Wildlife Ecology and Management

Introduction

The ecology, conservation and management of Australian wildlife is an important component of the fields of Environmental Science and Natural Resources Management. 'Wildlife' includes native or introduced animals that interact with, or affect humans to the degree that some maintenance or manipulation of their populations are considered necessary.  Wildlife management is a very dynamic field, and it represents an exciting and challenging discipline at UNE. Not only does the New England Tableland Bioregion boast a diversity of charismatic fauna such as quolls, rock-wallabies and koalas that require careful management for the long-term maintenance of their populations, but it also has its fair share of introduced and feral species like foxes, deer and horses that are over-abundant and in need of population control.

Our research and teaching focus at UNE therefore includes conservation and management of the region's rare and threatened fauna on the one hand, and understanding ways to mitigate the impacts of exotic species on the other. Through our research, we have developed strong links with fauna agencies in north eastern NSW and southeastern Queensland.

Why Study Wildlife Ecology and Management at UNE?

At UNE, you don't have to travel for hours to see wildlife and study their ecology and management – you are there already.  The campus itself is in a bush setting, and our field research station 'Newholme' is only minutes from campus, with excellent lab facilities and accommodation, and it supports a good representative of New England's wildlife.  UNE is also central to some of the most spectacular scenery in northeastern New South Wales, and students get to experience coastal wetlands, escarpment rainforest, and a range of woodlands and forests during field trips to study the region's wildlife. On-campus facilities include an extensive teaching museum of skulls and skins; a kangaroo enclosure; facilities to house and study live animals; wildlife autopsy room and modern wildlife laboratories.  Research students can access specialist field gear including infrared motion sensitive camera traps, live traps of every imaginable size, mist-nets for catching birds, harp traps and bat detectors for bat research, and radio telemetry and animal GPS equipment.

Projects undertaken by our wildlife ecology and management students are diverse, such as fox predation on seabird eggs, the management of feral horses in rugged wilderness, mala conservation in the central deserts, interactions between quolls and feral cats, management strategies for birds in inner-city Sydney and the human dimension of wildlife management. But our postgraduate students don't just work and study within Australia - international projects have included livestock predation by tigers and snow leopards in the Himalayas, red panda conservation in Bhutan, primate conservation in Malaysia, and the impacts of rabbits on Australia's sub-Antarctic Islands.

Courses
Units

CANI310/410/510 - Wild Dog Ecology
ECOL203/403 - Ecology - Populations to Ecosystems
ECOL204/404 - Ecological Methods
EM323/523 - Wildlife Ecology and Management
EM353/553 - Conservation Biology 
GEPL111 - Earth in Crisis?
GEPL341/541 - Environmental Biogeography
ZOOL203 - Vertebrate Zoology - Evolution and Diversity
ERS501 - Applied Research Skills in Environmental and Rural Science
SCI500 - Research Methods in the Sciences

Careers

Students that study Wildlife Management at UNE as part of applied degrees such as the Bachelor of Ecology, Bachelor of Environmental Science or Bachelor of Animal Science are highly competitive in a job market that increasingly needs well-trained practitioners in the management of Australia's natural resources.  Do you see yourself as a wildlife ecologist working for a government department or a private environmental consultancy firm? Our wildlife management students have gone on to work in ecosystem rehabilitation for large mining companies, the biodiversity and conservation divisions of state and federal natural resource agencies and as consultants for private companies.  Of course, if your passion is research, studying Wildlife Management at UNE will set you up in a research career, following in the footsteps of some of Australia's leading wildlife ecologists that have graduated with degrees from our institution.

Partnerships, Networks and Industry Links

UNE's School of Environmental and Rural Science supports multi-disciplinary teams of researchers that provide unique opportunities for postgraduate students to undertake meaningful research that tackles real world problems.  Our focus on the management, conservation and rehabilitation of the environment allows students to undertake wildlife management projects within the broader framework of mine site rehabilitation, river restoration, threatened species management and natural resources policy development, to mention just a few areas.  Postgraduate students benefit from industry partnerships with state government agencies, large corporations, community groups and small environmental consulting companies.

Facilities

The Newholme Field Station

The Newholme Field Laboratory is a 2000 ha field station operated by the University of New England (UNE) about 10 km north of the UNE campus.  The property contains a mixture of cleared grazing country and forest at lower elevations (~1000 m asl), and forested slope rising though several distinct forest types to the summit of Mount Duval at 1400 m asl.  Included within the greater Newholme Field Laboratory is the Duval Nature Reserve, managed principally for its high conservation value. 'Newholme' has been used as a teaching and research field station since the mid-1970s and has been instrumental to practical teaching into environmentally-related degrees ever since.  The teaching and research undertaken at Newholme is also highly valued by the farming community on the New England Tableland.

Newholme is unique among UNE's rural property estate in having large tracts of natural forest cover (with several forest types) giving it an overall high conservation value.  Part of what makes Newholme so valuable to research is the partitioning of the property into grazed and ungrazed components, in both woodland and pasture.  Approximately one third is forested; a third is woodland, and the remainder native pasture, and samples of the forest and woodland types and riparian zones have been de-stocked (since 1982) to provide contrasting land management treatments.  Most of the property is managed in an agriculturally un-manipulated manner other than grazing, to maintain research and teaching options (e.g. imposition of particular land and water treatments) as well as land and water uses representative of the surrounding region.  Embedded in the property is Mt Duval Nature Reserve, supporting old-growth native forest and surrounded by Newholme's main conservation zone, the 300 ha Mountain Paddock.

Newholme has a strong tradition as an outdoor classroom for the teaching of undergraduate students in theoretical and practical methods related to natural resource management, zoology, botany, ecology and agricultural sciences.  One of the great practical strengths of Newholme as a field laboratory is it's proximity to the UNE campus, thereby making field demonstrations of theory learned in the lecture theatre highly achievable.  Few other universities can have their environmental classes in the field within 15 minutes of leaving the classroom, and at a research site that is rich with long-term research data, and the support of laboratory and other research facilities.  Students of Wildlife Management at UNE will visit Newholme for academic activities such as weekend camp-overs, afternoon practicals and residential schools.  Many of these students undertake research in their final years at Newholme, or go onto higher degree research that draws on the research value of the property.  The property is ideal for long-term research, and has many innovative and informative research sites to learn from.

Contacts

For general and administrative enquiries, AskUNE.

For further information about studying Wildlife Ecology and Management at UNE:

Associate Professor Karl Vernes
Phone: +61 2 6773 3255
Email: kvernes@une.edu.au