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March 28, 2018

Congratulations Bronte Van Helden!

UWA Albany student announced as scholarship winner

Bronte Van Helden from The University of Western Australia has been awarded a prestigious PhD top up scholarship from The Western Australian Biodiversity Science Institute.

Over the next three years, Bronte, based in Albany at UWA’s Centre of Excellence in Natural Resource Management (CENRM), will provide critical information about how different types of urban areas differ in their ability to support animal biodiversity.

As urbanisation increases, the proportion of native species exposed to threats also increases, prompting the need to conserve fauna in urban landscapes. Whilst we know that remnant bushland in urban areas is critical for maintaining biodiversity, gaps in knowledge still exist about how other components in an urban environment work to support animal residency.

The western ringtail possum and quenda will be used as case studies in the research to discover if residential areas can provide a valuable, novel habitat for mammal species that are conservation dependent.

“I’m really thankful for the opportunity as the scholarship has enabled me to widen my research to include other mammal species such as pygmy possums and native bush rats,” said Bronte.

The Institute is a joint venture between regulators and leading W.A. research organisations. The scholarship, valued at $35,000 over three and half years, will help improve planning decisions to secure a better balance between urban development and conservation.

The project was developed in collaboration with several end-users to ensure that the research generated has important management applications. Partners include the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions (Albany District), the South Coast Ringtail Working Group, Oyster Harbour Catchment Group and the City of Albany.

Bronte with WABSI and UWA representatives

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