How does the eastern bristlebird population respond to fire?
Ecological disturbance is widely recognised as a major driver of community diversity, but its role in shaping patterns of genetic diversity and population patterns has largely been overlooked.
The Threatened Species Hub and The Australian National University are seeking an environmental science student to look into this role by applying their ability to independently plan and execute field-based research. Candidates with specialist skills in genetic analysis will be considered favourably.
While the eastern bristlebird population is believed to have increased in parts of Booderee National Park since a wildfire in 2003, recent evidence suggests that it is the combination of wildfire and post-fire predation by feral predators that is the most likely reason for their decline.
The successful candidate will work closely with Parks Australia and the Department of Defence in Booderee National Park to characterise the demography and genetic structure of the bristlebird population. It is anticipated that by the conclusion of the project that the student would be in a strong position to inform fire and feral predator management strategies.
For further details about this opportunity, click here.
Image: Eastern bristlebird by D Cook
New Hub research has quantified the extent of predation by cats on Australia’s birds and identified the species and types of birds most vulnerable to cats. The team found that cats kill over 1 million birds per day in Australia. The total is made up of an estimated 316 million birds killed by feral cats and 61 million killed by pet cats each year.
Sound recorders have been installed across farm land in south-western Victoria and on Kangaroo Island in research to help threatened glossy black-cockatoos and south-eastern red-tailed black-cockatoos, by learning more about their breeding.
As cats and foxes have spread across Australia, islands have prevented the extinctions of several mammals like the boodie. Associate Professor Sarah Legge discusses the importance of safe havens and also summarizes the highlights of a recent 'safe-haven' symposium held at the International Mammalogy Congress in Perth.
The TSR Hub is one of six National Environmental Science Programme hubs and each is making its own important contribution to the national effort to recover our threatened species. Hub Director Brendan Wintle takes a look beyond the TSR Hub to highlight the good work being done on threatened species by our sister hubs.
On sub-Antarctic Macquarie Island a multi-million dollar eradication program removed cats in 2000 and rabbits, rats and mice in 2013. In the aftermath of this effort, beautiful things are emerging. Dr Justine Shaw is leading a TSR Hub project to learn from this experience and monitor how ecosystems respond.