Echidna CSI [Conservation Science Initiative]
Get involved in EchidnaCSI, the citizen science project that combines field ecology and molecular biology for echidna conservation.
The project aims to:
- Establish the first Australia wide detailed echidna distribution map. Integration of historic data and in-depth analysis in specific areas (e.g. revegetated, agricultural and urbanised) will provide valuable information about variation in echidna numbers and how they are affected by our changing environment.
- Utilise the collection and molecular analysis of echidna scat samples from captive and wild populations to provide novel insight into fundamental aspects of echidna biology (e.g. diet, stress, breeding) and their role in natural or cultivated environments.
- Use EchidnaCSI as an outreach and engagement platform via traditional (media, seminars, flyers, videos) and social (e.g. phone app, Facebook, Twitter, email) media to educate and enthuse the community about biodiversity, environmental awareness and the value of interdisciplinary research for application in conservation and animal biology, and to foster change in behaviour to help protect and preserve biodiversity.
We have more than 5000 users with over 2800 sightings recorded, and 200 scats sent in. This provides opportunities for interested students to complete honours projects on the data and molecular analysis of these unique samples.
Study genetics, monotreme genomics, evolution and conservation
Our research interest is to understand how genes and genomes have evolved different function and organisation.
We are using species that occupy key evolutionary positions such as monotremes (platypus and echidna) and birds (predominately chicken).
Areas we work in include sex determination, sex chromosome organisation and the evolution of monoallelic gene expression.
We also collaborate with industry partners to develop genetic and genomic application in conservation biology and human disease.