Pacific Conservation Biology Pacific Conservation Biology Society
A journal dedicated to conservation and wildlife management in the Pacific region.
RESEARCH ARTICLE

An isolated population of the southern scrub-robin (Drymodes brunneopygia) in the Great Victoria Desert

J. M. Turpin A B and R. E. Johnstone A
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A Department of Terrestrial Zoology, Western Australian Museum, 49 Kew Street, Welshpool, WA 6106, Australia.

B Corresponding author. Email: jeff.m.turpin@gmail.com

Pacific Conservation Biology 23(1) 95-106 https://doi.org/10.1071/PC16019
Submitted: 8 May 2016  Accepted: 30 October 2016   Published: 20 January 2017

Abstract

From 2013 to 2015 we recorded an isolated, highly fragmented and previously undocumented population of the southern scrub-robin within the arid shrublands of the Great Victoria Desert. In this region, the southern scrub-robin persists in scattered and intermittent areas of long-unburnt mulga (Acacia spp.) shrubland, with a dense shrubby understorey dominated by Aluta maisonneuvei and Eremophila shrubs. The Great Victoria Desert supports the only known desert population as the southern scrub-robin otherwise occurs in the temperate and semiarid shrublands of southern Australia and occurs in the desert at the arid extreme of its range. Fire is highlighted as a significant threatening process due to the species’ restricted occurrence (less than 5% of the landscape in the region), low reproductive rate, limited dispersal capability and persistence within long-unburnt and fire-sensitive habitats. As forecast environmental changes are likely to render the arid extremes of the species’ range unsuitable, this outlying, desert population is potentially declining and of conservation significance.

Additional keywords: climate change, distribution, ecology, fire, range extension, relic population.


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