Excited to be a part of this weeks Scitech Particle Podcast! Head over to the Particle WA website to have a listen to me chat about monitor lizards, conservation, working in the outback, and cool lizard facts!
My perentie and her mate were featured on the cover of the newest issue of the Australian Journal of Zoology. You can check out all the great wildlife papers in the issue here, including our article which discusses the need for assessments of animal behaviour in studies of restoration success and tracks a perentie through a mine site.
Animals are often overlooked in assessments of mine site restoration success, or when considered, primarily assessed in terms of their presence or absence from restored landscapes. Understanding how animals behaviorally respond to habitat change and restoration is key to facilitating their conservation in the face of ever increasing rates of habitat destruction. We present a case study assessing the movements of a young-adult perentie (Varanus giganteus) through restored and reference vegetation on a mine site in the Mid West of Western Australia. We demonstrate the effectiveness of a novel method of home range construction (The Time Local Convex Hull method, or T-LoCoH) in analysing selective habitat use and behaviour of animals in their environment.
In assessments of mine site restoration success, animals are often overlooked and assumed to return following the return of vegetation. This is commonly known as the Field of Dreams hypothesis, as in practice, recovering biodiversity to a level representative of the pre-disturbance system can be a very challenging task. Among existing studies, there is a focus towards assessing species diversity or abundance in restored habitats; however, this may be limited in its ability to show whether restoration is supporting animal populations long term, or if these areas are only in opportunistic use.
So, how can we assess behaviour of animals in restored mine sites, and how can this be used to help understand the longer term success of restoration efforts? I recently presented on my research at the 2019 8th World Conference on Ecological Restoration in Cape Town, South Africa. You can view the talk here:
We recently published an article on the diet of three sympatric Western Australian species of Varanus (V. gouldii, V. tristis, V. panoptes) occurring in the arid Mid West region. If you’re interested, you can find the article in the Journal of Zoology here
Restoration goals: Why are fauna still overlooked in the process of recovering functioning ecosystems and what can be done about it?
S. L. Cross, P. W. Bateman, and A. T. Cross
Animals are often overlooked in assessments of restoration success and assumed to return following the return of vegetation. However, in practice, recovering diverse and representative fauna communities can be exceptionally difficult, not only to achieve, but to monitor. In our new publication, we argue that fauna must be considered to a greater extent in assessments of restoration success, and management policies. You can read the full paper, published in the journal Ecological Management and Restoration, here.