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Young USP scientists contribute to species conservation in Melanesia

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One of the scientists, Mr Kelly Brown working on scalloped hammerheads.

Eight (8) current staff and postgraduate students of The University of the South Pacific (USP) have contributed significantly to the conservation of native and endemic species in the Melanesian region, said Dr Gilianne Brodie, Associate Professor at USP’s School of Biological and Chemical Sciences.

This contribution was in the form of a collective publication of their research in the international journal, ‘Pacific Conservation Biology’, this month.

The special issue focuses on species conservation and management of macrofauna in the developing Melanesian Pacific Islands, and spans marine, freshwater and terrestrial habitats. It includes new information related to known species as well as collations on species groups that are not well documented but are highly threatened.

According to Dr Brodie, for several of the current and past USP student authors, this is their first ever scientific, peer-reviewed, journal paper and a significant step in the career development of any young scientist.

Ms Mere Yabaki-Goundar, a local forest bird expert who studied honeyeaters (kikau) amongst Fijian islands, expressed her sincere appreciation to her local and overseas research partners, and senior colleagues at the School for their strong support and encouragement to publish her research work.

Lead author of a paper focused on endangered “scalloped” hammerhead sharks in Fiji, Mr Kelly Brown from the School of Marine Studies, also joined in with other notable USP postgraduate alumni Mr David Boseto (Solomon Island freshwater fish) and Dr Patrick Pikacha (Solomon Island native frogs) both highly respected conservation biologists still successfully undertaking research in the Melanesian USP region.

Publication of this special issue volume titled “Faunal Species Conservation in the Melanesian Pacific Islands” was edited by Dr Cara Miller and Dr Brodie in partnership with Ms Helen Pippard from the Species Conservation Programme of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

Dr Brodie stated that the volume was strongly supported and funded by the Wildlife Conservation Society Fiji Programme, IUCN Oceania Office and USP.

The publication rose from a species conservation symposium held during a Society for Conservation Biology (Oceania) conference hosted at USP’s Laucala campus in July 2014. The symposium was convened by members of the Species Working Group of the Pacific Islands Roundtable for Nature Conservation in order to highlight species conservation priorities and promote a strengthening of collaboration across people working in species conservation in Pacific Island Countries and Territories.

For more information on the journal volume content, please visit Pacific Conservation Biology website at


This news item was published on 17 Aug 2016 08:58:16 am. For more information or any High-Res Images, please contact us on email

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