Local Molecular Ecologist, Deane Smith, to Headline GLENRAC Focus Event

08th Jan 2020

Local molecular ecologist, Deane Smith, to headline GLENRAC Focus event

Deane Smith has been busy in the years since graduating from Glen Innes High School back in 2010, earning himself a Bachelor of Science (majoring in Zoology and Genetics), and an Honours in Ecology from the University of New England, before commencing a PhD in molecular ecology as part of the Wildlife Research Group at the University of Southern Queensland – a research project that leads Deane to some of the most remote outback landscapes in Australia.

On Wednesday night, Deane will be sharing stories of these travels and his body of research at GLENRAC’s Focus event: The Adventures of an Outback Ecologist.

“I’m currently studying the effects of agricultural exclusion fencing on target and non-target wildlife, and whether these fences can be utilised in conservation. I’ve taken a particular focus on the Yellow-footed Rock-wallaby, a threatened species from the semi-arid zone in central-western Queensland, studying their behaviour, habitat use, demographics and genetics to understand whether fences are likely to have a net positive or negative impact on the species. The hope is that the outcomes and methodology of this research can be applied this to a broader suite of species,” says Mr Smith.

Deane will also share stories from past projects he has assisted with, which include feral cat genetics, dingo and wild dog ecology, and PAPP ejector trials for dingo and fox baiting programs.

“I’m looking forward to coming back to my home-town and discussing wildlife management with people closer to my roots. My studies mostly take place in deserts and the semi-arid zone/rangelands, but there is a lot of overlap with the Northern Tablelands,” says Mr Smith.

“I’m also interested in hearing from the landholders around Glen Innes about their understanding of wildlife management, and what it means to them,” he continues. “Producers often know more about how wildlife systems work than they think, particularly on their own properties, and their understanding of those systems can be invaluable to researchers. Part of my talk will focus on the idea of wildlife management and even wildlife conservation on active livestock properties (not just conservation land), and talking to producers about their knowledge of wildlife, not just pest species.

“Landholders and farmers can perform thousands of scientific experiments every year without even realising it, often thinking of them as management decisions. Understanding that they are experiments with results which are then applied, can change the mindset of the landholder and can improve the outcomes of management decisions.”

The Adventures of an Outback Ecologist. Wednesday 15th January 2020, 7:00pm-9:00pm. Glen Innes and District Services Club Remembrance Room. Light supper provided.

RSVP by phone on 02 6732 3443 or email lucy.munro@glenrac.org.auordropintotheGLENRACofficeat 68 ChurchSt, GlenInnes.

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