Synopsis

It has been a longstanding assumption that the reason why many animals have transitioned from a terrestrial (living on the ground) to arboreal lifestyle (living up in trees), or from a diurnal (active during the day) to nocturnal lifestyle (active at night) is to escape predation. Yet, amazingly, there has been no test of whether being arboreal or nocturnal actually reduces an animal’s exposure to predators. This project will be a world-first and ideal for any student who wishes to extend their field work skills while also learning innovative techniques for studying behavioral ecology in the wild.

Aims

In this project, the honours student will use clay models of prey deployed at a field site in the NSW Central Tablelands (or an alternative location of the student’s choosing) to measure attack rates on prey mimics placed on trees versus the ground, and overnight versus during the day.

Student Benefits

  • Learn the skills of quantifying predation in the wild
  • Gain or extend existing experience in conducting field work
  • Be trained in statistics relevant for the real world
  • Produce a world-first study that will be publishable in a leading behaviour or ecology journal