George Olah

George Olah
Australian National University | ANU · Fenner School of Environment & Society

PhD

About

27
Publications
7,420
Reads
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323
Citations
Introduction
My main research interest is in Conservation Genetics and using next-generation sequencing technology in Wildlife Forensics. My research has focused on parrot conservation and genetics in the Neotropics and Australasia. I am also a passionate science communicator and wildlife documentary filmmaker.
Additional affiliations
March 2018 - present
International Ornithologists' Union
Position
  • Regional Coordinator for Australasia and Oceania
March 2018 - present
Australian National University
Position
  • Lecturer
March 2016 - March 2018
Australian National University
Position
  • PostDoc Position
Education
September 2009 - February 2016
Australian National University
Field of study
  • Conservation Biology, Genetics
September 2001 - June 2006

Publications

Publications (27)
Article
Full-text available
ContextDispersal is essential for species persistence and landscape genetic studies are valuable tools for identifying potential barriers to dispersal. Macaws have been studied for decades in their natural habitat, but we still have no knowledge of how natural landscape features influence their dispersal. Objectives We tested for correlations betwe...
Article
Full-text available
Parrots (Psittaciformes) are among the most threatened bird orders with 28 % (111 of 398) of extant species classified as threatened under IUCN criteria. We confirmed that parrots have a lower Red List Index (higher aggregate extinction risk) than other comparable bird groups, and modeled the factors associated with extinction risk. Our analyses in...
Article
Full-text available
Genetic tagging is the unique identification of individuals by their DNA profile. This technique is well established in mammals, but it has not yet been widely adopted for birds. Extraction methods for minute amounts of DNA even enable the use of genetic tagging from non-invasive samples, like hair, scat, or feather. In this study, we evaluate the...
Article
Full-text available
Albatrosses are among the most threatened seabird species. Often entangled in gillnets or hooked while longline fishing gear is being set, albatrosses are affected by fishing. This is assumed to be especially true in cases where illegal longline fishing vessels are involved, as they are less likely to implement the bycatch mitigation measures imple...
Method
Full-text available
Article
Full-text available
Parrots (Psittaciformes) are a well-studied, diverse group of birds distributed mainly in tropical and subtropical regions. Today, one-third of their species face extinction, mainly due to anthropogenic threats. Emerging tools in genetics have made major contributions to understanding basic and applied aspects of parrot biology in the wild and in c...
Article
Full-text available
Indonesia has been identified as the highest priority country for parrot conservation based on the number of species, endemics, and threats (trapping and smuggling). It is crucial to understand the current population status of parrots in the wild in relation to the illegal wildlife trade but the ecology and population dynamics of most parrot specie...
Article
High global and domestic demand for parrots (Psittaciformes) as pets, and consequent removal from the wild for the illicit trade have significantly contributed to their severe decline worldwide. While the trade is vast, not every parrot species is at equal risk of being traded, and there is controversy concerning the role of demand and the opportun...
Article
Understanding the current population size of small, spatially aggregating populations of species is essential for their conservation. Reliable estimates of the effective population size (Ne) can be used to provide an early warning for conservation managers of the risks to genetic viability of small populations. Critically endangered, migratory swif...
Article
Full-text available
Human advance on natural habitats is a major cause of biodiversity loss. This transformation process represents a profound change in wooded environments, disrupting original communities of flora and fauna. Many species are highly dependent on forests, especially parrots (Psittaciformes) with almost a third of their species threatened by extinction....
Article
Full-text available
Uncovering the population genetic histories of non-model organisms is increasingly possible through advances in next generation sequencing and DNA sampling of museum specimens. This new information can inform conservation of threatened species, particularly those for which historical and contemporary population data are unavailable or challenging t...
Article
Sex‐biased mortality can lead to altered adult sex ratios (ASRs), which may in turn lead to harassment and lower fitness of the rarer sex and changes in the mating system. Female critically endangered swift parrots (Lathamus discolor) suffer high predation while nesting due to an introduced mammalian predator, the sugar glider (Petaurus breviceps)....
Method
Full-text available
This protocol builds on Suchan et al. (2016). It has been modified to work on fresh and museum samples of birds, specifically tested on Regent Honeyeater (Anthochaera phrygia). The detailed protocol contains three main sections: (A) preparing ddRAD libraries as probes, (B) preparing whole genome libraries for samples of different quality, and (C) u...
Article
Full-text available
Mobile species pose major challenges for conservation because of their unpredictable, large scale movements in response to fluctuating resources. If locations with critical resources overlap with threats, large proportions of a mobile population may be exposed to threats. Critically endangered and nomadic swift parrots Lathamus discolor nest wherev...
Article
Full-text available
Australia, New Zealand, New Guinea, Wallacea, and the islands of the Pacific Ocean collectively possess 42% of the world’s parrot species, including half of all Critically Endangered species. We used comparative methods to review the factors related to extinction risk of 167 extant and 5 extinct parrot species from this region, subsequently referre...
Article
Full-text available
Genetic tagging, the unique identification of individuals by their DNA profile, has proven to be an effective method for research on several animal species. In this study we apply non-invasive genetic tagging from feather samples to reveal the genetic structure and estimate local population size of red-and-green macaws (Ara chloropterus) without th...
Thesis
The order Psittaciformes (parrots) contains 398 extant species, divided into 3 families (Psittacidae 374, Cacatuidae 21, Strigopidae 3 species) of which 111 (28%) are classified as threatened on the IUCN Red List. This thesis presents a wide array of interdisciplinary methods to study parrots: statistical modeling of their extinction risk, on site...
Article
Full-text available
Primer pairs were designed for 41 di-nucleotide microsatellite loci identified from across the full genome of the Scarlet Macaw (Ara macao). We present the best 30 polymorphic loci with 5–22 alleles, 3–14 effective alleles and expected heterozygosities of 0.669–0.930. These markers will facilitate population genetic and conservation genetic studies...
Article
Full-text available
Pathogens of both avian and mammalian fecal origin can infect birds via drinking water. Since birds often use ultraviolet clues for many decisions such as food detection, they may also be able to distinguish between faeces- or urine-polluted water and clean water by using UV vision. Here we test the hypothesis that birds may assess potential pollut...

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Projects

Projects (3)
Project
One of the current projects of Wildlife Messengers is based on our collaboration with Konservasi Kakatua Indonesia, a conservation organization working on the protection of cockatoos and other parrots in Indonesia. We also made a documentary film about the project.
Project
Ecology and conservation of Australia's most threatened and highly mobile birds