Articles by Kate Cranney (13 articles)

The Tasmanian Midlands: Kirsty studies microbats.

Kirsty Dixon will change your tune about bats. The University of Tasmania PhD candidate is studying microbats that call the Tasmanian Midlands home.  The eight bat species in Tasmania are all forest dwelling – during the day they roost under bark and in old tree hollows. The largest species in Tasmania, the Eastern Falsistrelle, weighs up to 23g; the smallest, the Little Forest Bat, weighs… Read more »

Ecological science in the Tasmanian midlands

The Tasmanian Midlands is a patchwork of colours. White sheep are peppered across a paddock. There are red roofs, silver sheds, and swathes of brown soil, cultivated for crops. The patches of remnant native vegetation appear various shades of green. From a hill top, it’s all rather bucolic. But a bettong (a native ‘rat kangaroo’) might see things a little differently. It might need to travel… Read more »

Science in the desert: Ethabuka Day 2 (afternoon)

Why walk when you can hop? Why hop when you can gallop? Today we found a Spinifex Hopping-mouse (Notomys alexis) in one of the University of Sydney's pitfall traps on Ethabuka Reserve. Their long, narrow hind legs allow them to hop away from danger, and to dive down into their burrows. What a beauty! The Spinifex Hopping-mouse is a mouse, not a marsupial – it’s… Read more »

Science in the desert: Ethabuka Day 2

Science in the desert: Ethabuka Day 2 Since 1990, the University of Sydney has used pitfall traps to understand which mammals and reptiles live on the reserve. The Desert Ecology Group follows strict protocols on the humane and ethical treatment of animals. Researchers hold a research permit approved by the university’s Animal Ethics Committee - a requirement under the New South Wales Animal Research Act 1985. We check the traps early… Read more »

Science in the desert: Thorny Devil!

This afternoon, while opening the pitfall traps, I was visited by the devil… a thorny devil! Thorny devils appear frightful, but in reality they’re harmless, slow-moving ant-eaters. Thorny devils are are covered in thorny spines, and sport a 'pretend head’ on the back of their neck, thought to warn off predators. If threatened, they tuck their real head between their legs, leaving the false head exposed.… Read more »

Science in the desert: exploring Ethabuka with the University of Sydney.

Penguins waddle for weeks on end. Waterbirds travel thousands of kilometres on the wing. Wildebeest cross vast savannahs in search of food. But, out in the Simpson Desert, a very different kind of migration takes place. Every year, scientists migrate inland in search of… well, data. Did you know the University of Sydney’s Desert Ecology Research Group (DERG) has done field work on … Read more »

  • 1
  • 2
  • Next