Runways and fancy feet – tracking escape paths of marsupials

By Natasha Tay.  Ever thought you’d spend two weeks in the bush giving bettongs rave party feet and putting them on a runway for science? I travelled to Arid Recovery in South Australia this past May to do exactly that. My PhD investigates anti-predator behaviour in marsupials, focussing on how anatomy affects their physical ability…

Bobtails and dugites – reptiles in the city

By Ashleigh Wolfe.  The study of urban ecology is a rising topic within the ecological research community, and as urban sprawl increases across the globe, and more and more people are moving to urbanised areas, the need to understand how we as humans impact wildlife is growing. Urbanisation presents novel challenges for wildlife in many…

Is ecotourism good or bad? The answer is never simple…

Bill Bateman & Trish Fleming.  Humans innately like to categorise things.  Perhaps this helps us to compartmentalise and understand the world.  Zoology, and other life sciences, tend not to be so amenable to this; taxonomically and ecologically and physiologically and genetically there is always overlap, there is always some confusion.  The study of behaviour is…

Wary foxes – smarter than our baiting regimes?

by Tracey Moore.  A recent study looking into the effectiveness of 1080 baiting in Western Australian wheatbelt reserves noted a single fox surviving after 8 baiting campaigns (Marlow et al. 2015). This signifies we are up against some clever foxes when it comes to the control of wild canids. After all the saying ‘cunning as…

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…

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…