Genetic assessment of bushfire-impacted vertebrate species: Final report

Date: 23, Sep, 2021
Author(s):   Moritz, C., Catullo, R.
Publisher: TSR Hub

The 2019–20 bushfires had severe impacts on many animal species, with many experiencing substantial reductions in their population size and habitat. As a result, the federal government led a rapid assessment of the impacts on vertebrate species, prioritising emergency action for those whose distributions were substantially fire-affected. However, genetic assessments of these species identified that the taxonomic definitions used were in some cases incorrect, leading to mis-prioritisation. Unrecognised cryptic diversity can lead to the unintentional loss of unknown species following catastrophic events. This project sought to provide genetic information to improve the understanding of diversity across bushfire-affected vertebrates. We targeted species identified as priorities by the federal government and experts, collating existing genetic data to identify structure or endemism relevant to the prioritisation and management of fire-affected species.