Abstract Tree hollows are a critical resource for animals worldwide, yet widespread habitat loss has drastically reduced the availability of large trees and tree hollows. Within Australia, tree hollows provide important habitat for more than 15% of vertebrate fauna as well as a range of invertebrates. Since these structures take a minimum of 80 years to form, populations of many animals are becoming increasingly reliant on nest boxes and other artificial structures. However, the effectiveness of nest boxes as even a short-term solution to tree hollow availability is questionable due to short lifespan, high microclimate variation, limited understanding of species requirements, inappropriate nest box design and ongoing maintenance required. In this collaboration between ILWS and CSU Engineering, we will use in-depth knowledge of target species to prototype, field test and manufacture 3D printed plastic hollows that are anticipated to have comparable thermal properties, longevity and internal dimensions as natural hollows.
Project Contact: Prof. David Watson Funding $9,856
Abstract This project will allow a new interdisciplinary research team to build a track record of innovative research linking individual animal behaviour to local biodiversity challenges. We will address the low rate of survival of juvenile Murray Cod. Juvenile mortality is the major contributor to the current population decline in this species. Animals, including fish, naturally adopt behavioural traits that help balance the need to avoid predation, yet acquire food necessary for growth and survival. These critical behavioural traits for survival are usually considered along a “bold/shy” spectrum. “Bold” traits allow animals to maximise food acquisition but are high risk, whereas “shy” traits reduce predation risk but also reduce food acquisition. Knowledge gained from this project will 1) inform decision-making on how rivers should be managed to maintain sustainable populations of Murray Cod and 2) contribute to the development of fish hatchery management practices which enhance post-release survival.
Project Contact: A/Prof. Raf Freire Funding $7,320
Abstract Organisms producing light (bioluminescence) are common in nature and bioluminescent bacteria are common flora in the oceans, seas and estuaries of the world. Bioluminescent bacteria maybe biological indicators of water quality and can be free living or associated with marine organisms like fish and squid. To ensure sustainability of water (of oceans and rivers) biodiversity of organisms and their numbers need to be benchmarked for monitoring. Changes in biodiversity including reduction or changes in species can be indicators of changes in populations of predators, pollution or indeed climate change. This preliminary project is aimed at quantifying the abundance and biodiversity of this unique class of microorganism around the beaches and estuary of the Camden Haven River on the Mid North Coast. A survey of the organisms will be conducted by sampling water from beaches around North Haven and Dunbogan and at various locations in the Camden Haven river catchment. Identification of the species and number of bioluminescent bacteria will conducted using standard microbiological and molecular techniques.
For more information contact CSU Winery Project Funding $5,000
For more information contact Wayne Doubleday Project Funding: $5,000
For more information contact Andrew Hagan Project Funding: $14,784
For more information contact Nigel Urwin Project Funding: $5,100
View more past grant projectschevron_right