WHY IT MATTERS

Biodiversity is the very fabric of the Earth. It is diversity in plants and animals that enables ecosystems to function. Yet, one eighth of the world’s species – more than a million – are threatened with extinction.

In Australia, we are renowned for our unique wildlife with more than 70% of our species (69% of mammals, 94% of amphibians, 46% of birds and 93% of reptiles)  found nowhere else on earth. But, we also have the highest rate of vertebrate mammal extinction in the world.

The greatest threats facing our plants and animals are changes in land and sea use; direct exploitation of organisms; climate change; pollution; and invasion of alien species.

Earthwatch is working with scientists and communities to understand the declines and how we might all take part in reversing them, so that we can live in balance with nature.

WHAT WE ARE DOING

Australia’s Vanishing Frogs

Frog populations have drastically declined globally and along the east coast of Australia, nine species of frog have totally disappeared in the past two decades. Working with researchers from University of Newcastle, we take teams into the rainforests of the Great Dividing Range to monitor the population health of several critically endangered species and watch others for signs of decline. Our goal is to unravel the mystery behind the decline of the forest frog communities.

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Revolutionising Turtle Health        

Green Sea turtles feed in the same area for their entire life, which are becoming threatened by increasing human activity. Working with James Cook University and participants, we are trialling an innovative field technique to evaluate turtle health. Comparisons are made between turtles in heavily human-impacted areas to pristine regions. By defining “areas of risk”, we aim to influence conservation management decisions to better protect this endangered species.

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Project Manta

Manta rays are globally threatened by overfishing, tourism and climate change. In partnership with Brother and Murdoch University this research program endeavours to take a whole of ecosystem approach. Research into the primary species (manta rays) is complimented by the concurrent collection of data on reef sharks and benthic rays, as well as reef habitat itself. Understanding the ecology of the manta ray will help build robust management strategies for this threatened species.

 

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WHAT YOU CAN DO