UNSW will host the annual scientific meeting of the Australian Mammal Society next week. The conference, which runs from Monday July 8 to Wednesday July 11, will focus on the conservation of Australia’s mammals and research will be presented on a wide range of animals, including bats, rats, kangaroos, koalas, quolls, seals and dolphins.

“Australia has the worst record of mammal species loss in the world,” says conference co-organiser, Dr Mike Letnic, of the UNSW School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences.

“This is a fantastic opportunity for scientists, mangers and practitioners from universities, zoos, museums, government departments and industry to talk about how best to manage and conserve Australia’s remaining mammals.”

Research highlights include:

Hopping marsupials: Hopping is rare in mammals yet is the way the largest and fastest marsupials - kangaroos and wallabies – get around. Studies on the metabolisms of marsupials are leading to new ideas about the evolution of this mode of transport, with one possibility being that hopping arose in small, bounding tree-dwellers, such as possums.

Emeritus Professor Terry Dawson, UNSW, t.dawson@unsw.edu.au

Cane toad aversion therapy:  An aversion to live cane toads was induced in captive-bred northern quolls by feeding them dead cane toads containing a nausea-causing chemical. These toad-smart quolls survived longer when introduced into the wild. Deploying toad-aversion sausage baits ahead of a toad invasion may he help reduce the impact on quolls in the Kimberley.

Dr Jonathan Webb, UTS, Sydney, jonathan.webb@uts.edu.au

Other interesting papers:

  • The role of kangaroos and wallabies in mosquito-borne diseases in Sydney
  • Developing an acoustic library of native Australian mammals
  • Pouch switches and adoption in eastern grey kangaroos
  • Deaths in wild koala populations and incidence of skull injuries
  • Wildlife responses to the black rat invasion in Sydney Harbour National Park

Event details:

What: Australian Mammal Society 59th Scientific Meeting. Full speaker list available

When: July 8-July 10, 2013

Where: Biomedical Theatres, (map reference E27) UNSW

Media contacts:

Dr Mike Letnic, UNSW, m.letnic@unsw.edu.au | UNSW Science media: Deborah Smith, 9385 7307, 0478 492 060, deborah.smith@unsw.edu.au