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Invasive species

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Honeybees pollinate a third of Australia’s food crops. Losing them due varroa might would cost the economy billions of dollars. David McClenaghan

Australian farmers face increasing threat of new diseases: report

A nationwide outbreak of foot and mouth disease; an invasion of a devastating wheat disease; our honeybees completely wiped out. These are just three possible disastrous scenarios facing Australia; they’re…
The steampunk insect. photochem_PA

In defence of the stink bug

Stink bug. As names go it is a PR disaster, each of the words alone hardly endearing, and, in combination, wholly off-putting. Which is a shame because stink bugs have a perky charm, a distinctive style…
A green anole, clinging to a palm frond with nicely silhouetted toepads. Yoel Stuart

Invasive species trigger rapid evolution for lizards in Florida

Invasive species colonize and spread widely in places where they are not normally found. Invasives often affect native species by eating them, out-competing them and introducing unfamiliar parasites and…
Canary grass is an invasive plant, but new varieties are still being developed for pasture. Stuart Hay

Feed or weed? New pastures are sowing problems for the future

Weeds cost Australian farmers around A$4 billion every year — and they are likely to do a similar amount of damage to the environment. In a new global survey published this week in Proceedings of the National…
Tiny creatures, big problems. Government of Alberta

Quagga mussel: how we might fight off the dam-busting invader

The UK’s environment agency has confirmed quagga mussels, a fresh or brackish water mollusc, have been found in a reservoir near London. Quagga were previously identified as one of the single greatest…
Rabbit numbers have been considerably reduced by the introduction of two viruses - Rabbit calicivirus and myxoma. CSIRO

Explainer: how ‘biocontrol’ fights invasive species

Australia’s “ferals” — invasive alien plants, pests and diseases — are the largest bioeconomic threats to Australian agriculture. They also harm our natural ecosystems and biodiversity. Some, such as mosquitoes…
A glimpse of wild brumbies in the Snowy Mountains. Michael Tristram/Flickr

The grim story of the Snowy Mountains' cannibal horses

When you think of horses in the Australia high country, you might imagine noble brumbies galloping out from snowgums across grassy peaks, tails and manes trailing like streamers. But on a recent trip to…
Left home for a vacation, and came back to this. ghwpix

The ‘plant that ate the South’ makes soil puke carbon

A plant called “the scourge of the South” has a new strike against it. Recent research shows that the impact of the invasive species in question, kudzu, is more troublesome than had been previously thought…
American wolves show us how important large predators are for conservation. Doug McLaughlin

What American wolves can teach us about Australian dingoes

We know that introduced predators such as foxes and cats are one of the greatest threats to Australia’s wildlife, but what is the best way to control them? Many Australian ecologists argue dingoes are…
Carp have spread throughout Australia’s waterways - but CSIRO is hoping to bring a new genetic weapon to bear on them. Kletr/Sutterstcok.com

Male-only gene trick could leave invasive fish species floundering

A genetic modification that creates male-only populations could give us a new weapon against invasive fish such as carp that plague our waterways. “Daughterless technology”, which works by removing females…
Dingoes offer a way to conserve Australia’s wildlife, for free. Arian Wallach

Australia should enlist dingoes to control invasive species

Introduced species pose one of the greatest threats to Australia’s fauna and flora, but expensive efforts to control them aren’t working. Instead of spending millions of dollars on culling, giving dingoes…
While native in Europe, gorse has become one of the world’s worst weeds, particularly in Australia and New Zealand. Flickr: orangebrompton

Wash and go for a weed-free Christmas holiday

As Christmas and summer holidays approach, many of us are packing our bags, ready to drive off on holidays to see families and friends. Those long car trips are often to coastal towns, national parks and…

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