Biodiversity survey to being in late September

Data collection: Recording and preparing data from a previous biodiversity survey. Run by the Scientific Expedition Group, the surveys help to monitor different animal populations in the areas. Photo: Supplied.
Data collection: Recording and preparing data from a previous biodiversity survey. Run by the Scientific Expedition Group, the surveys help to monitor different animal populations in the areas. Photo: Supplied.

Spring brings the next biodiversity survey in the “Minnawarra” scrub near Myponga. The project is run by the Scientific Expedition Group (SEG) and monitors the long-term effect of fencing cattle and sheep out of the scrub.

The eight survey sites established in the bush have been monitored for the past 18 years. Traps will be opened on Thursday 27th September 2018 and visited twice daily until Monday 1st October 2018.

The group is now putting out the call for volunteers with anyone that can help set up traps on Thursday, and/or help process the animals on other days being greatly appreciated.

Nearly 200 traps are used for mammals and reptiles in each survey and there are three different types (of trap): Pitfall traps capture small animals and skinks, Elliott traps are metal boxes with a bait of rolled oats and peanut paste inside to trap small animals such as bush rats and finally, larger animals are trapped in cage traps.

The traps are inspected each morning and evening, trapped animals identified, weighed, marked and released. In the evenings unidentified animals and plants are studied and identified. At the same time there will be surveys of vegetation, birds, reptiles and frogs at the eight sites.

A bat-meter records different bat species by identifying their calls, and some will be trapped in nets. Trapping of bush rats, swamp rats, antechinus (marsupial mice), as well as a variety of frogs and skinks is expected, usually between 100 and 200 specimens are trapped during each survey.

Other interesting captures have been pygmy possums, antechinus with young in the pouch and echidnas. Results are entered into the SA Biological Survey. SEG is a volunteer, non-profit organization aiming to encourage an awareness of the natural environment.

Young people and adults are welcome to help with these surveys. Come for one or several days. Camping is near a large shed with heater, electricity, barbeque, cooking gear and toilet. Bring your own food and camping gear. Registration is essential to be covered by our insurance. A small donation ($10 adult, $5 students) to the Scientific Expedition Foundation would be welcome.

To register contact Richard Willing on 0408 807 517.