On overseas hunt for Aussie species
VICTORIA Park resident and WA Museum mammals curator Kenny Travouillon has been named as a one of the 2016 Churchill Fellows, which will allow him to travel overseas for further studies.
Dr Travouillon will go to London, Paris, Genoa and the US next year to look at specimens of bandicoots and bilbies in museums to help identify mores species.
“I was previously looking at fossil species but I’m currently looking at living species including bandicoots,” he said.
“I’m looking to name new species. Back in the 1800s the English found a new species and took them back to Europe.
“In the 1950s through to the 70s, there was a push to simplify the number of species so they got lumped together.
Dr Travouillon said when he went to each location he would be measuring and looking at the shape of skulls.
“Now with DNA, we can look at old specimens and work out what species they belong to,” he said.
“I believe there are multiple species of bandicoots and bilbies out there, some might still be alive and some might be extinct.
“Once I come back to WA, I’ll look at the data and see if they are valid or not but for me this is a unique and exciting opportunity.
“I think the end product of the project is related to conservation and making sure the remaining species are looked after.”
The scholarship is thanks to the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust and Dr Travouillon is among 15 West Australians who will be able to travel the globe to research a topic close to them.
Trust chief executive officer Adam Davey said the Churchill Fellows were driven by passion to improve the wellbeing of their communities.
“It is an extremely exciting time for all our new Fellows, who have taken grasp of the opportunity to expand their own knowledge for the benefit of our country,” he said.
Victoria Park resident Kenny Travouillon.