Thesis: The population and spatial ecology of the numbat (Myrmecobius fasciatus) in the Upper Warren
My research will focus on the conservation and management of a unique and Endangered species endemic to Australia, the numbat (Myrmecobius fasciatus). It is estimated that there are less than 1000 numbats left in the wild, with only two natural populations remaining in Dryandra State Forest and the Upper Warren region. The Upper Warren population is thought to be the largest and yet little is known about its population dynamics and spatial ecology. My project will investigate the fine scale movements and habitat preferences of this population as well as factors influencing their population growth and survivorship.
Why my research is important
Having once inhabited arid and semi-arid areas of Australia spanning from western NSW to WA the numbat has suffered a huge decline in population size over the last 200 years. Their distribution is now restricted to small translocated populations in WA, NSW and SA and two natural populations in WA. Despite recovery efforts, population numbers continue to decrease, leading to a listing of Endangered on the IUCN red list and under State and Federal legislation.
Understanding the key requirements for a species and the factors influencing population growth are important when developing management strategies to prevent further decline. While these elements have been studied extensively in some populations, there is relatively little know about the Upper Warren population. My research aims to investigate the location specific ecology of this population to inform management strategies and provide tangible conservation outcomes.