Many peri-urban areas in Australia have been devastated by wildfires, leading to the decline of hollow-bearing trees and, subsequently, the loss of suitable habitat for hollow-dependent species. Fauna boxes were proposed as a temporary solution and were installed as a substitute for natural tree hollows; however the visitation rate of hollow-dependent species was low. It was suspected that the nest box microclimate differed from the microclimate of natural tree hollows. To better understand the differences between fauna boxes and natural hollows, Quang’s Honours project focused on two main objectives: to investigate the internal structure of natural tree hollows and to recreate the structure of natural hollows in artificial fauna boxes to potentially encourage greater use. Temperature testing showed that the newly designed fauna boxes had better insulation and moderated their microclimate more than previous designs, which supports further application of the new design and ongoing research to investigate its potential benefit to fauna.
Brian assisted with research projects on seagulls, seals and termites prior to graduating with his Bachelor of Science (Hons) and Master of Science degrees. His Honours Degree focussed on the social behaviour of the endemic Pearson Island Rock Wallaby. For his MSc, whilst employed by the South Australian Government’s forestry organisation Brian investigated differences in bird populations between different aged pine plantations and native forests in the Mount Lofty Ranges. Over a 30-year working career Brian has led research projects examining the effects of erosion, recreational impacts and the use of fire in habitat management. Research regarding the significance of retaining and managing sustainable cohorts of hollow-bearing trees for fauna remains a particular and ongoing interest. Quang has recently completed his Bachelor of Environmental Science and Bachelor of Science (Honours) degrees at the University of South Australia. Quang is an active and regular volunteer on park maintenance, habitat revegetation and ecological survey projects. He also contributes as a committee member of Friends of Adelaide International Bird Sanctuary (FAIBS). Quang is looking forward to building upon the learnings of his Honours research project and commencing studies toward a PhD in ecology, sustainability or fauna protection.