Congratulations to Environment Institute researchers who have had success in todays 2016 ARC Linkage Grant announcement! The details of the three successful projects for the EI are below, with all the successful applicants Australia wide listed on the ARC website.
Wombats as a model for evidence based management of native fauna
Associate Professor Bertram Ostendorf; Professor Megan Lewis; Associate Professor Lian Pin Koh; Eminent Professor Roderick Wells; Dr Gregory Kerr; Dr Peter Clements; Dr David Schultz; Dr Elisa Sparrow
This project aims to use the Southern Hairy-nosed Wombat as a model species to evaluate ecological models for evidence-based continental and site-specific management of native fauna. Predators and climate change threaten Australia’s arid-zone wildlife. Wildlife management, especially in areas of human–wildlife conflict, relies on empirical evidence for abundance and distribution of species and to understand what controls species abundance in space and time. Modern spatial technologies can make such information easier to find. This project’s species distribution model is expected to improve wildlife management.
Partners: DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENT WATER AND NATURAL RESOURCES; THE SCHULTZ FOUNDATION LTD; EYRE PENINSULA NATURAL RESOURCES MANAGEMENT BOARD; THE NATURAL HISTORY SOCIETY OF SOUTH AUSTRALIA INCORPORATED; CONSERVATION VOLUNTEERS AUSTRALIA ENTERPRISES; SOUTH AUSTRALIAN MURRAY-DARLING BASIN NATURAL RESOURCES MANAGEMENT BOARD
Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) to locate and study endangered wildlife
Dr Damith Ranasinghe; Associate Professor Lian Pin Koh; Associate Professor Katrina Falkner; Associate Professor Bertram Ostendorf; Mr Gavin Puddy
This project aims to develop an automated and distributed spatial tracking approach using low cost Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) to locate and study endangered wildlife. Understanding animal behaviour and habits with granular spatial data is essential to develop effective monitoring and conservation strategies. Spatial tracking of radio collared wildlife using radio telemetry is a critical but costly tool for acquiring this data. This project anticipates that airborne spatial tracking using intelligent spatial tracking algorithms on board low cost UAV teams will allow more precise understanding of wildlife for evidence-based conservation and management in a changing global climate.
Partners: DEFENCE SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY ORGANISATION; THE SCHULTZ FOUNDATION LTD; DEPARTMENT OF PARKS AND WILDLIFE
Studying tiger snakes to enhance snakebite treatment capacity.
Dr Vicki Thomson; Dr Marc Jones; Dr Joanna Sumner; Professor Michael Lee; Dr Mark Hutchinson; Dr Kate Sanders
This project aims to examine the geographic variation amongst tiger snakes in anatomy, ecology, and life history traits, and the relationship of these factors to venom toxins and production; and to evaluate the true pharmacological potential of tiger snake venom. This project will investigate the role of venom adaptation in long-term animal evolution, by identifying rare venom transcripts involved in providing evolutionary potential for adaptation to environmental change. This is essential as continuing climatic and human-induced alteration of our environment affects southern Australia where many people live, work and interact with native wildlife. Anticipated outcomes are maximizing venom harvests and enhanced snakebite treatment capacity.
Partners: SOUTH AUSTRALIAN MUSEUM; MUSEUM VICTORIA