to better conserve biodiversity. Our members are largely based at the University of Queensland, the Australian National University, the University of Melbourne, the University of Western Australia, RMIT and CSIRO. The EDG is jointly funded by the Australian Government’s National Environmental Research Program (NERP) and the Australian Research Council’s Centre of Excellence program (CEED).

CEED: http://ceed.edu.au/
NERP ED: http://www.nerpdecisions.edu.au/
EDG: http://www.edg.org.au/

EDG major events: http://www.edg.org.au/events.html
Decision Point: http://www.decision-point.com.au/

 

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