2 PhD Projects with the 'Great Southern Ark Project' - examining Reintroduction and rewilding across the Southern Yorke Peninsula, South Australia.

Opportunity Type: 
Student Opportunity
Closing Date: 
Tuesday, June 30, 2020

The Great Southern Ark: Rewilding the southern Yorke Peninsula (SYP)

Background.
As a 20 year program, the Great Southern Ark project aims to help restore ecosystem function across southern Yorke Peninsula. The restoration of ecosystem processes will require the reintroduction of keystone species that once supported the ecosystems of the peninsula through the ecological services that they provided; soil engineers, native predators, pollinators, seed dispersers. Many of the species missing from the system are themselves at risk of global extinction, and the founding of new populations of these species on the peninsula will significantly enhance their conservation status.
To this end, a 'leaky 'predator-proof fence is being constructed across the foot of the Yorke Peninsula in South Australia and an ambitious plan to rewild the area is underway. As a first step in this program we are currently looking for 2 PhD students to work on two projects associated with the return of a native soil engineer, the brush-tailed bettong, to the SYP landscape.

Project 1. Reintroduction biology of woylies
This project will examine the influence of source location (wild v semi captive), release group size and habitat structure on bettong survival, health, ranging behaviour, group cohesion, breeding and recruitment.

Project 2. The benefits of returning a marsupial soil engineer to the SYP
This project will examine the ecosystem impacts, costs and benefits of returning brush-tailed bettongs to the Southern Yorke Peninsula landscape: including soil health, seedling recruitment, bettong diet, weeds of significance and threatened native orchids.

For more information please contact Associate Professor David Taggart, School of Animal and Veterinary Science, University of Adelaide (Waite campus), Urrbrae, South Australia. (david.taggart@adelaide.edu.au)