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Woodvale, Australia

Dillon S.J.,Western Australian Herbarium | Markey A.S.,Science and Conservation Division
Nuytsia | Year: 2016

A new species of Dysphania R.Br., D. congestiflora S.J.Dillon & A.S.Markey is described and an amendment to the most recent key of Dysphania is provided to include the new taxon. © Department of Parks and Wildlife 2016. Source

Vitelli F.,Edith Cowan University | Hyndes G.A.,Edith Cowan University | Kendrick A.,Science and Conservation Division | Turco A.,Edith Cowan University
Marine Ecology Progress Series | Year: 2015

Species belonging to the family Pomacentridae play a key role in altering algal assemblages in tropical systems, but our understanding about this family's role in temperate systems is limited. We examine the role of the abundant and territorial pomacentrid Parma mccullochi as an herbivore in temperate waters of southwestern Australia. Through dietary analyses, we showed that this species consumed predominantly red foliose and filamentous algae that were positively selected based on electivity indices. The species composition of macroalgae differed significantly between inside and outside P. mccullochi territories, with commonly ingested algae such as Hypnea spp. characterising the territory assemblages, while brown algae such as kelp Ecklonia radiata, and other foliose or coralline red algae characterised reef area outside the territories. Total algal biomass was significantly lower, while species richness was higher, inside compared to outside territories. In contrast, a caging experiment inside P. mccullochi territories showed that species composition, species richness and biomass of recruiting algae did not differ significantly in treatments where damselfishes were excluded or able to forage. A visual census indicated that P. mccullochi territories covered nearly 40% of the reef in the study region. We conclude that, while other biological or physical processes are likely to create the patches within kelp canopies where P. mccullochi territories are established, the species appears to have a strong and extensive influence in maintaining lower standing crop and higher diversity in turfforming algal assemblages in this temperate region. Understanding the role of herbivores in temperate regions is becoming increasingly important due to the effects of climate change through the shifting ranges of tropical species into temperate systems. © Inter-Research 2015. Source

Clarke P.J.,University of New England of Australia | Lawes M.J.,Charles Darwin University | Murphy B.P.,University of Melbourne | Russell-Smith J.,Charles Darwin University | And 8 more authors.
Science of the Total Environment | Year: 2015

Postfire resprouting and recruitment from seed are key plant life-history traits that influence population dynamics, community composition and ecosystem function. Species can have one or both of these mechanisms. They confer resilience, which may determine community composition through differential species persistence after fire. To predict ecosystem level responses to changes in climate and fire conditions, we examined the proportions of these plant fire-adaptive traits among woody growth forms of 2880 taxa, in eight fire-prone ecosystems comprising ~ 87% of Australia's land area. Shrubs comprised 64% of the taxa. More tree (> 84%) than shrub (~ 50%) taxa resprouted. Basal, epicormic and apical resprouting occurred in 71%, 22% and 3% of the taxa, respectively. Most rainforest taxa (91%) were basal resprouters. Many trees (59%) in frequently-burnt eucalypt forest and savanna resprouted epicormically. Although crown fire killed many mallee (62%) and heathland (48%) taxa, fire-cued seeding was common in these systems. Postfire seeding was uncommon in rainforest and in arid Acacia communities that burnt infrequently at low intensity. Resprouting was positively associated with ecosystem productivity, but resprouting type (e.g. basal or epicormic) was associated with local scale fire activity, especially fire frequency. Although rainforest trees can resprout they cannot recruit after intense fires and may decline under future fires. Semi-arid Acacia communities would be susceptible to increasing fire frequencies because they contain few postfire seeders. Ecosystems dominated by obligate seeders (mallee, heath) are also susceptible because predicted shorter inter-fire intervals will prevent seed bank accumulation. Savanna may be resilient to future fires because of the adaptive advantage of epicormic resprouting among the eucalypts. The substantial non-resprouting shrub component of shrublands may decline, but resilient Eucalyptus spp. will continue to dominate under future fire regimes. These patterns of resprouting and postfire seeding provide new insights to ecosystem assembly, resilience and vulnerability to changing fire regimes on this fire-prone continent. © 2015. Source

Quinlan K.,Science and Conservation Division | Pinder A.,Science and Conservation Division | Coppen R.,Science and Conservation Division | Jackson J.,Goldfields Region
Conservation Science Western Australia | Year: 2016

Significant summer rainfall across the arid zone of Western Australia in early 2014 provided an opportunity to improve our knowledge of wetland biodiversity in the Goldfields region. Fourteen wetlands spanning the Coolgardie, Murchison and Gascoyne bioregions were surveyed for aquatic invertebrates and associated habitat variables. Thirteen sites were fresh (<3 g L-1) and one was subsaline (4.1 g L-1). A total of 221 aquatic invertebrate taxa were recorded during the survey, including a new species of calanoid copepod, and potentially new ostracods and a new water mite. Significant range extensions were documented for species of Branchinella fairy shrimp and Mytilocypris ostracods. The fauna was dominated by insects (46% of species) and crustaceans (28%). Invertebrate communities recorded from highly turbid claypans, rockholes (including a creek pool), ‘Possum Swamp’ and Mt Forrest spring differed in composition from the remaining fresh and subsaline lakes and swamps. An analysis of multiple arid zone survey datasets suggested that the wetlands sampled in this survey support different species assemblages to WA arid zone wetlands sampled previously. Survey limitations meant that some wetland types were not sampled or were represented by only one or two sites, which are gaps that could be addressed in future survey work. This survey has significantly improved our understanding of biodiversity patterning of aquatic fauna in the Goldfields region and the WA arid zone more generally, particularly in relation to wetlands situated on the conservation estate and Indigenous Protected Areas. © The Government of Western Australia, 2016. Source

Doherty T.S.,Edith Cowan University | Davis R.A.,Edith Cowan University | van Etten E.J.B.,Edith Cowan University | Algar D.,Science and Conservation Division | And 5 more authors.
Journal of Biogeography | Year: 2015

Aim: Reducing the impacts of feral cats (Felis catus) is a priority for conservation managers across the globe, and success in achieving this aim requires a detailed understanding of the species' ecology across a broad spectrum of climatic and environmental conditions. We reviewed the diet of the feral cat across Australia and on Australian territorial islands, seeking to identify biogeographical patterns in dietary composition and diversity, and use the results to consider how feral cats may best be managed. Location: Australia and its territorial islands. Methods: Using 49 published and unpublished data sets, we modelled trophic diversity and the consumption of eight food groups against latitude, longitude, mean temperature, precipitation, environmental productivity and climate-habitat regions. Results: We recorded 400 vertebrate species that feral cats feed on or kill in Australia, including 28 IUCN Red List species. We found evidence of continental-scale prey-switching from rabbits to small mammals, previously recorded only at the local scale. The consumption of arthropods, reptiles, rabbits, rodents and medium-sized native mammals varied with different combinations of latitude, longitude, mean annual precipitation, temperature and environmental productivity. The frequency of rodents and dasyurids in cats' diets increased as rabbit consumption decreased. Main conclusions: The feral cat is an opportunistic, generalist carnivore that consumes a diverse suite of vertebrate prey across Australia. It uses a facultative feeding strategy, feeding mainly on rabbits when they are available, but switching to other food groups when they are not. Control programmes aimed at culling rabbits could potentially decrease the availability of a preferred food source for cats and then lead to greater predation pressure on native mammals. The interplay between cat diet and prey species diversity at a continental scale is complex, and thus cat management is likely to be necessary and most effective at the local landscape level. © 2015 John Wiley & Sons Ltd. Source

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