A long way from THE Mediterannean, but still mediterannean?
TNC science trip - Photo Amanda Keesing.
The Nature Conservancy’s Mediterranean Science team visited Gondwana Link this week, and we took them on a quick trip along the Link from Albany to Kalgoorlie. California based Scott Morrison, Rebecca Shaw and Steve Johnson were joined by Australian Program staff from the Conservancy’s Melbourne office, Barry McDonald and Kerrie Wilson. We plunged them into the landscape at Mt Trio in the Stirling Ranges and saw whole paddocks being returned to bush in the Fitz-Stirling section of the Link. The Southern Ocean Right Whales, and their new born calves, astounded us with their dignity and grace off Point Anne. We made the Lake King Tavern on the second evening, just in time for the Netball Grand Final celebrations, the ultimate cultural immersion for our visitors, and spent the final day in the mighty woodlands and heathlands east of the Barrier Fence. Their immensity and richness always astound us, and did so once again. But this time we were able to have some pretty serious discussions about their global importance, and learnt more than we expected about the effects of genetic isolation on the invertebrate populations in ephemeral pools on the scattered granite tors that bring some relief into that ancient and subdued landscape. Paula Deegan also had a fleeting glimpse of what we assume to be a Woylie, and the rest of the team located a number of their characteristic diggings and resting spots. It was great to get these valued second opinions on the value of our work, and talk through opportunities to bring a much needed increase in scientific study of the area.