Ecologists launch new surveys
Building on the foundation of 2016’s ‘Ecological Values of CSIRO Ginninderra Field Station Report’, our CSIRO ecologists identified aspects of Ginninderra’s fauna and flora that they wanted to explore in greater depth.
A fresh survey was commissioned this Spring, with a specific focus on the Striped Legless Lizard population, Box Gum Grassy Woodland and several plant species.
Local ecological consultants recently started work on these key areas of investigation:
- Searching for the Striped Legless Lizard in an unexplored area of grassland.
- Surveying a small area identified as potential Box Gum Grassy Woodland to determine if it meets the necessary criteria. Regardless of whether it meets the legislative criteria, CSIRO will be including it as part of the conservation area network, acknowledging there are still a number of significant features such as large old trees, a regenerating tree layer and areas of a native grassy ground-layer.
- Repeating previous targeted plant surveys for the Austral toadflax (Thesium australe), Tarengo leek orchid (Prasophyllum petilum) and Ginninderra peppercress (Lepidium ginninderrense) in areas of suitable habitat. These areas of suitable habitat are already part of the conservation reserve network.
- Looking for sightings of other species with notable biodiversity values such as raptors like the Little Eagle or rare flora and fauna species.
The success of ecological survey work always depends on seasonal conditions like rainfall, frost and climate, according to CSIRO senior ecologist, Jacqui Stol. “At this stage it looks like numbers of the Tarengo leek orchid in sites outside of Ginninderra have been impacted by the low rainfall and large numbers of frosty nights over winter”, said Jacqui. “With these unfavourable conditions, we are expecting very low numbers of this species to be detected this year; however, it will remain one of the key species for monitoring over future years, as will the Pink-tailed Worm-lizard when seasonal conditions improve.”
According to Jacqui, performing surveys across different seasons means the team can increase their understanding of the ecological value of the CSIRO Ginninderra site, and is therefore invaluable to furthering the team’s future research efforts.
“We will use the findings of this survey, and others, to further inform the planning and the conservation management of these valuable areas”, Jacqui said.
Above: Survey site for Striped Legless Lizard