Australian Geographic: A Complete Guide to Frogs Of Australia

Simon Clulow, in collaboration with Mike Swan have applied their knowledge about the many amphibians living in Australia and come up with “A Complete Guide to Frogs of Australia” with Australian Geographic. The guide features 246 species and subspecies of frogs, amazing! Pick up your copy here.


NPWS Hunter Discovery Tours Winter 2018

Whale Tales 2018

Whale Watching, Games, Sausage Sizzle AND MORE

Learn more about whales from whale expert Jeannie Lawson!

Join us to hear stories around these majestic creatures as well as to help spot the humpbacks as they venture north to warmer waters.


Event running THIS SUNDAY (24th) in Boat Harbour and SUNDAY 8th July in Fingal Bay.

See the attached flyer or our website for more details!

Dr Simon Clulow Published in Science

The August 04, 2017 cover of Science.

Excitingly Dr Simon Clulow, a member of the Conservation Biology Group has had a paper published in Science.

The paper, published with Australian and international co-authors identifies the frog fauna of New Guinea (including Papua New Guinea) at risk of a major catastrophic event, including species declines and extinctions, should the fungal chytrid pathogen, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, be introduced to the country. Currently, New Guinea is one of the few remaining global refuges for amphibians against chytrid. The paper argues for policy and biosecurity strategies to be put in place to pre-empt the impending threat by policies and actions to prevent the introduction of the fungus, and the adoption of strategies to manage the panzootic if the fungus is found there.  It recognises the need for a co-ordinated response for developing countries to manage chytrid risk, involving governments, researchers, NGO’s and communities to work together.

Dr Simon Clulow is also a member of FaunaBank network (an initiative of the Fauna Research Alliance) whose mission is to promote the use of reproductive technologies and biobanking to conserve the native fauna of Australia and the Pacific.

You can read the article here.

Dr Simon Clulow working in Papua New Guinea.

Project Lazarus


Our very own Professor Michael Mahony  attempts the seemingly impossible – to unwind extinction by bringing back to life the Australian gastric brooding frog.Profile Image

The project was awarded TIME Magazines top 25 best inventions of 2013.

Interest has recently been revitalised on the breakthrough genome technology, due to an ABC documentary starring Professor Mike Mahony and the University of Newcastle Team.

The The Lazarus Project has developed de-extinction technology which will resurrect vanished species and is the only Australian invention named in the global list.

The resurrection of the gastric brooding frog may also have implications for the medical world.

“The gastric brooding frog swallows externally fertilized eggs into its stomach, which then operates as a uterus. No other living creature can do this. This unique ability could help the medical world work out how to manage gastric secretions in the gut,” said Michael Mahony, Project Leader, Professor of Biology at the University of Newcastle and internationally-renowned ‘Frog Whisperer’.

Known as somatic cell nuclear transplantation, the cloning technology had never previously been successfully applied to dead tissue. In repeated experiments over five years, the nuclei of donor eggs from the distantly related Great Barred Frog, Mixophyes fasciolatus, were inactivated and replaced with dead nuclei from the gastric brooding frog which resulted in eggs spontaneously dividing and growing to early embryo stage.

Amazingly, the Lazarus Project team recovered the extinct frog cell nuclei from tissue samples collected in the 1970s and kept for 40 years in a conventional deep freezer.

“The tissue samples we recovered from the last known laboratory to have a colony of these species had not been treated with cryoprotectant, or ‘anti-freeze’ to stop the cells from expanding and becoming damaged during the freezing process. It wasn’t until we looked at the cells under the micro-scope that we could see the cell walls were still intact,” said Professor Mahony.

The research team believes a human spread fungus was the primary cause of extinction.

“If it is clear that we have exterminated a species, we arguably have an obligation to bring it back,” said Professor Mahony.

image courtesy of ©Dr. Michael Tyler/ Science Source

The frozen specimens were preserved and provided by Professor Mike Tyler, of the

University of Adelaide, who extensively studied both species of gastric-brooding f

rog – R. silus and R. vitellinus – before they vanished in the wild in 1979 and 1985 respectively.

