Research, Connect, Protect




Koala Collab 2018

The ‘Koala Collab 2018’, held on the 19th of July at the Brisbane Koala Science InstituteBrisbane Koala Science Institute, saw over 80 southeast Queensland researchers, industry professionals and community group participants come together to discuss key findings arising from projects supported by the Queensland Government’s Koala Disease Research grant. Hosted by the Queensland Department of Environment and Science with the support of Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary, this event created a valuable opportunity for collaboration and knowledge-sharing to enhance the management of wild koala populations.


Invited presentations:   

KoalaBASE – standardised diagnostic procedures and epidemiological approaches, enhancing passive surveillance of SEQ koala diseases
Presented by Dr Rachel Allavena, The University of Queensland
Dr Allavena presented the importance of the KoalaBASE passive surveillance system for monitoring threats to koalas and koala health in south-east Queensland and discussed important demographic trends revealed by the dataset.

Constructing a population genetic framework for Chlamydia pecorum infections in koalas
Presented by Professor Adam Polkinghorne, University of the Sunshine Coast
Professor Polkinghorne discussed links between koala population management and C. pecorum strain distribution patterns, in terms of both historical patterns of pathogen transmission and implications for future management approaches.

 The pathology, incidence, treatment and management of Chlamydiosis in the male koala
Presented by Associate Professor Chiara Palmieri, Ms Lyndal Hulse and Associate Professor Steve Johnston, The University of Queensland
Professor Johnston’s team explained the predominant role that chlamydial disease plays in the reproductive tract of male koalas, which until now had been underestimated, and the consequences for reproduction, management and artificial breeding technologies.

Development of an alternative drug treatment for chlamydial infections in koalas
Presented by Professor Peter Timms, University of the Sunshine Coast
Professor Timms presented the need for a new type of Chlamydia-specific drug that overcomes the drawbacks associated with existing treatments and discussed the necessary steps toward developing and testing this broad-spectrum antibiotic.

Investigation into koala retrovirus pathogenesis for the improvement of koala conservation
Presented by Dr Greg Simmons, The University of Queensland
Dr Simmons shared insights into the pathogenesis of KoRV revealed by comparison of the retrovirus, which can cause immune dysfunction and cancer in many species, between Queensland and South Australian koala populations.

Modelling to assess the risk posed by disease to the viability of Queensland’s koala populations
Presented by Professor Hamish McCallum, Griffith University
Professor McCallum discussed the effects of chlamydiosis on koalas at individual and population scales and highlighted the need for improved data collection to better understand disease severity and outcomes, as well as management strategies that target multiple drivers of population decline.

Behavioural and physiological adaptation to heat in the koala
Presented by Dr Bill Ellis, The University of Queensland
Dr Ellis explained the role of heat load in koalas in relation to body temperature, environmental conditions and behaviour. The effects of heat on koalas may have consequences for management including habitat design, climate change adaptation and captive animal management.

For more information, or to enquire about booking the Brisbane Koala Science InstituteBrisbane Koala Science Institute for your next conference, please contact .