Science: surveys and research at Newhaven

Science: surveys and research at Newhaven

Each year, AWC measures more than 30 indicators of ecological health.  We do this by undertaking an extensive biological survey program. For example:

  • Bird surveys are conducted at 70 two hectare permanent monitoring sites in a range of representative habitats.
  • Small mammal and reptile surveys are conducted at 64 permanent trapping sites established across all major habitat types.
  • Track surveys are undertaken to measure activity indexes for feral animals at 73 permanent two hectare sites, stratified by the four major vegetation communities.  
  • A dedicated Black-footed Rock-wallaby survey is carried annually to measure relative activity. In addition a distribution survey is conducted every 5 years: 28 km of escarpment or low range is traversed, with scats and refuge sites systematically recorded. 
  • A dedicated survey is conducted annually to monitor other threatened species such as the Great Desert Skink.  Great Desert Skink burrows are monitored through intensive burrow mapping transects at eight sites across the property.

A number of research projects by postgraduate and collaborators are being carried out at Newhaven:

  • Steve McAlpin (Macquarie University) – Social structure and mating system of the Great Desert Skink Liopholis kintorei
  • Siobhan Dennison (Macquarie University) - Social organisation and population genetics of the Threatened great desert skink, Liopholis kintorei
  • Natasha Cadenhead (Melbourne University) - modelling to investigate the drivers of Great Desert Skink distribution with a particular focus on the effects of fire. 
  • Danae Moore (Macquarie University) – An investigation of potential threatening processes for the Vulnerable great desert skink, Liopholis kintorei
  • Jennifer Molyneux (Charles Darwin University) – Fauna assemblages of the spinifex sand plains in central Australia: response to climate, fire and predation.
  • An analysis of long-term data from the annual bird surveys has also been conducted to examine the effect of rainfall on desert bird assemblages.