Maggie Smith

Masters Student

Maggie is studying a Masters of Philosophy at QUT. Her project aims to determine changes in subantarctic Macquarie Island’s seabird populations over time; establishing important baselines for pre-human landscapes and invasive species impacts to inform future management. This will be achieved by combining palaeo-ecological techniques, through the analysis of peat cores, with contemporary monitoring, surveys and modelling data to understand long-term changes in seabird populations.

This integrated approach has not yet been applied to other subantarctic islands, and this research will significantly advance our understanding of seabird population responses to vertebrate species invasion and eradication. This has implications for invasive species eradications underway on other subantarctic islands including Gough Island, and those proposed for Marion Island (South Africa), Auckland Island (New Zealand) and Iles Crozet (France).

Expected outcomes:

  1. First continuous record of seabird presence (c. 1000 years) for a subantarctic island incorporating natural variability, invasion and post-eradication recovery.
  2. Advice to state (Tasmanian Parks Service) and federal government (DCCEW) and World Heritage Council on island ecology including changes in seabird populations over time, and targets for species management and island recovery.