Higher Degree by Research Candidate
School of Biological Sciences
Faculty of Sciences
My PhD project "Malleefowl in a Changing Climate: Can we help a threatened species cope with a drier and hotter environment?" looks at Malleefowl (Leipoa ocellata) movement and other ecological aspects on the Eyre Peninsula.
Malleefowl are listed as threatened in all states in which they occur. Their decline is driven by pressures like habitat loss, predation and wildfire. Climate change is expected to increase these pressures and exacerbate decline. We aim to understand how a drying climate may impact malleefowl by first studying their ability to move and disperse. If local populations become extinct then understanding the ability of Malleefowl to recolonise areas will help determine the size and distribution of habitat patches required to conserve the species. Second, we will explore the effects of supplementary feeding as a potential management technique. This may increase breeding success and offset deaths caused by drying conditions.
This study will fill knowledge gaps in malleefowl ecology by...
- using a combination of banding, GPS (current movement) and genetics (past movement) to understand malleefowl dispersal and movement;
- investigating if supplementary feeding can assist with offsetting some of the impacts of climate change on malleefowl. Increased reproductive output during good conditions may enable the population to survive extended dry periods and persist;
- investigating if malleefowl have parasites and whether these might be a factor contributing to malleefowl decline.
My supervisors are Dr. Katherine Moseby and Associate Professor Jeremy Austin.
- $3,000 - Field Naturalists Society SA - Lirabenda Endowment Fund Research Grant
- $5,525 - Holsworth Wildlife Research Endowment (Year 3)
- $3,500 - BirdLife - Stuart Leslie Research Grant
- $4,800 - Holsworth Wildlife Research Endowment (Year 2)
- $3,000 - Nature Foundation South Australia (Year 2)
- $7,500 - Holsworth Wildlife Research Endowment
- $3,000 - Birds South Australia
- $9,900 - Sir Mark Mitchell Research Foundation Grant
- $3,000 - Nature Foundation South Australia
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