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Patterns and causes of marsupial paths in subalpine Tasmania


Nichols, EC and Kirkpatrick, JB, Patterns and causes of marsupial paths in subalpine Tasmania, Papers and Proceedings of the Royal Society of Tasmania, 153 pp. 53-60. ISSN 0080-4703 (2019) [Refereed Article]

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Copyright 2019 The Royal Society of Tasmania

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Animal paths can improve connectivity of species, alter vegetation growth, reduce fuel loads and further our knowledge of the behavioural ecology of mammals. Path patterning and the motivations for path creation are not well understood. The present study tested the hypotheses that animals form paths: (i) to efficiently move between palatable patches; (ii) for access to water; (iii) for access to shelter and (iv) to avoid predators. We used high-definition aerial online imagery to map paths in five treeless subalpine environments in Tasmania. Surveys of vegetation and scat counts were conducted at each site. We found that locality influenced wallaby scat density and that macropods and wombats created direct paths to move between areas of palatable vegetation, shelter and water. There was some weak indication of predator avoidance in some of the patterning. However, shelter from cold, strong southwesterly winds is a feasible alternative motivation for the patterns. Key Words: landscape

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:landscape of fear, macropod, path, shelter, wombat, animal paths, alpine
Research Division:Biological Sciences
Research Group:Ecology
Research Field:Palaeoecology
Objective Division:Environmental Management
Objective Group:Terrestrial systems and management
Objective Field:Assessment and management of terrestrial ecosystems
UTAS Author:Nichols, EC (Ms Emma Nichols)
UTAS Author:Kirkpatrick, JB (Professor James Kirkpatrick)
ID Code:138920
Year Published:2019
Deposited By:Geography and Spatial Science
Deposited On:2020-05-11
Last Modified:2020-08-17

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