Echidnas, poop and creepy crawlies
Leading science communicators from the University of Adelaide will join forces with a local echidna ecologist, to share their expertise in echidnas and insects in a free, interactive workshop on Kangaroo Island, as part of National Science Week (14-22 August).
“Through events like these, we hope to inspire people to become more curious about the world around them, as well as offering a hands-on, meaningful way to contribute to scientific research and conservation."Dr Peggy Rismiller OAM
Open to the general public via registration, Spines, Scats and Six Legs (Sunday 22 August), is a two-hour, all-ages event, in which participants will discover why Kangaroo Island’s echidnas are the best studied in the world, which unique insects inhabit the island, and what echidnas eat according to their poop. The event includes talks, insect catching and analysing animal poo.
Presenting researchers include Dr Tahlia Perry and Dr Erinn Fagan-Jeffries from the University of Adelaide’s School of Biological Sciences, and local echidna ecologist Dr Peggy Rismiller OAM.
Dr Tahlia Perry will show participants what can be learned about echidnas by their poop, and how they can participate in echidna conservation through the University’s Echidna Conservation Science Initiative (CSI).
“Echidna populations on Kangaroo Island are now listed as endangered following significant habitat loss due to bushfire. EchidnaCSI is playing an important role in monitoring the effects of fires on echidnas, including on their diet in burnt areas,” said Dr Perry/
“It will be great if we can recruit a few more citizen scientists to join our echidna conservation efforts, particularly on Kangaroo Island where the population was so hard hit by the January 2020 fires.”
Insect expert, Dr Erinn Fagan-Jefferies will inform audiences about the creepy critters living in the local area. Dr Fagan- Jefferies is currently researching the biodiversity and taxonomy of parasitoid wasps in Australia. In a recent study, she worked with South Australian schoolchildren on a biodiversity project, which resulted in the discovery of a number of new insect species.
Dr Rismiller OAM, who is also part of EchidnaCSI, will share secrets about echidnas she has learnt over 30 years of study, including their mating and breeding habits, their love of travelling great distances, and their unexpectedly diverse diet.
“Through events like these, we hope to inspire people to become more curious about the world around them, as well as offering a hands-on, meaningful way to contribute to scientific research and conservation,” said Dr Rismiller.
WHAT: Spines, Scats and Six Legs
WHO: Dr Tahlia Perry, Dr Erinn Fagan-Jeffries and Dr Peggy Rismiller OAM
WHERE: Parndana Campus, Wedgewood Road, Seddon, Kangaroo Island, SA 522
WHEN: 10 am to 12 pm or 2 to 4 pm Sunday 22 August 2021
COST: Free event, Register via Eventbrite
Dr Tahlia Perry, School of Biological Sciences, The University of Adelaide. Mobile: +61 (0)439 806 358, Email: email@example.com
Kelly Brown, Communications Coordinator, External Relations, The University of Adelaide. Mobile: +61 (0)455 888 133, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org