Sundown National Park is located on the Queensland/New South Wales border three to four hours south-west of Brisbane. The area around the ranger station and Broadwater camping area consists of a mosaic of grassy pastures and mixed woodlands of eucalypts and pines, bordering the Severn River. This is the area used by our population of over 200 eastern grey kangaroos. We have not trapped the kangaroos to mark them; instead we recognize individuals based on their facial features, patches of differently coloured fur, scars, torn ears and other unique features. We will be carrying out genetic analyses using DNA from faecal samples.
Etosha National Park is located in semi-arid northern Namibia; it is more than 20,000 km2 in size and surrounds a large salt pan of over 4,000 km2. Etosha has an astonishingly diverse fauna, making it one of southern Africa's most visited game parks. The study area for our giraffe work includes approximately 1,000 km2 around the main settlement of Okaukeujo, and includes a number of habitat types, dams and roads. Etosha is estimated to have over 3,000 giraffes, about 400 of which inhabit our study area.
The landscape across north-western Namibia is characterized by inselbergs, separated by lowland sandy plains. These inselbergs are characteristically made of large granite domes and boulders of Cretaceous origin and they tend to be extremely large and isolated. Some, such as the Brandberg, dominate the landscape with a basal area of over 500 km2 and a height of over 2000 m, whilst other more weathered granite boulders tend to form large inter-connected rolling hills. These are typically areas with unusually high levels of endemism in vertebrates and plants. We are interested in the effects of geographical isolation and historical major climatic oscillations on the genetic structures of taxa restricted to Namibia's granite inselbergs.
Wilsons Promontory National Park is located three hours south-east of Melbourne, Victoria. A population of over 400 eastern grey kangaroos inhabits the grassy area surrounding the airstrip. The vegetation primarily consists of salt-tolerant grasses and herbs growing amongst clumps of sedges with occasional trees and bushes such as coast tea-tree, golden wattle and coast banksia.
Nawrantapu National Park (formerly known as Asbestos Ranges National Park) is located on Tasmania’s north coast. It includes a variety of coastal habitats, with extensive “marsupial lawn” grazed by Forrester’s kangaroos, Bennett’s wallabies, Tasmanian pademelons and common wombats. Tasmanian devils also occur at Nawrantapu. Wombats are particularly abundant; we study these around Springlawn, where the park’s headquarters is located. We have mapped the locations of hundreds of wombat burrows in this area and collected hair samples for DNA analysis at many of these.