There is increasing evidence that the Dingo Canis lupus dingo plays an important ecological role as a trophic regulator in Australian ecosystems. However, there is sufficient remaining uncertainty about the nature of this role as to hinder the development of effective management policies. This review defines strategic directions for future research on the trophic role of Dingoes by developing a national Dingo research framework. The framework aims to increase our knowledge of the influence that Dingoes have on the maintenance of biodiversity, thereby encouraging Dingo conservation and the refinement of current land-use practices. The framework begins by identifying four major bioclimatic zones across Australia that pose different questions and challenges for Dingo research. For each zone we construct a model that identifies major interactions between Dingoes and key prey or competitor species, and then used the models to identify key research needs, the possible advantages of maintaining Dingo populations within each zone, and ways to tease out unstudied interactions. Important questions identified in the review include the effects of Dingoes on native marsupial populations, vegetation communities, herbivore diets, the use of structural refugia by mesopredators, predator and prey behaviour, and the effect of habitat modification on these interactions. We briefly review legislative constraints and other factors, such as the ongoing hybridization of Dingo populations with domestic dog breeds, that may impede future studies. If research activities follow this framework, we believe that policy and management will be better informed, benefiting both the Dingo and the natural ecosystems and production systems where it occurs.
|Number of pages||8|
|Journal||Pacific Conservation Biology|
|Publication status||Published - 2009|