Invasive Animals Cooperative Research Center

Dwellingup, Australia

Invasive Animals Cooperative Research Center

Dwellingup, Australia

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Meek P.D.,Australian Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries | Meek P.D.,Invasive Animals Cooperative Research Center | Brown S.C.,Invasive Animals Cooperative Research Center
Australian Mammalogy | Year: 2017

Cannibalism in predators has been reported for a range of species throughout the world, including observations of dingoes (Canis familiaris) eating dingoes in Australia. Here, we report on camera trap observations of dingoes feeding on the carcasses of dingoes and showing aggressive behaviours towards live-trapped conspecifics. At this site, cannibalism and conspecific aggression by dingoes was not caused by food shortages, but was more likely a result of high dingo density in a focal area. We present the first camera trap image observations of dingoes eating dingoes and describe aggressive encounters between live animals. © 2017 Australian Mammal Society.


Nystrom K.,University of Nantes | Le Gall-Recule G.,Laboratoire Of Ploufragan Plouzane | Grassi P.,Imperial College London | Abrantes J.,University of Nantes | And 8 more authors.
PLoS Pathogens | Year: 2011

Rabbit Hemorrhagic disease virus (RHDV), a calicivirus of the Lagovirus genus, and responsible for rabbit hemorrhagic disease (RHD), kills rabbits between 48 to 72 hours post infection with mortality rates as high as 50-90%. Caliciviruses, including noroviruses and RHDV, have been shown to bind histo-blood group antigens (HBGA) and human non-secretor individuals lacking ABH antigens in epithelia have been found to be resistant to norovirus infection. RHDV virus-like particles have previously been shown to bind the H type 2 and A antigens. In this study we present a comprehensive assessment of the strain-specific binding patterns of different RHDV isolates to HBGAs. We characterized the HBGA expression in the duodenum of wild and domestic rabbits by mass spectrometry and relative quantification of A, B and H type 2 expression. A detailed binding analysis of a range of RHDV strains, to synthetic sugars and human red blood cells, as well as to rabbit duodenum, a likely gastrointestinal site for viral entrance was performed. Enzymatic cleavage of HBGA epitopes confirmed binding specificity. Binding was observed to blood group B, A and H type 2 epitopes in a strain-dependent manner with slight differences in specificity for A, B or H epitopes allowing RHDV strains to preferentially recognize different subgroups of animals. Strains related to the earliest described RHDV outbreak were not able to bind A, whereas all other genotypes have acquired A binding. In an experimental infection study, rabbits lacking the correct HBGA ligands were resistant to lethal RHDV infection at low challenge doses. Similarly, survivors of outbreaks in wild populations showed increased frequency of weak binding phenotypes, indicating selection for host resistance depending on the strain circulating in the population. HBGAs thus act as attachment factors facilitating infection, while their polymorphism of expression could contribute to generate genetic resistance to RHDV at the population level. © 2011 Nyström et al.


Rovero F.,Sezione di Biodiversita Tropicale | Rovero F.,Udzungwa Ecological Monitoring Center | Zimmermann F.,KORA | Berzi D.,Canis lupus Italia | And 2 more authors.
Hystrix | Year: 2013

Automatically triggered cameras taking photographs or videos of passing animals (camera traps) have emerged over the last decade as one of the most powerful tool for wildlife research. In parallel, a wealth of camera trap systems and models has become commercially available, a phenomenon mainly driven by the increased use of camera traps by sport hunters. This has raised the need for developing criteria to choose the suitable camera trap model in relation to a range of factors, primarily the study aim, but also target species, habitat, trapping site, climate and any other aspect that affects camera performance. There is also fragmented information on the fundamentals of sampling designs that deploy camera trapping, such as number of sampling sites, spatial arrangement and sampling duration. In this review, we describe the relevant technological features of camera traps and propose a set of the key ones to be evaluated when choosing camera models. These features are camera specifications such as trigger speed, sensor sensitivity, detection zone, flash type and flash intensity, power autonomy, and related specifications. We then outline sampling design and camera features for the implementation of major camera trapping applications, specifically: (1) faunal inventories, (2) occupancy studies, (3) density estimation through Capture-Mark-Recapture and (4) density estimation through the Random Encounter Model. We also review a range of currently available models and stress the need for standardized testing of camera models that should be frequently updated and widely distributed. Finally we summarize the "ultimate camera trap", as desired by wildlife biologists, and the current technological limitations of camera traps in relation to their potential for a number of emerging applications. © 2013 Associazione Teriologica Italiana.


