Charles Sturt University
Graham Centre for Agricultural Innovation

Using faecal DNA to determine the commonality of diets of sheep, goats and kangaroos

Using faecal DNA to determine the commonality of diets of sheep, goats and kangaroos

Date :  Thursday, 24 July 2008
Time :  3.00pm - 4.00pm
Venue : Conference Rm, Wagga Wagga Agricultural Institute
Presenter : Conference Rm, Wagga Wagga Agricultural Institute

There are many different herbivores grazing on the Australian rangelands and the principal domestic herbivore are cattle and sheep (Merino and Damara breeds and their crosses) and the principal native herbivores are kangaroos (red – Macropus rufus, and western grey – M. fuliginosus). Kangaroo numbers may be as high as 4-5 kangaroos/km2 whilst sheep densities are in the range of 2-13 Dry Sheep Equivalents (DSE)/km2. Pastoralists consider these kangaroos as competitors of sheep and are one of their major management problems, especially in drought years when feed becomes scarce. The degree of competition between these herbivores depends on the commonality of species of plants eaten and in the degree of spatial separation in their location of grazing. In this seminar, information is presented on species preferences, obtained by identification of DNA of plant fragments found in faecal samples of kangaroos, goats and sheep collected in the field. Also provided is information on how species preferences change seasonally and, in this particular case, during continuing drought.

Contact: Dr Gaye Krebs, Email: gkrebs@csu.edu.au

Phone: 02 6933 2382

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