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Testing the behaviour of Australian brushtail possums (Trichosurus vulpecula) to candidate semiochemicals from conspecifics’ urine

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dc.contributor.advisor Linklater, Wayne
dc.contributor.author Mockett, Lauren
dc.date.accessioned 2017-09-14T01:00:20Z
dc.date.accessioned 2022-11-03T20:44:27Z
dc.date.available 2017-09-14T01:00:20Z
dc.date.available 2022-11-03T20:44:27Z
dc.date.copyright 2017
dc.date.issued 2017
dc.identifier.uri https://ir.wgtn.ac.nz/handle/123456789/30101
dc.description.abstract The Australian brushtail possum (Trichosurus vulpecula) is a prolific introduced mammalian pest. Current pest control methods involve traps and poisons, but are proving to be ineffective long term solutions. As semiochemical lures are thought to be more attractive than food-based lures at low densities, researchers are attempting to utilize semiochemicals for kill traps. The objectives of this thesis were to create a testing protocol for use in a research colony of possums and use that protocol to test the attractiveness of semiochemicals found in possum urine that had been positively associated with possum attraction and interest in urine.. I hypothesised that there would be an observer effect present in the colony due to the nature of the colony husbandry protocols. There was no statistically significant observer effect present in the colony for eating, interaction, sitting, grooming or enclosure use (front or back). However, there was a trend (across the colony) that sitting and grooming increased in the presence of an observer. From these results, I designed an active presentation protocol for testing semiochemicals. I predicted that the most attractive compounds would belong to the acids and alcohol chemical groups. Overall there was no statistically significant difference between the semiochemicals. However, when taken individually there was clear evidence that five of the semiochemicals (belonging to the ketone, alcohol and phenol chemical groups) were more attractive than their control and the standard lure. It has been shown in this thesis that the attractiveness of semiochemicals can be tested in a small research colony. However, limits on colony size greatly reduce statistical power. For future studies, I would recommend increasing the sample size or instead developing field-based bioassays capable of being repeated across a greater number of sites, populations and therefore, individual possums. en_NZ
dc.format pdf en_NZ
dc.language en_NZ
dc.language.iso en_NZ
dc.publisher Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington en_NZ
dc.subject Australian bushtail possum en_NZ
dc.subject Urine en_NZ
dc.subject Behaviour en_NZ
dc.title Testing the behaviour of Australian brushtail possums (Trichosurus vulpecula) to candidate semiochemicals from conspecifics’ urine en_NZ
dc.type Text en_NZ
vuwschema.contributor.unit School of Biological Sciences en_NZ
vuwschema.subject.anzsrcfor 060201 Behavioural Ecology en_NZ
vuwschema.subject.anzsrcseo 970106 Expanding Knowledge in the Biological Sciences en_NZ
vuwschema.type.vuw Awarded Research Masters Thesis en_NZ
thesis.degree.discipline Ecology and Biodiversity en_NZ
thesis.degree.grantor Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington en_NZ
thesis.degree.level Masters en_NZ
thesis.degree.name Master of Science en_NZ

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