Lapidge S.J.,University of Sydney | Lapidge S.J.,Invasive Animals Cooperative Research Center | Munn A.J.,University of Wollongong
Australian Journal of Zoology | Year: 2011

Captive breeding and release is a tool used by conservation biologists to re-establish populations of endangered or locally extinct species. Reintroduced animals that have been bred in captivity must learn to meet the challenges posed by free living, and to adjust to local environmental conditions, food and water sources. How well reintroduced animals might meet these challenges is uncertain as few longitudinal studies have investigated the physiology of reintroduced animals or the implications of this for successful establishment of new populations. Here we have evaluated long-term, seasonal energy and water use by reintroduced yellow-footed rock-wallabies (Petrogale xanthopus celeris), an endangered medium-sized marsupial that inhabits rocky outcrops across Australia's arid and semiarid rangelands. Captive-bred rock-wallabies were reintroduced to an area within the known boundaries of their former range, in south-western Queensland, Australia. Post-release water turnover rates (WTR) and field metabolic rates (FMR) were measured during their first wet summer and dry winter, by means of the doubly labelled water method. Total body water (73.1%), FMR (1650.0kJday-1), female fecundity (100%), and male and female body masses and survival were consistent between seasons, but rates of water turnover were significantly lower for all animals during the dry winter (174.3mLday-1) than during the wet summer (615.0mLday-1). There were no significant differences in WTR or FMR between males and lactating females (in either season). © CSIRO 2011.


Lapidge S.J.,Invasive Animals Cooperative Research Center | Eason C.T.,Connovation Research | Humphrys S.T.,Invasive Animals Cooperative Research Center
Rangeland Journal | Year: 2010

Since their introduction to Australia in 1840 the one-humped camel, Camelus dromedarius, has gone from the colonist's companion to a conservationist's conundrum in the fragile arid ecosystems of Australia. Current management techniques are failing to curb present population growth and alternatives must be sought. This review assess the applicability of currently registered and developmental vertebrate pesticides and fertility control agents for camel control, as well as examining the potential usefulness of known C. dromedarius diseases for biological control. Not surprisingly, little is known about the lethality of most vertebrate pesticides used in Australia to camels. More has been published on adverse reactions to pharmaceuticals used in agriculture and the racing industry. An examination of the literature on C. dromedarius diseases, such as camel pox virus, contagious ecthyma and papillomatosis, indicates that the infections generally result in high morbidity but not necessarily mortality and this alone may not justify their consideration for use in Australia. The possibility exists that other undiscovered or unstudied biological control agents from other camilid species may offer greater potential for population control. As a long-lived species the camel is also not ideally suited to fertility control. Notwithstanding, anti-fertility agents may have their place in preventing the re-establishment of camel populations once they have been reduced through mechanical, biological or chemical means. Delivery of any generic chemical or fertility control agent will, however, require a species-tailored pathway and an appropriate large-scale deployment method. Accordingly, we put forward avenues of investigation to yield improved tools for camel control. © Australian Rangeland Society 2010.


Ford-Thompson A.E.S.,University of York | Ford-Thompson A.E.S.,Invasive Animals Cooperative Research Center | Snell C.,University of York | Saunders G.,Invasive Animals Cooperative Research Center | White P.C.L.,University of York
Conservation Biology | Year: 2012

Stakeholders are increasingly involved in species conservation. We sought to understand what features of a participatory conservation program are associated with its ecological and social outcomes. We conducted a case study of the management of invasive vertebrates in Australia. Invasive vertebrates are a substantial threat to Australia's native species, and stakeholder participation in their management is often necessary for their control. First, we identified potential influences on the ecological and social outcomes of species conservation programs from the literature. We used this information to devise an interview questionnaire, which we administered to managers of 34 participatory invasive-vertebrate programs. Effects of invasive species were related to program initiator (agency or citizen), reasons for use of a participatory approach, and stakeholder composition. Program initiator was also related to the participation methods used, level of governance (i.e., governed by an agency or citizens), changes in stakeholder interactions, and changes in abundance of invasive species. Ecological and social outcomes were related to changes in abundance of invasive species and stakeholder satisfaction. We identified relations between changes in the number of participants, stakeholder satisfaction, and occurrence of conflict. Potential ways to achieve ecological and social goals include provision of governmental support (e.g., funding) to stakeholders and minimization of gaps in representation of stakeholder groups or individuals to, for example, increase conflict mitigation. Our findings provide guidance for increasing the probability of achieving ecological and social objectives in management of invasive vertebrates and may be applicable to other participatory conservation programs. © 2012 Society for Conservation Biology.


