Phone: 08 8984 9137
Fax: 08 8984 9139
Location: Tropical Ecology Research Facility, Middle Point Village, Northern Territory
The ecology of northern bluetongue lizards (Tiliqua scincoides intermedia) and the impact of invasive cane toad
The main objectives of my research are (1) to assess the potential of conditioned taste aversion (CTA) as a management option to reduce the impact of invasion cane toad on bluetongue lizards, (2) to determine the geographic variation in the resistance of bluetongue lizards to cane toad toxin, and (3) to examine the space-use, movement patterns and habitat selection of two species of bluetongue lizard that co-occur in north-western Australia (Tiliqua scincoides intermedia and T. multifasciata) using GPS technology. GPS tracking allows fine-grained observation of natural behaviour that has previously been difficult to obtain with conventional radio tracking. Impacts posed by cane toads on the conservation status of bluetongue lizards mean that we need quantitative data on the ecology of this genus, particularly in the northern regions of Australia.
Reproductive and investment strategies in the Northern Brown Bandicoot (Isoodon macrourus)
For my honours research project I investigated the effect of age and condition on reproductive effort in northern brown bandicoots. The project determined the influence of female maternal age, size and condition on annual reproductive output. Additionally, patterns of reproductive output relative to survival were determined in order to assess the potential for terminal investment. The project also investigated reproductive and investment strategies in male northern brown bandicoots. This aspect of the project determined the effect of age, size and condition on male reproductive success. This allowed an insight into the mating system of the study population and allowed the potential for multiple paternities within litters to be investigated.
For the year following my honours, I was employed by my honours supervisor, Assoc. Prof. Andrew Krockenberger, as a research assistant. During this time I was responsible for the design and implementation of several research projects relating to mammal, reptile and amphibian physiology and behaviour. Projects included:
(1) Northern brown bandicoots - continued investigation into the reproductive strategies of northern brown bandicoots.
(2) The impact of climate change on North Queensland terrestrial fauna - study of orange-thighed tree frogs over altitudinal gradients to determine whether they show adaptation of thermal tolerance to variation in thermal regimes.
(3) Physical barriers to gene flow - determination of phenotypic and genetic differences between coppery and common brushtail possums across the rainforest boundary.
Maloti-Drakensberg Transfrontier Project (MDTP)
The Forest Biodiversity Research Unit of the University of Kwazulu-Natal, Pietermaritzberg, South Africa was contracted by MDTP to survey and investigate the indigenous afromontane forests in the project area, which straddles the border between South Africa and Lesotho and spans three provinces within South Africa. The priority of the fieldwork conducted was vertebrate sampling, plant/vegetation surveys and the initiation of herbivory and decomposition experiments. Specifically, I was responsible for the mammal component of the project; I designed and implemented surveys to investigate the presence of small mammals in afromontane forests within the project area. This contributed to a larger data set of vertebrate and vegetation surveys in order to establish the conservation status and management of afromontane forests within the Drakensberg Mountains.
|1.||Price-Rees S. J., Brown G. P. & Shine R. (2010) Predation on toxic cane toads (Bufo marinus) may imperil bluetongue lizards (Tiliqua scincoides intermedia, Scincidae) in tropical Australia. Wildlife Research 37:166-73.|
|2.||Price-Rees S. J. & Shine R. (2011) A backpack method for attaching GPS transmitters to bluetongue lizards (Tiliqua, Scincidae). Herpetological Conservation and Biology 6(1):150-156.|
|3.||Price-Rees S. J., Webb J. K. & Shine R. (2011) School for skinks: can conditioned taste aversion enable bluetongue lizards (Tiliqua scincoides) to avoid toxic cane toads (Rhinella marina) as prey? Ethology: in press.|
|4.||Price-Rees S. J., Congdon B. C. & Krockenberger A. K. (2011) Size delays female senescence in a medium sized marsupial: the effects of maternal traits on annual fecundity in the northern brown bandicoot (Isoodon macrourus). Austral Ecology: in press.|
|5.||Price-Rees S. J., Brown G. P. & Shine R. (2011) Interacting impacts of invasive plants and invasive toads on native lizards. American Naturalist: in review.|
|1995-1997||Bachelor of Arts (Outdoor Education)
Latrobe University, Bendigo, Australia
|2002-2006||Bachelor of Science (Hons I)
James Cook University, Cairns, Australia
University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia
|2008||University of Sydney Postgraduate Research Support Grant|
|2010||Australian Postgraduate Award|
|2010||Impact of cane toads on northern bluetongue lizards. 2010 Kimberley Environmental Forum, Kununurra, WA, Australia|