Rep­tile species up again

Western Suburbs Weekly - - Training & Education -

AR­SON­ISTS in Perth are not only putting lives and homes at risk but also the city’s di­verse rep­tile pop­u­la­tion, ac­cord­ing to new Edith Cowan Univer­sity (ECU) re­search.

The metropoli­tan area is home to 65 species of rep­tiles – be­lieved to be more di­verse than any other cap­i­tal city in the world.

The re­search, pub­lished in the jour­nal PLOS ONE, in­ves­ti­gated how rep­tiles in Kings Park re­sponded to the bushfire that swept through 40ha of the park in Jan­uary 2009.

For the past five years, ECU bi­ol­o­gist Rob Davis and his team have been trap­ping, weigh­ing and mea­sur­ing the park’s scaly cit­i­zens to de­ter­mine just how they re­sponded to the fire.

Un­sur­pris­ingly, they found ar­eas where the park had been burnt were home to fewer species of rep­tiles.

Dr Davis said the good news was that most of the rep­tile species had re­cov­ered to pre­burn lev­els within three years.

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