My research involves estimating co-extinction rates and providing management advice for co-threatened species. Co-extinction is the loss of a dependent species with its host plant or animal.
By sampling endangered plants and identifying management strategies for sustaining viable populations of endangered insects, we can assist in conserving Australia’s biodiversity.
Broadly, I sample insect fauna from plants with a range of threat status .Myself and collaborators (in particular, Peter Vesk) use the samples to estimate the number of host-specific insects associated with the plant species. These data will allow refined estimates of extinction risk using refinements to published models.
This work will give us the tools we need to model rates of insect extinction across broad ranges of geography and taxonomy and to identify factors influencing an invertebrate species’ ‘extinction proneness’.
Furthermore, we will assist land managers charged with conserving Australia’s biodiversity to gauge the magnitude of the co-extinction problem, how it may vary with habitat loss, climate change and other threats, and to evaluate the conservation benefits for fauna of in situ plant conservation strategies.