Monitoring at Gluepot Reserve

Overview

Gluepot is being developed as a Quality Centre for Scientific Research, and is ideally suited to a diverse range of biological research projects. All areas of the Reserve are open to use by researchers, and the Birdseye Block, an area of 17 000ha of old growth mallee, has been specifically designated as a core reference area (research and conservation access only) - public access to the block is restricted.

Current monitoring projects

The Geography Department of the University of Adelaide has 36 permanent photopoint sites, at each of which a 30 x 30 m quadrat and a 4 x 100 m transect has been established. These quadrats are monitored annually and cover all plant communities present. Quadrats and transects co-occur with sites used for monitoring bird and reptile communities.

The South Australian Pastoral Board has established twelve 4 x 100 transects within which 1 m2 nested quadrats are placed for collection of more detailed data. Together, transects and quadrats provide observational and quantitative vegetation data. These sites are monitored annually.

As part of a long-term biological monitoring strategy for Gluepot, six 2km x 1km Malleefowl grids are being established, to study the movements, abundance, breeding habits and recovery process of this species. Annual data from grids will also assist in assessing the potential impacts of management strategies.

In 1998, as part of the water points study, 75 bird Atlas sites were established in representative samples of all vegetation communities and in varying distances from water points. Each site has been accurately mapped and surveyed for vegetation. In 1998-99 Gluepot Reserve was the leading data contributor to the bird Atlas scheme. As well as the data collected by research personnel, many visitors to the Reserve also Atlas at these sites.

Permanent pitfall lines have been established at 52 of the Atlas sites, and these are monitored for reptiles, mammals and invertebrates. As part of the National Weather Grid, the South Australian Bureau of Meteorology has established a climatological station at the Homestead. Data is collected twice daily and transmitted to the Bureau in real-time. Additionally, the Reserve maintains its own automatic weather station sited in another part of the Reserve, with data downloaded to the Reserve computer.

An active Grazing and Feral Animal Management Program controls goat, fox, cat and kangaroo numbers and independent techniques are being developed for monitoring the efficiency of these control programs.

Gluepot has been floristically mapped (both in published and electronic formats) and a handbook of the vegetation of the Reserve published. The Reserve maintains a herbarium of all species collected.

In late 2000, a two week intensive research expedition conducted biodiversity studies at the permanent pitfall sites; a study of the gypsum lakes and their associated vegetation; a survey of the bats occurring on the Reserve and colour banding of cryptic bird species at two of the Malleefowl grid sites.

Atlassing

For the duration of the BirdLife Australia nation-wide Atlas Project (1998-2002), Gluepot was the most 'atlassed' site in the country. The data has been analysed specifically for Gluepot and hence it is an ideal location to continue monitoring and build up a long-term picture of fluctuations in bird diversity.

Click here for futher information on the bird atlas project at Gluepot

Information for prospective researchers

Members of the Gluepot Reserve Research and Monitoring Committee can assist students and other researchers in the formulation of project proposals. Present research projects will provide valuable assistance to the rural community in the areas of the influence of artificial watering points on habitat; methodology to identify ecologically sensitive areas; long term feral control and land management practices that are both ecologically and culturally sustainable. Through the research, monitoring, training and educational programs, Gluepot is contributing to the conservation of landscapes, ecosystems, and species and genetic variation which are directly related to regional, national and global conservation and sustainable development issues. University graduates and under graduates are given the opportunity to undergo reserve management training as Assistant Volunteer Rangers.

Research projects at Gluepot should abide by the Research Policy. Requests to undertake research projects on Gluepot Reserve should be submitted in writing using the Application to Undertake Research and Surveys protocol forms, to Duncan MacKenzie, Chair, Gluepot Reserve Management Committee. Click on the 'Contacts' tab for contact details.

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