27 June, 2024 · 2 MIN READ

Meet our ecologists.

Earlier this month, we held our first ‘Meet the Ecologists’ session at the Finch Hatton RSL.

Earlier this month, we held our first ‘Meet the Ecologists’ session at the Finch Hatton RSL. It was great to share information with community members about the work happening in the field, learning from Jon and Simon about their recent terrestrial investigations and Liz and James about their work with aquatic studies.  

Attendees raised concerns around drilling investigation works and whether they would affect platypus. Our specialists explained, prior to any works being undertaken, an aquatic specialist will assess the site and nearby dams to determine if the area is viable platypus habitat. If it is, then on-ground burrowing habitat assessments and further investigation is undertaken. The group also heard that if a breeding burrow is confirmed, then a no-go zone is established to stop any potential disturbance to a breeding female and possible puggles. 

There was a lot of discussion around the platypus. We heard that platypus often have multiple camping burrows in a water course and that disturbance may result in them relocating to another burrow during the disturbance. This is similar to them relocating in response to seasonal weather changes and food source changes. 

The specialists also explained the current environmental DNA (eDNA) approach being used during investigations. Water samples are being taken and eDNA assessments are being completed using a meta-barcoding approach to detect the presence of animals and organisms, including platypus and frogs, in the waterways. 

Collecting eDNA is a non-invasive method of capturing cellular material shed by organisms and allows tracking of species presence without direct observation or disturbance. 
The project team heard that in-depth sessions on hydrology and geology would also be appreciated. We are working on organising these and will share details of these events in the near future. 

First published 27 June 2024.