There are two hairy-nosed wombat (Lasiorhinus) spp. endemic to Australia; the critically endangered northern hairy-nosed wombat (NHNW; L. krefftii), and the least concern southern hairy-nosed wombat (SHNW; L. latifrons). Being a large (22–35kg) nocturnal, burrowing marsupial, their cryptic behaviour makes them a difficult species to study in the wild.

Currently, there is limited information regarding their reproductive physiology and endocrinology which has prevented the development of a successful captive breeding program for the SHNW. This project will aim to analyse urine samples from captive female SHNW for adrenal hormones (cortisol) to evaluate factors associated with low captive breeding success. As well, both urine and faecal samples will be tested for various oestrogen metabolites to determine the most suitable enzyme-immunoassay for the detection of oestrus in Southern hairy-nosed wombats to increase our understanding of the timing and duration of female receptivity in this species. Results from this study will be used to increase our knowledge of the reproductive biology of SHNW and help elucidate the potential causes of low reproductive success to date.

Location: Gatton campus

Expected outcomes: The student will gain basic laboratory skills, be trained in non-invasive hormone analysis techniques and data evaluation and will gain knowledge of wombat and marsupial reproduction. The student may also have an opportunity to generate a publication from their research.

Supervisor: Dr Tamara Keeley

Before you apply: Interest in wildlife and basic laboratory skills are desirable

Project members

Dr Tamara Keeley

UQ Postdoctoral ResearchFellow
School of Agriculture and Food Sciences