Publications

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fine-scale refuges can buffer demographic and genetic processes against short-term climatic variation and disturbance: a 22-year case study of an arboreal marsupial.ecological disturbance and climate are key drivers of temporal dynamics in the demography and genetic diversity of natural populations. microscale refuges are known to buffer species' persistence against environmental change, but the effects of such refuges on demographic and genetic patterns in response to short-term environmental variation are poorly understood. we quantified demographic and genetic responses of mountain brushtail possums (trichosurus cunninghami) to rainfall variability (1992 ...201526089175
microhabitat heterogeneity influences offspring sex allocation and spatial kin structure in possums.1. sex allocation theory predicts that where dispersal is sex biased, the fitness consequences of producing male or female offspring are mediated by resource availability and maternal competitive ability. females in poorer condition are expected to favour dispersing offspring to minimize resource competition with kin. environmental heterogeneity may drive spatial variation in sex allocation through resource competition-related benefits to females and territory quality benefits to dispersing or p ...200818637049
the effect of sex-biased dispersal on opposite-sexed spatial genetic structure and inbreeding risk.natal sex-biased dispersal has long been thought to reduce the risk of inbreeding by spatially separating opposite-sexed kin. yet, comprehensive and quantitative evaluations of this hypothesis are lacking. in this study, we quantified the effectiveness of sex-biased dispersal as an inbreeding avoidance strategy by combining spatially explicit simulations and empirical data. we quantified the extent of kin clustering by measuring the degree of spatial autocorrelation among opposite-sexed individu ...201525761248
adult survival and microsatellite diversity in possums: effects of major histocompatibility complex-linked microsatellite diversity but not multilocus inbreeding estimators.adult survival is perhaps the fitness parameter most important to population growth in long-lived species. intrinsic and extrinsic covariates of survival are therefore likely to be important drivers of population dynamics. we used long-term mark-recapture data to identify genetic, individual and environmental covariates of local survival in a natural population of mountain brushtail possums (trichosurus cunninghami). rainfall and intra-individual diversity at microsatellite dna markers were asso ...201019830457
the effects of wildfire on mortality and resources for an arboreal marsupial: resilience to fire events but susceptibility to fire regime change.big environmental disturbances have big ecological effects, yet these are not always what we might expect. understanding the proximate effects of major disturbances, such as severe wildfires, on individuals, populations and habitats will be essential for understanding how predicted future increases in the frequency of such disturbances will affect ecosystems. however, researchers rarely have access to data from immediately before and after such events. here we report on the effects of a severe a ...201121826221
using probability modelling and genetic parentage assignment to test the role of local mate availability in mating system variation.the formal testing of mating system theories with empirical data is important for evaluating the relative importance of different processes in shaping mating systems in wild populations. here, we present a generally applicable probability modelling framework to test the role of local mate availability in determining a population's level of genetic monogamy. we provide a significance test for detecting departures in observed mating patterns from model expectations based on mate availability alone ...201221899620
resource distribution influences mating system in the bobuck (trichosurus cunninghami: marsupialia).mammalian mating systems are thought to be shaped by the spatial distribution and abundance of key resources, which in turn influence the spacing behaviour of individuals. in particular, female home range size is predicted to reflect the availability of key resources. we documented the availability and distribution of food and shelter resources for two neighbouring populations of bobucks, or mountain brushtail possums, trichosurus cunninghami, that were characterised by different mating systems: ...200717713792
clinical, microbiological and pathological findings of mycobacterium ulcerans infection in three australian possum species.buruli ulcer (bu) is a skin disease caused by mycobacterium ulcerans, with endemicity predominantly in sub-saharan africa and south-eastern australia. the mode of transmission and the environmental reservoir(s) of the bacterium and remain elusive. real-time pcr investigations have detected m. ulcerans dna in a variety of australian environmental samples, including the faeces of native possums with and without clinical evidence of infection. this report seeks to expand on previously published fin ...201424498451
functional genotypes are associated with commensal escherichia coli strain abundance within-host individuals and populations.the selective pressures that determine genotype abundance and distribution frequently vary between ecological levels. thus, it is often unclear whether the same functional genotypes will become abundant at different levels and how selection acting at these different scales is linked. in this study, we examined whether particular functional genotypes, defined by the presence or absence of 34 genes, of commensal escherichia coli strains were associated with within-host abundance and/or host popula ...201323786329
a redescription of trichosurolaelaps dixous domrow, 1972 (acari: laelapidae), from trichosurus cunninghami (marsupialia: phalangeridae) from southern australia.the adults of trichosurolaelaps dixous domrow, 1972 are redescribed from a population of trichosurus cunninghami lindenmayer, dubach et viggers, 2002 in south-eastern australia. the nymphal stages are described for the first time. morphologically, t. dixous is similar to trichosurolaelaps crassipes womersley, 1956. morphological differences between the prefemale deutonymphs and adult females of the two mite species are the presence of a single large ventral spur on tibia i of t. dixous. males of ...200819175208
not all types of host contacts are equal when it comes to e. coli transmission.the specific processes that facilitate pathogen transmission are poorly understood, particularly for wild animal populations. a major impediment for investigating transmission pathways is the need for simultaneous information on host contacts and pathogen transfer. in this study, we used commensal escherichia coli strains as a model system for gastrointestinal pathogens. we combined strain-sharing information with detailed host contact data to investigate transmission routes in mountain brushtai ...201424861219
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