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Research projects study habitat and fauna at Munibung Hill

PICTURE: University of Newcastle (UoN) Summer Scholarship Research Project (SSRP) group with representatives of Munibung Hill Conservation Society after an orientation walk at the south west end of Munibung Hill – Picture: Liam Phelan, project co-ordinator.

Students from the University of Newcastle (UoN) are on the job over the Summer semester break conducting important research to help us get a handle on how nature is coping with human lifestyle pressures.

Munibung Hill is described as an urban locked landscape. To be frank and blunt about it, from an indigenous native plant and animal species perspective, things are not good. One of the research teams is looking into bandicoot populations.
For many years Bandicoots were a frequently seen mammal in and around Munibung Hill. This has changed over the last several decades to the point where they are rarely if ever seen. So the purpose of this particular research project is:

  • To examine evidence that might suggest Bandicoot presence – diggings, scats, etc
  • To establish the population numbers and distribution
  • To consider the reasons for the decline including
    • predation by foxes, feral cats, domestic cats,
    • loss of suitable habitat that is surrounded by residential subdivisions, 
  • To compare this with a viable community of Bandicoots present at an adjacent conservation area at South Cardiff.

The other research team is studying creeks and aquatic life on the Eastern slopes, especially around Biddabah* Creek (See the location on the relief map later) [*colloquial name given by MHCS]. “We’ve been out collecting samples. Dean (the student) has also been trained in mass spectrometry for analysis of water samples. And we will be skilling him up for macroinvertebrate analysis of his samples later this week/early next,” said his Uni supervisor Dr Craig Evans.

There’ll be more about these research projects, in the next issue of MMM. We hope these research projects will help raise awareness for the need to conserve habitat and develop a deeper appreciation for nature. 

MMM … Issue 26, February 2022