The Joint Annual Scientific Meetings of the Endocrine Society of Australia and the Society for Reproductive Biology 2018

Saving the Environment (#397)

Andrew Pask 1
  1. University of Melbourne, Parkville, VIC, Australia

Australia is listed as one of the world’s few megadiverse countries, containing a highly diverse array of flora and fauna not found anywhere else on the planet. Unfortunately, Australia also has one of the world’s worst extinction records. Many of our native species have suffered from the impacts of introduced species and habitat loss, but they are also subject to invisible threats that can affect their reproductive capacity. For example, exposure to endocrine disrupting chemicals can dramatically affect reproductive development and fertility. An understanding of reproductive biology can help mediate each of these threats. Manipulating reproduction provides opportunities to help save and preserve our threatened native fauna, it can help to control the spread of invasive pest species and help to identify environmental hazards such that policies can be put in place to protect our fauna. Reproductive strategies have helped to save the mountain pigmy possum from the brink of extinction through the introduction of virile males from a nearby population. Control of reproduction has been suggested as a method to help control the cane toad and more recently gene drive techniques, used successfully in insect species, are being suggested as a viable method to control invasive rodent (mouse and rabbit) populations in Australia. These studies highlight the importance of research in reproduction, which clearly has a pivotal role to play in saving the Australia environment.