Application for Scientific Permit – Available for Public Comment
Public comment on the following application for a Scientific Research (Fauna) Permit is open until 8 December 2022
Applicant: School of Natural Sciences, University of Tasmania
Species/Taxon: Pedra Branca Skink (Carinascincus palfreymani); Tasmanian mountain skink (Carinascincus orocryptus)
Location: For Carinascincus palfreymani (Pedra Branca Skinks), capture will take place in the three sub populations located on Pedra Branca Island off the south coast of Tasmania. For Carinascincus orocryptus, capture will take place on private, public and reserved land at around 5 sites in Southern Tasmania – exact locations will depend on the presence and density of each species, as informed by distribution databases and past experience of the investigators.
Title of research: The Evolutionary History and Conservation Status of the Pedra Branca Skink
Aim of project: This project has two primary aims that will directly contribute to the ongoing management and conservation of the Pedra Branca skink.
Aim 1: Assess the genetic distinction of the Pedra Branca skink relative to Carinascincus orocryptus and other Carinascincus.
Aim 2: Assess levels of genetic differentiation and diversity within the Pedra Branca skink, which presently occupies three distinct regions on the island.
Justification: The Pedra Branca skink is one of the most endangered and at-risk vertebrate species in Australia. Despite this we have almost no information on how populations of the species are doing. This project will use state of the art molecular approaches to directly address this shortcoming. Specifically, we will collect samples from the three distinct populations of the Pedra Branca Skink as well as its closest related species, the Mountain skink (Carinascincus orocryptus). We will then sequence our samples using state of the art molecular techniques. Results from this project will inform management of this species by resolving the genetic distinctiveness of the Pedra Branca skink relative to other Carinascincus species as well as quantifying genetic variation within and among the 3 key Pedra Branca sub-populations. These results will directly contribute to our understanding of the current status of the Pedra Branc skink as well as contribute to future management actions, including the potential establishment of captive breeding trials and insurance populations.
Maximum likely numbers of individuals involved: We will sample 15 individuals from each of three separate subpopulations of the Pedra Branca Skink (Carinascincus palfreymani) resulting in a maximum 45 individuals sampled. For the Tasmanian mountain skink (Carinascincus orocryptus) we will sample individuals from 10 different populations spanning the distribution of the species in Southern Tasmania resulting in a maximum of 50 individuals
Activities undertaken and methods: Skinks will be caught by hand or by hookless mealworm fishing. Animals will be measured for length and weight and have ~3 mm of tail tip removed for genetic analysis and will be released shortly after capture.
Fate of animals: All individuals will be released at point of capture.
Likely impact on species involved (including any by-catch): Minimal. All individuals will be held for a very short period of time while being processed and be released at their point of capture. No animals will be removed from their location.