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Publications

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Chapters

Horgan, F.G. 2017, 'Ecology and management of apple snails in rice' in Chauhan, B.S., Jabran, K. & Mahajan, G. (eds), Rice Production Worldwide, Springer, Switzerland, pp. 393-418.
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Apple snails (Ampulariidae) occur throughout tropical and subtropical rice-growing regions. Native apple snails rarely damage rice; however, in hot and humid tropical regions, some native species will damage wet-direct-seeded rice (i.e., Pomacea spp. in Suriname and Brazil). Similarly, exotic apple snails in wet, temperate regions can damage direct-seeded rice (i.e., Pomacea canaliculata in Japan). However, if left unmanaged, exotic apple snails in warm tropical regions (i.e., P. canaliculata and P. maculata in South East Asia) can cause significant economic losses even to transplanted rice (which is more robust that direct-seeded rice). The negative impact of apple snails on rice yield can be reduced by reducing seedling vulnerability or controlling snail population densities. Reducing vulnerability is a more sustainable solution to apple snails but requires new methods such as seedling broadcasting and machine transplanting to decrease labor costs. To avoid further spread of apple snails, the implementation of effective quarantine directives is recommended for tropical countries that are vulnerable to exotic apple snails.

Horgan, F.G. 2017, 'Insect Herbivores of Rice: Their Natural Regulation and Ecologically Based Management' in Chauhan, B.S., Jabran, K. & Mahajan, G. (eds), Rice Production Worldwide, Springer, Switzerland, pp. 279-302.
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The management of insect herbivores in rice ecosystems has been strongly influenced by three poorly informed beliefs. These are (1) that insects have generally negative effects on crop health, (2) that herbivore damage translates directly to yield loss, and (3) that insecticides increase rice yields. In the face of global changes, particularly increases in the production and marketing of agrochemicals, these beliefs will lead to unsustainable rice production systems and poor environmental health. This chapter assesses these beliefs, challenges their validity, and (by analyzing the dynamics of herbivore populations and their interspecific interactions in the rice ecosystem) presents a holistic alternative for understanding herbivore impacts on rice production systems. The chapter proposes a focus on “rice ecosystem health” with herbivore management based on ecological principals and incorporating such novel approaches as “ecological engineering” for ecosystem stability and system resilience.

Mukheibir, P., Boronyak, L. & Alofa, P. 2017, 'Dynamic adaptive management pathways for drinking water security in Kiribati' in Leal Filho, W. (ed), Climate Change Adaptation in Pacific Countries Fostering Resilience and Improving the Quality of Life, Springer, Berlin, pp. 287-301.
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This book showcases vital lessons learned from research, field projects and best practice examples with regard to climate change adaptation in countries throughout the Pacific region, a part of the planet that is particularly vulnerable to ...

Walker, J.R. & Cooper, M. 2017, 'Resilience' in Braidotti, R. (ed), The Posthumanities Reader, Bloomsbury, London.

Walker, J.R. & Cooper, M. 2017, 'Resilience' in Castree, N., Hulme, M. & Proctor, J. (eds), The Companion to Environmental Studies, Routledge, London.

Journal articles

Austin, C., Tuft, K., Ramp, D., Cremona, T. & Webb, J.K. 2017, 'Bait preference for remote camera trap studies of the endangered northern quoll (Dasyurus hallucatus)', Australian Mammalogy, vol. 39, no. 1, pp. 72-77.
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Estimating population size is crucial for managing populations of threatened species. In the Top End of northern Australia, populations of northern quolls (Dasyurus hallucatus), already affected by livestock grazing, inappropriate burning regimes and predation, have collapsed following the spread of the toxic cane toad (Rhinella marina). Cane toads are currently invading the Kimberley, where they pose a threat to quoll populations. To manage these populations, we need reliable methods for detecting and estimating quoll abundance. We deployed camera traps with lures containing tuna, peanut butter or no bait and found that baited cameras performed better than the unbaited control. Cameras with a tuna lure detected more individuals than cameras baited with peanut butter or no bait. Cameras with a tuna lure yielded more photographs per quoll than those baited with peanut butter or no bait. We identified individual quolls from unique spot patterns and found multiple photographs improved the accuracy of identification. We also found that population estimates for the sample area derived from camera trapping were consistent with those from live trapping using mark–recapture techniques.

