Mr Toad comes to Darwin 


Bombed by the Japanese in World War II and flattened by Cyclone Tracy in 1974, Darwin has been slow to respond to its latest dire threat: the arrival of poisonous cane toads.

Professor in Evolutionary Biology at the University of Sydney, Professor Rick Shine will outline recent evidence of rapid changes in cane toads as they adapt to Australian conditions in his presentation, Mr Toad Comes to Darwin: An evolutionary perspective on the cane toad invasion of Australia, at Charles Darwin University’s School for Environmental Research seminar series on Friday, 9 November.

“The Northern Territory possesses a unique and diverse array of fauna which is largely intact compared with most other parts of Australia,” Professor Shine said.

“The arrival of the toxic cane toad presents the single greatest threat to a substantial number of these species.

“Traditionally, conservation problems have been seen as ecological issues, unfolding too rapidly for evolutionary processes to play any significant role. However, adaptation can happen very quickly under some circumstances, and the current invasion of cane toads through tropical Australia has already produced some clear evolutionary effects."

Professor Shine will review evidence of rapid changes in the toads themselves as they adapt to Australian conditions, to the invasion process, and concurrent rapid responses by the native fauna as they evolve to survive in the presence of these toxic invaders.

Professor Shine’s presentation will run from 1pm to 2pm on Friday, 9 November in room 1, building 22 at CDU’s Casuarina campus. Entry is free.

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