December 8 2009

12:00 154 BSRB

Ecolunch: Michael Parsons
Department of Veterinary and Biomedical Science, Murdoch University

The significance of predator-prey ecology to the conservation of dingoes and welfare of kangaroos


Since European settlement in Australia, kangaroo numbers have proliferated along with stock watering points and the removal of their primary predators the dingo. Consequently, overgrazing by kangaroos limits the productivity and sustainability of the semi-arid region. It is imperative that non-invasive measures be developed to mitigate the costs of herbivory, particularly for seedlings recovering from drought or disturbance.
This talk focuses on two levels. First, the evolution of our project and serendipitous findings are indicative of multidisciplinary projects with foci in non-traditional, socially relevant areas. I will also be presenting data on the effects of chemosensory deterrents (dingo urine) on the behavior of macropods. The efficacy of this tool and similar repellents is limited by our understanding of the additive effects of direct and indirect risk cues, and by our capacity to find a means of retarding animal habituation to repeated stimuli. Importantly, our findings offer a unique twist on the ecological value of the top order predator.















































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































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