13 July 2015

In the media: Koalas can teach us about climate changes


Danish-Australian research project will provide valuable knowledge about climate changes to which the koala is extremely sensitive

In an article from the Danish newspaper Politiken, the research to unravel the mystery of the connection between koalas and eucaluptus is explained by postdoc Elizabeth Heather Neilson and Professor Birger Lindberg Møller.

The leaves are, despite their lovely fragrance, extremely toxic to humans. However, the koala is able to live exclusively from a diet of Eucalyptus. Our researchers are studying the koala microbiome and how this is possible, and learning what happens to the koalas when climate changes alter the composition of the eucalyptus leaves. And what happens to the koalas when climate changes alters the composition of their only source of food?

As a so-called indicator species, the koala can help us understand how the climate changes might affect all of us. Usually climate changes is about sea levels, hurricanes, droughts and rise in temperatures. But what about the effect on our food sources; our plants?

"We will see plants that can not adapt to climate change, being attacked by diseases or new types of insects and therefore we can no longer get the expected yields. Not many makes this linkage", says Birger Lindberg Møller.

Read the full article here (in Danish) ...>

Elizabeth Neilson is currently funded by a fellowship from the VILLUM Foundation.

Read more about her science here ...>