Research Papers

Since 2003 we have funded 418 grants totalling more than $1.7 million to university students, universities and other research institutions.

Thick-billed Grasswren; photo Dr Marina Louter

Nature Foundation is proud to have contributed to the growing body of South Australian Nature Science knowledge and the development of so many bright young scientists in the early stages of their careers.

This research contributes to overcoming one of the greatest challenges our generation faces: to conserve the biodiversity that characterises healthy ecosystems. The ability to understand how to do this effectively and create a sustainable future for us all depends on excellent scientific research.

The research supported by Nature Foundation also underpins our nature conservation work to ensure we are making the most efficient, effective and valuable contributions to conservation.

To access case studies and research papers type the paper’s title or author name into the field below. Over the coming months we will continue adding more papers to our library.

Reintroduction of the Idnya (western quoll, Dasyurus geoffroii) to the Flinders Ranges National Park, South Australia
Author(s): Melissa Jensen
The trial reintroduction of the Idnya or western quoll to the Ikara-Flinders Ranges National Park has gone extremely well. In April 2014, 41 idnya were successfully released within the National Park and were radio tracked for six months. During this 6 months of monitoring feral cats were identified as the main cause of idnya mortality, with 12 idnya confirmed (via DNA analysis) to have died due to cat attack in 2014 (Moseby et al. 2015). Excitingly, successful breeding was seen in this first year, with approximately 60 pouch young born in the park. Juvenile survival appears to be high, with 25 free-roaming juveniles captured and processed during annual trapping in December 2014 as they began dispersing away from their mothers. Read more...
Factors influencing reintroduction success and population persistence of brushtail possums (Trichosurus vuplecula)
Author(s): Hannah Bannister
After a 70 year absence, brushtail possums were reintroduced to the Ikara-Flinders Ranges National Park, following a successful fox control program. Several studies were undertaken to assess factors influencing reintroduction success and population persistence. Reintroduction success was not influenced by release method or source population (predator-exposed v predator-naïve). Population persistence appears possible as possums found suitable shelter and food, and juvenile survival was moderate. Continued predator management is likely to be key to the long-term persistence of the population, with predation by feral cats the primary cause of death for both adults and juveniles. Read more...
Variation in Toxoplasma gondii seroprevalence: effects of site, sex, species and behaviour between insular and mainland macropods
Author(s): Patrick Taggart
Feral cats threaten wildlife conservation through a range of direct and indirect effects. However, most studies that have evaluated the impacts of feral cats on species of conservation significance have focussed on direct impacts such as predation; few studies have considered the indirect impacts of cat-borne disease. Toxoplasma gondii, a cat-borne parasite, causes both acute and latent disease in a range of wildlife species, and macropods are particularly susceptible. Kangaroo Island is Australia’s third largest island and supports a high density of feral cats and high seroprevalence of T. gondii in multiple species, relative to the mainland. This suggests that Kangaroo Island has a high environmental contamination with the parasite and a high risk of infection for other species. Read more...
The ecological role and ecosystem services provision of the Murray River turtle
Author(s): Claudia Santori
This project aimed at understanding if and how turtles contribute to the maintenance of water quality in the Murray River by consuming carrion. Specifically, we assessed whether turtles eat dead carp carrion, and how quickly, at four wetland sites near Murray Bridge, SA. We trapped all three species of turtles at our four sites, with the majority being short-necked turtles (Emydura macquarii). At our four sites, we introduced 160 dead carp, half accessible and half not accessible to turtles. The carp accessible to turtles had a significantly higher daily weight loss compared to the non-accessible carp, particularly in sites with the highest turtle catch per unit effort. This study clarifies the role of freshwater turtles, and particularly of Emydura macquarii, as important scavengers in their ecosystem Read more...
Defining restoration seed zones in the genomics era
Author(s): Colette Blyth
A major challenge faced by restoration practitioners is how to achieve successful revegetation outcomes in a rapidly changing world. There is an imminent shift in seed sourcing techniques for restoration, away from strict local provenancing and towards seed sourcing based upon the genetic architecture of restoration species. A principal reason for this shift is that climate change is altering conditions faster than some plants can adapt, creating potential for local provenances to become maladapted. Consequently, there is an urgent need to study the genomic basis of adaptation to climate change, as only with this information is it possible to underpin the restoration of more resilient plant populations to climate change with real data. Read more...

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