Front line news from the cane toad invasion

03 May 2011

Cane toad expert Dr Ben Phillips will give a despatch from the front lines of Australia’s cane toad invasion in a free public talk at the Museum of Tropical Queensland on Tuesday 14 June at 12pm.

The talk, titled “Space, time, and cane toads: fascinating lessons from one of the world’s worst invaders” reveals some fascinating facts about our much-loathed backyard denizen.

Museum of Tropical Queensland Director Peter McLeod said cane toads occupy a unique place in our perception.

“Cane toads are a plague, a Queensland state icon, and a symbol of scientific and bureaucratic failure,” Mr McLeod said.

“Dr Phillips’ talk will open your eyes to the sordid history and the latest developments of the cane toad advance across northern Australia.”

Dr Phillips is an Australian Research Council Queen Elizabeth II Senior Research Fellow at James Cook University’s School of Tropical and Marine Biology.

Dr Phillips said his talk would reveal the political machinations behind the introduction of the cane toad, as well as cutting-edge research into the way cane toads are evolving.

“I will describe the toads’ natural history in Australia, its impact on native species and its spread across northern Australia,” Dr Phillips said.

“We will see that cane toads might have lessons for us about the impacts of climate change, and how we interpret the fossil record.  We will also see that toads have something to teach Charles Darwin about evolution.

“If you want to find out how cane toads can be linked to a Prime Minister, a famous English naturalist, fossilised pollen, and your morning cup of tea, I’ll see you there,” Dr Phillips said.

The lecture is part of the Museum of Tropical Queensland’s Discover More Talk series, held on the second Tuesday of each month.

The Museum of Tropical Queensland, part of the Queensland Museum, is open from 9.30am to 5pm daily.

Locals enjoy free entry, through the generous support of Townsville, Burdekin, Charters Towers and Hinchinbrook councils.

Media Contacts:     Mei Nee Cheong 4726 0603 or 0414 264 987
                              Stephen Wilson 4726 0604 or 0431 334 583