Skip to main content
Dryad logo

Data from: Artificial refuges to combat habitat loss for an endangered marsupial predator: how do they measure up?

Citation

Cowan, Mitchell et al. (2020), Data from: Artificial refuges to combat habitat loss for an endangered marsupial predator: how do they measure up?, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.0gb5mkkxt

Abstract

One technique used to combat the growing global species extinction crisis has been to create artificial refuges—human-made replacements for natural refuges destroyed during habitat modification. However, there is limited knowledge of how closely artificial refuges replicate the natural refuges they seek to replace. Mining threatens many species worldwide through large-scale habitat modification, and artificial refuges have been proposed as a method to offset the resulting habitat loss. Here, we examined the microclimatic, physical, and biotic characteristics of natural dens occupied by the northern quoll (Dasyurus hallucatus)—an endangered marsupial threatened by habitat loss—and compared these to 1) superficially similar unoccupied crevices, and 2) artificial dens created by mining companies for northern quolls. Northern quolls occupied natural dens that were cooer and deeper than unoccupied crevices, likely to avoid lethal air temperatures as well as predators. Artificial dens provided similar thermal properties to occupied dens, but lacked key characteristics in having shallower den cavities, less complex surrounding habitat, increased feral cat visitation, and less small mammal prey compared to occupied dens. This study highlights the need to consider multiple facets when constructing artificial refuges, in order to avoid perverse outcomes, such as inadequate shelter, increased predation and food shortages.

Usage Notes

Raw Records

This dataset includes the data and code used in study analysis. Including temperature data, humidity data, den characteristic and site data, as well as quoll, predator, and prey visitation and activity data. This also includes all code used in the study.

Funding

Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions