Kanupriya Agarwal is currently in her second year of a Bachelor of Mathematics and Information Technology at QUT. She finds applied mathematics and science fascinating and aspires to pursue a PhD in relevant fields in the future. Outside of her studies, she enjoys travelling, music and spending time with her friends.
How to Measure a Halo
Conservation fences are one of the few methods that can protect threatened Australian mammal species like bilbies from introduced predators like foxes, cats and wild dogs. Across the country, these fences have successfully protected populations of numerous different native species from extinction, but their success also reveals their limits – there is nothing beyond their walls. If conservation managers released some of the protected animals into the landscape surrounding the fence, they would disperse and create a “halo” of mammals around its perimeter. This would extend the benefit of the fence into the surrounding habitat, and while the growth rate might be negative, it could be balanced by the positive growth within the fence. New mathematical theory – a combination of partial differential equation analysis and optimisation theory – is needed to estimate how large this halo would be, and how animals should be released from the fence to maximise the halo size.