Climate change influences on the distribution and resource use of common wombats Vombatus ursinus in the Snowy Mountains, Australia

    Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

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    Abstract

    To avoid digging through deeper snow, wombats deviated from their path to find shallower snow, and included in their diet some shrubs that protruded from the snow. However, wombats will be limited by foraging whyear to examine individual home range movements and resource selection. Home ranges of wombats in the study area were far larger than previously reported (mean = 172 ha), but increased significantly with altitude. Wombats remained active throughout the winter, and were typically faithful to their non-winter home range, but they contracted their range (by 7 “ 43%) and shifted their centre of activity to areas of shallower snow. Wombats at their upper range limit have a surprising capacity for long-range movements, and the alpine zone (above treeline) is easily within their dispersal range.Resource selection analyses found that topographic, vegetation, fire and distance variables were important predictors of selection within the home range of individual wombats. A global model showed that wombats selected locations with mid-elevations and mid-slopes, closer to water courses and roads, on drier soils, and with a lower proportion of grassland. It was concluded that snow has a major influence on wombat movements and foraging, but other habitat factors may limit future range expansion.
    Original languageEnglish
    QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
    Awarding Institution
    • Charles Sturt University
    Supervisors/Advisors
    • Spooner, Peter, Co-Supervisor
    • Klomp, Nicholas, Co-Supervisor
    • Green, Ken, Co-Supervisor, External person
    • Lunney, Daniel, Co-Supervisor, External person
    Award date01 Mar 2011
    Place of PublicationAustralia
    Publisher
    Publication statusPublished - 2011

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