Bilbies and their burrows

Since 2014, our research group has been studying the greater bilby, a charismatic and population Australia marsupial. Bilbies excavate burrows in which they shelter during the day, before coming out at night to forage. These industrious animals dig multiple burrows, sometimes as many as 20, and use many of them at a time, swapping between burrows each day. They regularly abandon old ones, and dig new ones.

As part of our research was have monitored bilbies burrows with motion-triggered camera traps, in 5 location in the Kimberley, capturing images and footage of animals excavating burrows, maintaining them, and interacting with other individuals. The resulting photo library is a rare example of a nearly exhaustive survey effort at individual populations.

We are seeking an honours student to work on this existing data do address some key questions about bilby biology, such as, can we identify individuals from photos? Does spatial and temporal separation between individuals occur at populations? What effect does temperature have on their activity? And, how frequently to bilbies visit, maintain and enter a burrow throughout the night?

This project will be lab based, with all the data having been collected already. A suitable student will be a careful and thorough person, with great attention to detail.

If your are interested, please contact Dr Stuart Dawson on s.dawson@murdoch.edu.au

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