RIEL Seminar Series - A catastrophic combination: feral cats, fire and small mammals


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Presenter:  A/Prof. Brett Murphy

Date: Jun 07, 2019

Time: 3:30pm to 4:30pm

Contact person:  RIEL
T: +61 8 8946 6413
E: riel@cdu.edu.au

Location:  Charles Darwin University, Building Yellow 1.1.39

The small mammals of northern Australia’s tropical savanna landscapes have undergone a rapid and severe decline in recent decades, yet we still don’t fully understand why. The apparent abruptness of these declines, especially in large national parks such as Kakadu, has puzzled ecologists, given that there is little evidence for the intensification of threatening processes.

In this seminar I will argue that predation by feral cats is the key driver of small mammal decline, most likely exacerbated by altered fire regimes. Until cats can be effectively controlled at large spatial scales, small mammals will continue to decline.

Dr Brett Murphy’s research focuses on how fire impacts biodiversity and ecosystem function in tropical landscapes, and how fire regimes can be managed to maintain environmental values. He is especially interested in the underlying drivers of the decline of northern Australia’s mammals, particularly the relative roles of fire and feral cats.

When: Friday 7 June @ 3:30pm - 4:30pm (Drinks and snacks afterwards)
Where: Charles Darwin University, Building Yellow 1.1.39