Elite Research Scholarships

Marsupials as ecosystem engineers

Marsupials as ecosystem engineers

Several species of Tasmanian marsupials forage by digging for underground fungi (‘truffles’). This process may affect soil structure and litter decomposition, and create micro-sites that promote plant regeneration. It is also possible that these effects could interact with fire in dry open woodlands, to both reduce the impacts of fire and promote plant regeneration in the aftermath of fire. This project will use meso-scale exclosure experiments to test these effects in studies of Tasmanian bettongs, potoroos and bandicoots, and will measure their consequences for ecosystem processes at micro- and landscape scales. The goal of the project is to better understand the ecological services provided by small marsupials, so that this understanding can be used to guide ecological restoration of these species to parts of Australia from which they have become extinct.

More Information: School of Zoology
Contact: Prof Christopher Johnson
christopher.johnson@jcu.edu.au
Dr Erik Wapstra
erik.wapstra@utas.edu.au
Phone: + 61 3 6226 2813