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Non-invasive sampling techniques : applications for mapping the generic variation of powerful owls

Hogan, Fiona, Cooke, Raylene, Norman, Janette and Burridge, Christopher 2005, Non-invasive sampling techniques : applications for mapping the generic variation of powerful owls, in AWMS conference 2005 : 18th scientific meeting and annual 21-24 November : Hobart, Tasmania, Australasian Wildlife Management Society, Australia, pp. 10-10.

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Title Non-invasive sampling techniques : applications for mapping the generic variation of powerful owls
Author(s) Hogan, Fiona
Cooke, RayleneORCID iD for Cooke, Raylene orcid.org/0000-0002-8843-7113
Norman, Janette
Burridge, Christopher
Conference name Australasian Wildlife Management Society. Meeting (18th : 2005 : Hobart, Tas.)
Conference location Hobart, Tas.
Conference dates 21-24 Nov. 2005
Title of proceedings AWMS conference 2005 : 18th scientific meeting and annual 21-24 November : Hobart, Tasmania
Publication date 2005
Start page 10
End page 10
Publisher Australasian Wildlife Management Society
Place of publication Australia
Summary The Powerful Owl (Ninox strenua) is endemic to Australia, being resident in the three eastern mainland states and the Australian Capital Territory. It is classified nationally as of conservation significance and vulnerable in the state of Victoria. The elusive nature of this owl, along with its dispersed distribution, low population density and difficulty in identifying individual birds, limit the collection of ecological data. Molecular methods can be used to obtain crucial ecological information, essential for Powerful Owl conservation.

Non-invasive sampling is a relatively new method used for obtaining genetic material from free-ranging animals. This type of sampling however, is generally overlooked as a potential DNA source. Shed hair and feathers, faeces, urine, skins and eggshells are all potential sources of DNA. Non-invasive sampling regimes may be the only alternative for the genetic analysis of endangered and/or elusive species that are difficult to sample otherwise.

Powerful Owls moult annually. Shed feathers therefore, can be collected from under roost trees and used for genetic analysis. Feathers collected provide DNA that is unique to the individual and can provide additional ecological knowledge of the species.

In this study we collected shed Powerful Owl feathers during 2003 and 2004. In order to obtain samples from across the owl's large distribution, public awareness about the project via the way of flyers, mail-outs, media sources (radio, newspapers and magazines), email lists and public seminars was initiated. Overall, the collection strategy was very successful with over 500 Powerful Owl feather samples being collected.

Genetic information obtained from the analysis of DNA from feathers can enable a more rigorous assessment of population viability of the Powerful Owl. Specifically designed molecular markers will facilitate unequivocal identification of individual birds ("DNA fingerprinting"). Through the application of molecular techniques we can collect ecological information about the Powerful Owl such as, genetic divergence, population structure, dispersal patterns, migration and inbreeding. These questions can not be addressed via traditional data collection and will contribute significantly to the successful conservation of the Powerful Owl and potentially other raptor species.
Language eng
Field of Research 060411 Population, Ecological and Evolutionary Genetics
Socio Economic Objective 970105 Expanding Knowledge in the Environmental Sciences
HERDC Research category E3 Extract of paper
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30014452

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