The behavioural ecology and population dynamics of a cryptic ground-dwelling mammal in an urban Australian landscape

Fitzgibbon, Sean I., Wilson, Robbie S. and Goldizen, Anne W. (2011) The behavioural ecology and population dynamics of a cryptic ground-dwelling mammal in an urban Australian landscape. Austral Ecology, 36 6: 722-732. doi:10.1111/j.1442-9993.2010.02209.x


Author Fitzgibbon, Sean I.
Wilson, Robbie S.
Goldizen, Anne W.
Title The behavioural ecology and population dynamics of a cryptic ground-dwelling mammal in an urban Australian landscape
Journal name Austral Ecology   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1442-9985
1442-9993
Publication date 2011-09-01
Year available 2010
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1111/j.1442-9993.2010.02209.x
Open Access Status Not yet assessed
Volume 36
Issue 6
Start page 722
End page 732
Total pages 11
Place of publication Richmond, Vic., Australia
Publisher Wiley-Blackwell Publishing Asia
Language eng
Abstract Urbanization results in widespread habitat loss and fragmentation and generally has a negative impact upon native wildlife, in particular ground-dwelling mammals. The northern brown bandicoot (Isoodon macrourus; Marsupialia: Peramelidae) is one of relatively few native Australian ground-dwelling mammals that is able to survive within urbanized landscapes. As a consequence of extensive clearing and urban development within the city of Brisbane, bandicoots are now restricted to the mostly small (<10 ha) bushland fragments scattered across the city landscape. Our study examined the behavioural ecology of northern brown bandicoots within habitat fragments located on a major creek-line, using mark-recapture population monitoring and radio telemetry. Bandicoots at monitored sites were found to occur at high densities (typically one individual ha(-1)), although one-third of the populations were transient. Radio tracking revealed that bandicoots had relatively small home ranges (mean 1.5 +/- 0.2 ha) comprised largely of bushland/grassland with dense, often weed-infested ground cover. Bandicoots sheltered by day in these densely covered areas and also spent most time foraging there at night, although they occasionally ventured small distances to forage in adjacent maintained parklands and residential lawns. We suggest that introduced tall grasses and other weeds contribute to high habitat quality within riparian habitat fragments and facilitate the persistence of high density populations, comprised of individuals with small home ranges. The generalized dietary and habitat requirements of northern brown bandicoots, as well as a high reproductive output, undoubtedly facilitate the survival of the species in urban habitat fragments. Further research is required on other native mammal species in urbanized landscapes to gain a greater understanding of how best to conserve wildlife in these heavily modified environments.
Formatted abstract
Urbanization results in widespread habitat loss and fragmentation and generally has a negative impact upon native wildlife, in particular ground-dwelling mammals. The northern brown bandicoot (Isoodon macrourus; Marsupialia: Peramelidae) is one of relatively few native Australian ground-dwelling mammals that is able to survive within urbanized landscapes. As a consequence of extensive clearing and urban development within the city of Brisbane, bandicoots are now restricted to the mostly small (<10 ha) bushland fragments scattered across the city landscape. Our study examined the behavioural ecology of northern brown bandicoots within habitat fragments located on a major creek-line, using mark-recapture population monitoring and radio telemetry. Bandicoots at monitored sites were found to occur at high densities (typically one individual ha−1), although one-third of the populations were transient. Radio tracking revealed that bandicoots had relatively small home ranges (mean 1.5 ± 0.2 ha) comprised largely of bushland/grassland with dense, often weed-infested ground cover. Bandicoots sheltered by day in these densely covered areas and also spent most time foraging there at night, although they occasionally ventured small distances to forage in adjacent maintained parklands and residential lawns. We suggest that introduced tall grasses and other weeds contribute to high habitat quality within riparian habitat fragments and facilitate the persistence of high density populations, comprised of individuals with small home ranges. The generalized dietary and habitat requirements of northern brown bandicoots, as well as a high reproductive output, undoubtedly facilitate the survival of the species in urban habitat fragments. Further research is required on other native mammal species in urbanized landscapes to gain a greater understanding of how best to conserve wildlife in these heavily modified environments.
© 2010 The Authors Journal compilation © 2010 Ecological Society of Australia
Keyword Habitat fragmentation
Isoodon macrourus
Northern brown bandicoot
Urban ecology
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ
Additional Notes Article first published online: 22 DEC 2010

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2011 Collection
School of Biological Sciences Publications
 
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Created: Wed, 23 Mar 2011, 17:49:11 EST by Gail Walter on behalf of School of Biological Sciences