Give an Easter Bilby, because they give back!

By Stuart Dawson.  Easter is upon us, the holy grail of long weekends (especially when so close to ANZAC Day). Every year in Australia we celebrate this time with chocolate bunnies, inadvertently popularising an invasive and destructive species, the European Rabbit. The reason we use rabbits appears to be due to their famously fecund nature,…

Second-hand foraging: endangered red-tails feed research red-caps

Lauren Gilson.  For three months I have been measuring the evaporative water loss of Red-capped parrots and Western Rosellas.  Residents of the mesic (moist climate) habitats around Perth, these species are providing data for a larger exploration of water balance in Australian vertebrates. First I had to catch the birds, which was not easy in…

Secrets of the noodji (native ash-grey mouse)

By Kiarrah Smith.  Despite being subject to the greatest rate of Australian mammal species extinction over recent times, native rodents are a relatively poorly studied group. The risk of rapid decline is particularly valid for species considered ‘least concern’, but for which we have very little understanding of their biology or habitat requirements. One such…

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…

As humans change the world, predators seize the chance to succeed

Published in The Conversation and in Animal Behaviour By Bill Bateman and Trish Fleming.  If you have ever been to a nature reserve in Africa, you may have been lucky enough to see predators on a kill – maybe something spectacular like lions on a giraffe. The chances are you got to see that because…

Real Backyard Bandicoots #1

By Melvyn Tuckey; Greenfields resident, committee member of Peel Preservation Group Inc. and avid nature lover. Early in 2017, Melvyn noticed a new creature visiting his backyard, and so begins the “Story of Bandi”… It was around midnight sometime in late January that I first sighted an unusual creature in my backyard. On this particular…

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…

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…

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?

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…