On a cold winter’s night, 16 people ventured out to hear Sarsha Gorissen present her PhD research on the local and iconic Blue Mountains Water Skink, Eulamprus leuraensis.
Sarsha began with historical research of Dr Dubey: that the two major populations of skinks in the Blue Mountains and Newnes Plateau are genetically distinct; and that these skinks are short-lived.
She followed with her own research, and discussed her major findings to date, which are that the skinks:
- live exclusively in swamps and thrive in pristine ones;
- depend on water and high soil moisture levels;
- have a generalist diet, mainly of insects;
- have adapted to survive fires; and,
- that to conserve the species we must protect the habitat.
This data will be expanded on this year, her final year of study, and published in scientific journals. One paper already published by Sarsha — on fire frequency, urbanisation and these lizards — can be found here in Austral Ecology.