La Trobe researchers have received funding to research conservation of Victoria’s unique alpine stonefly following last summer’s devastating bushfires.
Dr Julia Mynott, Dr Nick Murphy and Professor Nick Bond from the Centre for Freshwater Ecosystems and the Department of Environment, Ecology and Evolution, who secured grant funding of $271,370 from the Australian Government’s Wildlife and Habitat Bushfire Recovery program.
Their project focusses on the impact of the summer bushfires on the stonefly, Thaumatoperla.
Dr Mynott said these stoneflies are a unique part of Victoria’s fauna but information on them is limited.
“This project aims to determine the impacts fires have on the species and their current distribution throughout the alpine areas to better protect them from future bushfires.
“This funding is a fantastic opportunity to map these species and provide important information for land managers to identify key areas for their conservation.”
This project will collaborate with a number of organisations including Parks Victoria, Falls Creek Resort Management and Mt Buller Mt Stirling Resort Management.
The bushfires of 2019-20 directly and indirectly affected many of Victoria’s threatened species. Thaumatoperla are a unique part of Victoria’s alpine fauna, with three species occurring on different mountain areas: Bogong High Plains, Mt Buller-Mount Stirling, Mt Baw Baw and the Yarra Ranges.
Each species’ distribution is not well known and this limits our understanding of the impacts of fires and restricts the management and recovery options to reduce the risk of population loss and extinction.
The project will establish the distribution of the three Thaumatoperla species and identify priority actions needed to support the recovery and conservation of these species.