AWC is supporting important research on biodiversity conservation in Australia, in an effort to assist in the production of practical scientific outcomes, particularly in relation to threatened species.
One research project has focused on improving our knowledge of the ecology and genetics of the threatened Burrowing Bettong, which was reintroduced to Faure Island sanctuary by AWC in 2002. A University of Western Australia postgraduate student is investigating the taxonomic relationships between three wild and two reintroduced populations, to determine whether these populations are all one species, or separate subspecies, and to examine how genetic ‘bottlenecks’ have affected the reintroduced populations (that were founded with a small number of animals).
Faure Island Sanctuary
A second project involves the threatened Gouldian Finch, which is one of Australia’s most threatened and most spectacular birds. Mornington sanctuary retains one of the largest remnant populations, and has provided an opportunity to attempt to figure out why the species has declined, and what measures can be undertaken to reverse this decline. AWC staff have been examining the role of cattle and fire management in determining the temporal distribution and abundance of a number of species of native grass that form a significant component of the diet of the Gouldian Finch.
An example of this program can be found at the following AWC sanctuary/sanctuaries;