Northern Australia is experiencing apparently widespread and severe declines of many small to medium-sized mammal species, as well as some other terrestrial vertebrates.
The reasons for these declines are uncertain, but might well include factors such as altered fire and grazing regimes, an array of introduced species (e.g. cane toads, feral cats, elephant grass) that can have transformative impacts on fauna and ecosystems, and possible exotic pathogens and climatic changes.
On top of this, the region is also being subjected to ambitious plans for agricultural expansion and intensification and a large expansion of transportation and energy infrastructure.
In this flagship we are using a variety of methods to study the magnitude, geographic extent and potential drivers of faunal declines in northern Australia, including faunal surveys, genetic analyses of rare species, and critical analyses of potential drivers of population declines. Our current focus is primarily on the Cape York Peninsula and Wet Tropics biogeographic regions.
A further goal is outreach and education efforts to better inform the public and decision makers about the dire challenges facing the fauna and biodiversity of northern Australia.