Research and Consultancy
Research projects and consultancies focus on scientific studies of plant biodiversity and ecological processes in Australian cities and towns, and the management and preservation of biodiversity in urban and suburban environments. The following case studies are indicative of both more recent and longer-term research projects.
Western Grasslands Reserves Research Strategy
Preparation of a research strategy for the conservation, management and education activities crucial to the successful establishment and ongoing viability of the Western Grasslands Reserves (WGR), an area of 15,000 hectares to be set aside by the Victorian Government as part of the expanded Urban Growth Boundary. Recommended research priorities included the identification of ecological and cultural assets, analysis of risks and threats to WGR assets, and an examination of interactions between the WGR and the urban community. The strategy was prepared for the then Department of Sustainability and Environment (now DEPI) and undertaken in collaboration with Latrobe and Charles Sturt universities.
In addition to major research projects, ARCUE provides consultancy services to government and the private sector. Recent projects include:
- Workshop facilitation for the Galilee Basin Coal Mine Development Project for the Commonwealth Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities.
- South West Slopes NSW-Squirrel Glider surveys for the New South Wales’ Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water.
- Wildlife trapping training for the Snowy Mountain Engineering Company.
Wildlife crossings study
In 2007, ARCUE commenced a major study into the effects of roads and traffic on native fauna with the trialling of a rope bridge across the Hume Highway near Violet Town. Wildlife crossing structures (for example, culverts, bridge underpasses and rope bridges) link habitat and allow wildlife to safely cross busy roads. The trialling of a rope bridge provided a cost-effective alternative crossing to more conventional structures. The work was undertaken in collaboration with VicRoads and the NSW Roads and Traffic Authority. Since then, ARCUE has continued to work closely with VicRoads on its wildlife crossing project, and more recently inspected and monitored 16 crossing along the recently completed Calder Freeway upgrade between Kyneton and Ravenswood.
ARCUE monitored 20 sites in the Greater Melbourne region in early 2012 for the presence of freshwater long-necked turtles in collaboration with EarthWatch Australia. Data was recorded from turtle populations at each site including the size and weight of turtles, providing a good indication of age and the number of young turtles at a site and the health of the population. Monitoring sites included Elsternwick Park and Blackburn Lake, and Wylies Creek Wetlands at the Royal Botanic Gardens Cranbourne.
A three-year survey into the distribution of microbat populations in Melbourne was one of the largest and most comprehensive studies of microbats in an urban area in the world. The study sought to quantify the distribution, abundance, habitat requirements and conservation status within greater Melbourne with the aim of providing urban land managers with better data to manage urban landscapes. Initial surveys were conducted around Studley Park, Yarra Bend and Wilson Reserve, as well as the Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne.
Staff and students regularly contribute peer-reviewed papers for publication in ISI-listed journals. For a comprehensive list of publications, see ARCUE staff biographies.
Seminars and Conferences
ARCUE staff regularly contribute to and present papers at national and international seminars and conferences. Recent conference and seminars include:
Biodiversity and the City seminar, held as part of the Annual Conference of the Ecological Society of Australia, City of Melbourne and ARCUE (December 2012)
15th Australasian Bat Society Conference and Forum, The University of Melbourne (April 2012)
Greening our Future symposium, Frankston City Council (November 2011)
XVIII International Botanical Congress (July 2011)
International Conference on Ecology and Transportation
Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB) Conference, Germany