Date Thesis Awarded

5-2014

Document Type

Honors Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelors of Science (BS)

Department

Biology

Advisor

John Swaddle

Committee Member

Matthias Leu

Committee Member

Jennifer Kahn

Abstract

Fire plays a significant role in shaping the environment and subsequently wildlife behavior within tropical savannas of the Northern Territory, Australia. According to previous studies, the red-backed fairy-wren (Malurus melanocephalus, RBFW), an endemic passerine, is negatively affected by fire. However, specific factors behind this unfavorable impact remain relatively unknown and unexplored. This study further investigates the site-specific effects of fire management on RBFW habitat usage at Coomalie Farm in Batchelor, NT. Vegetative heterogeneity and fire severity are analyzed using occurrence modeling to determine the effects of vegetation parameters and fire severity on RBFW occurrence. Interviews with Australian individuals involved in fire management were also conducted in order to gain an understanding of fire management practices in RBFW habitat and how they may differ between individuals. By combining methodologies, one may understand that both species-specific and human-related factors can be applied to issues such as fire management to gain a more comprehensive analysis that more accurately reflects interactions within an ecosystem. The study illustrates that consistence in fire management practices, collaboration between groups, and other practices are necessary to maintain an ideal mosaic habitat crucial for RBFWs and likely other native wildlife. Potential future directions in fire management within RBFW habitat are also explored.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

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