"Movement, habitat use, and diet of the Magpie Goose (Anseranas semipalmata) in an agricultural landscape of the Northern Territory, Australia."
Confirmation of Candidature presented byAmélie Corriveau
The Magpie Goose (Anseranas semipalmata) is an iconic waterfowl distributed across Northern Australia. Over the last decade, mango growers of the Darwin agricultural area have reported Magpie Geese aggregating in ever-increasing numbers on their orchards, where they damage fruits, trees, and irrigation equipment. These farmers also reported the geese to arrive on orchards earlier and departing later each year. These anecdotal observations suggest that Magpie Geese may be favouring mango orchards over other natural habitats, which is likely to have dire consequences for the birds and the development of agriculture in the Top End.
This study will take a novel movement ecology approach to provide the necessary baseline data for effectively managing these Magpie Geese on and around mango orchards. Using high-resolution satellite tracking technologies and genetic analyses, I will assess how individual Magpie Geese move within and between mango orchards and surrounding habitats, and identify the environmental drivers of movement and habitat selection. Findings from this study will refine our current understanding of Magpie Goose ecology, and how this may be impacted by anthropogenically-driven fragmentation of the landscape. Ultimately, the findings from my thesis will be used to inform farmers on how they may reduce the occurrence of Magpie Geese on mango orchards at both the local and regional scale.
This project is conducted in collaboration with Horticulture Innovation Australia, the Northern Territory Government (Department of Primary Industries and Resources, Department of Environment and Natural Resources), the NT Farmers Association, and the Australian Mango Industry Association.
Amélie Corriveau commenced her PhD at the Research Institute for the Environment and Livelihoods in March 2016. She has previously worked in television production and conducted ecological research in Canada, Costa Rica, and Uganda with a focus on birds and primates. Amélie holds a Bachelor of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences from McGill University, Montreal, Canada, where she majored in Wildlife Biology, with First Class Honours in Primatology. She has broad research interests in animal behaviour, wildlife management and conservation, and applied ecology in the tropics, with a particular concern for public outreach and scientific communication.