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Research Thesis Topic

Effects of grazing, fire and invasive species on yakka skink


Topic ID
288

Thesis Topic/Title
Effects of grazing, fire and invasive species on yakka skink

Description

This project is primarily about conservation of yakka skinks in western Queensland, Australia. The general approach of the project is to capitalise on an existing large-scale (~10,000 km2) long-term (since 2013) grazing-biodiversity experiment in the southern Galilee Basin as the backdrop to a series of smaller-scale experiments assessing the effects of grazing, fire and invasive species on population trends of yakka skinks at key sites. This work will be augmented by genetic analysis of yakka skink populations. Specific project objectives include:

1. Quantify broader trends in the relative abundance of mammals, birds and reptiles across the Galilee Basin;
2. Quantify trends in the relative abundance of yakka skinks at key sites, and relate these to broader trends in mammals, amphibians, reptiles and birds across the Galilee Basin;
3. Determine the genetic structure and relatedness of yakka skink populations across the Galilee Basin;
4. Quantify the effects of grazing, fire and invasive species on populations of yakka skinks.

We will use existing distribution records and additional ground surveys to confirm the presence of local populations suitable for inclusion in smaller-scale trials conducted against the broader experimental backdrop. Different populations will be experimentally exposed to various fire and grazing treatments over at least two successive summers to determine their effects on skink activity and abundance. Tissue samples will also be obtained from skinks in these different populations to determine relatedness between sub-populations across the Galilee Basin.


Principal Supervisor

Associate Supervisors

Research Affiliations
  • Institute for Agriculture and the Environment

Field of Research
  • Agriculture, Land and Farm Management
  • Ecology
  • Environmental Science and Management
  • Zoology

Available Academic Programs

Application Open Date
17/08/2020

Application Close Date
29/01/2021

USQ Scholarship Applications

Other Scholarship Funding Details
A scholarship/stipend may be available for the successful candidate.

Pre-approved for Ethics
Not Applicable

Admission Requirements

Please review the admission requirements for the academic program associated with this Thesis Topic

This project will require regular travel to remote areas.




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