Tracey J.P.,Invasive Animals Cooperative Research Center
Wildlife Research | Year: 2010

Context. The epidemiology of avian influenza and the ecology of wild birds are inextricably linked. An understanding of both is essential in assessing and managing the risks of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI). Aims. This project investigates the abundance, movements and breeding ecology of Australia's Anseriformes in relation to the prevalence of low-pathogenicity avian influenza (LPAI) and provides risk profiles to improve the efficiency and relevance of wild-bird surveillance. Methods. Generalised linear models and analysis of variance were used to examine the determinants of Anseriformes abundance and movements in Australia, and the observed prevalence of LPAI in Australia (n = 33 139) and overseas (n = 93 344). Risk profiles were developed using poultry density, estimated LPAI prevalence, the abundance of Anseriformes, and the probability of Anseriformes moving from areas of HPAI epizootics. Key results. Analysis of Australian wild-bird surveillance data strongly supports other studies that have found the prevalence of LPAI in wild birds to be much lower (1%) in Australia than that in other countries (4.7%). LPAI prevalence was highly variable among sampling periods and locations and significantly higher in dabbling ducks than in other functional groups. Trends in Anseriformes movements, abundance and breeding are also variable, and correlated with rainfall, which could explain low prevalence and the failure to detect seasonal differences in LPAI in wild birds. Virus prevalence of faecal samples was significantly lower, whereas collecting faecal samples was 3-5 times less expensive and logistically simpler, than that of cloacal samples. Overall priority areas for on-going surveillance are provided for Australia. Conclusions. Previous surveillance has occurred in high-priority areas, with the exception of Mareeba (North Queensland), Brisbane and Darwin, and has provided valuable information on the role of wild birds in maintaining avian influenza viruses. However, several practical considerations need to be addressed for future surveillance. Implications. Long-term surveillance studies in wild birds in priority areas are required, which incorporate information on bird abundance, age, behaviour, breeding and movements, particularly for dabbling ducks. This is important to validate trends of LPAI prevalence, in understanding the main determinants for virus spread and persistence, and in predicting and managing future epizootics of HPAI in Australia. © 2010 CSIRO.


Glen A.S.,Invasive Animals Cooperative Research Center
Australian Mammalogy | Year: 2010

The recent review by Jones (2009) presents a strong argument that Victoria's wild dog population cannot reliably be categorised into dingoes (Canis lupus dingo), feral dogs (C. l. familiaris) and hybrids. This presents a problem in the light of the dingo's recent listing as a threatened species in that state. Wildlife managers must come to grips with questions regarding the relative conservation value of 'dingoes' with varying degrees of domestic dog ancestry. This will require improved knowledge of the ecological function of wild dogs, as well as extensive research into public attitudes towards the animals. © Australian Mammal Society 2010.


Tracey J.P.,Invasive Animals Cooperative Research Center | Saunders G.R.,Invasive Animals Cooperative Research Center
Crop Protection | Year: 2010

Bird damage is a world-wide problem in agriculture. Measurement of such damage is an important first step in its effective management. We develop a visual assessment technique and a progressive sampling strategy using 5 strata and suggest sample sizes necessary to achieve an estimate of bird damage within a standard error of 5%. This strategy improved sampling efficiency by 67%, 79% and 80% compared to stratified systematic, standard systematic and random sampling. With an average cost of under $(AUS) 6 per block this technique is a rapid inexpensive method to estimate bird damage to vineyards and has application to most crop-bird situations. Crown Copyright © 2009.


Sutherland D.R.,Invasive Animals Cooperative Research Center
Herpetologica | Year: 2011

Dietary separation is an important means of differentiating ecological niches and avoiding interspecific competition between sympatric species. Congeneric species that overlap in geographic distribution provide an excellent opportunity to explore the mechanisms of coexistence. Two monitor lizards, Varanus gouldii and V. rosenbergi (Varanidae), are sympatric at a local scale in the northern Jarrah Forest of Western Australia. Both species are wide-ranging terrestrial predators of a similar size and may differentiate their ecological niche by utilizing alternative foraging strategies resulting in dietary separation. Because varanid lizards are an important group of terrestrial high-order predators in the Old World, any such separation may have important implications for faunal community structure. In total, 169 scat and stomach samples were analyzed revealing extensive dietary overlap between the species. Dietary intake was not distinguishable between species or related to individual body size. Invertebrates were most important in terms of frequency and volume, although reptiles, mammals and birds were also commonly identified. Dietary partitioning is not the mechanism allowing these congeneric varanid lizards to coexist. © 2011 The Herpetologists' League, Inc.

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