Using Itrax and Stable Isotope Analysis to determine Echidna living conditions

Echidnas and nuclear technology

A collaborative project with Taronga Conservation Society Australia and the Centre for Ecosystem Science testing nuclear science techniques to determine whether we can distinguish between captive and wild Echidnas using their quills.

Using quill samples from both captive Echidnas, kept at Taronga Zoo and quills from wild Echidnas that have been brought into the Zoo wildlife hospital, we have applied two nuclear science analysis methods to determine whether we can distinguish the captive Echidnas from the wild ones.

Firstly, quills were scanned by ANSTO using the Itrax machine to measure the elemental composition in the quills. Secondly, the same quills were then analysed for the composition of 13-Carbon and 14-Nitrogen.

Data analysis is currently underway.

For further information contact: Dr Kate Brandis Kate.Brandis@unsw.edu.au

Research Program: 
Wetland Ecology and Stable Isotopes
Research Themes: 
Rivers and Wetlands
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