Application for Scientific Permit – Available for Public Comment
Public comment on the following application for a Scientific Research (Fauna) Permit is open until 16 November
Applicant: CSIRO Australian National Insect Collection; Australian National University
Species/Taxon: Class Insecta
Location: Various National Parks, Nature Recreation Areas, Conservation Areas, Forest & Region Reserves around Tasmania and Flinders Island.
Title of research: Evolution and Biodiversity of Australian Invertebrates
Aim of project: To survey areas of native vegetation for invertebrates, in order to expand ranges, potentially discover new species and to study the evolution and origin of the unique Australian fauna
Justification: The Australian invertebrate fauna is still very poorly known, with more than half of all insect species still awaiting description. At the same time, the Australian fauna is unique and comprises many species and taxonomic groups that aren’t found anywhere else in the world. The evolutionary relationships between these unique species and the mechanisms that lead to the development of the great diversity of species are largely unknown. This project aims at surveying the Australian invertebrate fauna, recording locations of where species currently occur, discovering new species, using molecular and morphological characters to trace their evolution and looking at the broader picture question of why the Australian fauna evolved into that many unique species. For this, specimens will be sampled in undisturbed habitats, identified, described in the case of new species and used in molecular genetic studies that will enable molecular identifications and the reconstruction of evolutionary relationships (phylogeny). To survey the biodiversity of Australian invertebrates it is important to sample a great variety of undisturbed habitats. National Parks and Reserves form the largest connected and often only remaining remnants of the original environment. Hardly any other areas in Australia still represent the original species compositions and are home to as many different species as in National Parks / Reserves. Areas outside of Parks are more heavily disturbed by human activities. This results in a much lower diversity of invertebrate species and changes in their composition. This research will add to the scientific knowledge of Tasmanian invertebrate diversity, and how this diversity is unique in the context of the Australian landmass as a whole. There may be conservational benefits derived from this research, such as the discovery of new species in previously surveyed areas.
Maximum likely numbers of individuals involved: No more than 10 specimens per species (where a species ID can be made in situ) will be taken, usually no more than 5 individuals. No vertebrates will be affected.
Activities undertaken and methods: Hand collecting using a sweep net. Hand collection of plant material associated with taxa of interest for host plant records. Beating of vegetation (collecting of insects that fall out of bushes). Malaise traps (flight interception traps that capture insects that fly against the trap – tent-like structure). Light collecting with a bright light illuminating a white sheet of which specimens are picked off manually and selectively during night (250W light, powered by a portable, extremely low noise [52dB at 6m distance] generator).
Fate of animals: Insects will be euthanized in a freezer, and either be preserved dry (pinned), or preserved wet in 96% EtOH.
Likely impact on species involved (including any by-catch): Very little, by-catch (which is very unlikely from hand-netting) will be released. Insect collection at a light sheet is at the discretion of the scientist, thus by-catch is extremely unlikely.