PhD Seminar: Captive breeding as a tool for species conservation

Many species around the world are threatened with extinction, and breeding individuals in captivity for release to the wild is one tool that can help combat extinction and grow declining wild populations. However, this strategy can be risky and time consuming, and there are no guarantees of success as animals need to not only breed and thrive in a captive environment but must also survive the and learn the skills needed for a life in the wild after release.

My research uses data from the  orange-bellied parrot (Neophema chrysogaster) conservation breeding program to investigate factors impacting reproduction and growth in captivity, and how an early life in captivity might influence survival post-release. I also use data gleaned from both this research and other long-running conservation programs to help understand how similar approaches might benefit other threatened species.

About the Speaker

Laura is a PhD candidate at the Fenner School of Environment and Society and part of the Difficult Bird Research Group. Laura's research interests focus around species conservation and informing evidence-based decision making practices. Laura previously completed an MSc in Zoology from the University of Otago (2013) and have worked for the Orange-bellied Parrot Tasmanian Program since 2016, focusing on breeding birds in captivity for release to the wild.