What's on: AMRI Seminar Series

The Australian Museum Research Institute hosts a monthly series of short talks showcasing current research at the Australian Museum.

AMRI Seminar Series #2

 © Australian Museum

Event Type:
Special event
01.00 PM to 02.00 PM

Each seminar consists of two 30-minute snapshots of new results or ongoing projects designed to keep our staff informed, but are also open to members of the public with an interest in scientific research.

August 27

Bats under pressure: measuring stress levels in Grey-headed Flying-foxes
Dr Anja Divljan, Australian Museum Research Institute

Stress is generally perceived as beneficial to an animal’s survival, as it enables an appropriate response to an emergency situation. However, when prolonged, stress can lead to reduced health and fitness, and measuring stress levels can, therefore, be a useful tool for monitoring health of wildlife populations. For flying-foxes, little work has been done to date in quantifying and interpreting stress levels. We collected faecal samples from captured urban flying-foxes suffering a food shortage, and free-living rural flying-foxes that had access to supplementary food, and measured the faecal glucocorticoid metabolites (GCMs) to determine their stress levels.

The rural flying-foxes were in good condition, and had low levels of GCMs, the range of which may be considered the baseline for the Grey-headed Flying-fox. In comparison, urban flying-foxes were in poor condition and had elevated levels of GCMs: 75% had levels that were higher than the rural range and 30% were higher by an order of magnitude. Additional droppings collected under the urban colony gave similar results to those collected from captured flying-foxes at the same location, suggesting that this could be a useful non-invasive method for determining the levels of physiological stress in flying-fox colonies.

Human-animal interaction and the crocodile sorcerers of Cape York: myth, urban legend and beyond
Dr Scott Mitchell, Australian Museum

In 2009 a prankster created an email about the ”Crocodile Whisperer”, a man who could supposedly swim with saltwater crocodiles in Far North Queensland’s Barron River. The email has been widely circulated and repeated, and the “crocodile whisperer” has now become one of the internet’s firmly entrenched urban legends. Recent work with the Aboriginal artists of Pormpuraaw, Cape York, explored the much older Indigenous myths from the same region about crocodile sorcerers and their remarkable ability to interact with wild crocodiles. I explore the parallels between the urban legend and Indigenous myth, and the surprising possibilities they throw up about human-animal cooperation in Cape York.

September 17

  • TBA

October 15

  • Mandy Reid (AMRI)TBA

November 12

  • Student Forum: a half day forum of 15 minute presentations from the wide range of students supervised by our staff.

December 10

  • TBA

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Contact us

Please email Robin Torrence or call her on (02) 9320 6401.

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