ILWS PhD Candidate
Quantifying the habitat requirements of an endangered marsupial predator, the northern quoll (Dasyurus hallucatus).
Australia’s mammalian fauna is in a state of precipitous decline, with at least 10% of the native endemic species declared extinct since 1788. While declines and extinctions were initially concentrated in southern arid and semi-arid regions of the continent, there is now growing recognition of a contemporary wave of declines occurring in Australia’s north. One species that has already suffered considerable declines is the northern quoll (Dasyurus hallucatus); an endangered marsupial predator that once occurred across much of Northern Australia, but is now restricted to a handful of isolated populations. The drivers of this decline are manifold, but undoubtedly include the cane toad, Rhinella marina, an introduced amphibian that is lethal when consumed by native predators, including the northern quoll. The cane toad now inhabits areas that overlap with the distributional range of northern quoll populations located in Queensland, the Northern Territory, and the Kimberley regions in Western Australia, but has not yet invaded the Pilbara bioregion; the most western northern quoll population, now considered a stronghold for the species. Here, identifying critical habitat for the northern quoll is a research priority.
Dr Dale Nimmo (Principal), Professor David Watson, Dr Euan Ritchie (Deakin University), Dr Leonie Valentine (University of Western Australia) and Dr Judy Dunlop (WA Department of Biodiversity, Conservation & Attractions)
Harry Moore graduated in 2021. He commenced his PhD by distance in February 2017 and studied the interactions between the Northern Quolls (an endangered marsupial), predators and fire, and in particular, the dynamics of different habitats and landscapes. The Pilbara region of Western Australia is one of the last strongholds for northern quolls which have undergone a dramatic decline in their distribution over the past century.
The project complemented the Pilbara Region Quoll Monitoring Program run by Dr Dunlop. It has received funding support from the WA Department of Biodiversity, Conservation & Attractions - The influence of invasive predators and fire regimes on northern quolls. Nimmo, D. & Moore, H. (PhD student) (2017-2020), $78,000) and a Holsworth Wildlife Research Endowment (Ecology of the northern quoll (Dasyurus hallucatus) in the Pilbara. Nimmo, D. & Moore, H. (PhD student) (2017-2018), $5500.
For the field work in 2017, camera traps were set up on 24 landscapes spread over 6000 square km. The camera traps are being used to monitor quolls and predators, in the context of the fire history, composition and extent of the quoll's rocky habitat.
The aims of the project were enhanced understanding of key habitat requirements for northern quolls as well as habitat use, as well as of the key threats to northern quolls.
Michael, D.R., Moore, H., Wassens, S., Craig, M., Tingley, R., Chapple, D., O’Sullivan, J., Hobbs, R. & Nimmo, D. (2021) Rock removal associated with agricultural intensification will exacerbate loss of reptile diversity. Journal of Applied Ecology (in press)
Moore, H.A., Michael, D.R., Ritchie, E.G., Dunlop, J.A., Valentine, L.E., Hobbs, R.J. & Nimmo, D.G. (2021). A rocky heart in a spinifex sea: occurrence of an endangered marsupial predator is multiscale dependent in naturally fragmented landscapes. Landscape Ecology https://doi.org/10.1007/s10980-021-01207-9
Cowan, M.A., Dunlop, J.A., Turner, J.M., Moore, H.A., & Nimmo, D.G. (2020) Artificial refuges to combat habitat loss for an endangered marsupial predator: How do they measure up? Conservation Science and Practice. 2020;e20. https://doi.org/10.1111/csp2.204
Moore, H.A., Valentine, L.E., Dunlop, J.A. & Nimmo, D.G. (2020) The effect of camera orientation on the detectability of wildlife: a case study from north‐western Australia. Remote Sensing in Ecology and Conservation. doi:10.1002/rse2.158
Moore, H.A., Dunlop, J.A., Valentine, L.E., Woinarski. J.C.Z., Ritchie, E.G., Watson, D.M. & Nimmo, D. (2019) Topographic ruggedness and rainfall mediate geographic range contraction of a threatened marsupial predator. Diversity and Distributions, 00: 1– 14. https://doi.org/10.1111/ddi.12982
Dunlop, J., Peacock, D., Moore. H. & Cowan, M. (2019) Albinism in Dasyurus species – a collation of historical and modern records, Australian Mammology http://www.publish.csiro.au/AM/justaccepted/AM19014
Bachelor of Biological Science (Honours) – Deakin University
Distance Education (based in WA)
Thesis submitted March 2021