Little Penguins spend 80% of their lives at sea. Predicting the impacts of threats to their unique food web, such as environmental variations; fishing or prey mortality; as well as consumption and predator aggregation, is critical to their conservation.
Phillip Island Nature Parks’ Marine Scientists have developed an eco-system level model, which provides a robust measure of ecosystem health and assists to identify scenarios that can predict future changes to penguin food security in their feeding zones within the Bass Strait, Victoria.
However, variations in the marine ecosystem are frequent and so maintaining this robust model requires extensive collation of data on penguin diet, prey biomass, fishery landings, and primary production, as well research on other species within the ecosystem. This information is critical to help form the marine spatial plan and implement this for future proof our little penguins and other species which share this ecosystem.
- The continued collation of marine ecosystem data required for the ecosystem model to provide future predictions of food security for Little Penguins in the Bass Strait.
- Develop Marine Spatial Plan for the future protection of Phillip Island’s Little Penguins in the Bass Strait.
- Research Little Penguin interactions with shipping lanes.
Robust ecosystem health is critical to little penguin conservation at sea. As penguins living in a very dynamic marine environment, we need to predict penguin and prey movements to safeguard their future.
In collaboration with CSIRO Marine & Atmospheric Research and Ecopath International, Phillip Island Nature Parks have developed an ecosystem model. We are using ecosystem models to predict future changes to penguin food security in their fast-changing environment of the Bass Strait.
Dr Andre Chiaradia, Phillip Island Nature Parks Marine Scientist
Funding target - $75,000 over 3 years