Charles Darwin Reserve, White Wells Station, between Wubin and Payne's Find, Western Australia - The project at Charles Darwin Reserve focuses on controlling introduced predators such as foxes. Site manager Bush Heritage Australia currently conducts quarterly fox baiting on Charles Darwin Reserve. However, the effectiveness of fox baiting in terms of bait uptake and fox mortality, decreasing fox populations, interactions with other feral animals (cats, rabbits), and - most importantly - the effect on populations of potential prey species (small mammals, reptiles and Malleefowl), is not currently monitored and remains unknown.
Charles Darwin Reserve was run as a sheep station from 1919 until 2003. However the property still represents one of the last remaining large, intact expanses of remnant native habitat in the Avon Wheatbelt and as such is vital to the conservation of biodiversity in the area.
The remaining habitat is under considerable pressure from various sources including weeds, fire and predation of native fauna by foxes and cats.
Bush Heritage Australia has de-stocked the area of sheep and is managing the property as a nature reserve. The ultimate goal of this expedition is to develop is a cost-effective integrated predator control program that leads to an increase in the abundance and distribution of native fauna that are currently limited by predation. Bush Heritage does not currently have the information required to make this assessment – the objective of this project is to collect the data necessary for this evaluation. Your participation will directly inform on-ground management and fulfill one of Earthwatch's core missions by improving regional biodiversity.
Meet the Scientists
Dr. Rob Davis
Conservation Biologist, Edith Cowan University
Dr. Davis's research finds applied solutions to stemming the loss of biodiversity. He has spent many years studying the conservation biology and ecology of the endangered Carnaby’s Black-Cockatoo (Calyptorhynchus latirostris). He generally focuses around landscape ecology and how animals survive in fragmented and highly human-modified landscapes. His work has taken him from studying how the Western Spotted Frog (Heleioporus albopunctatus) survives in Western Australia's central wheatbelt, to a recent study on bird species at risk from Perth’s rapid and ongoing urban expansion. His other research interests include examining the impacts of fire and phytopthora dieback on birds and reptiles in Banksia woodlands, faunal use of revegetation in the WA wheatbelt, pollinator ecology (particularly focussed on birds) and bird use of oil palm landscapes in Papua New Guinea.
Dr. Jim Radford
Science and Monitoring Manager, Bush Heritage
Dr. Radford manages the ecological outcomes monitoring program on Bush Heritage’s reserves and partner properties, and also manages Bush Heritage’s research partnerships. In 2002, he completed a Ph.D. on the ecology of white-browed treecreepers. He then spent 6 years researching the effects of land-use change on avifaunal communities in northern Victoria. His research interests include understanding the interplay between behavioural responses to landscape change and the ecological processes that determine the distribution and abundance of fauna. He is passionate about transferring this understanding into principles and guidelines for ecologically sustainable landscape management.