Prom Bioscan

Author
by Kate C
Publish date
19 October 2011
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Museum Victoria has partnered with Parks Victoria for a two-week intensive biodiversity survey of Wilsons Promontory National Park. The Prom Bioscan project, from 16 to 28 October, is targeting terrestrial, freshwater and marine wildlife and visiting some remote and rarely-visited sites. This rapid census will help Parks Victoria assess the environmental impacts of recent extreme weather events: the 2005 and 2009 fires and the floods in early 2011. On 23 September the southern part of the Prom reopened to visitors after six months of flood repair. Many riparian zones (near creeks and rivers) have changed proundly since the flood, their vegetation and beds scoured away the 370mm of rain that fell in one day in February.

Wilson's Prom is one of Victoria's oldest National Parks. It was first designated a National Park in 1898 due to its unique wilderness, stunning natural beauty and its ease of isolation from the mainland. Its habitats - heathlands, swamps, grasslands, forests and more - house numerous species of plants and animals.

skink A skink from Wilsons Promontory.
Image: David Paul
Source: Museum Victoria
 

lacewing A lacewing caught at Wilsons Promontory.
Image: David Paul
Source: Museum Victoria
 

Researchers have worked here for decades to document the life and environment of the Prom. The Prom Bioscan is a special case: it's rare to have so many experts working simultaneously across the park. Over 40 Museum Victoria staff and volunteers and 15 Parks Victoria staff are participating.

three biologists checking mammal traps Karen, Lara and Karen checking mammal traps.
Image: Michela Mitchell
Source: Museum Victoria
 

In the first few days, the scientists have observed 69 species of birds, two types of rats, Gondwanan snails, numerous skinks and much more. Some specimens will become part of the Museum Victoria collections whereas others are released after a small tissue sample is taken for genetic research. The days in the field are long, especially for those who follow animals that are active at dawn and dusk, but the stunning surroundings more than make up for it.

Granite boulders, wildflowers and blue sea at Wilsons Promontory Granite boulders, wildflowers and blue sea at Wilsons Promontory.
Image: Mark Norman
Source: Museum Victoria
 

You can follow #PromBioscan on Twitter. Tweet your questions for MV scientists about the project to @museumvictoria. 

Links:

Parks Victoria: Wilsons Promontory National Park 

 

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Don Cavey 22 October, 2011 12:43
It is wonderful to see this research going on in Wilsons Prom. I know that you have a great team of experts checking this rugged and often unimproved territory. Great to have these updates. I look forward to more. Cheers!
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