Identification, distribution and diet of Tasmanian predators inferred by scats

Speaker: Elodie Modave

Location: 11:30 am to 12:30 pm in Building 6, Level C, Room 12

Elodie is interested in the Tasmanian predator identification, diet and modeling through analyzing scat (i.e. feces) DNA. Elodie developed a mini-barcode to be able to identify large mammalian Australian predators using a small portion of DNA and tested this barcode for its accuracy, effectiveness and sensitivity. Once it proved successful, she then modeled the distribution of Tasmanian predators by successfully applying this marker on more than 700 scats. Elodie obtained patterns of co-occurrence of species and habitat characteristic impacts that drives species distribution. Finally, Elodie analysed the diet of carnivores by metabarcoding more than 280 scats. This technique allowed her to access information about several species in a unique sample and to partially know what a predator was feeding on. This project showed the potentiality of working with scats to gather precious information and the depth of some of them.

About Elodie

Elodie completed a bachelor degree in geography and a master in organisms’ biology and ecology in University of Liege, Belgium. Elodie then completed her master thesis in Northern Ireland, “Landscape genetics in an invaded population”, studying the impact of the bank vole, Myodes glareolus, on an indigenous species: the wood mouse, Apodemus sylvaticus. Elodie stared her PhD in the University of Canberra in 2013 with Professor Stephen Sarre on the detection and the diet of predators in Tasmania inferred by genetics.