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Population ecology and movement of the long-nosed potoroo, Potorous tridactylus, on French Island, Victoria

thesis
posted on 2020-05-11, 00:00 authored by Meg Farmer
The global biodiversity extinction crisis is attributed to a series of key threats, with the introduction and impacts of invasive predators considered among the most damaging. Given that effective large-scale lethal control is often not logistically or financially feasible, alternative solutions to promote the persistence of native wildlife most at risk of predation—critical weight range mammals—must be sought. Studying the habitat use and selection of native prey under predation pressure with widespread and common invasive predators such as feral cats can aid in understanding which habitat elements may promote survival, and thus inform conservation and management actions. We established a trapping grid across ‘Bluegums’, French Island, in south-eastern Australia, and deployed GPS tracking devices (igot-U), to collect morphometric, demographic, habitat use and movement data for the resident long-nosed potoroo (Potorous tridactylus) population. We used spatially explicit capture-recapture models to generate a potoroo density estimate for the site and a dynamic Brownian Bridge Movement Model to estimate individual activity ranges (‘home ranges’). Subsequent overlap and K-select analyses were used to quantify habitat use and draw inferences about habitat selection and territoriality. Potoroos persisted at low densities and had large activity ranges. Individuals selected for structurally complex habitat and appear reluctant to move across open areas, potentially perceiving and responding to variable predation risk. The fine-scale movement data in our study provides key information on the extent to which potoroos rely on vegetation structure, suggesting that maintaining habitat cover and connectivity is likely to aid potoroos and similar species to co-exist with cats. Particularly, given the ongoing threat feral cats pose to biodiversity, we discuss how the results of this study can help inform more targeted management actions and better conservation outcomes for native wildlife co-occurring with introduced predators.

History

Pagination

60 p.

Material type

thesis

Resource type

thesis

Language

eng

Degree type

Honours

Degree name

B.Environmental Science (Hons)

Copyright notice

All rights reserved

Editor/Contributor(s)

E Ritchie

Faculty

Faculty of Science

School

Engineering and Built Environment

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