The movement ecology of granivorous finches in the East Kimberly

Project: HDR ProjectPhD

Project Details

Description

Animals move to find critical resources in the landscape such as food, water, and shelter. In savanna landscapes where resources are highly dynamic, animals need to either adapt to generalist lifestyles or increase their movement to track resources as availability changes across the landscape. Declines in many small animals in savannas, including granivorous finches, have been attributed to changes in resource availability due to altered fire regimes. Previous movement and habitat use studies of granivorous finches have relied on intermittent observations and short term monitoring due to the limitations of the tracking technologies available for such small and highly mobile species. However, recent advantages in tracking technologies have enabled the continuous tracking of such animals for extended periods of time and across larger scales.
This PhD study will investigate how the spatial and temporal availability of key resources influences the movement and activity patterns of three sympatric granivorous finch species in the East Kimberleys, Western Australia. Gouldian, Long-tailed and Masked finches will be tracked over nine months using a VHF radio-transmitters and an array of automated telemetry receivers. Blood and seed samples will also be collected and mapped to investigate how dietary resources along with fire history, grass seed availability and preferred habitat use changes throughout the year. The results of this research will offer new insight into how grass finches utilise their habitat and track resources, as well as improve fire management and conservation efforts for the species.
StatusActive
Effective start/end date12/02/18 → …