Research

We have launched a comprehensive research program to try and turn the tide for this endangered and iconic bird.

The first phase of this project (2016-2018) was to undertake a detailed study of the endangered Micronesian Megapode in Palau and the first assessment of existing and future threats to the species. The primary objectives of this project were to:

  1. Determine Home Range and Habitat Use. Working with the Koror State Government, we undertook surveys of all islands in the RISL that support megapodes. Surveys included walking through suitable habitat to detect birds by sight and sound, using call playback as necessary, and searching for nest mounds.
Palau Megapodes forage on the forest floor but we have little understanding of what their preferred feeding habitat is.

Palau Megapodes are often seen on the forest floor but we have little understanding of what their preferred feeding habitat is. Pic: Rob Davis.

  1. Modelling Rising Sea Levels. Sea level rise modelling assessed the impacts of three IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) scenarios (0.52 m, 0.98 m, and 1.9 m rise eustatic sea level) using the nest mound locational data collected as part of objective 1, above.
  1. Secondary Impacts (Tourism and Rats). We used  camera traps and rat chew cards to generate activity indices for rats on a subset of human visited and non-visited islands where megapodes were present.  We also compared the activity rates of rats on subsets of islands with the presence and level of human visitation (with information collected via tourist surveys) to infer an effect of tourism on rat populations.
Rat eradication projects need to be informed by population estimates and a knowledge of rat-megapode interactions.

Rat eradication projects need to be informed by population estimates and a knowledge of rat-megapode interactions. Pic: Belinda Davis.

 

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