in the nature

Bird Conservation Scholars 2021: Adam Cisterne

Adam is completing a PhD as part of the Difficult Bird Research Group at the Australian National University, working on the conservation and ecology of the endangered Tasmanian masked owl (Tyto novaehollandiae castanops). We know the owl nests in tree hollows, but Adam is investigating the detail of what habitat it requires.

Project summary

Adam is making a genetic analysis of the owl’s population size and look at changes in genetic structure and diversity within that population. The key research outcome will be a model of masked owl occurrence, based on the cavity-bearing capacity of habitat within the broader context of forest cover at the landscape level.

Adam is also looking at whether rodenticides have become an issue for masked owls. Owls prey on rats and mice and we don’t yet know how they are affected by anticoagulant poisons. Adam is analysing the livers of dead owls and looking for any residual poisons in owl pellets. He has been working with an owl-detection dog who searches for the elusive bird’s pellets.

Read Adam’s paper, ‘Can population models be a useful tool for evaluating the status of data-deficient species?’