Current Koalas News and Events

Current Koalas News and Events, Koalas News Articles.
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'Jumping genes' repeatedly form new genes over evolution
A study, 'Recurrent Evolution of Vertebrate Transcription Factors by Transposase Capture,' published Feb. 19 in Science, investigates how genetic elements called transposons, or ''jumping genes,'' are added into the mix during evolution to assemble new genes through exon shuffling. (2021-02-22)

The northern quoll: An amazingly versatile survivor?
The northern quoll, one of Australia's most adorable and endangered native carnivores, appears to be adapted to dramatically different landscapes -- which may be key to the species' survival. University of Queensland Ph.D. candidate Pietro Viacava co-led a study that found similarities between northern quoll skulls across a 5000 kilometre range, which has raised hopes scientists will be able to cross-breed isolated populations. (2020-08-27)

Researchers boost koala spotting system
QUT researchers have published an improved and innovative method for estimating the number of koalas in an area detected by using drones and an artificial intelligent algorithm as they continue the quest of identifying surviving koala populations in bushfire areas. (2020-07-20)

New extinct family of giant wombat relatives discovered in Australian desert
A giant marsupial that roamed prehistoric Australia 25 million years ago is so different from its wombat cousins that scientists have had to create a new family to accommodate it. (2020-06-29)

Palaeontology: Big-boned marsupial unearths evolution of wombat burrowing behavior
The discovery of a new species of ancient marsupial, named Mukupirna nambensis, is reported this week in Scientific Reports. The anatomical features of the specimen, which represents one of the oldest known Australian marsupials discovered so far, add to our understanding of the evolution of modern wombats and their characteristic burrowing behaviour. (2020-06-25)

Tree trunks take a licking as koalas source water
A study published today in Ethology, led by a researcher from The University of Sydney, has captured koala drinking behaviour in the wild for the first time. The paper describes how koalas drink by licking water running down smooth tree trunks during rain. (2020-05-02)

Kangaroo Island shows burn scars on one third of the land mass
NASA's Terra satellite provided before and after imagery that showed the extent of the fires that have been ravaging Australia's Kangaroo Island. Kangaroo Island lies off the mainland of South Australia, southwest of Adelaide. (2020-01-07)

Koalas climb like apes but bound on the ground like marsupials
Many marsupials have made a life in the trees, but koalas have evolved the grasping hand and long limbs reminiscent of primates, so Christofer Clemente from the University of the Sunshine Coast, Australia, wondered whether koalas move like other marsupials or primates. The answer is a bit of both; they bound like marsupials on the ground but climb trees like primates. (2019-12-17)

Virtual reality and drones help to predict and protect koala habitat
QUT researchers have used a combination of virtual reality (VR), aerial thermal-imaging and ground surveys to build a better statistical model for predicting the location of koalas and, ultimately, protecting their habitat. (2019-12-11)

Sperm and egg cell 'immune response' protects koala DNA
Discovery of a type of immunity that protects koalas' DNA from viruses has importance for the survival of koalas and our fundamental understanding of evolution. A team of scientists from The University of Queensland and University of Massachusetts Medical School are studying tissue samples from koalas to understand how a unique type of cell responds to retrovirus infections, which cause diseases such as chlamydia and cancer. (2019-10-14)

Koala epidemic provides lesson in how DNA protects itself from viruses
In animals, infections are fought by the immune system. Studies on an unusual virus infecting wild koalas, by a team of researchers from the University of Massachusetts Medical School and the University of Queensland, reveal a new form of 'genome immunity.' The study appears Oct. 10 in the journal Cell. (2019-10-10)

New study reveals an innate genome immune response to retroviruses in koalas
A new study from researchers at UMass Medical School and the University of Queensland in Australia identifies a never-before-seen type of immune response in an animal already known for being unique: the koala bear. Koalas use a novel genetic defense system to fight off infection through retroviruses, a system identified when scientists focused on KoRV-A, a retrovirus sweeping through the koala population of Australia. (2019-10-10)

New rapid DNA test to diagnose chlamydia infection in koalas
A new DNA test to detect chlamydia infection in koalas which gives on-the-spot results within 30 minutes has been developed in a collaboration between researchers in Brisbane, Australia. (2019-08-20)

