Raising the Bar: Animal Impacts

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Raising the Bar: Animal Impacts

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Join us for a drink as we bring USC's leading animal research to the Buderim Tavern. These free public lectures showcase how university research is improving people's lives. Hear from our experts about how noisy human neighbours are threatening the survival of native bird species, and how rescued shelter dogs are working to save Queensland's koalas.

For more information and to register, visit the events page.

Topic 1: Sex in the city: how human noise impacts animals’ lives

Noisy neighbours? Try being an urban-dwelling bird. Since the industrial revolution, humans have drastically altered the earth’s soundscape. For wildlife, this increase in noise – specifically the noise from air, ground and sea traffic, as well as industry – has presented a major challenge for survival and reproduction. USC's Dr Dominique Potvin will share her research on the effects of human-generated noise on birds, and how birds are adjusting to these new acoustic environments by changing their behaviours, physiology and even genetics.

Dr Potvin is a lecturer in Animal Ecology at USC’s Fraser Coast campus and specialises in the far-ranging effects of human impacts on animals, as well as the evolution of learned communication in wild bird populations.

Topic 2: Man's best (conservation) friend: using detection dogs to help koalas

How do you save shelter dogs and koalas at the same time? USC's Detection Dogs for Conservation team is made up of clever canines who  research and track Queensland's threatened koala population. The best conservation dogs have boundless energy and need lots of exercise, which means they're often not ideal pets. USC's Detection Dogs for Conversation team works with shelters to identify, rescue and train dogs with the right temperament for this innovative koala research.

A dog’s ability to smell is believed to be between 1,000 and 10,000 times better than humans, which means dogs can collect much better data than their human counterparts. USC's Dr Romane Cristescu will outline how the dogs work in the field to inform conservation management and improve our understanding of koala populations. She will also share how the community help help koalas – from citizen scientists to hand-on conservation projects.

Dr Cristescu is an ecologist and qualified wildlife veterinarian with a wide range of interests, including human/wildlife interactions and conflicts, threats to endangered species and developing new conservation methodologies that achieve results more accurately and efficiently.

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