Hormones gone wild

By Stephanie Hing.  Hormones, neurochemical signaling substances, are in charge of everything we do. From the time you got up in this morning to when your head hits the pillow tonight (and as you sleep), hormones will be working hard to keep you alive. They coordinate all the systems in our bodies from digesting food…

Death on the road

Bill Bateman & Lauren Gilson.  Perhaps the most fundamental impact we can have on wildlife is killing it.  We can be very opinionated on the rights and wrongs of killing animals; for instance, hunting is a very emotive issue.  One cause of death of wildlife that we might not think about that much but which…

Who are you looking at?

by Bill Bateman & Trish Fleming.   Animals are constantly on the lookout for potentially dangerous situations. Vigilance (time spent observing their environment for danger) is one measure of their antipredator responses. Another is their ‘flight initiation distance’ (simply: FID = how close you can come to an animal before they take off).

Hot ham! Using thermal imagery to count feral pigs

by Peter Adams.  Feral pigs have a significant impact on Australia’s native resources. This is most obvious in the disturbance they cause by their rooting behaviour. They turn over the soil in search for subterranean food resources such as tubers, roots, rhizomes, fungal fruiting bodies, and invertebrates. Basically, they eat everything they can find. But…

Fox predation of turtle nests

by Stuart Dawson.  Turtles are good examples of r-strategists.  They produce many young that experience high mortality (compared with K strategists, such as humans, which invest heavily in each individual offspring).  Most people would know that many turtles are killed as hatchlings, but did you realise that they are often predated even before they even hatch?

The ‘Risky-Decoy’ hypothesis

by Bill Bateman & Trish Fleming.  If an ecologist asks you if you are good at modelling you might think that they are referring to something mathematical, and start running in the opposite direction. But a simpler kind of modelling is often used by behavioural ecologists who are interested in predation. If you wanted to…

Perspective: methods for controlling fox populations

by Shannon Dundas.  Baiting using sustained, coordinated, broad-scale baiting programs between government agencies and private landowners is the most effective way to control red fox numbers. For agricultural areas, effective fox control will reduce stock losses.  Effective predator control is also essential to enable native species to survive within their natural habitat, a much more feasible…

Autotomy – just drop it and run

by Bill Bateman & Trish Fleming.  An organism only has to fail once in escaping a predator for its evolutionary fitness to be reduced to zero. Selection to avoid ending up as a meal is, therefore, intense. More intense than selection on avoiding missing a meal such that in the evolutionary arms race, prey tends…

Life in the city: urban carnivores

by Bill Bateman & Trish Fleming.  Our paper “Bateman P.W. & Fleming P.A. (2012). Review Article. Big city life: carnivores in urban environments. Journal of Zoology, 287, 1–23” has made it on to the list top cited papers of 2013 for Journal of Zoology.  Obviously enough, it pleases us that our research is making an…

Welcome to Western WEB

Western Australian researchers have joined forces to create the WWEB. Working across urban, agricultural and natural landscapes, we investigate how animals respond to human presence, but can also contribute to our quality of life. We are wildlife biologists.  Our research focuses on translational biology, where improving our understanding of the physiology and behaviour of vertebrates…