Ecology, Conservation, Policy

New video: My Ecological Society of Australia President’s address on stand up comedy, lay preaching and science suppression.



The Biodiversity Crisis Hierarchy

While we often think of proximal threats driving species declines and extinctions, such as urban expansion or logging, our conservation policies less often consider the actual reasons those proximal threats are getting worse.  In this video we explain how a hierarchy of mechanisms combine to drive the biodiversity crisis, and all levels of the hierarchy need to be addressed in conservation planning and policy.


See also

And the back-story…

Weed or Feed?  New pastures sow future problems

Many pasture plants are also damaging environmental weeds.  Adding new varieties of these existing weeds could make the weed problem worse without appropriate action by governments, agribusiness and farmers.




The matrix in ecology explains what the matrix is and how it influences native species that depend on patches of remnant vegetation for their survival.


Wilderness gone wrong



Natural History

Are there frogs in Borneo?

Yes there are.

Also, see my article about hunting in Borneo; inspired during a family holiday in Malaysian Borneo.


Are there leeches in Borneo?


Cannibal Horses



Scale. Precipitous Bluff.







Don’s hints for making stop-motion animation.

Time to make: 55 hours (The Matrix), 100 hours (Feed or Weed).  With better planning and quick uptake of software, both of these could be done faster.

The Matrix: Corel video studio pro x6: one month free trial (and only about $100 to buy if you take longer).

Feed or Weed. PowerDirector 12.  Very similar to Corel and Adobe Premier Elements.  Had some annoying quirks with mismatching sound and video that made editing difficult.

Audacity (for recording and editing audio before dumping into corel. Free.)

Set Up
Tripod, camera with cable or infra-red release. Can do it without a cable release, but need to be careful not to wobble the set up.  Double check the focus at frequent intervals!

White board background.  Make sure the whole set up is stable (eg. I clamped the white board to the kitchen table).

Uniform lighting (eg. kitchen made dark (so can shoot at day or night), with two desk lamps in close proximity. Really needed better lighting though).

Scanner and colour printer.  Scan drawings so that you can resize them easily and print them.

To overlay images, I made a large cloth green screen, which I peg up to the lounge room window.  All of the commercial software can do chroma-key to overlay videos, but I’ve had the best outcomes with Adobe Premier elements.

Use the zoom on the camera lense, or print different sized images to give the impression of zooming in our out.

Film scenes backwards if you want something to appear (eg; trees growing, locust emerging).

Corel allows you to set the time for each frame; 24 frames per second or 12 frames per second are as fast as it does.  Twelve frames per second  seems to be adequate.  Plan the duration of each scene; this will determine how far you step each image with each shot.


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