E&E PhD Exit Webinar: Conservation and management of the forty-spotted pardalote

Despite conservation efforts, the number of species that have recovered after management remain small. Low success rate in species management can be attributed to severe lack of funding for conservation and ‘evidence complacency’ (i.e. use of anecdotes rather than evidence) by many conservation practitioners. However, lack of research to guide evidence-based actions, and uncertainty about how to manage existing threats can also be sources of failure. Understanding population dynamics and finding solutions to mitigate known threats can provide managers with critical information to guide decisions, increasing chances of success. This thesis focuses on filling research gaps on the endangered forty-spotted Pardalotus quadragintus to inform its management. Forty-spotted pardalotes are a small passerine endemic to Tasmanian forests, where their preferred food tree, white gum (Eucalyptus viminalis), occurs. They have become extinct across most of their former Tasmanian range and are listed as endangered under the EPBC act and the IUCN red list. Threats limiting remaining populations include ongoing habitat degradation, low nesting site availability, competitors, and parasitism. Given the current fragmented nature of populations, conservation translocation has been proposed for the species. However, there is little information on population dynamics and threats to decide whether this is the best form of management for the species. I will share the findings of my research which focused on filling knowledge gaps that impede conservation planning for the forty-spotted pardalote, including investigations of important population parameters (e.g. density, population connectivity, dispersal), modelling of key habitat, unusually high rates of parasitism and a cost-effective management solution to mitigate this threat and boost reproductive success.