Students

Helen Smith

Helen

Position: PhD Candidate
Email:
Phone: +61 2 9351 3189
Location: Room 104, A10 Science Road Cottage, The University of Sydney, NSW 2006, Australia

Research: Replacing natives with exotics: Wildlife responses to black rat invasion in the Sydney Harbour National Park
My project explores the concept of ecological replacement, and how alien species perform ecologically in their new environment – an issue that is of worldwide concern, but of particular interest in Australia where the extinction rate is high. My focus system is within the Sydney Harbour National Park where invasive black rats (Rattus rattus) have replaced native bush rats (Rattus fuscipes). I am quantifying the ecological impacts of black rats and am comparing how the impacts of black rats differ to areas where native bush rats have been reintroduced. Specifically, my work will inform Sydney Harbour management authorities of the impacts of black rats, and more broadly, the ecological consequences of alien invasion.


Prudence Fabian

Prue

Position: PhD Candidate
Email:
Phone: +61 2 9351 3189
Location: Room 104, A10 Science Road Cottage, The University of Sydney, NSW 2006, Australia

Research: Identify factors influencing reintroduction success of the Native Bush Rat (Rattus fucipes) in the Sydney Harbour foreshore region: Does personality and sociality play a part?
My project aims to identify factors that may influence the short and long term success of future reintroduction of the bush rat and identify the longer term effects of bush rats on black rat populations. I will examine the social behaviours of bush rats during their initial post release phase in order to understand how the released individuals respond to their new environment and to fellow translocated conspecifics, and to determine if the level of social interaction between individuals has an influence on individual survival. Personality greatly influences how individuals respond to environmental change, but surprisingly there has been little implementation of this knowledge to reintroduction. My project aims to determine if particular personality or behavioural syndromes can influence reintroduction success.


Charlotte Fletcher

Charlotte

Position: Honours Candidate
Email:
Location: Room 109, A10 Science Road Cottage, The University of Sydney, NSW 2006, Australia

Research: Impacts of Urban "Winners" on Microbat Roost Use in Remnant Bushland
Tree hollows can be a scarce resource in urban bush remnants and are home to a wide variety of native and invasive fauna. Using nest boxes designed to include and exclude particular taxa, I aim to tease out how competition with or activity of fauna such as possums, birds, black rats and spiders affect roost use by microbats, whether through interference, exploitation, direct predation or some other means. This study may inform future nest box design and allow us to better determine whether the natural hollows remaining in urban bush are sufficient to meet the needs of a variety of fauna, as well as furthering knowledge of the impacts of the spillover of abundant urban "winners" into bush remnants.


Valentina Mella

Valentina

Position: PhD Candidate (Primary supervisor A/Prof. Clare McArthur)
Email:
Phone: +61 2 9351 5118
Location: A08 Heydon-Laurence Building, The University of Sydney, NSW 2006, Australia

Research: The role of personality in response to predation risk and plant toxins in the common brushtail possum (Trichosurus vulpecula)
My project is focusing on how personality shifts the foraging response of herbivores to plants and predators. My goal is to understand what role personality plays into the process of foraging of common brushtail possums. I am conducting manipulative experiments on captive and free-ranging individuals using the Giving-Up-Density framework to determine how personality modifies the trade-off between dealing with plant toxins and predation risk.


Rebecca Stutz

Rebecca

Position: PhD Candidate (Primary supervisor A/Prof. Clare McArthur)
Email:
Phone: +61 2 9351 5118
Location: Room 408, A08 Heydon-Laurence Building, The University of Sydney, NSW 2006, Australia

Research: Associational plant refuges in a matrix of abundant herbivores
In addition to their own defence characteristics, plants may be afforded protection from herbivory in the presence of other plant species; this defence mechanism is termed “associational refuge”, and had the potential to influence foraging patterns and thus feed back to shape the effects of herbivores on plants. Anecdotal evidence suggests that the unsuccessful re-establishment of native plants in Booderee National Park, south-eastern Australia, has resulted from browsing by its large swamp wallaby (Wallabia bicolor) population. My study will consider the potential for associational refuges to facilitate greater seedling retention rate and growth in revegetation efforts by influencing foraging patterns.


Megan Callander

Megan

Position: PhD Candidate, UWS (Primary supervisor Dr. Ricky Spencer)
Email:
Location: University of Western Sydney, Hawkesbury Campus

Research: Social dynamics and population structure of the bush rat (Rattus fuscipes)
Translocation of a native species is a potential conservation technique. Knowledge of social dynamics within a species could be critical in assessing translocation possibilities and population establishment. This research will identify the behavioural mechanisms which maintain the social organisation of bush rat populations and the role the social organisation plays in the translocation process.


Hayley Bates

Position: PhD Candidate, UNSW (Primary supervisor Prof. Mike Archer)
Email:
Phone: +61 2 9385 2125
Location: UNSW

Research: Understanding the altitudinal limits of mountain pygmy possums


Jason Mumbulla

Position: PhD Candidate, UNSW (Primary supervisor Dr. Shawn Laffan)
Email:
Location: UNSW

Research: Reintroduction ecology of new holland mice