Poster presentation 12th International Mammalogical Congress

A day in the life of a bandicoot: analysing behaviour using accelerometry data (#761)

Janine Kuehs 1 , Natasha Tay 1 , Amanda Kristancic 1 , P W Bateman 2 , Tracey Kreplins 1 , Patricia A Fleming 1
  1. School of Veterinary and Life Science, Murdoch University, Perth, Western Australia, Australia
  2. Department of Environment and Agriculture, Curtin University , Bentley, Western Australia, Australia

Determining how mammals use different habitats is important for understanding the ecology of a species. However, it is rarely feasible to physically monitor a study individual for twenty-four hours a day. Furthermore, the constant human presence may adversely affect natural behaviours. The development of accelerometer technology for wildlife applications has provided a new opportunity to quantify animal movement and behaviour remotely. Here we assess tracker-attachment methods and the ability to use accelerometry data to differentiate behaviours exhibited by captive southern brown bandicoots (Isoodon obesulus fusciventer). Bandicoots are recognised as important keystone species for their role in the bioturbation of soil for a healthy, functioning ecosystem. As one of the few marsupial species persisting within metropolitan areas of Western Australia, adding to the knowledge of how bandicoots behave as they move through the human-modified environment has important management implications. Successful captive trials will allow for future deployment of accelerometers on wild bandicoots within a suburban area to study how they move through the urban matrix. Bandicoots are notoriously difficult to collar, so alternate attachment methods such as tail mounting and fur adhesives are tested. The collection of high-resolution accelerometry data gives distinct patterns which we can use to distinguish when bandicoots are digging or running, foraging or at rest. This behaviour data, in combination with GPS movement patterns, will allow for detailed spatial and temporal accounts of how mammals utilize their environment.