As many natural areas around the world are starting to show the impacts of climate change, places such as Phillip Island (Millowl) provide an important haven for flora and fauna. This National Science Week we are celebrating our scientists and conservationists working hard to ensure flora and fauna continue to flourish despite the effects of climate change and the pressures of an expanding human population, not just on Phillip Island but across the globe. The Island Ark Symposium hosted by Phillip Island Nature Parks will feature keynote speakers from the Nature Parks conservation teams, such as Paula Wasiak, who is working with our team to take on-ground action to future-proof Phillip Island's penguins where they are most vulnerable to the effects of terrestrial heatwaves, on land. Also presenting is Dr Rebecca McIntosh who, with her team, has identified declines in Australian fur seal pup numbers in Bass Straight and are working hard to discover the cause.
Student, Brett Gardener is trying to determine why Australian fur seal pups are decreasing at key colonies. Brett is looking for pathogens that may lead to reproductive failure in seals to hopefully better prevent large scale infection events in colonies already under stress. Meanwhile Ella Loeffler is working to help inform the conservation and management of Eastern Barred Bandicoots by looking at the diet of our newest Island residents. She's shown these endangered marsupials can be quite adaptable to new environments, feasting on crabs in their island home, a food source not available in their natural range.
We thank the dedicated team of researchers, conservation and endangered species teams and Nature Parks rangers for their tireless dedication and for highlighting the importance of research and science in protecting flora, fauna and endangered animal populations now and into the future.