Dramatic decline to mammal populations reach critical point

May 30, 2014 by Pepita Smyth
Dramatic decline to mammal populations reach critical point

The results of a research project examining the dramatic decline in native mammals in northern Australia was revealed at the Australian Veterinary Association's (AVA) Annual Conference.

Dr Andrea Reiss from Murdoch University, who is part of the project team, said that little is known of the role disease plays in the alarming decline of small to medium sized mammals in the Northern Territory.

"We're not certain if disease is a key threat to declining wildlife populations or whether the declines are due primarily to other factors such as changing fire regimes or the influence of introduced predators such as feral cats.

"What we do know is that if continue to decline and mammal populations become more isolated, then the genetic diversity of species will diminish, making them more vulnerable to the negative impacts of disease.

"We need to understand the current role of disease in declining mammal populations to gain an understanding of its likely impact in the future," she said.

The disease investigation team is focusing its research efforts on four main sites within the Northern Territory's Top End. These study sites represent locations with stable mammal populations, those with populations currently undergoing a decline and those with populations anticipated to soon experience decline.

Four target species are being examined: the brush-tailed possum, northern brown bandicoot, northern quoll and brush-tailed rabbit-rat.

Explore further: Small Australian marsupials in sudden decline

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Small Australian marsupials in sudden decline

May 07, 2014

Small, furry marsupials such as the bandicoot, quoll and tree possums are in dramatic decline in Australia's north and feral cats could be the cause, according to analysis reported Wednesday.

Survey set to prove northern fish disease-free

Mar 05, 2014

A joint study about to begin will determine whether populations of freshwater catfish in the country's tropical and sub-tropical regions are free of the Edwardsiella ictaluri bacterium.

Recommended for you

Global wild tiger population to be counted by 2016

15 hours ago

Thirteen countries with wild tiger populations agreed Tuesday to take part in a global count to establish how many of the critically endangered animals are left and improve policies to protect them.

Scientists discover tropical tree microbiome in Panama

Sep 15, 2014

Human skin and gut microbes influence processes from digestion to disease resistance. Despite the fact that tropical forests are the most biodiverse terrestrial ecosystems on the planet, more is known about ...

How are hybridized species affecting wildlife?

Sep 15, 2014

Researchers who transplanted combinations of wild, domesticated, and domesticated-wild hybridized populations of a fish species to new environments found that within 5 to 11 generations, selection could remove ...

User comments : 0