New research to help solve environmental issues

29-Jan-2018

CDU researchers will evaluate the extent of cat predation on the threatened brush-tailed rabbit-rat (pictured), through the National Environmental Science Program. Photo: Hugh Davies

CDU researchers will evaluate the extent of cat predation on the threatened brush-tailed rabbit-rat (pictured), through the National Environmental Science Program. Photo: Hugh Davies


Charles Darwin University researchers will take the lead in finding solutions to complex environmental problems with six new research projects being announced as part of the Australian Government’s National Environmental Science Program (NESP).

The Northern Australia Environmental Resources Hub and Threatened Species Recovery Hub have allocated $1.12 million of their existing NESP funding to six new projects.

Included in the projects are research to assist Northern Territory mine site rehabilitation, and management priorities for the critically endangered Christmas Island frigate bird, through the Northern Australia Environmental Resources Hub and the Threatened Species Recovery Hub, respectively.

Research Institute for the Environment and Livelihoods Senior Research Fellow Dr Brett Murphy and his team will receive $243,000 over three years to evaluate the extent of cat predation on the threatened brush-tailed rabbit-rat in northern Australia.

Dr Murphy said the species, once widespread in the region, was now found only in isolated areas, such as the tropical savannas of the Cobourg Peninsula, the Tiwi Islands and Groote Eylandt. 

“Feral cats are among a number of significant threats facing the rabbit-rat,” he said.

“This research project will evaluate whether improved fire management can increase shrub cover to help rabbit-rats shelter from cats.”

The CDU studies were announced as part of more than 50 new research projects to be carried out under the National Environmental Research Program. 

The six projects are: 

* Mitigating cat impacts on the brush-tailed rabbit-rat 

* Research and management priorities for Christmas Island frigate birds 

* Trialling new techniques for assessing terrestrial biodiversity in data-poor environments 

* Ecohydrology and sensitivity of riparian vegetation 

* Rehabilitation of faunal assemblages 

* How mining-related solutes in surface and groundwater affect aquatic ecological connectivity. 

For more information, visit W: http://www.environment.gov.au/science/nesp