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Biobuzz 6 - common brush tail possum- Erin Flynn (subproject 4.2.5)

Do possum mothers have favourites? 

How do you milk a possum?  As Erin demonstrates: very carefully!

Erin Flynn, a post-graduate student at the University of Tasmania recently upgraded from Masters to PhD to research the effects of habitat type on the physiological parameters and population demographics of the common brushtail possum (Trichosurus vulpecula).

Erin has expanded her study to include eight research sites in the wet forest of the northeast and dry forests of the southeast.

Erin now enters her second winter trapping season, braving rain, hail and snow to collect milk, blood and genetic data from brushtail possums throughout the state.

These samples will be used to delve into areas of research including, but not limited to, how disturbance impacts genetic relatedness and maternal sex allocation (for example, the provisions that mothers make for offspring of different sexes) within populations.

Such ecological theories may help explain how differences in resource availability and disturbance impacts our native wildlife.