Arthur Rylah Institute, Seminar Summaries provide a brief overview of presentations made at scheduled seminar sessions at ARI on Mondays 1-2 pm. These seminars are free and also available via live online webinar – registration required. 

ARI Seminar schedule 2019

Summaries from recent ARI seminars

Maternal sex allocation: tales of the controlling mother, the changing climate and rainbow coloured sperm - Dr Amy Edwards.

29 April 2019

Amy shared some insights into the influences of sex ratio bias, especially in Tammar wallabies.

For more information:

The Echidna Phallus: A Four-Pronged Approach - Caleb Mcelrea

29 April 2019

Caleb took us on quite a unique journey through the echidna’s bizarre (to us) reproductive system. Echidna reproduction has been barely studied; Caleb’s research discovered that:

For more information:


Conservation benefits of managing island pests - Lachlan Francis

18 February 2019

Lachlan evaluated the consequences of cat management on Bruny Island, Tasmania. Expert opinions informed population models to understand how native species (plovers, shearwaters, pardalote, penguins and quolls) would be impacted by cat control. Field research showed that cat management would not change the rat population on the island. The eradication of cats poses a complex, high risk and expensive option in the Bruny Island context. In the context of investment to return, there are other islands where cat control benefits are similar but the risk and costs are expected to be lower. Lachlan also shared his experience working on Macquarie Island.

For more information, contact: Lachlan Francis


Flying-foxes in Victoria: Past, Present and Future - Rodney van der Ree (Urban Ecologist, Melbourne University)  

10th December 2018

Rodney delivered an engaging summary of the Grey Headed Flying Fox's (GHFF) history in Victoria which has expanded from a single permanent colony in Mallacoota in 1986 to more than 10 colonies across the state today.
Rod spoke of:

How many carp are there in Australia? - Jarod Lyon - ARI, DELWP

3rd December 2018

Jarod presented ARI’s work in estimating the biomass of carp for Australia, which is an important figure for the National Carp Control Plan.
Jarod highlighted the complexities in estimating how many carp are in each type of aquatic habitat (rivers, lakes, waterholes, estuaries, wetlands, etc.).

Jarod Loyn carp


Flagship waterways: long-term and large-scale commitment to waterway health in Victoria - Dr Amber Clarke- DELWP (Water and Catchments)

3rd December 2018

Amber presented on the Flagship Waterways approach to monitoring, evaluating and reporting on waterway restoration projects.

Amber Clarke waterways
Watershed Restoration in the Pacific North West - James Capurso  (Fisheries Biologist, US Department of Agriculture Forest Service, USA)

4th December 2018

Jim talked us through his department's approach to restoration of watersheds:
Passive recovery of watersheds cannot be relied on for improvements in our life time; active restoration is required

James Caurso 1 watershed
James Capurso 2 watershed


Decoupling the impacts on fisheries in the Lower Mekong Basin -Ian Cowx (University of Hull)

7 December 2018

Ian provided a masterclass on the challenges and future of inland fish in the Lower Mekong Basin.
Inland fish are a critical food resource for the Mekong Basin

Cowx Mekong



Lauren Johnson: Continuing the recovery of the Barred Galaxias - Learning by doing

26 October 2018
The Barred Galaxias Galaxias fuscus, is a small, non-migratory fish species with a limited distribution, and threatened in Victoria and nationally. Its main threats are predation by trout, drought, and loss through fires and isolation. Conservation actions have been implemented for 22 years including annual population monitoring, installing instream barriers for protection from predation, trout removal, fish translocations, captive maintenance after the 2009 fires, and a breeding program. Recent work assessed the effectiveness of the trout control strategy including factors that influence trout incursions and options for improvement.  This found there was a difference in the effectiveness of barrier types in keeping out trout; natural barriers were the most effective, and logs and weirs were able to keep trout out but not completely.  Distance from towns was found to be an important factor, with the likelihood of trout being present above a barrier reducing with each km from a town. The current trout control method was found to be effective, with regular surveys and early trout removal after detection important. Many of the learnings from this long-term conservation effort can be transferred to management of other threatened galaxiid species. Contact Lauren Johnson for more information.

ARI seminar Lauren Johnson


Brad Farmilio: Quantifying effectiveness of weed control in threatened Victorian grasslands

26 October 2018

Native grasslands have long been important ecologically (high flora diversity on a small-scale, and habitat for fauna) and culturally (providing food sources such as starch via tubers and protein via game e.g. kangaroos). Our grasslands have suffered a substantial decline, with <2% remaining in Vic. They are susceptible to weeds, which out- compete native plants, change fauna habitat and alter disturbance regimes. Weed management options are diverse and include herbicides, scalping, selective grazing, fire, hand pulling, vinegar and biological controls.  Surprisingly, the impact and effectiveness of most weed control actions aren't monitored, with area treated often the only type of reporting. This project determined how effective the commonly applied approach of weed control (using herbicides) was for grassland restoration. Flora surveys were conducted and annual spot spraying of herbicide (Glyphosate) targeted exotic perennial grasses. Monitoring began in 2014, with 40  sites (roadsides and rail reserves) surveyed, and then combinations of treated and untreated (control) sites monitored in subsequent years. There were reductions in weed cover when sites were treated with herbicides, however weeds were very difficult to eliminate and once treatment ceased, weed cover increased. In terms of native species richness, treated sites did not accumulate native species like the untreated sites, indicating the effects of three years of herbicides can reduce native plant richness. Brad emphasised the importance of having control sites to assist in interpretation of results, and highlighted how this work was one of the first to monitor the effectiveness of weed control in native grasslands. The results indicate that annual herbicide application should not be considered a universal remedy, and that there may be negative impacts associated with herbicide accumulation on native species richness. Annual spot spraying can reduce the threat of weeds, but asset response is delicate, and further investigation is required on how to eliminate weeds. Contact Brad Farmilo  for more information.

ARI Seminar Brad Farmilo


Jason Alexander: Talking to Deakin's ghost about water governance

26 October 2018

There have been significant changes in water resource policy and management since the time of Alfred Deakin. Deakin believed that the state needed to own and control water resources and limit vested interest influence in water management. Today, the once State-owned resource is largely effectively privatised through tradeable water rights. With average rainfall not truly reflecting a system where extremes of wet and dry are common, the social, political and environmental challenges in allocating water add to the management complexity. Historically, water policy reforms have followed drought events and are deeply divisive as they alter power relations and change access to resources. As we transit from a past of economic-centric water policy (focused on irrigation) to hydro-sustainability (which considers social and environmental water values), Jason emphasised the importance of engaging with the community, adaptive governance to manage climate change risks and strong reform foundations to ensure the responsibilities of agencies involved in water management are clear. Contact Jason Alexander for more information.


ARI Seminar schedule 2019




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