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Computational biology studies biological questions using mathematics, statistics and computer science. Faculty of Science is uncovering exactly how it has the power to change our world for the better. The Faculty of Science connects several disciplines to explore big questions facing humanity across human, environmental and agricultural sciences.

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Balance between economic development and conservation a necessity for the Seychelles

Restoring and maintaining balance in our natural environment. Projects News Research Contact. Scientific research to protect our Earth The effects of industry and development on our natural environment are becoming increasingly apparent. What UWA is doing about this global issue Researchers at UWA are involved in wide-ranging research and projects to answer complex questions about the degradation, conservation and restoration of the world's ecosystems.

Our marine science researchers are assessing human impact on ocean sustainability and biodiversity. Research projects include monitoring changes in fish numbers, investigating the displacement of humpback whales, and analysing the ecological and economic benefits of marine sanctuaries. Land and water management researchers are addressing the challenge of managing and sustaining farming yields as climate and rainfall variability threaten our farming systems. Their projects include water percolation and soil-water-crop dynamics, surface chemistry, pesticide leaching and soil erosion.

Our cutting-edge research into the economic and environmental effects of agricultural activities is informing the actions of governments and farming communities alike. Our work spans environmental economics, natural resource management, the economics of non-renewable resources and energy, and agricultural economics and policies. Big projects, such as our survey of the Kimberley region of Western Australia, seek to understand how global change is affecting biodiversity, ecological resilience and natural ecosystems.

Our research spans conservation biology, forest fragmentation, insect ecology and population dynamics. Our research is informing vital fire management decisions and improving vital management decisions and environmental outcomes.

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Balance between economic development and conservation a necessity for the Seychelles | BIOFIN

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Projects Find a selection of current projects in this research theme here:. Investigating the hydrology of the Fitzroy River to protect the iconic sawfish. Aquifers as climate logs - untangling replenishment mechanisms. Studying social networks for environmental conservation. Ecosystem resilience of Shark Bay under changing ocean climate.

Seagrass adaptation and acclimation responses to extreme climatic events genomics and gene expression. Ecology of fine root endophytes in native and agricultural ecosystems across Australia. Understanding ecological-economic trade-offs in environmental offsetting. Quantifying ecosystem services of Dung beetles across Australia. Valuing mine site restoration and biodiversity offsets. Regulation of insensible evaporative water loss in birds and mammals.

Assessing health and survival of juvenile sharks in the Galapagos Islands.

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Using DNA metabarcoding to quantify plant-pollinator interactions. Agricultural and native vegetation systems in the Wheatbelt. Environmental stress as a threatening process for the western ringtail possum.


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Determining nativeness: An evolutionary approach to tracing the origin of cryptogenic plants. The role of seed dormancy in future proofing seagrass populations.

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Rope bridges to restore gene flow and reduce road fatalities of western ringtail possums. Phenotypic divergence in island mammals - can morphology infer adaptation and inform conservation. Metabolic physiology of dormant and resting seeds. Our facilities. Read more about Histology. Cell and Molecular Life Facility The Cell and Molecular Life Facility teaches and supports research staff and students advanced molecular biology techniques. Read more about Cell and Molecular Life Facility. Read more about Shenton Park Field Station.

While the valuation of ecosystem services and market-based mechanisms such as PES are among the most widely cited and used ecosystem services approaches, they represent only several of many ecosystem services approaches that exist. It is also important to note that inherent in the MA is the idea that multiple ecosystem services are necessary to fulfil the multiple dimensions of human well-being and, as demonstrated through more recent initiatives such as the Natural Capital Project, tradeoffs among ecosystem services can occur as a result of different policies or resource use decisions.

Furthermore, we recognize that there are many overlaps between the tools and strategies used in the different sectors. It is beyond the scope of this paper to address or compare all of these approaches; rather, we discuss some of the most commonly used ecosystem services approaches and how they might influence biodiversity conservation objectives.

