Hey guys! My name is Dane and I am a sophomore at Michigan State University, majoring in Neuroscience with a double minor in Environmental Studies and Spanish. I grew up in Holly, Michigan for most of my childhood and attended high school near downtown Rochester. More recently my family and I have moved to downtown Detroit in the center of Campus Martius. I am the youngest of three daughters in my family and both of my siblings live out of state, one in New York and the other in Chicago. Some of my favorite things to do are hike, go for trail walks, take my dog Oliver on walks or to the dog park , and basically any activity with my friends. I love to be outdoors and gain new experiences, which was the main motivation for me to sign up for this Study Abroad Program. I am so excited to go on this trip, to not only be immersed in a new culture, but get to know a diverse group of people, and to understand the sustainable practices Australia uses in their everyday life and see how that compares to the practices of the US. The concept of Sustainability is a huge passion of mine, which is why I chose to study it in addition to my major, it is something I am constantly making my self aware of because so many environmental catastrophes keep affecting our planet and I want to be a part of the change that reverses this tragedy. I try my hardest to practice sustainable habits, such as not using plastic silverware or composting because I want to help and change the use of our resources so we can stay within the means of our Earth. I hope to be inspired by this trip and learn how sustainability can be applied in a completely foreign ecosystem.
While in Australia, I planned to research invasive species while I was there, I initially I wanted to focus on the Cane Toads, but as I carried out my research I found that those are not the most aggressive invasive species in Australia. Rather, I decided to focus my research paper on the European Red fox. Invasive species are detrimental to the ecosystem because they are capable of outcompeting native species, preying on them, and disrupting the entire ecosystem. The red fox is one of these detrimental invasive species and has caused some of the most damage to the ecology of Australia. They were introduced to Australia in 1855 for recreational hunting and their populations became established in the ecosystem in 1870. There presence has caused a significant decline in native species such as ground-nesting birds, and small to medium sized mammals such as bandicoots, wallabies, and bettongs. These are species that are only native to Australia, which is why it is so important to maintain their populations. There is an estimate of over 7.2 million foxes in Australia and they have became established in over three quarters of the environments across the country. Also, as diverse omnivores they pose a threat to food sources for other animals and have been known to decimate plants and other species in a specific area. With the effects of population control on the European red fox being very ineffective, they are one of the most dangerous invasive species right now. A bounty, exclusion fencing, and other trapping/killing methods such as using 1080 poison or sending out hunting groups has helped to decrease their numbers, but not significant enough to cause a decline in their population. While visiting Australia I collected concrete evidence about the effects of the fox on the environment and with secondary research I have built an argument about the detrimental effects they cause.
Photos from the trip:
Links related to Australian Sites:
The following links are the sites for The Australian Sites we visited where I obtained information for my research topic:
Commonwealth of Australia. (2010). European Red Fox. Australian Government: Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population, and Communities, 1-4. Retrieved July 13, 2019.
Megan C. Evans, James E. M. Watson, Richard A. Fuller, Oscar Venter, Simon C. Bennett, Peter R. Marsack, Hugh P. Possingham, The Spatial Distribution of Threats to Species in Australia, BioScience, Volume 61, Issue 4, April 2011, Pages 281–289, https://doi.org/10.1525/bio.2011.61.4.8
Simon.gallant. (2017, March 05). Invasive species are a potent, persistent and widespread threat to Australia’s environment. Retrieved May 5, 2019, from https://soe.environment.gov.au/theme/overview/topic/invasive-species-are-potent-persistent-and-widespread-threat-australias
Subcommittee of the Invasive Species Advisory Committee (ISAC). (2006, April 27). What are Invasive Species? Retrieved July 13, 2019, from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Australian Government Department of the Environment and Energy. (2019, April). Threatened Ecological Communities. Retrieved July 17, 2019, from Australian Government
Department of Economic Development. (2017, July 31). Red fox. Retrieved July 25, 2019, from http://agriculture.vic.gov.au/agriculture/pests-diseases-and-weeds/pest-animals/a-z-of-pest-animals/red-fox
Kinnear, J., Sumner, N., & Onus, M. (2002). The red fox in Australia—an exotic predator turned biocontrol agent. Biological Conservation,108(3), 335-359. doi:10.1016/s0006-3207(02)00116-7
Bradley, M.P. (1994). Experimental strategies for the development of an immunocontraceptive vaccine for the European red fox, Vulpes vulpes. Reproduction, Fertility and Development 6, 307-317. doi.org/10.1071/RD9940307