Poo transplants to help save koalas
Poo transplants are helping expand koala microbiomes, allowing the marsupials to eat a wider range of eucalypts and possibly survive habitat loss. A study featuring University of Queensland researchers has analysed and altered microbes in koalas' guts, finding that a faecal transplant may influence what species of eucalypt koalas can feed on. (2019-08-20)

Last chlamydia-free koala population may safeguard future of species
The last, large, isolated, healthy chlamydia-free population of koalas in Australia may have been identified on Kangaroo Island, said Morris Animal Foundation-funded researchers at the University of Adelaide. (2019-07-02)

Koala-spotting drones proves a flying success
QUT researchers have developed an innovative method for detecting koala populations using drones and infrared imaging that is more reliable and less invasive than traditional animal population monitoring techniques. (2019-03-01)

Newly discovered marsupial lived among Arctic dinosaurs
A research team has discovered a previously unknown species of marsupial that lived in Alaska's Arctic during the era of dinosaurs, adding a vivid new detail to a complex ancient landscape. The thumb-sized animal, named Unnuakomys hutchisoni, lived in the Arctic about 69 million years ago during the late Cretaceous Period. (2019-02-18)

Tiny beetle trapped in amber might show how landmasses shifted
Scientists have discovered a tiny fossil beetle trapped in amber. It's three mm long, and it has a flat body and giant feathery anntennae that it would have used to navigate under tree bark. And, since it was found in amber from Asia but its closest relatives today live in South America, it hints at how landmasses have shifted over the past 100 million years. (2018-10-30)

Birds reinvent voice box in novel evolutionary twist
Birds tote around two vocal organs inside their bodies, but only one works. New interdisciplinary research suggests that this distinctly avian anatomy arose because birds, somewhere in their evolutionary history, opted for building a brand new vocal organ -- the syrinx-- instead of modifying an existing one that is present in an array of animals but silent in birds -- the larynx. (2018-09-24)

Eucalyptus 2018: Plantation managers and researchers are working to deal with climate change
Commercial eucalyptus plantations cover some 20 million hectares in a hundred or so countries, and primarily serve to produce paper, while smallholder plantings produce firewood*. However, they are now suffering the effects of climate change. Some 225 scientists and managers from around thirty countries are meeting in Montpellier from 17 to 21 September to discuss ways of adapting plantations. (2018-09-18)

Want to know what ancient koalas ate? Check modern koalas' teeth
Larisa DeSantis' latest research confirms the shape of tooth wear best indicates the kind of food modern koalas and kangaroos ate, not whether it was covered in dust and dirt. (2018-08-22)

Koala virus could explain why humans have 'junk' DNA
A koala virus could help researchers explain millions of years of accumulated 'junk' DNA in the human genome. An international team of researchers -- including scientists from The University of Queensland -- is studying a virus infecting koalas in the hope it could demonstrate how viruses have altered the DNA of humans and other species throughout history. (2018-08-07)

Ancient virus defends koalas against new viral attacks
New study in koalas uncovers how virulent retroviruses become harmless bits of 'junk DNA' over time. (2018-08-06)

Gene recombination deactivates retroviruses during invasion of host genomes
Most vertebrate genomes contain a surprisingly large number of viral gene sequences -- about eight percent in humans. And yet how do exogenous viruses -- apparently having invaded from outside -- manage to become integrated into the host genome? Answers to this question are provided in a study by an international team of researchers led by Alex Greenwood of the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research (Leibniz-IZW) in Berlin. (2018-08-06)

What does the koala genome tell us about the taste of eucalyptus?
Sequencing of the koala genome has revealed some interesting qualities about these marsupials on their sense of taste. They have more bitter taste receptor genes than any other Australian marsupial, and most mammals. This possibly enables the animals to detect toxic metabolites contained in eucalyptus. Koalas even have functional receptors for both sweetness and umami. (2018-07-10)

Australian scientists crack the genetic code of koalas
The koala genome has been sequenced in a world first, by an international consortium led by Australian conservation scientists and geneticists. Considered to be the most complete marsupial genome sequenced in terms of quality -- on par with the human genome -- the highly accurate genomic data will provide information to inform habitat conservation, tackle diseases and help ensure this iconic animal's long-term survival. (2018-07-02)

