NEWS Book highlights region’s important aquatic diversity NORTHERN Australia’s aquatic diversity was revealed at a book launch last week Water scorpions, brightly coloured spotted scats and freshwater sawﬁsh are just some of the unique species featured in the most comprehensive book yet about northern Australia’s inland tapestry of aquatic habitats. More than 30 researchers from the Tropical Rivers and Coastal Knowledge research hub contributed to the book, Aquatic Biodiversity in Northern Australia: patterns, threats and future, edited by TRaCK researcher Dr Bradley Pusey with several contributors from Charles Darwin University. “Northern Australia contains the world’s largest intact savanna ecosystem and the world’s greatest concentration of free-ﬂowing rivers. It’s not surprising that this outstanding landscape, of global signiﬁcance, holds such a rich and diverse biota,” Dr Pusey said. “These environments also include enormous ﬂoodplains, forested wetlands, and 56 major river systems which discharge more than 60 per cent of Australia’s surface water run-off. The aquatic habitats of northern Australia hold a disproportionately large amount of Australia’s unique biodiversity. “Today these habitats are highly valued, with the predominant regional industries including pastoral grazing, mining, Indigenous enterprises, ﬁshing and tourism, all relying on the region’s water resources and aquatic biodiversity in different ways.” Dr Pusey said despite the significance of the aquatic biodiversity of northern Australian, it faces threats including pollution from abandoned mines and the spread of invasive species such as mimosa, rubber vine and feral pigs. “If there is one lesson we have learnt from drawing together this research, it is that current threats to freshwater ecosystems should be addressed before it is too late, not least because this is the most cost-effective approach,” Dr Pusey said. The book is available for sale online at www.cdupress. cdu.edu.au
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10 – Arafura Times
30 Nov - 6 Dec 2011
Birds come to the Top End to rest on long migration. PHOTO: DAVID WEBB
Dogs should let weary birds rest THE impacts of dogs on wildlife has long been a contentious issue and now a Charles Darwin University Honours student wants to warn Territorian dog owners about their potential impacts on migratory birds arriving in Darwin for the wet season. After ﬂying up to 11,000km, some migratory shorebirds ﬁnd their resting place on a 1.5km stretch of beach in the northern suburbs of Darwin between Lee Point and Buffalo Creek. Up to 4000 birds congregate to roost in the area when the high tides peak and most of their habitat and feeding area in the intertidal zone is inundated with water. CDU Honours student Amanda Lilleyman has been observing the shorebirds in the area as part of her study into their migration patterns and behaviour. Of the migratory shorebirds she studies in the area, the Greater Sand Plover has been observed to return to the area annually to roost. “Most migratory shorebirds are faithful to sites, which are chosen based on past experiences, such as ﬂying to the area with their parents and ﬂocks, along with other environmental factors such as food security and access to safe roosting sites,” she said. “From the Arctic, Siberia and China the birds follow the summer season in a figure eight pattern called the ‘Fly-way’ to the southern hemisphere and new feeding grounds in Asia, Australia
and New Zealand. “The birds arrive in Darwin in August and disperse throughout various locations until returning in March and April before beginning their long ﬂight back to the northern hemisphere to breed.” Amanda said people could help by watching out for the birds that remained in Darwin. “During their stay in Darwin the bird’s plumage is dull in colour and hard to see at low tide, so we are asking people to take care not to disturb the birds in the area,” she said. She said the main reason for leaving the birds in peace to roost was to let them restore their energy reserves. “The birds need to double their fat percentage to give them enough energy for their return ﬂight,” she said. “If they are forced to expend energy by taking ﬂight to escape potential predators such as humans or dogs, they may move to a less favourable site, without the resources to repair their energy levels in order to complete their migratory cycle.” Shorebirds occur in most coastal, estuarine, inland and freshwater systems throughout Australia. There are records for migratory shorebirds along the Arnhem coast and all through the Gulf of Carpentaria. However, in these locations they may not be faced with as many human induced issues as they are in Darwin city.
Is your business covered this cyclone season? By TREACY HARRY IT’S a sad fact that many small businesses fail after an unexpected event because of inadequate insurance. Research has shown that 70 per cent of uninsured or under-insured businesses that incur a major insurable loss fail within the following year. It’s important that you insure your
business assets for the amount it would cost to replace them at today’s prices, and not what you paid for them in the past. In the unfortunate case of a major claim, you will have enough to worry about without concerning yourself with whether or not you can afford to re-build your business to today’s speciﬁcations. Under-insurance could occur because your
sum insured value has not kept pace with the general rise in re-building costs, which, in the last year alone, has increased substantially. Another common reason is under-estimating the full costs of removing debris following a major event. For further assistance please contact Brett Hagan from Insurance Risk Solutions on 8944 6100 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Gifts from bosses encroach on personal time EMPLOYEES are being warned to beware of bosses bearing gifts. Many workers who are given mobile phones and laptops by their employer feel obliged to work overtime, new research by The Australia Institute reveals. The research on the increasingly blurry boundary between work and life was conducted for this year’s national Go Home On Time Day, which will be held today, November 30. Now in its third year, Go Home On Time Day - www.gohomeontimeday.org. au - is an initiative of The Australia Institute to raise awareness of the extent of overwork in Australia and the important workplace, health and social consequences it has. This year’s research focuses on the phenomenon
of polluted time. The Australia Institute’s Deputy Director Josh Fear said that time pollution is one of the many consequences of a labour market which has become increasingly ‘ﬂexible’ over the past few decades. “Our survey findings suggest that in a workforce of 11.4 million people, some 6.8 million workers experience some degree of time pollution in any given week, while 1.75 million workers regularly have their free time polluted by work demands,” said Mr Fear. Seven out of eight (83 per cent) survey respondents with a work device provided by their employer said that they had worked outside of normal work hours in the past week, compared to around half of those without a
device (52 per cent). “Many workers consider their laptops and smartphones as a perk of their job, but those same devices can also invade free time. Australians already work some of the longest hours in the developed world, and technology often exacerbates the problem rather than relieving it by making people perpetually on-call. “National Go Home On Time Day is a simple way for managers to show that they value their staff and for workers to focus on those parts of life that are more important than work - like family,” concluded Mr Fear. A copy of the full research paper Polluted time: Blurring the boundaries between work and life is available at www.tai.org.au under ‘Publications’.