Dubios, S., Fenwick, N., Ryan, E.A., Baker, L., Baker, S.E., Beausoleil, N.J., Carter, S., Cartwright, B., Costa, F., Draper, C., Griffin, J., Grogan, A., Howald, G., Jones, B., Littin, K.E., Lombard, A.T., Mellor, D.J., Ramp, D., Schuppli, C.A. & Fraser, D. 2017, 'International consensus principles for ethical wildlife control', Conservation Biology.
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Human–wildlife conflicts are commonly addressed by excluding, relocating, or lethally controlling animals with the goal of preserving public health and safety, protecting property, or conserving other valued wildlife. However, declining wildlife populations, a lack of efficacy of control methods in achieving desired outcomes, and changes in how people value animals have triggered widespread acknowledgment of the need for ethical and evidence-based approaches to managing such conflicts. We explored international perspectives on and experiences with human–wildlife conflicts to develop principles for ethical wildlife control. A diverse panel of 20 experts convened at a 2-day workshop and developed the principles through a facilitated engagement process and discussion. They determined that efforts to control wildlife should begin wherever possible by altering the human practices that cause human–wildlife conflict and by developing a culture of coexistence; be justified by evidence that significant harms are being caused to people, property, livelihoods, ecosystems, and/or other animals; have measurable outcome-based objectives that are clear, achievable, monitored, and adaptive; predictably minimize animal welfare harms to the fewest number of animals; be informed by community values as well as scientific, technical, and practical information; be integrated into plans for systematic long-term management; and be based on the specifics of the situation rather than negative labels (pest, overabundant) applied to the target species. We recommend that these principles guide development of international, national, and local standards and control decisions and implementation.

Horgan, F.G. & Ferrater, J.B. 2017, 'Benefits and potential trade-offs associated with yeast-like symbionts during virulence adaptation in a phloem-feeding planthopper', Entomologia Experimentalis et Applicata, vol. 163, no. 1, pp. 112-125.
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© 2017 The Netherlands Entomological SocietyInsect herbivores form symbioses with a diversity of prokaryotic and eukaryotic microorganisms. A role for endosymbionts during host feeding on nutrient-poor diets – including phloem – is now supported by a large body of evidence. Furthermore, symbiont-herbivore associations have been implicated in feeding preferences by host races (mainly aphids) on multiple plant species. However, the role of symbionts in mediating herbivore preferences between varieties of the same plant species has received little research attention despite the implications for virulence adaptation to resistant crops. This study investigates the role of yeast-like symbionts (YLS) in virulence adaptation and host plant switching among populations of the brown planthopper, Nilaparvata lugens (Stål) (Hemiptera: Delphacidae), that were selected on various rice [Oryza sativa L. (Poaceae)] lines differing in their resistance against herbivores. Planthopper fitness (nymph weight) declined where YLS densities were depleted through heat treatment. However, compared to normal symbiotic planthoppers, the depletion of symbionts did not generally change the relative fitness of planthoppers (each ‘adapted’ to a single natal host) when switched to feed on a range of rice lines (exposed hosts). In some cases, this occurred despite differences in YLS density responses to the various hosts. Furthermore, we detected no fitness costs associated with YLS in adapted populations. Therefore, the results of this study suggest that, whereas YLS are essential for planthopper nutrition, changes in YLS density play little role during virulence adaptation and host plant switching by the brown planthopper.

