Bearing up well? Understanding the past, present and future of Australia’s koalas

Citation

Material Information

Title:
Bearing up well? Understanding the past, present and future of Australia’s koalas
Series Title:
Gondwana Research
Creator:
Black, Karen H.
Price, Gilbert J.
Archer, Michael
Hand, Suzanne J.
Publisher:
Elsevier
Publication Date:
Language:
English

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords:
Phascolarctidae ( local )
Cenozoic ( local )
Species Diversity ( local )
Faunal Change ( local )
Vombatiformes ( local )
Genre:
serial ( sobekcm )

Notes

Abstract:
The modern Koala Phascolarctos cinereus is the last surviving member of a once diverse family Phascolarctidae (Marsupialia, Phascolarctomorphia). Nine genera and at least 16 species of koala are known. Late Oligocene sediments of central Australia record the oldest fossils and highest species diversity. Five species are known from the early to middle Miocene rainforest assemblages of the Riversleigh World Heritage Area, Queensland. With the onset of dryer conditions after the middle Miocene climatic optimum (~ 16 Ma), rainforest habitats contracted resulting in the apparent extinction of three koala lineages (Litokoala, Nimiokoala, Priscakoala). Phascolarctos first appears in the fossil record during the Pliocene and the modern species around 350 ka. Despite a dramatic decline in taxonomic diversity to a single extant species, the fossil record indicates that at most only three koala species coexisted in any given faunal assemblage throughout their 24 million year history. Within these assemblages, the vast majority of extinct koalas are extremely rare (some known from only a single specimen) which may reflect a general rarity within their palaeohabitats compared with the modern species which is represented by an estimated 400,000 individuals spread over most of eastern mainland Australia. Be that as it may, P. cinereus, although once geographically more widespread, occurring for example in Western Australia in the Pleistocene, underwent significant range contractions and localized population extinctions during the stressful climatic conditions of the late Pleistocene and more recently through human-induced habitat destruction. Combined with threats of disease, reduced genetic diversity and climate change, the survival of this iconic Australian marsupial is arguably a cause for concern.
Original Version:
Gondwana Research, Vol. 25, no. 3 (2014-04).

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of South Florida Library
Holding Location:
University of South Florida
Rights Management:
This object is protected by copyright, and is made available here for research and educational purposes. Permission to reuse, publish, or reproduce the object beyond the bounds of Fair Use or other exemptions to copyright law must be obtained from the copyright holder.

USFLDC Membership

Aggregations:
University of South Florida
Karst Information Portal

Postcard Information

Format:
serial

printinsert_linkshareget_appmore_horiz

Download Options

close

No images or PDF downloads are available for this resource.


Cite this item close

APA

Cras ut cursus ante, a fringilla nunc. Mauris lorem nunc, cursus sit amet enim ac, vehicula vestibulum mi. Mauris viverra nisl vel enim faucibus porta. Praesent sit amet ornare diam, non finibus nulla.

MLA

Cras efficitur magna et sapien varius, luctus ullamcorper dolor convallis. Orci varius natoque penatibus et magnis dis parturient montes, nascetur ridiculus mus. Fusce sit amet justo ut erat laoreet congue sed a ante.

CHICAGO

Phasellus ornare in augue eu imperdiet. Donec malesuada sapien ante, at vehicula orci tempor molestie. Proin vitae urna elit. Pellentesque vitae nisi et diam euismod malesuada aliquet non erat.

WIKIPEDIA

Nunc fringilla dolor ut dictum placerat. Proin ac neque rutrum, consectetur ligula id, laoreet ligula. Nulla lorem massa, consectetur vitae consequat in, lobortis at dolor. Nunc sed leo odio.