Australian mammal populations are under significant threat from introduced predators. As a result, eradication efforts have created safe havens for threatened species in fenced areas and on islands and now these havens need to be populated. The Western Australian Department of Biodiversity, Conservation, and Attractions has requested a decision-support tool outlining translocation strategies. We will be addressing this issue by developing three-dimensional stochastic dynamical systems describing rainfall, vegetation growth and abundance of the threatened species with a Markov chain model. We will then implement stochastic dynamic programming to design optimal controls that maximize a combination of (i) the expected time to extinction of the source population and (ii) the number of animals translocated to new safe havens.
Queensland University of Technology
Montana Wickens is a recent UQ Mathematics graduate pursuing honours at QUT in 2021. During her undergraduate degree, she began research in discrete population models and became fascinated by how mathematics helps navigate problems in conservation and sustainable farming. In the future, she hopes to collaborate with ecologists and nature conservationists to save Australian species.