Horgan, F.G., Palenzuela, A.N., Stuart, A.M., Naredo, A.I., Ramal, A.F., Bernal, C.C. & Almazan, M.-.L.P. 2017, 'Effects of silicon soil amendments and nitrogen fertilizer on apple snail (Ampullariidae) damage to rice seedlings', CROP PROTECTION, vol. 91, pp. 123-131.
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Horgan, F.G., Ramal, A.F., Villegas, J.M., Almazan, M.L.P., Bernal, C.C., Jamoralin, A., Pasang, J.M., Orboc, G., Agreda, V. & Arroyo, C. 2017, 'Ecological engineering with high diversity vegetation patches enhances bird activity and ecosystem services in Philippine rice fields', Regional Environmental Change, pp. 1-13.
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© 2016 Springer-Verlag Berlin HeidelbergThis study examines the potential for ecological engineering to enhance the beneficial ecosystem services provided by birds in tropical rice fields. Bird activities were monitored at six sites in the Philippines with high-diversity vegetation patches (HDVPs) established as an ecological engineering approach to restore ecosystem services. Adjacent plots of conventional rice were monitored as controls. Predatory birds (shrikes, Lanius spp., grassbirds, Megalurus palustris, and kingfishers, Halcyon spp.) were more active in the ecological engineering fields where they foraged for arthropods and snails among the rice plants. Pied trillers, Lalage nigra, and yellow vented bulbuls, Pycnonotus goiavier, foraged more in the HDVPs than in rice. These birds mainly responded to the availability of bamboo for perching in the HDVPs, although patch vegetation beneath the bamboo was also used for perching by some species. Aerial hunters such as swallows, Hirundo spp., avoided HDVPs likely because the tall vegetation and bamboo stakes represented an obstacle for their flight. Small changes in the design of HDVPs could avoid any negative effects on foraging by swallows and swifts. The results indicate that ecological engineering of rice paddies can have multiple benefits for farmers and the environment, including improved nutrition for farming communities, the creation of habitat for wildlife, and the enhancement of regulatory ecosystem services provided by insectivorous and snail-eating birds.

Horgan, F.G., Ramal, A.F., Villegas, J.M., Jamoralin, A., Bernal, C.C., Perez, M.O., Pasang, J.M., Naredo, A.I. & Almazan, M.L.P. 2017, 'Effects of bund crops and insecticide treatments on arthropod diversity and herbivore regulation in tropical rice fields', Journal of Applied Entomology.
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© 2017 Blackwell Verlag GmbH.Ecological engineering using vegetable or flower strips is promoted as a potential pest management strategy in irrigated rice. Farmers in the Philippines often plant rice levees (bunds) with vegetables, particularly string beans (Vigna unguiculata [L.] Walpers) to supplement income, but without considering the potential for pest management. This study examines the effects of planted bunds on rice herbivores and their natural enemies. We compared arthropods in (a) rice fields that had string beans planted on bunds, (b) fields without string beans and without any insecticide applications and (c) fields without string beans but with insecticide treatments (standard practice). Rice yield was similar across all treatments; however, the vegetation strips produced an extra 3.6 kg of fresh string bean pods per metre of bund. There were no apparent increases in major natural enemy groups in fields with string beans compared to fields with conventional bunds. Fields with insecticide treatments had higher damage from leaffolders (Lepidoptera: Pyralidae). The sprayed fields also had lower parasitism of planthopper eggs and fewer predatory dragonflies and damselflies (Odonata). Furthermore, the mortality of planthopper (Delphacidae: Hemiptera) and stemborer (Pyralidae) eggs by parasitoids and predators was density dependent only in the unsprayed fields (with and without string beans). Our results demonstrate that planting string beans on rice bunds improves the productivity of rice farms, but our ecological engineering system did not appreciably affect natural enemy or herbivore abundance; however, chemical insecticides adversely affected pest regulatory ecosystem functions leading to higher pest damage.

