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Miss Shannon Treloar

Overview of thesis

Resource competition between co-existing threatened mammals in a predator-free enclosure in central Western Australia.

Many threatened terrestrial mammal species in Australia occur in predator-free enclosures as a result of the severe loss in wild populations due to introduced predators. An understanding of resource requirements and inter-specific competition is essential for successful reintroduction of these species into enclosures, where dispersal and access to resources are limited.

Further research is needed on the resource requirements of burrowing bettongs (Bettongia lesueur), or boodies, and rufous hare-wallabies (Lagorchestes hirsutus), or mala. Co-existing populations of boodies and mala have not been studied, therefore, little is known about the ability of these species to co-exist in a fenced environment and how they partition resources. They both have been reintroduced in an enclosure located on the Matuwa Indigenous Protected Area in Western Australia, and there is potential for dietary overlap to occur between the two species in the enclosure because they are a similar species. This could eventually lead to one outcompeting the other for food resources. My research is investigating the potential for resource competition between boodies and mala in the Matuwa enclosure with a view to better understand how translocation success may be affected by these factors.

I aim to assess the potential for resource competition using three methods:

  1. Determine the degree of dietary overlap between the two species by performing DNA metabarcoding analyses on scat samples collected in the enclosure.
  2. Estimate the extent of overlap in the distribution of feeding activity between the species using scat counts.
  3. Assess the feeding behaviour and species interactions occurring between boodies and mala using camera traps.

By investigating these three aspects, I will gain a greater understanding of the ability of boodies and mala to co-exist in a fenced environment. This will provide valuable information for future management plans and reintroductions of these species across Australia.

Qualifications

Bachelor of Science (Conservation and Wildlife Biology), ECU (2015-2017)

Supervisors

Dr Cheryl Lohr (DBCA)

Contact

Miss Shannon Treloar
Masters by Research Student
Centre for Ecosystem Management
School of Science
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