We undertake research to support the recovery of Australia’s threatened species and ecological communities.
To do this we work closely with over 200 on-ground partners across the country, including government agencies, national parks, conservation groups, Indigenous land managers, farmers and community groups.
Our network includes around 150 of Australia’s leading environmental scientists who are delivering more than 100 research projects over six years (ending 2021).
We are supported by the Australian Government’s National Environmental Science Program.
Many threatened species are becoming increasingly isolated due to habitat loss and degradation, which can lead to loss of genetic diversity and increased extinction risk. Translocating animals between locations is one way of facilitating much-needed gene flow and improving conditions for population growth. This project focused on the genetic management of three threatened mammals: the banded hare-wallaby (Lagostrophus fasciatus), the dibbler (Parantechinus apicalis) and the Shark Bay bandicoot (Perameles bougainville), each of which are being translocated to Dirk Hartog Island in Western Australia. We devised optimal translocation strategies for each species, which all included sourcing founders from multiple island populations to maximise genetic diversity.
Night parrots (Pezoporus occidentalis) are one of Australia’s most imperilled birds, and feral cats are one of the key causes of their decline. Night parrots currently have a restricted distribution, and little is known about the feral cats around the remaining night parrot populations, which limits the development of effective management strategies. This study aimed to understand feral cat movements and feral cat habitat selection around Bush Heritage Australia’s Pullen-Pullen Special Wildlife Reserve in southwestern Queensland and to estimate the effectiveness of possible management actions to mitigate the threat posed by feral cats at this site. Over 2019–20, we obtained GPS data from nine feral cats, and assessed their habitat use. We simulated alternative management options based on this cat movement data. Simulated control efforts were more successful if traps were placed at “pinch points” where drainage lines converged, increasing the cost effectiveness of trapping by increasing the trap encounter rate. Our findings show how the conservation of threatened birds, like the night parrot, can be enhanced through better understanding threats, to develop locally tailored control operations.
Islands hold many unique species and ecosystems, but are greatly impacted by invasive species that can cause native species to go extinct or be threatened. Significant gaps in our knowledge mean that we don’t have a comprehensive understanding of threatened species on Australia’s islands, their threats and how to manage them effectively. We have created a national database of threatened species across all of Australia’s islands, which is helping fill these knowledge gaps, as well as beginning the process of understanding how to best conserve our island-based plants, animals and ecosystems.