Karl Vernes

Karl Vernes

Armidale, New South Wales

University of New England

Associate Professor, Mammal Ecology and Conservation

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Published on Sep 15, 2018

Trip No. 1 to The Desert Completed!

5,000km and three blown tyres later (and various other minor adventures), we’ve completed our 2-week trip to the desert and have now returned to the University of New England.The trip was a great s...

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Published on Aug 29, 2018

Update from the Desert

We’ve began our fieldwork south of Birdsville!  It took nearly 3 days of driving to reach this tiny outback town (population 115) on Monday. Steve, Todd and I heading a few hours out of Birdsville ...

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Published on Aug 16, 2018

Funding Success!

A huge thanks to all backers who supporting us to reach our goal – and go beyond! Throughout the last 30 days we have been overwhelmed and truly honoured by the willingness and generosity of people...

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Published on Jul 31, 2018

... a little pale ghost from the 1840s

… That is how Hedley Herbert Finlayson described the desert rat-kangaroo or ‘oolacunta’ when he rediscovered the animal in 1931. At the time, it had been missing – presumed extinct – for 88 years, ...

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Published on Jul 25, 2018

A Brief History of Australian Mammal Rediscoveries

Australia has a sad history of recent mammal extinctions, with 27 species or subspecies currently assumed to be extinct. Losses are attributed to introduction of cats and foxes, over-browsing by fe...

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Published on Jul 23, 2018

Building Our Distribution and Habitat Model

We’ve begun collaborating with University of New England PhD student Sangay Dorji to build a distribution and habitat model for the desert rat-kangaroo, using point locality data we’ve gathered fro...

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Published on Jul 16, 2018

An expedition in search of one of Australia's most mysterious marsupials

BackgroundWe're really excited to launch our project today on Experiment.com! Our project team aims to search for an elusive desert marsupial called the desert rat-kangaroo – or ‘Ngurlukanta’ in th...

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Thanks so much George. On behalf of the team I would like to say that we are truly overwhelmed by the level of support and everyone's generosity. We are so excited to be able to do this work, and can't wait to share our results with all our backers. We're all in this together - and we'll keep you all posted!
Aug 08, 2018
An expedition in search of one of Australia's most mysterious marsupials
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Hi Frances. Short answer is 'nobody is completely sure'! If you haven't read Jim Trappe's excellent paper on desert truffles - I can recommend: Trappe, J. et al. (2008). 'Desert Truffles of the Australian Outback: Ecology, Ethnomycology, and Taxonomy. Economic Botany, 62 (3): 497-506. [Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/40390486]. In this paper, the authors say: "It is tempting to suppose that the Australian desert truffles, like forest truffles, are associated with perennial ectomycorrhizal hosts such as Cassia, Eucalyptus, or Acacia spp., rather than the other listed plants, which are not recognized as probable ectomycorrhizal hosts. However, desert truffles in Kuwait form a special type of mycorrhiza with annual species in the Cistaceae (Awameh and Alsheikh 1979), while the Kalahari truffle can inhabit roots of nonectomycorrhizal herbaceous plants (Trappe et al. 2008, this issue). They also state here that the question of mycorrhizal hosts remains unanswered ... so - do you have any ideas? Please let us know!
Aug 05, 2018
An expedition in search of one of Australia's most mysterious marsupials
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Thanks Paul!
Aug 02, 2018
An expedition in search of one of Australia's most mysterious marsupials
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We'l definitely share our choice photos Stephen - you can count on it. That will be several months away, as we'll set them for a number of months before retrieving them, but we'll keep you posted for sure. Thanks for your support!
Aug 02, 2018
An expedition in search of one of Australia's most mysterious marsupials
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Hi Adam - I'm keen to learn more about your time in northern SA - drop me an email and tell me more please! Thanks again for your support!
Jul 30, 2018
An expedition in search of one of Australia's most mysterious marsupials
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Indeed it would - there's only one way to find out! Thanks so much for you support
Jul 30, 2018
An expedition in search of one of Australia's most mysterious marsupials
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Hi Frances - we'll certainly be looking at all fungi we see, and making collections that we'd be happy to share with you. Both Todd and I are keenly interested in mammal-fungal interactions, and the desert rat-kangaroo (and other small mammals from the region) would be mycophagous mammals. We'll keep you posted!
Jul 30, 2018
An expedition in search of one of Australia's most mysterious marsupials
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Thanks Tim! We're going to give it our all. Thanks for the support!
Jul 22, 2018
An expedition in search of one of Australia's most mysterious marsupials
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Thanks to all of you who have backed this project since it opened yesterday. We are so appreciative of your support. Cheers, Karl
Jul 18, 2018
An expedition in search of one of Australia's most mysterious marsupials
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