Ecological extinctions

Project title: Cascading effects of Australia’s ecological extinctions on biodiversity and ecosystem function

In many Australian ecosystems, extinctions and declines of mammals have been dramatic, with formerly abundant species now “functionally extinct” – that is, too rare to continue to play important ecological roles.

The loss of entire functional guilds may have cascading effects on biodiversity and ecosystem function.

Using a multi-scale experimental approach, we are investigating the ecosystem-wide impacts of mammal declines, accounting for interactions with climate.

Many threatened Australian mammals forage by digging in the soil and are therefore considered ecosystem engineers.

They are also important predators of invertebrates.

This research will produce new insights into the pre-European state of Australian ecosystems and more realistic targets for ecosystem restoration.

Team members

Project partners

  • Australian Wildlife Conservancy
  • Arid Recovery
  • Mt Rothwell Conservation and Research Centre
  • Australia and Pacific Science Foundation
  • Holsworth Wildlife Research Endowment
  • Australian Research Council