ANU Reptile Research Studies

The South West Slopes (SWS) Restoration Study was established in 2000, by the Australian National University, to examine how different faunal groups such as birds, possums and reptiles respond to tree plantings and remnant vegetation on farms. The project area is located in the SWS bioregion, southern New South Wales and spans an area from Howlong in the south to Junee in the north.

Below are the abstracts and links to the Australian National University’s Publications on reptiles, from the SWS Restoration Study.

Granite inselbergs conserve reptile diversity in agricultural landscapes

We found that reptile species richness and diversity on granite outcrops increased relative to patch size (island biogeography theory) and habitat structure (complexity theory). Matrix conditions had a significant influence on reptile diversity with low numbers of reptiles in cleared landscapes. At the outcrop patch-level, reptile diversity was negatively related to exotic grass cover, stem density, vegetation structure and grazing intensity, whereas native grass cover and total rock cover increased diversity. The conservation of rock-dwelling reptiles in fragmented agricultural landscapes worldwide can be guided by concepts based on landscape ecology and will involve strategic management of ‘inselberg landscapes’, by addressing issues relevant to both the outcrop and surrounding matrix. Matrix (landscape-level) management should focus on maintaining maximum habitat heterogeneity, whereas outcrop (patch-level) management will require controlling grazing regimes, invasive weeds and woody regrowth, thereby maintaining solar infiltration levels necessary for reptile thermoregulation. Read more…

A checklist of reptiles in the Murray catchment

Two large-scale, long-term biodiversity monitoring programs examining vertebrate responses to habitat fragmentation and landscape change in agricultural landscapes are taking place in the Murray Catchment Management Area of New South Wales, south-eastern Australia. We list reptiles recorded during surveys conducted between 2002 and 2009. We include additional species recorded between 1997 and 2009 from a conservation reserve. Thirty-nine species from nine families were recorded. The list will be useful for workers interested in reptile zoogeographical distributions and habitat associations as well as those interested in the biodiversity value of remnant vegetation and tree plantings in fragmented agricultural landscapes. Read more…