See below for more information regarding the teams and projects:
Partner organisation(s): Zoos Victoria, Victorian Department of Environment and Primary Industries.
Project: Emerging infectious diseases (EID) are among the most significant threats to conservation, agriculture and public health worldwide. Among these are two globally significant avian pathogens, Chlamydia psittaci and Beak and Feather Disease Virus.
This project aims to determine transmission dynamics, fitness costs of infection, and quantify the roles of genetic diversity and host stress in infection and disease emergence. The project aims to also determine to what extent zoonotic poultry/human infection is related to infection in wild birds.
The outcomes aim to be the development of critical knowledge and tools to help manage two avian pathogens causing significant conservation, agricultural and public health concern around the world.
The team: Reina, A/Prof Richard D; Hays, Prof Graeme C; Chiaradia, Dr Andre; Ropert-Coudert, Dr Yan; KATO, Dr Akiko; Jarman, Dr Simon N
Partner organisation(s): Phillip Island Nature Park, Institut Pluridisciplinaire Hubert Curien, Australian Antarctic Division.
Project (through Monash University): Understanding predator aggregation patterns in relation to marine productivity is critical in designing ecosystem-level conservation plans for protecting marine habitats and species.
The project aims to develop a new approach to measure prey abundance and availability in the marine ecosystem for the management of resources of top-predators. This will be of specific benefit in areas where a strong need exists for conservation of prey species with economic importance too low to justify expensive at-sea research.
The team: Hemsworth, Prof Paul H; Coleman, Prof Grahame J; Rassool, Dr Roger P; Fanson, Dr Kerry V; Hosey, A/Prof Geoffrey R; Butler, Mr Kym L; Magrath, Dr Michael; Melfi, Dr Victoria A; Husher, Dr Kira; Peake, Dr David J
Partner organisation(s): Zoos Victoria, Taronga Conservation Society, Victorian Department of Environment and Primary Industries, Detect Australia
Project (through Univ Melbourne): Extensive research on human-animal relationships in agricultural and domestic settings shows that human-animal interaction affects animal behaviour and welfare, which in turn affect human attitudes to animals.
As conservation and welfare organisations, zoos aim to provide visitors with opportunities to closely interact with animals to improve visitor experience and conservation outcomes, whilst maintaining good animal welfare. Some visitor interactions may be stressful for some animals creating conflict between animal welfare and visitor experience.
By determining visitor effects, this project aims to provide zoos with practical animal management and educational strategies to optimise both animal welfare and visitor experience.