Artwork paired with a symposium at the Ecological Society of Australia conference 2015
Artist: Kate Cranney
Symposium 13: Fire Regime Management – Connecting Science & Practice
Media: Ink and watercolour
This artwork draws on Dr. Matt Swan’s research on fire and mammals in the Otway Ranges, in Victoria. Matt’s PhD asked: how does fire-mediated heterogeneity influence the diversity of ground-dwelling mammals in the Otway Ranges? Heterogeneous environments are expected to provide a variety of resources for different species to exploit. Matt’s research found, however, that the influence of fire was muted by other factors. In the long term, species such as the Dusky Antechinus are more heavily influenced by factors such as rainfall, topography and vegetation structure than fire.
The Dusky Antechinus is one of Matt’s favourite mammals. He says, ‘They definitely suffer from little animal syndrome. Whenever you caught one and they were in a bad mood they would hiss at you really loudly before trying to bite your finger off.’ Dusky Antechinus eat skinks… and colour-coded maps of Matt’s study sites. Trace the Otway coastline along its tail, and spot a thesis scatterplot or three in its fur.