Hudson, L.N., Newbold, T., Contu, S., Hill, S.L.L., Lysenko, I., De Palma, A., Phillips, H.R.P., Alhusseini, T.I., Bedford, F.E., Bennett, D.J., Booth, H., Burton, V.J., Chng, C.W.T., Choimes, A., Correia, D.L.P., Day, J., Echeverría-Londoño, S., Emerson, S.R., Gao, D., Garon, M., Harrison, M.L.K., Ingram, D.J., Jung, M., Kemp, V., Kirkpatrick, L., Martin, C.D., Pan, Y., Pask-Hale, G.D., Pynegar, E.L., Robinson, A.N., Sanchez-Ortiz, K., Senior, R.A., Simmons, B.I., White, H.J., Zhang, H., Aben, J., Abrahamczyk, S., Adum, G.B., Aguilar-Barquero, V., Aizen, M.A., Albertos, B., Alcala, E.L., Del Mar Alguacil, M., Alignier, A., Ancrenaz, M., Andersen, A.N., Arbeláez-Cortés, E., Armbrecht, I., Arroyo-Rodríguez, V., Aumann, T., Axmacher, J.C., Azhar, B., Azpiroz, A.B., Baeten, L., Bakayoko, A., Báldi, A., Banks, J.E., Baral, S.K., Barlow, J., Barratt, B.I.P., Barrico, L., Bartolommei, P., Barton, D.M., Basset, Y., Batáry, P., Bates, A.J., Baur, B., Bayne, E.M., Beja, P., Benedick, S., Berg, Å., Bernard, H., Berry, N.J., Bhatt, D., Bicknell, J.E., Bihn, J.H., Blake, R.J., Bobo, K.S., Bóçon, R., Boekhout, T., Böhning-Gaese, K., Bonham, K.J., Borges, P.A.V., Borges, S.H., Boutin, C., Bouyer, J., Bragagnolo, C., Brandt, J.S., Brearley, F.Q., Brito, I., Bros, V., Brunet, J., Buczkowski, G., Buddle, C.M., Bugter, R., Buscardo, E., Buse, J., Cabra-García, J., Cáceres, N.C., Cagle, N.L., Calviño-Cancela, M., Cameron, S.A., Cancello, E.M., Caparrós, R., Cardoso, P., Carpenter, D., Carrijo, T.F., Carvalho, A.L., Cassano, C.R., Castro, H., Castro-Luna, A.A., Rolando, C.B., Cerezo, A., Chapman, K.A., Chauvat, M., Christensen, M., Clarke, F.M., Cleary, D.F.R., Colombo, G., Connop, S.P., Craig, M.D., Cruz-López, L., Cunningham, S.A., D'Aniello, B., D'Cruze, N., da Silva, P.G., Dallimer, M., Danquah, E., Darvill, B., Dauber, J., Davis, A.L.V., Dawson, J., de Sassi, C., de Thoisy, B., Deheuvels, O., Dejean, A., Devineau, J.-.L., Diekötter, T., Dolia, J.V., Domínguez, E., Dominguez-Haydar, Y., Dorn, S., Draper, I., Dreber, N., Dumont, B., Dures, S.G., Dynesius, M., Edenius, L., Eggleton, P., Eigenbrod, F., Elek, Z., Entling, M.H., Esler, K.J., de Lima, R.F., Faruk, A., Farwig, N., Fayle, T.M., Felicioli, A., Felton, A.M., Fensham, R.J., Fernandez, I.C., Ferreira, C.C., Ficetola, G.F., Fiera, C., Filgueiras, B.K.C., Fırıncıoğlu, H.K., Flaspohler, D., Floren, A., Fonte, S.J., Fournier, A., Fowler, R.E., Franzén, M., Fraser, L.H., Fredriksson, G.M., Freire, G.B., Frizzo, T.L.M., Fukuda, D., Furlani, D., Gaigher, R., Ganzhorn, J.U., García, K.P., Garcia-R, J.C., Garden, J.G., Garilleti, R., Ge, B.-.M., Gendreau-Berthiaume, B. & et al. 2017, 'The database of the PREDICTS (Projecting Responses of Ecological Diversity In Changing Terrestrial Systems) project.', Ecol Evol, vol. 7, no. 1, pp. 145-188.
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The PREDICTS project-Projecting Responses of Ecological Diversity In Changing Terrestrial Systems (www.predicts.org.uk)-has collated from published studies a large, reasonably representative database of comparable samples of biodiversity from multiple sites that differ in the nature or intensity of human impacts relating to land use. We have used this evidence base to develop global and regional statistical models of how local biodiversity responds to these measures. We describe and make freely available this 2016 release of the database, containing more than 3.2 million records sampled at over 26,000 locations and representing over 47,000 species. We outline how the database can help in answering a range of questions in ecology and conservation biology. To our knowledge, this is the largest and most geographically and taxonomically representative database of spatial comparisons of biodiversity that has been collated to date; it will be useful to researchers and international efforts wishing to model and understand the global status of biodiversity.

