Dynamics of habitat use by the magpie goose, Anseranas semipalmata
: implications for conservation management

  • Peter Whitehead

    Student thesis: Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) - CDU


    The study was funded principally by the Parks and Wildlife Commission of the Northern Territory as an element of its broader wetland management initiative, and to satisfy a Government undertaking to develop comprehensive management strategies and programs for the Magpie Goose. The Australian Nature Conservation Agency and Northern Territory University also provided additional financial support that contributed significantly to achievement of its aims.

    Many individuals gave generously of their time and expertise. I thank them all for their support. Principal Supervisor Keith Christian provided important guidance and was always available to assist with problems. His comprehensive critical reading of various drafts of the thesis was invaluable. As external supervisor, Bill Freeland provided encouragement and support, in particular by promoting a corporate culture within the Parks and Wildlife Commission which properly recognised and valued the role of research in conservation management. He also undertook the unrewarding task of reading all parts of the thesis and provided much valuable input. Discussions with David Bowman, Bill Freeland and John Woinarski promoted the development of many of the ideas presented in the thesis, and improved their presentation. Various parts of the manuscript were also read by Phil Bell, David Bowman, Peter Dostine, Roger Jaensch, Tom Madsen and John Woinarksi, all of whom provided valuable comment. Tom Madsen shared important insights to the behaviour of "his" water pythons. Nick Nicholls advised on the use of the statistical package GLIM.

    The study would have been impossible without the active support of the Lower Mary River Landcare Group, which has endorsed the long-term maintenance of healthy Magpie Goose populations on the Mary River floodplains as one of its conservation objectives. In particular, the owners, managers and staff of Carmour Plains, Marrakai, and Opium Creek Stations provided unrestricted access to study sites and often supported the field work. Neville Walker promoted, and maintained his interest in the study from its inception. Robert and Bob Townsend, "Speed" Thompson and Clinton Walker helped in many ways, not least in keeping the indispensible airboats running. Kurt Tschimer, Irene Rainey, Donna Jackson, Oswald Tory, James McKinnon, Rick Hope, Ray Chatto, Dave Farlam, Carole Palmer, Tony Spring, Stephen Turner, and Adam, Kim, Jason and Vicki Whitehead assisted with collection of data and maintenance of associated databases. Greg Connors solved a range of computing and logistical problems. Chris Babcock advised on the design and construction of floating clam traps used at nests. Carole Palmer potted some of the more successful battery-powered transmitters. Leg-bands were provided by the Australian Nature Conservation Agency through the Australian Bird and Bat Banding Scheme.

    In addition to observations taken in the course of the study, a number of the original analyses presented here also draw on data held in the Parks and Wildlife Commission's corporate databases. This information was collected by a number of staff and consultants, the most notable being Peter Bayliss and Kate Yeomans, Keith Saalfeld, Ray Chatto, Tony Spring, Bruce Wilson and Peter Brocklehurst. Raw climate data were provided by the Darwin office of the Bureau of Meteorology and the National Climate Centre. The Northern Territory Power and Water Authority provided data on guage heights and flows for relevant river systems. I am grateful to all of these individuals and organisations for generously making their data available for use in the analyses presented here.

    Date of AwardApr 1998
    Original languageEnglish
    SupervisorKeith Christian (Supervisor)

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