Koala genome cracked Down Under to help save species
Scientists at the Earlham Institute in Norwich, UK, have played a major role as part of a consortium led by the Australian Museum Research Institute and the University of Sydney to sequence the koala genome for the first time, with the findings published in Nature Genetics. The findings of the research could ensure the long-term survival of one of the world's most beloved animals, which is under threat from habitat loss, chlamydia and the koala retrovirus (KoRV). (2018-07-02)

Vampire bats' bloody teamwork
Vampire bats are the only mammals that feed exclusively on blood. The way they manage to do that offers us some remarkable insights into hologentics and evolution. (2018-04-10)

Treating koalas for chlamydia alters gut microbes
Antibiotics used to treat koalas with chlamydia infections may be changing the balance of gut microbes that allows the marsupials to live on a diet of eucalyptus leaves, researchers at UC Davis and the University of the Sunshine Coast have found. (2018-03-26)

Cars and chlamydia killing Queensland koalas
Being hit by cars and chlamydia were the top causes of a dramatic rise in south-east Queensland koala deaths over the past two decades, according to a new University of Queensland-led study. UQ School of Veterinary Science's Associate Professor Rachel Allavena and Dr Joerg Henning worked with the Queensland Government's Moggill Koala Hospital to analyse data about koala disease and death from 1997 to 2013. (2017-02-20)

New tiny species of extinct Australian marsupial lion named after Sir David Attenborough
The fossil remains of a new tiny species of marsupial lion which prowled the lush rainforests of northern Australia about 18 million years ago have been unearthed in the Riversleigh World Heritage Area of remote north-western Queensland. The UNSW discovery team has named the new species Microleo attenboroughi for its small size and to honor the famous broadcaster and naturalist Sir David Attenborough, in recognition of his support for Riversleigh. (2016-08-23)

Can you teach koalas new tricks?
Griffith University researchers have found that koalas are more clever than they thought them to be in a world-first study that tracked the Australian animal more comprehensively than ever before in suburban Brisbane. (2016-08-03)

Climate change likely to turn up heat on koalas
A changing climate means that by 2070 koalas may no longer call large parts of inland Australia home, researchers have found. (2016-06-07)

Few studies focus on threatened mammalian species that are 'ugly'
Many Australian mammalian species of conservation significance have attracted little research effort, little recognition, and little funding, new research shows. The overlooked non-charismatic species such as fruit bats and tree rats may be most in need of scientific and management research effort. (2016-03-07)

Will climate change make the koalas' diet inedible?
The koala could soon be even more endangered than at present, if it turns out that climate change alters the nutritional value of the only food it can eat -- Eucalypt leaves. Assistant Professor Elizabeth Neilson from the Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences from University of Copenhagen has received a $5 million grant from the Villum Young Investigator Program for the search of how the chemical structure of the leaves is disrupted. (2016-02-03)

Sight set on tracking threatened species: QUT research
QUT expert statistics researcher Professor Kerrie Mengersen is helping conservation efforts for endangered animals utilizing science and statistics with virtual reality. (2015-10-11)

Pandas spend less energy to afford bamboo diet
A suite of energy-saving traits, including underactive thyroid glands, allows giant panda bears to survive almost exclusively on bamboo, according to a new study. (2015-07-09)

Male koalas raise their voices to avoid conflict
A team of international scientists has tracked the love lives of koalas, uncovering some curious behaviors and finding that male koalas make their distinct bellows to avoid confrontation with competitors. The University of Queensland's Dr. Bill Ellis and colleagues in Australia, the US and Japan have mapped what they believe to be the first-look inside the social system of a large group of wild koalas at St. Bees Island near Rockhampton, Queensland, Australia. (2015-07-08)

Nova Southeastern University researcher part of team researching DNA of tigers
A 10-year study looked at DNA similarities of tigers -- living and extinct -- in order to better understand these animals as well as provide a new, more powerful tool for wildlife protection and, hopefully, reducing illegal wildlife commerce. (2015-03-20)

Koalas selective about eucalyptus leaves at mealtime
Koala population distribution may be influenced by eucalyptus leaf toxin and nutrient content, especially in areas with low-quality food options. (2014-12-03)

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