Jones, C.R., Lorica, M.R.P., Villegas, J.M., Ramal, A.F., Horgan, F.G., Singleton, G.R. & Stuart, A.M. 2017, 'The stadium effect: rodent damage patterns in rice fields explored using giving-up densities.', Integr Zool.
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Rodents are globally important pre-harvest pests of rice. In South-east Asia, rodent damage to growing rice crops is commonly concentrated towards the center of rice fields, away from the field edge resulting in a clear pattern known as the 'stadium effect'. To further understand this behavior of rodent pests and develop recommendations for future research and management, we examined the relation between giving-up densities (GUDs) and damage patterns. In Tanay, Luzon, Philippines, GUD trays containing pieces of coconut in a matrix of sand were placed at four different distances from the field edge to quantify the perceived risk of predation in a rice field pest, Rattus tanezumi. GUDs were recorded during a dry and wet season crop at the reproductive and ripening stages of rice. In addition, assessments of active burrows, tracking tile activity and rodent damage to the rice crop, were conducted in the dry season. GUDs were significantly lower in the center of the rice fields than on the field edges suggesting that rodent damage to rice is greater in the middle of rice fields due to a lower perceived predation risk. Furthermore, this perception of predation risk (or fear) increases towards the field edge and is greatest on the rice bund, where there was no vegetation cover. We discuss the implications for rodent management and rodent damage assessments in rice fields. This is the first documented use of GUDs in a rice agro-ecosystem in Asia, thus we identify the challenges and lessons learned through this process. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

Walker, J.R. & Granjou, C. 2017, 'MELiSSA the minimal biosphere: human life, waste and refuge in deep space', Futures.
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MELiSSA (Micro-Ecological Life Support System Alternative) is a long-term technology program of the European Space Agency. Its aim is to construct autonomous habitats in deep space, supplying astronauts with fresh air, water and food through continuous microbial recycling of human wastes. This article considers how anticipated futures of space travel and environmental survival are materialized in the project to engineer the minimal biosphere capable of reliably sustaining human life: a human/microbe association with the fewest possible species. We locate MELiSSA within a history of bio-infrastructures associated with colonisation projects: refugia in which organisms dislocated from their originary habitats are preserved. Analysis of MELiSSA’s sewage-composting technology suggests that the disordering complexity of human waste presents a formidable “bottle-neck” for the construction of the minimal biosphere, in turn suggesting our dependence on microbial communities (soil, the human gut) of potentially irreducible biocomplexity. MELiSSA researchers think of themselves as pragmatic enablers of space exploration, yet a wider family of space colonisation projects are now imagined in terms of the prospect that the Earth might cease to function as the minimal biosphere capable of supporting civilisation. MELiSSA’s politics of anticipation are paradoxical, promising technologies with which to escape from the Earth and through which it may be sustained.

Walker, J.R. & Granjou, C. 2017, 'The Faecal Frontier: Miniaturising the Biosphere and Managing Waste in Deep Space', Wildlife Australia, vol. 54, no. 2, pp. 18-21.
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Walker, J.R., Granjou, C. & Salazar, J.F. 2017, 'The Politics of Anticipation: On Knowing and Governing Environmental Futures', Futures.
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In this article we describe how the historical emergence and rise of future studies, since the founding issue of Futures in 1968, has been intricately connected to the emergence and development of environmental anticipation as discourse and practice. We trace a dialectical and inter-twined relationship between technologies of environmental anticipation and forecasting, and technologies of anti-environmentalist anticipation and counter-intervention, one which we argue shapes not only the contemporary politics of anticipation, but in a very material sense, the future conditions of biological and social life on Earth. In so doing we want to address the possible contributions that the field of futures studies can make to to reimagining collective agency and ways of being on Earth, whilst reflecting critically upon its genealogical relations to the political reason and strategic horizons of powerful fossil fuel interests, from the crisis of the 1970s to the present. The article also introduces this special issue of Futures on “The Politics of Environmental Anticipation” with the aim to bring to the fore the role that social scientists play in environmental anticipation – ie. drawing attention to the fact that the future could always have been otherwise. As a whole, this stimulating collection of eight original articles provides a critical assessment of a range of sites where varied and conflicting politics of environmental anticipation are constituted and resisted.

