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.


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 […]

6 February 2018. Throwing the nuclear baby out with the fossil-fuel bathwater – A really important paper was just published in Science Advances by Elizabeth Anderson & colleagues. The team’s paper, Fragmentation of Andes-to-Amazon connectivity by hydropower dams, pretty much highlights what many pragmatic environmentalists have been stressing for years — so-called ‘renewable’ technology rolled out at massive scales (to the exclusion of other technologies like nuclear power) can […]

31 January 2018. Drivers of protected-area effectiveness in Africa – I’ve just read an interesting paper published in late 2016 in Conservation Biology that had so far escaped my attention. But given my interest in African conservation recently (and some interesting research results on the determinants of environmental performance for that region should be coming soon out of our lab), the work caught my eye. The […]

24 January 2018. Cartoon guide to biodiversity loss XLVI – The first set of biodiversity cartoons for 2018. See full stock of previous ‘Cartoon guide to biodiversity loss’ compendia here. —

17 January 2018. When devils and thylacines went extinct – We’ve just published an analysis of new radiocarbon dates showing that thylacines (Tasmanian ‘tigers’, Thylacinus cynocephalus) and Tasmanian devils (Sarcophilus harrisi) went extinct on the Australian mainland at the same time — some 3200 years ago. For many years, we’ve been uncertain about when thylacines and devils went extinct in mainland Australia (of course, devils […]