Outreach

Outreach

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Panel 6: The Importance of Dung Beetles in Grassland Ecosystems

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Panel 6: The Importance of Dung Beetles in Grassland Ecosystems

Dung beetles play an important role in grassland ecology. They feed and breed in dung. Dung beetles dig holes and tunnels to feed, they their eggs and raise their young. They bring out sub-soil and take the dung down into their tunnels. This prevents the grasslands from bring covered in marsupial dung. Dung beetles are essential nutrient recyclers. When cattle were brought to the plains, the native dung beetles could not keep up with the amount of dung therefore exotic species were introduced.

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Panel 7: Identify and Classify Grassland Plants and Animals

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Panel 7: Identify and Classify Grassland Plants and Animals

Australia has had the biggest number of animal extinctions in the world in the past 200 years, eight of those have been marsupials from the Victorian Volcanic Plains. Changes in habitat and the introduction of sheep, foxes, cats and rabbits have decimated populations of marsupials. The loss of these soft footed animals has impacted on the native flora. Their foraging, digging and excretion patterns have effected the health and existence of the plants.

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Panel 4: Soil Testing and Soil Properties

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Panel 4: Soil Testing and Soil Properties

The most dominant feature of the Western Volcanic Plains were the extensive wildflower grasslands, such as Kangaroo Grass, poa tussocks, Wallaby Grasses and Spear Grass. These grasslands were found on spongy soils. Soft footed marsupials, such as bandicoots constantly turned over the soil and spread the soil organisms around, creating this soil. Today, the soil has been compressed by hard hooved animals, such as cattle which were introduced by Europeans.

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Panel 11: Eels and Their Migration Journey

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Panel 11: Eels and Their Migration Journey

When eels mature they swim out of rivers in Australia, including western Victoria and head along the Australian continental shelf to seas around Queensland and Papua New Guinea, where they breed and die. The young eels take a couple of years to return to the south east coast of Australia. Then, usually in early Autumn they swim up the rivers to fresh water lakes and wetlands. Aboriginal tribes around Lake Condah developed aquaculture systems to capture the eels.

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