Ecology of iconic mammal species (Platypus and Rakali) in streams and lakes

Project: Research

Project Details


Platypus (Ornithorhynchus anatinus) and rakali (Hydromys chrysogaster) are iconic inhabitants of Australia’s freshwater environments. While they are widespread and can be present in urban streams and lakes, little is known about their ecology in these environments. There is evidence that both species may be vulnerable to decline due to the impacts of climate change, river regulation and potentially pharmaceutical contaminants in waterways (Klamt et al. 2011; Hawke et al. 2019; Richmond et al. 2018). UC scientist Thompson and collaborators have developed non-invasive approaches for assessing the health, condition and diet of platypus that can also be applied to rakali, and which have proven to be sensitive to measuring impacts of land-use change and climate (Klamt et al. 2016; Klamt 2016).
Quantitative surveys of platypus were carried out in the 1990s by UC scientist Lintermans at sites in the lower Molonglo and Murrumbidgee Rivers and in the Queanbeyan River in NSW. More recently Waterwatch in association with the ACT Government have undertaken citizen science surveys of both platypus and rakali. To date, platypus have not been tagged, but at several locations in the ACT and surrounds there are tagging ‘listening stations’ that could be used to determine platypus movement
Short titlePlatypus PhD
Effective start/end date3/08/211/12/21


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