Project description

The common garden skink Lampropholis guichenoti is ubiquitous in urban gardens in Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane. The species also common in the Adelaide Hills and along the River Torrens. But the species is not found in the apparently suitable backyards or parklands across the Adelaide Plains. The mostly likely explanation is that these areas were naturally/historically climatically unsuitable for the skinks – perhaps they were too dry or too hot during summer. But with the artificial watering of gardens and resulting increased shade from plants, these modified habitats now appear suitable for this abundant species. Why aren’t they there? This project will involve a combination of: (i) surveying to identify the edge of the species’ distribution between the Hills and the Adelaide Plains, (ii) developing species distribution models to identify the attributes that historically prevented garden skinks from colonising the Adelaide Plains, (iii) comparing edge to core populations, (iv) and/or running translocation experiments to test whether the highly modified backyards and gardens on the Adelaide Plains are suitable for common garden skinks. This research will also provide insight into broader questions in biology such as: What determines species range edges, how do range edges move?, and Which attributes of climate (and therefore climate change) impact reptile distributions?

Co-supervisors

Dr John Llewelyn, Professor Mike Gardner

Supervisors research focus

I am something of a generalist, but ‘environmental modeller’ largely covers my interests and expertise. My team and I develop models to predict ecosystem function, resilience, and change in the past, present, and future, with a focus on maintaining as much biodiversity as possible for the benefit of all.


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