Habitat use and home-range of the northern quoll, Dasyurus hallucatus: effects of fire

Annette Cook

    Research output: ThesisMaster's Thesis

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    [Truncated abstract] Radio telemetry was used to investigate landscape use by northern quolls Dasyurus hallucatus at two sites near the Mitchell River in the northern Kimberley, Western Australia. Radio tracking was conducted between late March and mid May (wet - dry transition) and again between late August and October 2009 (late dry season) to investigate changes in home range size in response to fire events and seasonal fluctuations in resource availability. A fire was imposed between the two field trips at one study site. It was expected that home range of northern quolls would be larger in the late dry season than in the wet-dry transition when resources are more plentiful and that fire would either displace quolls or cause their home range area to increase. Facultative post-mating male die-off in wild populations of D. hallucatus was also investigated, by estimating the age of captured males throughout the course of the study. Based on den locations the mean home-range area estimate for males was 64.2 ha (SE ± 36.65; range 2.35 - 421.43 ha). Females had smaller home ranges, with a mean area of 6.8 ha (SE ± 1.56; range 0.80 - 15.38 ha). The largest home range for a male (421.43 ha) was recorded in the dry season and the largest for a female (15.38 ha) was recorded in the wet season. Ranges of males overlapped extensively with those of other quolls of both sexes during the wet season but only with those of females in the dry season. The mean maximum distance between dens was 1193 m for males and 440 m for females. The greatest distance between den sites was recorded for a male (4165 m) in the dry season. Dens were located primarily within rock refuges in sandstone habitat (98.6%) or on laterite slopes (1.4%). Resources were more abundant in the wet season than the dry season and there was a decrease in abundance of prey resources at both study sites during the dry season.
    Original languageEnglish
    Publication statusUnpublished - 2010


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