Second year Environmental Science students conduct a intensive field program at the Grampians for the ‘Environmental Team-Based Research’ unit as apart of their Environmental Science degrees at Deakin.
The EnviroBlog just cracked one hundred followers! Well done everybody and stay tuned for more of the remarkable adventures of Deakin students, staff and alumni. There is more great material on the way………
Amazing time conducting biodiversity surveys at Bung Bratak
Working with the Institute of Biodiversity and Environmental Conservation from UniMas and the local indigenous people of Bung Bratak, Deakin University Enviro Science students helped conduct a 4 day biodiversity survey. We investigated small mammals, birds, bats, frogs, freshwater crabs and butterflies. An amazing group of people who had an amazing time. Borneo just keeps on getting better.
As a PhD student of the School of Life and Environmental Sciences at Deakin University, I have been lucky enough to investigate the amazing predatory behaviour of Little Ravens. This photo is one of a series of photos that were collected in one of many remote sensor cameras which were deployed on Penguin burrows at Phillip Island, this year. The pair of Little Ravens finds out where exactly the adult penguin is incubating its eggs inside the burrow and digs a hole through the vegetation. They keep at it for at least three to four hours while harassing the penguin as they dig the hole. By the time they have dug a big enough hole to squeeze their body in (which is massive!) the penguin too is exhausted trying to protect its eggs. They then snatch the eggs from the adult penguin that has given up defending anyway. It is uncanny, the way the Ravens operate in pairs and go about preying on Little Penguin eggs and chicks. I am excited to be investigating this fascinating behaviour of Ravens in the next couple of years :-)
What is in a beak?
Matt Symonds (Lecturer at Deakin University), Julia Ryeland (Environmental Science honours student) and I spend a blustery, rainy day tracking down shorebirds yesterday. Julia’s project involves looking at beaks of different shapes and sizes and examining how birds regulate heat loss or gain by covering or exposing their beaks. Some shorebirds, like red-capped plovers (top) have relatively short beaks while species like the sooty oystercatcher (bottom) have long beaks. One characteristic behaviour of many shorebirds is to tuck their beaks into the feathers on their backs when they roost - they often stand on only one leg also, tucking the other leg into their belly feathers. The middle image is of a sooty oystercatcher standing on one leg with its bill tucked into its back feathers.
Julia’s project will examine whether these behaviours are related to temperature, and bill size and shape. Understanding how animals like shorebird thermoregulate, will be useful in understanding their capacity to adapt to a changing climate, and also help us understand whether their are specific thermal requirements of roost sites, many of which are under threat from coastal development and disturbance.
All this also means that Julia is seeking the very coldest, and hottest field days! Good luck Julia!
Deakin Enviro students arrive in Borneo for an adventure of a life time
After a long flight, we are now in Kuching, Sarawak ready to take on the challenges of environmental work in hot and humid conditions. Today we had an “amazing race” around Kuching, and settled in. Welcome dinner tonight and off to talks at UniMas tomorrow. We cant wait to get this show on the road.