Since long-term altitudinal monitoring sites were established in 2003, Earthwatch teams have carried out over 2,000 bird surveys, comprising more than 100,000 observations of around 120 different species, 10 of which are endemic to the UNESCO designated Wet Tropics World Heritage Area in Queensland, Australia. Reptile surveys have numbered 500, recording 15 different species, 12 of which are endemic, and more than 200 individual microhylid frog point counts which have resulted in thousands of individual records, comprising 10 different species, all of which are endemic.
Nearly 1,500 litter standing crop samples have helped to quantify net primary productivity and nutrient cycling across the altitudinal gradient, and the trunks of over 250 trees have been fixed with dendrometer bands for measurements as part of an ongoing project examining net primary productivity of the forest. Data from these surveys have contributed to regional conservation planning, policy and management decisions.
The data needed to understand the complex interactions between climate change and biodiversity have been lacking within Australia, severely limiting the ability of policy makers to make informed decisions to conserve species threatened with extinction. Contributions from the research team and Earthwatch volunteers have helped to highlight areas of conservation priority for maintaining biodiversity values within the Australian Wet Tropics region. These data and analyses will enable more effective allocation of management resources across the region.
Shoo, L.P. (2010) Planning for biodiversity in future climates. Science, 321:1452
Shoo, L.P., Storlie, C., VanDerWal, J., Little, J. & Williams, S.E. (2010) Targeted protection and restoration to conserve tropical biodiversity in a warming world. Global Change Biology, published online 19 May 2010
Williams, S.E., Williams, Y.M., VanDerWal, J., Shoo, L.P., Isaac, J. & Johnson, C.N. (2009) Ecological specialization and population size: how rare species avoid extinction. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, USA, 106: 19737-1974
Williams, S.E., Isaac, J.L., Shoo, L.P. (2009) The impact of climate change on the biodiversity and ecosystem functions of the Wet Tropics. In Stork, N. and S. Turton (Eds.) Living in a dynamic tropical forest landscape, Blackwell Publishing [Online].