UNSW Science postgraduate research students have helped found the Sydney Society for Conservation Biology and will launch a "Conservation Conversations" public seminar series at UNSW this week.

The Sydney group is a local chapter of the international, non-profit Society for Conservation Biology, which has more than 10,000 members worldwide.

“Our mission is to advance the science and practice of conserving the biological diversity of the greater Sydney region and beyond,” says society President, Oliver Manlik, a PhD student in the UNSW School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences.

“We offer local conservation projects, seminars and talks, a conservation policy group and volunteer research opportunities. The vision for the seminar series is for scientists, resource managers, conservation workers, students and members of the local community to meet and engage in conversations that will lead to better conservation of biodiversity.”

The first seminar, titled Genetics and Extinction, will be given by Emeritus Professor Richard Frankham of Macquarie University and the Australian Museum.

He will discuss how the risk of extinction could be underestimated and inappropriate recovery strategies implemented, if genetic factors are ignored in conservation management.

“We want to offer a fun and meaningful way to get involved in conservation activities at a local level. Projects offered or planned include bush regeneration, marine clean-ups, and establishment of a microchip database to track wildlife,” says Mr Manlik.

“We also hope to form a network across academic and research institutions, conservation practitioners, as well as the local community in the greater Sydney region.”

The board of directors of the new society include Mr Manlik, who studies dolphin genetics; Samantha Dawson, a UNSW PhD candidate studying wetland vegetation restoration as Vice-President; Sandra Vogel, a UNSW PhD candidate studying Little Penguins, as Treasurer; Claire Daniel, a UNSW PhD candidate studying dolphin genetics, as Events Manager; and Samira Schadler, a UNSW Masters student in the Australian Wetlands, Rivers and Landscapes Centre as Communications Manager.

What: Public seminar on Genetics and Extinction, by Professor Richard Frankham.

When: Friday, 22 November, 3-4 pm

Where:  UNSW Biosciences Building (D26), Biomed Theatre A (first floor)

Media contacts:

Oliver Manlik: 9385 2198, o.manlik@unsw.edu.au

UNSW Science media officer: Deborah Smith, 9385 7307, 0478 492 060, deborah.smith@unsw.edu.au