'Project: 'Beyond predation: Causes of Woylie decline in predator-free environmentsEdit
The Woylie or Brush-tailed Bettong (Bettongia penicillata) is a critically endangered small marsupial whose survival is uncertain, even though they have significant potential for improving and maintaining ecosystem health.
The severe decline in Woylie populations has been attributed largely to predation by introduced foxes and cats. However, precipitous declines of Woylie populations have continued even in areas free from predators. Consequently, urgent action is needed to quantify mechanistic links between the health, nutrition, immune status and role of disease driving the Woylie population declines. This research is only possible in predator-free environments like those protected by Australian Wildlife Conservancy (AWC) and the Department of Environment and Conservation. These sites offer unique opportunity to examine Woylie population health, disease and survival. We will provide fundamental knowledge about the role of nutrition, health and disease impacting Woylie population dynamics that may otherwise be masked by predation pressures.
Tasks volunteers will be assisting with:Edit
· Trapping & collection of biological samples (faeces, scat)
· Analysis of habitat and diet
· Working conditions/hours:Edit
Lots of night work – all trapping and over half of radio-tracking will take place at night as Woylies are nocturnal. Will be tracking on bicycles or in car depending on what is available. A likely schedule: Work during mid-day/evening then break for food/sleep till midnight until dawn then break for sleep again. Will be somewhat erratic
Clean & basic (single bed, 2 minute shower), able to cook and store food in fridge, probably share room (depending on what’s available). Internet for emergencies only. There is a screen projector if anyone wants to watch dvd’s in down time, I have dvd player
· Who should apply:Edit
Anyone wanting some field work experience– science and vet students alike
o Have had volunteer experience myself all over the world (Australia, Zambia, Botswana, Belize, India) and nothing beats field experience for finding out if this is what you want for your career
· Cost: Edit
Travel - I can pick up/drop off vollies from either Broken Hill or Mildura airports and drive them to Scotia, but getting to either of those locations will need to be covered. Food can be bought at supermarkets at either location and stored onsite at Scotia (i.e. have to pay for your own food)
· Dates required:Edit
Will require volunteers right through the year. Minimum 2 weeks as I can’t leave field site more often than that. I will be at field site majority of 2011-12 (starting Jan after new year) so dates for volunteers can fit in as per people’s schedules.