On 4th July Ryan gave a talk on some of the results from Museum Victoria Bioscan which was carried out last November. The talk was held during the school holidays in the hope we would get more people along. This worked well as we had 27 attendees and ¾ were visitors to the park or non member locals. The bioscan was done in the Grampians because it was an opportunity to do a rapid fauna survey as well as collecting an oral history of the area.
A team from Museum Victoria spent 14 days in the park recording, photographing and collecting data. A lot of work had been done back in the 1970’s but with the changing landscape and climate there was a need to do a snapshot of where things are at today.
Herpatologists set up reptile traps and took DNA samples from trapped animals. They found the mountain dragon and DNA will determine if it is a different species to that found in other parts of Victoria. They found that the bearded dragon and lace monitor appear to be in decline. They also surveyed for frogs to determine how widespread the citrid fungus is in the park.
Entomologists set up sheets and spotlights at night to attract moths and other insects. The insects were caught and photographed, some of the captured species are only found in the park while others have now extended the range having previously only been recorded from the alpine or mallee regions.
Also found were 6 species of isopods (crustaceans that live on the ground) which are endemic (only found in the Grampians). Scorpions were detected with UV light at night. Velvet worms which are a missing link with the ancient world were also found.
Divers checked out McKenzie creek to determine the availability of food for the platypus which are known to live in the river. Five species of crayfish were found.
Ornithologists 110 different bird species were found. The interest was as much in what was not found as what was found. They didn’t find noisy miners. They also tested a new program to identify birds by recording their calls then running it through a computer program which tells you which bird it is.
Anthropologists Oral histories were recorded from people who have lived in the area for generations. They wanted to capture the history of the area when pastoral leases and forestry had a major influence on the park. The museum also had some very old glass plate photos taken at the turn of last century from different locations with in the park. They tried to go back to the same locations and take photos of the same area today.
The bioscan was a once off survey but the valuable information collected will be used to direct future scientific and student projects carried out in the park.