Bear expert helps USC introduce zoology studies

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Bear expert helps USC introduce zoology studies

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Published on 3 April 2014

Han Harlow 2 220X140Internationally-renowned wildlife researcher Professor Hank Harlow has arrived at the University of the Sunshine Coast to help USC develop a new zoology major and boost its animal ecology courses.

The Professor of Zoology and Physiology from the University of Wyoming has conducted important studies on the influence of climate change on the thermoregulatory behaviour of various vertebrate species.

He has been Director of the AMK Research Station in Grand Teton National Park for 20 years.

Professor Harlow will work with academics, students, researchers and external partners on numerous projects this semester.

He will also lead USC’s fledgling research project on Sun Bears in the Asia-Pacific region. Sun Bears are the world’s smallest and least-studied bear species, classified as vulnerable due to declining numbers in the wild.

The Sun Bear research project started at the University in 2013, in collaboration with the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre, Alma Park Zoo in Brisbane and non-government conservation organisation Free The Bears.

Professor Harlow will assist USC researchers on campus at Sippy Downs and in field work in Borneo. The project will extend to Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar.

USC Pro Vice-Chancellor (International and Quality) Professor Robert Elliot said Professor Harlow’s acclaimed research and teaching expertise would be of immense value to USC in curriculum development and its joint bear research with international governments and organisations.

Professor Elliot said the visiting academic would mentor USC students, provide advice on student internships and collaborate on other research ideas.

“Professor Harlow will also present a public lecture series on his scientific work in Greater Yellowstone National Park, ranging from the impact of climate change on large mammals to predator-prey relationships,” Professor Elliot said.

“He will help advance USC’s reputation in the international research community as it seeks to increase its contribution to important conservation and sustainability issues in the Australia-Pacific region.”

Professor Harlow’s first visit to Australia, which ends on 23 June, is funded by USC, an Australian Government Endeavour Executive Fellowship and the Australian-American Fulbright Commission under its senior specialist program.

USC and the University of Wyoming have had a student exchange agreement in place for 12 years. In 2012, both institutions began a joint social science research project focused on climate change in Iconic National Parks.

— Julie Schomberg

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