Bill Borthwick Scholarships 2017
Bill Borthwick Student Scholarships 2017
VEAC has established the annual scholarships for tertiary students to assist in the costs of research relating to public land in Victoria, including terrestrial, freshwater and marine environments.
The scholarships were announced in March 2011 to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the first meeting of the Land Conservation Council (LCC). They honour the vision of the Hon. Bill Borthwick, Victoria's first Minister for Conservation from 1973-1979 and Deputy Premier from 1979 to 1982, and a central figure in establishing the LCC to advise government on the use of Victoria's public land.
Here is a short video highlighting the work of previous scholarship recipients.
VEAC awarded five scholarships in 2017, the recipients were:
Ms Zoi Banikos, University of Melbourne
"Responses of Critical Weight Range Mammals to Fox Control"
Zoi's research for her Masters seeks to quantify the short-term responses to the Otway Ark fox baiting program of feral cats and native digging mammals – the southern brown bandicoot, long-nosed bandicoot, and long-nosed potoroo. Promoting the recovery of threatened native mammals is the key aim of the Otway Ark program.
Working with the Otways Conservation Ecology Centre, Zoi will establish several survey sites in baited and non-baited sections of the Great Otway National Park. The sites will be surveyed using cage traps in 2017 to establish baseline data and resurveyed in 2018 after fox baiting.
Using microchipping and uniques markings, Zoi will use mark-recapture analysis to estimate population abundancies before and after fox baiting.
Miss Arabella Eyre, University of Melbourne
"Searching for the Critically Endangered Leadbeater’s possum outside its known distribution"
Arabella's Masters research will explore surveying outside the known range of Leadbeater’s possum and identifying candidate areas for translocation.
This will be achieved by devloping habitat suitability models, consulting with experts and investigating areas with historical records or unverified sightings to determine where the possums are most likely to occur.
Highly suitable sites will be visited and assessed, and then the most suitable sites will be surveyed using camera trap. From these surveys Arabella will be able to determine if there are populations of the possum that require protection and develop a ranked list of potential translocation sites where the possum does not currently occur.
Ms Melissa Lord, La Trobe University
“A History of Deer in Victoria"
The aim of this PhD project is to investigate the historical relationship between deer and human communities, particularly the relationship between individuals and groups who seek either to preserve Victoria’s deer populations or to eradicate them.
Melissa is seeking to analyse how attitudes to wild deer have manifested in private and public records. This will be done by consulting print media, government files and scientific, hunting and conservation sources. For a thorough appreciation of recent decades it will be necessary to collect data via personal interviews.
Miss Caitlin Orr, Deakin University
“Interactions between dogs and foxes on Victoria’s public beaches”
Caitlin's Honours research will test the possibility that domestic dogs may alter the usage of beaches by foxes. If this is the case, it may be that dog presence could be manipulated as a management tool to keep foxes away from critical areas.
It will also provide insights into whether domestic dogs provide bird populations with protection from fox predation by causing changes in fox behaviour. It will also test if the addition of dog urine to the vicinity of bird nests confers protection from foxes.
Ms Linda Riquelme, University of Melbourne
"Estimating biomass for the management of total grazing pressure in the endangered Buloke woodlands of Wyperfeld National Park"
Linda's research for her PhD aims to determine the extent to which the widespread failure of Buloke woodlands to regenerate is the result of grazing by kangaroos. Linda will integrate remote sensing with field and climatic data to develop a biomass estimation model for grassy and herbaceous understorey in Wyperfeld National Park. The model will aid decision making in the management of total grazing pressure in the Buloke woodlands of the park.
Linda's field work will involve the analysis of biomass and species composition of vegetation samples.