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Late-Holocene mammal fauna from southern Australia reveals rapid species declines post-European settlement: Implications for conservation biology

Citation

Fusco, DA and McDowell, MC and Prideaux, GJ, Late-Holocene mammal fauna from southern Australia reveals rapid species declines post-European settlement: Implications for conservation biology, The Holocene, 26, (5) pp. 699-708. ISSN 0959-6836 (2016) [Refereed Article]

DOI: doi:10.1177/0959683615618261

Abstract

The arrival in Australia of Europeans and the species they brought with them initiated a sharp decline in native mammalian biodiversity. Consequently, one-third of the original or pre-European terrestrial mammal fauna is now extinct or threatened with extinction. Although the distributional ranges of many Australian mammals have contracted markedly, modern distributions are frequently used as baselines for conservation management and understanding ecological requirements. However, these often poorly reflect pre-European distributions, particularly in areas where biodiversity declines were rapid and occurred soon after European arrival. Here we analyse two late Holocene mammalian assemblages from Fleurieu Peninsula, South Australia, and reconstruct the pre-European terrestrial non-volant mammal fauna. The region was previously estimated to have lost perhaps 30% of its original terrestrial non-volant mammal fauna, but our results indicate a loss of almost 50%. We provide the first local records of the murids Mastacomys fuscus, Pseudomys australis, P. gouldii, P. novaehollandiae and P. shortridgei, and confirm the past occurrence of the now-extinct Conilurus albipes. Our study contributes new knowledge of species biogeography and ecology and will help refine restoration targets.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:anthropogenic impact, Australian mammal, conservation management, Holocene, niche contraction, palaeoecology
Research Division:Earth Sciences
Research Group:Geology
Research Field:Palaeontology (incl. Palynology)
Objective Division:Environment
Objective Group:Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity
Objective Field:Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity at Regional or Larger Scales
UTAS Author:McDowell, MC (Dr Matthew McDowell)
ID Code:132381
Year Published:2016 (online first 2015)
Web of Science® Times Cited:9
Deposited By:Plant Science
Deposited On:2019-05-06
Last Modified:2019-05-07
Downloads:0

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