Diet and habitat selection of wildlife
We live in an incredible part of the world; southwest WA is one of the most bio-diverse regions in the world and we share our home with unique and extraordinary plants and animals. We are also facing significant challenges in how we manage and conserve our environment. Clearing for mining, agriculture and urban development have left their mark on the landscape, and our rapidly warming and dying climate has already started to have its own impacts. You would be very surprised to learn, therefore, how little we know about many of our special animals. For example:
- What do Rottnest Island quokkas like to eat? How are these iconic marsupials impacted by tourism, and are they vulnerable to disease?
- Are honeypossums influenced by plant pathogens, such as Phytophthora cinnamomi?
Growing our understanding of the wildlife that is present around us will help to manage the environment to ensure their survival for future generations to enjoy.
‘Aussie diggers’ play an important role in keeping ecosystems healthy. Despite once being described as common, digging mammal species have been lost from the Australian landscape over the last 200 years. Around half of digging mammal species are now extinct or under conservation threat, and the majority of extant species have undergone marked range contractions.
- Southern brown bandicoots (‘quenda’) are hanging on in WA. We are examining various roles played by quenda, identifying their importance and place in our environment.
- Lara Osborne has been quantifying the effects of echidnas, turning over soil and spreading mycorrhizal fungi.
- Gill Bryant has been identifying suitable urban reserves to house translocated bandicoots.
- Shannon Dundas has been quantifying the role of bandicoots in changing soil properties and therefore increasing plant growth.