[ASC-list] Common garden possums just as important as rare bilbies

Jenni Metcalfe jenni at econnect.com.au
Tue Aug 11 06:54:06 UTC 2009



People's obsession with rare animals like bilbies is leading to common
backyard species like possums being overlooked, says leading UK ecologist,
Professor Kevin Gaston from Sheffield University.

Professor Gaston is a plenary speaker on the first day (August 17) of the
10th International Ecology Congress (INTECOL) being held in Brisbane next
week. This is the first congress to be held in the southern hemisphere in
its 40-year history and is attracting over 1200 delegates from 62 countries.
Delegates will give 792 oral presentations and 428 poster presentations.

"Common plants and animals shape much of the world around us," says
Professor Gaston. ""They provide structure and function to our natural
environment that is far more important than the attention that people seem
to pay them. 

"For example, one quarter of the commonest bird species in Europe make up 96
per cent of the total number of individual birds."

People's impact and influence on our environment needs to be included in all
studies of our natural environment, says Professor Peter Vitousek, another
plenary speaker from Stanford University, USA.

"People now have an impact everywhere. In particular, we need to study the
ecology of human-dominated areas such as agricultural landscapes," he says. 

Professor Vitousek, chosen by Time magazine in 2001 as one of the United
States' best scientists, researches the impacts of too much nitrogen in the
environment caused from burning fossil fuels and spreading fertilisers.


INTECOL will be opened by the Australian Minister for the Environment,
Heritage and Arts, the Hon. Mr Peter Garrett, on Monday 17 August at 9.00am
at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre.


Professor Vitousek will speak to the assembled delegates at 9.40am and
Professor Gaston at 10.20am. Parallel sessions after this on Monday will
cover topics such as: climate change challenges for protected areas, coastal
areas, conservation of marine life and insects and mammal extinctions. 

INTECOL is hosted jointly by the Ecological Society of Australia and the New
Zealand Ecological Society. See: www.intecol10.org. 


Media are invited to attend INTECOL. A WIFI equipped media room will be
available to journalists, and volunteers will be available to assist in
finding people and information.  


To register for complimentary accreditation and for further information
(media kit, abstracts) please contact Jenni Metcalfe: phone 0408 551 866,
jenni at econnect.com.au



Jenni Metcalfe

Director Econnect Communication

PO Box 734

South Brisbane Q 4101



jenni at econnect.com.au

phone: + 61 7 3846 7111, +0408 551 866

skype:  jenni.metcalfe


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