“Recognition by a global publication as prestigious as TIME Magazine is evidence of University of Newcastle researchers driving world-class innovation. As global leaders in their field, they are developing solutions for the world’s most significant problems,” said Vice-Chancellor, Professor Caroline McMillen.

Undertaken in labs at the University of Newcastle, biological work is led by Frog Whisperer, Professor Michael Mahony, along with Mr Simon Clulow and Dr John Clulow, all based at the University of Newcastle, with assistance from cloning specialists Dr Andrew French and Dr Jitong Guo and overseen by paleontologist Professor Mike Archer of the University of New South Wales.

Image supplied by Dr Michael Tyler. The image was taken in his laboratory in Adelaide and depicts the only recorded instance of a gastric brooding frog giving birth.

You can read more in The INDEPENDENT HERE

Environmental Education during January


Evening of Discovery

Marine Discovery


Take the plunge and secure your place aboard the BirdLife Australia and Aurora Expeditions voyage to Antarctica and South Georgia departing this November. You’ll spend 18 days sailing the wildlife-rich waters and enjoying daily landings and close encounters with the region’s magnificent bird species. Accompanying you on board will be BirdLife Australia’s very own Andrew Silcocks, who will interpret the region’s birdlife alongside Aurora’s team of naturalists and polar experts. You’ll land ashore to visit the world’s largest King Penguin rookeries and observe at least five other penguin species. Be mesmerised by numerous seabirds – including the world’s largest flying bird, the Wandering Albatross – as they wheel in the winds and follow in our wake.JUST ANNOUNCED – CANON COLLECTIVE EVENT
Joining us on board will be representatives from the Canon Collective. You’ll have the chance to trial new Canon equipment, with instruction and assistance from the Canon team. The Canon team will work alongside our professional photography guides – Joshua Holko (2015 Arctic Photographer of the Year) and Martyn Lucas, who will be delivering a dedicated photography program for all interested passengers.

Aurora Expeditions is offering BirdLife Australia’s members and supporters the chance to save 10% on the price of their expedition when you book before 31 August 2016. Limited places available, terms and conditions apply.

To find out more about this exclusive BirdLife Australia expedition to Antarctica and South Georgia click here.

Join Us Volunteer Volunteer

Congratulations to Thi Kim Anh Tran, PhD student in Ecology and Ecotoxicology Lab!


Congratulations to Thi Kim Anh Tran, PhD student in Ecology and Ecotoxicology Lab!


Thi Kim Anh Tran, a PhD student of Dr Richard Yu and Dr Geoff MacFarlane, was awarded the 2016 Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry Australasia (SETAC AU) Postgraduate Research Publication Award for her paper “Mechanistic insights into induction of vitellogenin gene expression by estrogens in Sydney rock oysters, Saccostrea glomerata” published in Aquatic Toxicology this May.

The prize is a cash award of AU$500, which will be presented at the SETAC AU annual conference dinner in Hobart.


The full-text of the paper can be accessed at this link:

Newcastle University Ecologist Helps Assess Threatened Species

Dr Anita Chalmers from the School of Environmental & Life Sciences has just completed a term on the NSW Scientific Committee. She was appointed as a member of the Committee by the NSW Minister of the Environment in 2014. The function of the Scientific Committee, under the Threatened Species Conservation Act 1995, is to determine which species, populations and ecological communities are to be listed as threatened in NSW.


Photo- Dr Chalmers searching for new populations of Grevillea shiressii.

Dr Chalmers found the experience to be both rewarding and worthwhile. “I have really enjoyed my time on the Committee. It’s been hard work, but its also been really rewarding to have the opportunity to apply my scientific skills in a way that contributes to the conservation of biodiversity in New South Wales. It also reflects well on the reputation of ecologists within the Discipline of Environmental Science,” Dr Chalmers said.

For more information on the NSW Scientific Committee click here






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