Unused forest roads may not contribute directly to salamander road mortality but they contribute to poor habitat quality. Using coarse woody debris (CWD), we attempted to rehabilitate an unused forest road in Algonquin Provincial Park and found that salamanders preferred cover greater than 1 m2 and may even gather in numbers under artificial cover. The use of CWD may be an effective and low cost way to mitigate some of the negative impacts of forest roads. Photograph by David L. LeGros.
Volume 44 Number 1 2017
WR16157The Bramble Cay melomys Melomys rubicola (Rodentia : Muridae): a first mammalian extinction caused by human-induced climate change?
The endangered Bramble Cay melomys is endemic to a low-lying sand cay threatened by ocean inundation. Surveys to confirm its conservation status failed to detect the species. The loss of the melomys probably represents the first mammalian extinction due to human-induced climate change and highlights the immediate need to mitigate predicted impacts of ocean inundation on other vulnerable species. Photograph by Ian Bell.
WR16152Changes in abundance and reproductive activity of small arid-zone murid rodents on an active cattle station in central Australia
Sand dunes of central Australia are inhabited by three old endemic native rodents together with house mice. Does the periodic presence of house mice during boom times negatively affect the native rodents? Our study suggests that sandy inland mouse, but not spinifex hopping mouse, populations are adversely affected. Consequently, the presence of house mice may be of conservation concern to small quadrupedal native rodents where they co-occur. Photo of a Sandy Inland Mouse taken by Peter Canty.
The impacts of changing environments are becoming more evident in animal behaviour bringing awareness to the flexibility of critical ecosystems. Predator–prey interactions reflect ecological processes that shape ecosystems and may serve as an indicator of future environmental changes. The results from this study suggest that predator- prey relationships fluctuate with changing environmental conditions; however savanna systems are currently resilient enough to recover after severe environmental disruptions.
Pied imperial-pigeons, a shy and wary species of long-standing conservation concern, demonstrated a sudden change in behaviour when they formed a novel breeding colony in a busy urban area. We recorded a progressive decline in nest survival over three breeding seasons and found predation and anthropogenic hazards to be important causes of nest failure. Our findings highlight the need to protect the traditional breeding sites of this species in Queensland, Australia, located on certain remote small islands where relevant predators and anthropogenic hazards are rare. Photograph by Julia Hazel.
Roads are a leading cause of habitat fragmentation and population decline of wildlife. We tested the effectiveness of road mortality mitigation for a threatened rattlesnake and found that a combination of fencing to exclude snakes from the road and ecopassages to allow safe migration between habitats worked well provided that the infrastructure was continuously monitored and maintained. Photograph by Jacqueline D. Litzgus.
WR16134Fossils reveal late Holocene diversity and post-European decline of the terrestrial mammals of the Murray–Darling Depression
Fossils show that Australia’s mammal fauna could be in even worse shape than previously thought. Mammal remains from an owl roost pre-dating European arrival in Australia’s Murray Mallee fill a gap in modern and historical records to reveal that the impacts of European colonisation on the region’s fauna have been underestimated. Young fossils provide unique information about recent extinctions and the need for increased conservation efforts. Cranium of extinct rodent Pseudomys auritus from Mypolonga. Scale bar = 1 cm. Photograph by D. A. Fusco.
Live trapping studies can require access to captured individuals soon after capture to remove or sample animals. We have trialled an automated sensor system that sends a signal to a receiving device when a small mammal is trapped. In enclosure and field conditions, 100% and 98.7% of sensors recorded captured animals correctly, suggesting that the system is useful for optimising live trapping of small mammals.
WR16086Biodiversity assessment: selecting sampling techniques to access anuran diversity in grassland ecosystems
Sampling techniques are often suitable to certain environment and particular species, which can result in frequent sampling biases. We present a comparison among commonly used acoustic surveys i.e. visual encounter of adults (ASVE), automated digital recorders (ADR), and tadpole sampling (DSL) techniques to estimate amphibian species richness. ADR and DSL were the most efficient techniques, mainly in terms of species detection. We highlighted that ADR includes species whose males call during short periods, and DSL exclusively detects ‘explosive breeders’, making ASVE unnecessary.