Featured Project

August 1, 2018

meet the lost desert rat-kangaroo

In search of one of Australia's most mysterious marsupials

The desert rat kangaroo is a lost species of Australian marsupial. It was last seen 83 years ago by scientist Hedley Herbert Finlayson in the Australian desert and today is thought to be extinct.

Since then, reports have emerged of people seeing a small kangaroo that fits the animal's description - the most recent being in 2011. No intensive survey has ever been mounted for it using modern camera trapping methods, and the species lacks a proper distribution and habitat model.

This team from the University of New England in Australia will deploy camera traps for 5 months and collect habitat data for this lost species. They will travel to Finlayson's original sites as well as the other locations of recent described sightings. They are led by mammal ecologist Karl Vernes, who has published 80 peer-reviewed articles in mammal ecology, and PhD student Todd, who is basically a young science Hugh Jackman.

Follow this research team by funding the project, where they will be sharing their progress in rediscovering this intriguing lost species.

Featured Results

Crowdfunded scientific discoveries

Drones offer more efficient and reliable urban park measurements

Using five parks in Salt Lake City, Utah as field test sites, these experimenters found that flying drones can cover large areas to count city park usage. The downside: it only works when it's sunny out. The peer-reviewed paper published in Landscape and Urban Planning shows that using drones could be a great complement for existing urban planning tools.

Measuring urban park usage is a challenge for city planners. At present, most researchers conduct pedestrian counts by stationing counters at ground level and moving counters from site to site. Most still use this method because this is the way we have always done it.

PhD student Keunhyn Park and his Professor Reid Ewing concluded that using a drone to monitor a park could yield equally accurate ground-level counts, while also saving time and money. This is the first reported study using drones to measure park usage, and can be a valuable tool for future urban planning research studies.

More Science

New Projects This Week

Can hair loss be reversed with Oxy133, a sterol based drug candidate?
Can balding be reversed by stimulating dormant hair stem cells
Temporal dynamics of mutation accumulation in trees of the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone
Do trees exposed to nuclear radiation exhibit a higher DNA mutation rate?

The deadline to apply for the Wildlife Disease Association Grant Challenge is tomorrow August 1st at 11:59:59PM. Over $1,500 in cash grants will be awarded to the top projects. Apply today.

Corrections: Last week's newsletter incorrectly states that the Monomoy National Wildlife Refuge is located in Maine. The refuge is located in Massachusetts.
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