Wallach, A., Ramp, D. & O'Neill, A.J. 2017, 'Cattle mortality on a predator-friendly station in central Australia', Journal of Mammology, vol. 98, no. 1, pp. 45-52.
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Large predators are declining worldwide primarily due to hunting and persecution by humans, driven in large part by the livestock industry. Some ranchers are transitioning to “predator-friendly” farming by adopting nonlethal predator deterrents. On very large rangeland properties, such as the vast stations of the Australian arid zone, ending lethal control may in itself reduce livestock losses by enabling the predator’s social structure to stabilize. The dingo (Canis dingo), Australia’s apex predator, is commonly subjected to eradication campaigns to protect livestock. We analyzed causes of cattle (Bos taurus) deaths on Evelyn Downs, a 2,300-km2 predator-friendly station in central Australia, for 2 years after dingo protection was established. Husbandry-related challenges, associated with deteriorating environmental conditions, were the leading causes of deaths of cattle. Predation by dingoes was minor and declined as the indices of dingo abundance stabilized and social stability increased. Shifting from killing predators to improving husbandry standards is likely to improve livestock survival and welfare.

Wallach, A.D., Dekker, A.H., Lurgi, M., Montoya, J.M., Fordham, D.A. & Ritchie, E.G. 2017, 'Trophic cascades in 3D: network analysis reveals how apex predators structure ecosystems', Methods in Ecology and Evolution, vol. 8, no. 1.
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The role of apex predators as ecosystem regulators is now firmly embedded in ecological theory, suggesting that the world is green and biologically diverse in large part because predators suppress herbivore densities (Hairston, Smith & Slobodkin 1960; Estes et al. 2011; Ripple et al. 2014). Studies from across the globe show that apex predators limit the abundance and modify the behaviour of their prey and smaller mesopredators, suppressing grazing and predation pressure, and enhancing biodiversity and productivity (Ritchie & Johnson 2009; Ritchie et al. 2012). This top-down forcing cascades throughout ecosystems influencing a broad range of processes, both biotic and abiotic, including species abundances and richness, animal behaviour, disease dynamics, carbon sequestration and stream morphology (Estes et al. 2011; Ripple et al. 2014; Atwood et al. 2015). The rise and fall of apex predators not only affects the composition of species within ecological communities therefore, but also ecosystem functioning (Estes et al. 2011; Ripple et al. 2014; Standish et al. 2014). For example, wolves (Canis lupus) provide critical resource subsidies to scavenging species during warm months, thus enhancing their resilience to shortening winters due to global warming (Wilmers & Getz 2005). Similarly, dingoes (C. dingo) stabilize herbivore prey densities by dampening their population responses to rainfall in arid environments, thereby enabling plant biomass to accumulate during brief wet seasons (Letnic & Crowther 2013).

Conferences

Reyna Zeballos, J.L., horgan, F., ramp, D. & meier, P. 2017, 'Using Learner-Generated Digital Media (LGDM) as an Assessment Tool in Geological Sciences.', The 11th annual International Technology, Education and Development Conference, INTED2017, INTED 2017, Valencia (Spain).
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This study explores learner-generated digital media (LGDM) as an assessment tool in Geological Sciences. The aim was to engage students with the geology subject further and to develop their digital media literacies. For this purpose, a cohort of 97 students from the undergraduate Geological Processes subject (Autumn 2016) at the University of Technology Sydney, were randomly allocated to groups of 2-5 students. The students were asked to produce a five-minute digital media presentation on a chosen study topic. A lecture and workshop on digital media principles were delivered to prepare the students for the task early in the semester. Support and feedback were provided across the entire semester by the lecturer and digital media tutor through computer practicals and preparatory assignments. Group contribution was monitored using the SPARKPlus application. An online questionnaire was used at the end of the semester to gauge students’ attitude towards LGDM. The survey assessed demographics, digital media support, attitudes toward the assignment, and the contribution of LGDM to skills development. Methodological triangulation was used with data sets from the questionnaire, group work and marks obtained. Our preliminary results indicate that students had a positive attitude towards LGDM as an assessment tool and that the assessment provided a novel opportunity for students to apply attributes such as ‘creativity’ to their learning experience of geology. Implications for teaching and learning are discussed.