Conservation Bytes

A feed from Consercation Bytes, a site dedicated to highlighting, discussing and critiquing the science of conservation that has demonstrated measurable, positive effects for global biodiversity.


18 April 2018. Prioritising your academic tasks – The following is an abridged version of one of the chapters in my recent book, The Effective Scientist, regarding how to prioritise your tasks in academia. For a more complete treatise of the issue, access the full book here. How the hell do you balance all the requirements of an academic life in science? From […]

10 April 2018. My interview with Conservation Careers – The online job-search engine and careers magazine for conservation professionals — Conservation Careers — recently published an interview with me written by Mark Thomas. Mark said that he didn’t mind if I republished the article here. — As we walk through life we sometimes don’t know where our current path will take us. Will it […]

3 April 2018. Why populations can’t be saved by a single breeding pair – I published this last week on The Conversation, and now reproducing it here for readers. —   Two days ago, the last male northern white rhino (Ceratotherium simum cottoni) died. His passing leaves two surviving members of his subspecies: both females who are unable to bear calves. Even though it might not be quite […]

26 March 2018. Predicting sustainable shark harvests when stock assessments are lacking – I love it when a good collaboration bears fruit, and our latest paper is a good demonstration of that principle. It all started a few years ago with an ARC Linkage Project grant we received to examine how the whaler shark fishing industry in Australia might manage its stocks better. As I’m sure many are […]

22 March 2018. The Effective Scientist – What is an effective scientist? The more I have tried to answer this question, the more it has eluded me. Before I even venture an attempt, it is necessary to distinguish the more esoteric term ‘effective’ from the more pedestrian term ‘success’. Even ‘success’ can be defined and quantified in many different ways. Is the most successful […]

12 March 2018. Penguins cheated by ecosystem change – Thermal microhabitats are often uncoupled from above-ground air temperatures. A study focused on small frogs and lizards from the Philippines demonstrates that the structural complexity of tropical forests hosts a diversity of microhabitats that can reduce the exposure of many cold-blooded animals to anthropogenic climate warming.

7 March 2018. Cartoon guide to biodiversity loss XLVII – The next set of six biodiversity cartoons for 2018. See full stock of previous ‘Cartoon guide to biodiversity loss’ compendia here. —

28 February 2018. Our global system-of-systems – I’ve just read an excellent paper that succinctly, eloquently, and wisely summarised the current predicament of our highly interconnected, global, complex adaptive system (i.e., our environment). If you are new to the discussions around state shifts, hysteresis, tipping points, and system collapse, there might be a lot in the new paper by Philip Garnett of […]

22 February 2018. Offshore Energy & Marine Spatial Planning – I have the pleasure (and relief) of announcing a new book that’s nearly ready to buy, and I think many readers of might be interested in what it describes. I know it might be a bit premature to announce it, but given that we’ve just finished the last few details (e.g., and index) and […]

13 February 2018. Bring it back – Restoration of lost habitats and ecosystems hits all the right notes — conservation optimism, a can-do attitude, and the excitement of seeing biologically impoverished areas teem with life once more. The Strategic Plan of the Convention on Biological Diversity includes a target to restore at least 15% of degraded ecosystems. This is being enthusiastically taken […]