Aggressive exclusion of birds from woodland and forest habitat by native Noisy Miners is a Key Threatening Process under the EPBC Act. It has severe impacts on an extensive range of threatened woodland bird species, and flow-on effects for threatened eucalypt-dominated grassy-woodland communities. Removal of Noisy Miners from selected woodland patches has enormous potential to immediately boost conservation outcomes by opening up previously alienated habitat to threatened birds, and increasing the available resources for these birds much faster than other restoration activities alone. Preliminary work in other states suggests removal can be achieved at low-cost and, at least in some circumstances, has enduring benefits. With growing interest in using direct control of noisy miners as a management tool, broader-scale research is needed urgently to examine the circumstances under which it is appropriate and effective. This project will quantify the cost-effectiveness of direct control of Noisy Miners, and establish factors that influence success of the approach in restoring assemblages of threatened woodland birds.

This project offers a rare opportunity to be involved in a landscape-scale field experiment. Fieldwork will be done across three regions of inland New South Wales. The PhD student can enrol at either The University of Queensland or University of New England. The supervisory team includes Dr Richard Major (Australian Museum), Dr Paul McDonald (UNE) and Assoc Prof Martine Maron (UQ).

Prospective students must be eligible to obtain an Australian Postgraduate Award scholarship or international equivalent. Project running costs with the potential for a scholarship top-up are available.

Contact:  Assoc Prof Martine Maron or Dr Paul McDonald