Avid Landcarer and PhD student, Kawinwit is studying the impacts of black rats in Tasmania - and they are looking for some extra help. Are you interested in participating in some citizen science?
Kawinwit (Ink) Kittipalawattanapol, a PhD student at the University of Tasmania is currently studying the impacts of black rats under a research project titled "Evolutionary ecology of black rats, a super-invasive species".
They are looking to collect additional black rat specimen from people's culling efforts of black rats to supplement their landscape genetics study to understand their local adaptations and movements through time on mainland Tasmania.
If you are culling black rats in bushland habitats you are invited to save specimens for collection. The black rat is one of the world's most destructive alien invasive species and is known to displace native small mammals in Tasmania.
From camera images, 90% of all small mammal records are now comprised of black rats. Knowledge gaps are how the decline of the native apex predator, the Tasmanian devil, and the subsequent increase of feral cats, affects populations of black rats, and the impact that black rats have on native small mammals.
The project will attempt to close these research gaps by addressing the following questions: How does devil decline influence the ecological interactions amongst devils, feral cats, quolls, and black and native swamp rats? What are the effects of environment and devil decline on gene flow in black rats?
The researcher will trap small mammals, particularly black rats, to collect genetic samples, with additional samples from the public to supplement the sample size, and use a landscape genetics approach to identify the factors that influence dispersal of black rats across the devil-decline gradient. The project will increase the ecological knowledge of black rats in Tasmania, where they are understudied.
Your contribution will greatly contribute to the conservation of native small mammals in Tasmania. Thank you so much and please do not hesitate to get in contact if you have any questions.
Contact Ink Kittipalawattanpol