Dwellingup Research Center

Dwellingup, Australia

Dwellingup Research Center

Dwellingup, Australia
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Glen A.S.,Dwellingup Research Center | Glen A.S.,University of Canberra | Glen A.S.,Landcare Research | Wayne A.,Manjimup Research Center | And 4 more authors.
Journal of Zoology | Year: 2010

The chuditch Dasyurus geoffroii was the largest carnivorous marsupial across most of its former range, from which it has largely disappeared. Published dietary information is unavailable from much of the species' current range, thus limiting our ability to manage the species or to assess its potential impacts on prey populations. Using analysis of scats, we describe and compare the diets of chuditch in the northern (NJF) and southern (SJF) jarrah forests, Western Australia. Mammals and invertebrates dominated the diet in both areas. However, reptiles and birds were also consumed frequently, confirming the chuditch as a generalist predator. A high proportion of large mammals in the diet suggests that it may also be a frequent scavenger. Although diet was broadly similar in both study areas, some differences were apparent. For example, chuditch in the SJF consumed more brushtail possums Trichosurus vulpecula hypoleucus and southern brown bandicoots Isoodon obesulus fusciventer. Seasonal variation in the diet was also apparent, with reptiles and invertebrates being consumed more frequently in the warmer months. A more detailed understanding of chuditch diet in different areas will be essential to assess likely interactions with introduced predators as well as with native prey. © 2010 The Authors. Journal of Zoology © 2010 The Zoological Society of London.

Sutherland D.R.,Dwellingup Research Center | Sutherland D.R.,University of Canberra | Predavec M.,Parsons Brinckerhoff
Journal of Wildlife Management | Year: 2010

We designed a reliable and inexpensive universal trap timer that records the time from the moment a single-live-capture trap is triggered by an animal to when the observer checks the trap. Combined with trapping information, the diel activity pattern of a given species or demographic group can then be described or compared between imposed treatments. The universal trap timer is adaptable to operate reliably with most single-capture trap designs, requires no permanent modification of traps, and is easy to construct. © The Wildlife Society.

Cruz J.,University of Queensland | Cruz J.,University of Canberra | Cruz J.,Dwellingup Research Center | Cruz J.,Landcare Research | And 8 more authors.
Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology | Year: 2013

Antipredator behavior studies generally assess prey responses to single predator species although most real systems contain multiple species. In multi-predator environments prey ideally use antipredator responses that are effective against all predator species, although responses may only be effective against one predator and counterproductive for another. Multi-predator systems may also include introduced predators that the prey did not co-evolve with, so the prey may either fail to recognize their threat (level 1 naiveté), use ineffective responses (level 2 naiveté) or succumb to their superior hunting ability (level 3 naiveté). We analyzed microhabitat selection of an Australian marsupial (koomal, Trichosurus vulpecula hypoleucus) when faced with spatiotemporal differences in the activity/density levels of one native (chuditch, Dasyurus geoffroii) and two introduced predators (red fox, Vulpes vulpes; feral cat, Felis catus). From this, we inferred whether koomal recognized introduced predators as a threat, and whether they minimized predation risk by either staying close to trees and/or using open or dense microhabitats. Koomal remained close to escape trees regardless of the predator species present, or activity/density levels, suggesting koomal employ this behavior as a first line of defense. Koomal shifted to dense cover only under high risk scenarios (i.e., with multiple predator species present at high densities). When predation risk was low, koomal used open microhabitats, which likely provided benefits not associated with predator avoidance. Koomal did not exhibit level 1 naiveté, although further studies are required to determine if they exhibit higher levels of naiveté (2-3) against foxes and cats. © 2013 Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.

Glen A.S.,Dwellingup Research Center | Glen A.S.,University of Canberra | Sutherland D.R.,Dwellingup Research Center | Sutherland D.R.,University of Canberra | And 3 more authors.
Ecological Research | Year: 2010

Animals may select the microhabitats they use in response to a real or perceived risk of attack by visually hunting predators. However, to demonstrate this requires measuring visual cover at the microhabitat level, which can be labor-intensive and may require specialized equipment. Simpler methods lack repeatability, particularly when multiple observers are involved. We devised, and describe here, the quadrant cover method (QCM), which provides rapid, objective assessment of the degree of concealment that microhabitats provide from visual predators. Our method gives results that correlate strongly with those obtained using a conventional sight board, but requires less than 25% of the time. The method is highly repeatable, with negligible observer bias. The QCM is ideal in microhabitat studies in which the variable of interest is visual exposure to other animals such as predators. © The Ecological Society of Japan 2009.

Glen A.S.,Dwellingup Research Center | Glen A.S.,University of Canberra | Berry O.,University of Canberra | Berry O.,University of Western Australia | And 7 more authors.
Conservation Genetics | Year: 2010

Because animals killed by predators are often found partially consumed or decomposed, identification of the predator is often unachievable by post mortem examination. Forensic DNA offers an alternative in such situations. Using a novel method to analyse DNA from bite wounds on a freshly-killed chuditch Dasyurus geoffroii, we describe the first confirmed instance in this species of intraguild killing by a feral cat. Unlike post mortem examination, our method of DNA melt curve analysis is highly accurate and requires less time and expense than DNA sequencing. © 2009 Springer Science+Business Media B.V.

Glen A.S.,Dwellingup Research Center | Glen A.S.,Landcare Research | Pennay M.,University of Sydney | Dickman C.R.,University of Sydney | And 3 more authors.
Austral Ecology | Year: 2011

Invasive predators have severe impacts on global biodiversity, and their effects in Australia have been more extreme than on any other continent. The spotted-tailed quoll (Dasyurus maculatus), an endangered marsupial carnivore, coexists with three eutherian carnivores, the red fox (Vulpes vulpes), feral cat (Felis catus) and wild dog (Canis lupus ssp.) with which it did not coevolve. No previous study has investigated dietary overlap between quolls and the suite of three eutherian carnivores. By analysing scats, we aimed to quantify dietary overlap within this carnivore assemblage in eastern Australia, and to detect any differences that may facilitate coexistence. We also sought evidence of intraguild predation. Dietary overlap between predators was extensive, with the greatest similarity occurring between foxes and cats. However, some differences were apparent. For example, cats mainly consumed smaller prey, and wild dogs larger prey. Quolls showed greater dietary overlap with foxes and cats than with dogs. Intraguild predation was evident, with fox remains occurring in 3% of wild dog scats. Our results suggest wild dogs competitively dominate invasive foxes, which in turn are likely to compete with the endangered quoll. © 2010 The Authors. Journal compilation © 2010 Ecological Society of Australia.

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