Posted on: 6th August 2020
Who said scientists weren’t style-conscious? Here they are setting the next fashion trend: a quadrat necklace. Surely it will catch on?!
These photos come from dense scrub on Southern Yorke Peninsula where our Landscape Ecologist Grace Hodder and her trusty companions spent three weeks in July.
Their mission? To collect baseline data on soil health so we can assess the impact that Brush-tailed Bettongs and Southern Brown Bandicoots have over coming years, as part of the Marna Banggara project. These small marsupials are known as ‘soil engineers’ because their nocturnal digging activity turns over the soil helping to compost leaf litter and support native seedling growth.
Grace and her team visited 40 sites between Innes National Park and Warooka and took 1400 soil cores, some down to 15cm and others 30cm deep. Even though Brush-tailed Bettongs dig to about 7cm, she’s interested in the potential long-term impact of their digging activity over decades. Will nutrients be extracted from the bedrock by turning over the soil?
She’s also keen to see their impact on beneficial nutrients in the soil, soil microbe activity, soil compaction, water quality and moisture-holding capacity. Grace will take samples from these sites again in 3 years, after about two years of Bettong activity.
Wondering what a quadrat is?
It’s a simple measuring device used in ecology. Grace made the one pictured out of PVC pipe.