Reptiles have complex responses to bushfire: some species increase in abundance soon after fire, while others are threatened by too much fire in their habitat. Ecologists have tried to understand these complex responses but, for some species, we lack knowledge about even their most basic ecology, which has inhibited the development of a predictive framework for fire ecology. Species that inhabit dense vegetation that builds up when fire is absent for long periods are often the hardest to study. However, examining patterns of rarity and dominance might shed light on reptile community dynamics in fire prone ecosystems. In this project, we will use a large data set of > 2000 reptile observations from 43 species collected in the semiarid mallee vegetation of South Australia to examine patterns of rarity and dominance.

This project does not involve field work but will have an opportunity for publication.

Project members

Dr Annabel Smith

Lecturer in Wildlife Management
School of Agriculture and Food Sciences