Expert Connections Forums

Zoom Webinars

Frogs, bogs, bushfire – how will Australian frogs survive climate change?

10am Thursday 27 May

Join Dr Jane Melville and Dr Joanna Sumner, Museums Victoria Scientists as discuss what recent research tells us about how frogs are faring in a changing environment.


Platypus and the changing environment - what's needed to help populations thrive in future?

10am Thursday 1 April

Dr Richard Marchant and Dr Melody Serena will discuss the factors vital to maintain healthy platypus populations, based on over 30 years research in Victoria and NSW.

What do platypus like to eat and where they prefer to live? These fascinating and iconic animals feed only in water. In this presentation two scientists who have studied them from different perspectives, will bust myths about platypuses being fussy feeders who require pristine habitat. But what is crucial for platypus health? What features make up an ideal area for platypus to thrive? Hear how Melody, Richard and other scientists have come to understand the dynamics of the rivers of SE Australia and the platypus populations that live in them. Learn how we can all contribute to making it a better place for platypus.

About the speakers

Dr Melody Serena has been involved in platypus research on a full-time basis since 1989 and has worked as a conservation biologist for the Australian Platypus Conservancy since the early 1990s. She has an international reputation as a platypus ecologist, with expertise in platypus habitat assessment and restoration; platypus behaviour, life history and mortality factors; the effects of flow, habitat and dispersal on platypus population viability; and the distribution of platypus populations at different spatial scales. She has been involved in platypus live-trapping surveys in more than half of Victoria’s river basins and has pioneered development of robust methods for community-based visual platypus monitoring, culminating in the recently established Australian Platypus Monitoring Network.

Dr Richard Marchant is a stream ecologist who has worked as a curator and senior curator at Museum Victoria since 1981. His particular focus is aquatic insects that spend at least part of their life cycle on the bottom of streams. He has studied streams and rivers in many parts of Victoria, and southern NSW including studies near Braidwood focusing on the animals which are platypus food. Over many years he has built up a picture of the fauna on stream beds throughout Victoria, in conjunction with colleagues at Vic EPA or Monash University, with the aim of characterising diversity of stream invertebrates in different parts of the state and relate changes in diversity and composition to environmental gradients such as altitude, levels of salinity, composition of bed sediments, physical disturbance and various other predictors of change in the faunal composition.

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