Smoke and Mirrors: The effect of urbanisation and fire on the bird assemblages of the Darwin region

Project: HDR ProjectPhD

Project Details


Whilst there have been several studies regarding the urban assemblages of birds in the temperate zones of the Northern Hemisphere, few have been carried out in Australia and even fewer exist that have examined these guilds in the tropics.
Birds of the Darwin region must not only withstand the extreme seasonality of the region but, in the past two decades, also cope with increased habitat modification due to urbanisation and agricultural development. Birds are known to be important bioindicators of the environmental health of an area; understanding how they have responded to urbanisation, along with changing fire regimes and climatic conditions, is vital in informing management strategies.
In this project we are investigating the responses of the terrestrial avian communities to changing land use in the Darwin region since the turn of the century. A record of fire history and data on the encroachment of invasive vegetation will aid in identifying the influences on past and present assemblages. Current avian assemblages are being investigated using traditional point-and-line transect surveys but with the assistance of new technologies being developed in this study. These new methods will be assessed to determine their efficacy in alleviating some of the challenges presented when undertaking population studies in a physically hostile environment.
The results of this project will fill the knowledge gap describing the level of effect from human impacts on the Darwin avian assemblage, and assist in informing Government, planners and conservation groups when formulating future management strategies.
Effective start/end date1/02/18 → …


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