student profile: Mr Matthew Hall


Thesis work

Thesis title: Urban Habitat Use and Ecological Effects of the Australian Brush-turkey (Alectura lathami)

Supervisors: Alicia BURNS , John MARTIN, Dieter HOCHULI

Thesis abstract:

Cities are usually considered to be hostile places for nature, and often have a reduced biotic community dominated by disturbance tolerant or invasive species. These species are commonly referred to as urban exploiters. The Australian brush-turkey (Alectura lathami) is an urban exploiter which has experienced substantial population growth in urban areas over the past few decades, often coming into conflict with suburban homeowners. The species is an unlikely survivor in the city due to it's specialised reproductive requirements and heavy predation, however it appears to be thriving. The drivers of this population growth, how the birds utilise a suburban environment, and what ecological effects they have in this habitat remain poorly understood.

My research aims to understand:
1. The drivers of this population growth and range expansion in cities
2. How Brush-turkeys use the habitats on offer within the Sydney suburbs
3. How does Brush-turkey behaviour vary along an urban-natural gradient
4. How Brush-turkeys act as ecosystem engineers

Note: This profile is for a student at the University of Sydney. Views presented here are not necessarily those of the University.