Journal article

Urban stormwater runoff limits distribution of platypus

Elizabeth H Martin, Christopher J Walsh, Melody Serena, J Angus Webb

AUSTRAL ECOLOGY | WILEY | Published : 2014


The platypus (Ornithorhynchus anatinus), like many other stream‐dependent species, is reportedly sensitive to catchment urbanization. However, the primary mechanism limiting its distribution in urban environments has not been identified. We created species distribution models for three platypus demographic classes: adult females (which are exclusively responsible for raising young), adult males (which are more mobile than females), and first‐year juveniles. Using live‐trapping data collected in Melbourne, Australia, we tested whether distributions of the three demographic classes were better predicted by catchment urban density (total imperviousness), by urban stormwater runoff (catchment at..

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Funding Acknowledgements

We thank Michael McCarthy, who provided valuable advice on model development, implementation, interpretation and communication, Rhys Coleman, who also provided useful suggestions on the analysis, and Geoff Vietz, who provided useful advice on geomorphic response in urban streams and reviewed an earlier version of this manuscript. Melbourne Water provided impervious coverage data and funding to CJW. Platypus live-trapping activities were funded by City Councils of Banyule, Knox and Manningham, Melbourne Water, Nillumbik Shire Council, Primelife Corporation, Upper Maribyrnong Catchment Landcare, VicRoads, Werribee River Association and Yarra Ranges Council, and authorized by Victorian Department of Sustainability and Environment Wildlife Research Permits 10000929 to 10003545 and Department of Primary Industries Fisheries Permit RP 553 (issued to MS/Australian Platypus Conservancy). We are also grateful to Geoff Williams (APC) for tireless work in setting and checking platypus survey nets over many years.