Here we identify three distinct ways in which ecosystem services approaches are being and can be used to directly support biodiversity conservation: the development of broader constituencies for conservation and informing decision-making; opportunities to add or create new value to protected areas; and the opportunities to sustainably manage ecosystems outside of protected areas. This rapid uptake is most likely because broad understanding and appreciation of the value of ecosystem services makes them relevant to certain types of decision-making that might have previously ignored biodiversity on its own.

Houdet et al. However, analyses regarding the ways in which business practices and performance are actually changing as a result of adopting ecosystem services approaches are needed. For example, outside of the Tarangire National Park in Tanzania, wildlife safari tour operators have established a Payments for Ecosystem Services PES contract with a Masaai community that requires them to help protect wildlife and to maintain grasslands for wildlife and livestock grazing rather than converting them to agriculture Nelson et al.

If the community upholds the contract, the tour operators pay the community for their efforts in maintaining a cultural ecosystem service — wildlife and their grazing areas — that is critical for their business.


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This cultural service has helped generate a new revenue stream for the community, which has helped compensate them for their efforts in engaging in natural resource practices that support conservation. In these areas, pressures to expand development into sub-catchment areas were extremely high and politicians in the area were averse to biodiversity conservation due to the tension between conservation versus development issues. For this reason, the uMhlathuze Municipality opted to undertake a Strategic Catchment Assessment, focusing on the value of ecosystem services in the area.

The study highlighted services that critical ecosystems were providing free of charge to the Municipality, such as nutrient cycling and waste management, water supply, water regulation, flood regulation, and drought management. However, it is also important to note that the social importance and economic values of ecosystem services are a few among many factors that may influence negotiating and decision-making over the environment and development and, thus, regardless of how compelling the results of ecosystem service assessments or valuations may be, other factors may ultimately be given more weight.

While there are many ways in which EBM has been applied, a common element to EBM applications is an ecosystem services perspective Agardy et al. Thus, the protection of biodiversity for its own sake is not the primary focus of EBM, but biodiversity can benefit from the implementation of EBM approaches and, in fact, biodiversity conservation is often identified by stakeholders as an important goal of the EBM planning process. However, these projects have also helped conserve biodiversity in places where the value of biodiversity alone may not have been sufficient to encourage conservation of critical areas.

By emphasizing the social, cultural, and economic importance of ecosystems for people, the EBM approach has been shown to bring disparate groups together to collaborate Price et al.

Protected areas are specifically designated for a conservation purpose, but often generate other benefits them due to the ecosystem services they provide Dudley, Because many protected areas focus on restoring or maintaining unmodified or semi-modified areas, they are often sources of multiple ecosystem services that may be lost when natural systems are simplified.

Valuing these and other services provided by intact, functioning ecosystems can create another reason to fund and maintain protected areas, which is increasingly important as funding for biodiversity conservation becomes limited Emerton et al. Thus, we need additional approaches to complement the protected area system in surrounding areas that can sustain biodiversity and ecological processes, and also be compatible with human development. For example, oyster reef restoration in unprotected waters has been undertaken on the east coast of the United States to improve productivity of the oyster fishery a provisioning service , which has also enhanced other ecosystem services such as the regulation of water quality and increased the diversity of food and non-food fish species Hicks et al.

Mechanisms such as PES also have been used to support and fund sustainable land-uses that benefit biodiversity outside of traditional protected areas.


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While the main focus of this program is enhancing water quality through sustainable land-use management practices, improved land-use and water quality will most likely improve habitat with benefits for terrestrial and aquatic biodiversity — improvements that the biodiversity community does not have to fund i. The fundamental reason for these concerns is that at their core, ecosystem services approaches prioritize those processes that contribute to human wellbeing.

If ecosystem services approaches are applied by conservation planners and managers to achieve biodiversity conservation outcomes, three areas may require special attention: species without utilitarian or economic value; ecological processes that do not directly benefit people; and the ecological functions that may be undermined amidst attempts to optimize key services.

This is because valuing ecosystems for the services they provide to people will likely result in enhanced conservation for only those species that are ecosystem service providers Luck et al. While this will be beneficial for some species and habitats e.