Fitzgerald biosphere recovery plan



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Appendix 8: Research

The following areas of research are suggested as priority for the Fitzgerald Biosphere in order to support the conservation of the Biospheres threatened and priority species and ecological communities.



Areas of Research

Research Questions

Fire Ecology
For further details see Barrett et al. (2009)

  • Population and seed bank dynamics of key functional plant species.

  • Chronosequence (space for time) studies in key systems to investigate the effects of fire regimes on plant community composition and structure.

  • The effect of fire regimes on the habitat and populations dynamics of key fauna species such as Western Ground Parrot, Western Bristlebird, Western Whipbird (western mallee), Carnaby’s Black Cockatoo, Dibbler, Western Heath Mouse and Chuditch.

  • The effect of fire on fungal diversity and leaf litter ecology.

  • Fuel load, flammability and risk of ignition in priority systems in relation to time since fire.

  • Investigation into the population dynamics and soil seed bank dynamics of Verticordia pityhrops, V. crebra, V. helichrysantha and Kunzea similis

  • Investigation into the population dynamics and canopy seed bank dynamics of Eucalyptus nutans.




Fire Management

  • The impacts of firefighting foams and retardants on biodiversity.

  • Does firefighting foams (Class A) and fire retardants (Phos-chek G-75) kill Phytophthora sp. in water? Using water from an infected water source during firefighting operations is a potential way Phytophthora is spread. If foams and/or retardants kill Phytophthora, their use could be used to prevent this potential spread.

Phytophthora cinnamomi and other diseases

  • Susceptibility of threatened and priority flora species (Adenanthos dobagii, A. ellipticus, Verticordia pityhrops, V. crebra, Grevillea infundibularis, Daviesia obovata (FRNP genotype)) to Phytophthora species and aerial canker.

  • Effects of habitat modification as a result from Phytophthora on threatened fauna species such as Western Ground Parrot, Western Bristlebird, Western Whipbird (western mallee), Dibbler and Western Heath Mouse.

Invasive Species

  • The nature of interactions between foxes, feral cats, wild dogs and rabbits to effectively integrate the control of all four species.

  • The importance of rabbits for maintaining feral cat and fox numbers, and the potential effects of the removal of predators, so that control of these species can be integrated to minimise risks to native species (DEWHA 2008e).

  • The interaction between Dibblers and House Mice.

  • The impacts of feral bees on threatened flora species.

  • Develop control methods for feral bees.

Climate Change

  • Install and monitor weather/climate stations at significant sites for threatened species or areas considered at high risk of climate change (e.g. Barrens, Ravensthorpe Range, Western Ground Parrot habitat) as part of a comprehensive network across the South Coast.

  • Biological and ecological knowledge of threatened species and ecological communities that will enable greater understanding and management of the impacts of climate change on these species/communities.

  • Long term research and monitoring programs that could identify the impacts of climate change.

  • investigate water relations, effect of drought on Verticordia pityhrops, Kunzea similis and Adenanthos ellipticus which co-occur at East Mt Barren on shallow sand on quartzite.

Genetics

  • Investigate genetic variation in relation to morphological variation / vegetative polymorphism observed.

  • Investigate hybridisation (speciation) with Grevillea nudiflora

Floristic Analysis

  • Analyse floristic survey data for FRNP to determine rare and threatened ecological communities.


References


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DEC (draft). Fire Management in the Fitzgerald River National Park - Discussion Paper. Department of Environment and Conservation, Albany.


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