P. J. Murray

University of Queensland , Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

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Publications (20)12.47 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Feral pigs (Sus scrofa) occupy many different habitats worldwide. Their rooting foraging behaviour poses a serious threat to biodiversity as the resulting soil disturbance alters ecosystem structure and function. Understanding what characteristics are important in selecting rooting locations can be used to predict the impact of pigs on ecosystems. We investigated patch selection for rooting by feral pigs at two spatial scales: (1) habitat variables at a site level, and (2) dependency between observations in a spatial context. Seasonal influences on the modelled environmental variables were also examined. We applied a generalised linear modelling approach and model-averaging to explain the relative importance of variables, as measured by the standardised parameter estimates and unconditional variance. Soil texture, rock cover, soil compaction and sand texture were important explanatory variables in the presence of pig rooting. Soil compaction and distance to roads had a negative influence. The highest ranking model included seven explanatory variables with a 41 % chance that this is the Kullback–Leibler best model. Six of the 128 candidate models were in the 95 % confidence set indicating low model uncertainty. Although no differences in pig rootings were detected between seasons, most rooting (65.7 %) occurred during the dry season with soil and sand texture having the strongest effect. This study highlights how pig control programmes can focus limited resources on either the strategic positioning of control devices (e.g., traps and baits) to either reduce the number of pigs or help prioritise habitats of high conservation value for protection (e.g., exclusion fencing).
    Biological Invasions 01/2013; 15(7). · 2.51 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Feral goats (Capra hircus) are estimated to cause >AUD$25 million of losses to pastoralism per year. Feral goats contribute to soil erosion, shrub defoliation, pasture degradation, and compete with stock for browse. Feral goats also impact threatened plants such as curly barked wattle (Acacia curranii), and land degradation by goats is considered a Key Threatening Process under the Australian Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999. However, many pastoralists supplement their incomes by harvesting feral goats for their meat, fiber, skins, and for live export; this is an industry worth >AUD$73 million/year. In consideration of the commercial industry associated with feral goats, we evaluated a non-lethal form of management using predator odors at The University of Queensland's Darbalara Research Farm (Australia) in 2008. We evaluated fecal samples from lion (Panthera leo), tiger (P. tigris), and dingo (Canis lupus dingo) as area deterrents. Dingo fecal odor was not an effective deterrent for goats. Tiger fecal odor affected goat movement patterns, which resulted in a shift away from the test area (P = 0.01). The use of both lion and tiger fecal odors resulted in test animals moving their resting sites away from the test areas (lion, P = 0.03; tiger, P = 0.03). These results show that both lion and tiger fecal odors can be used to manipulate resource use by goats by affecting grazing patterns and shifting goat resting sites. © 2012 The Wildlife Society.
    Wildlife Society Bulletin 12/2012; 36(4). · 0.95 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The tooth eruption and wear (TEW) technique for aging wild European fallow deer (Dama dama dama) in Tasmania, Australia has been in use for >15 yr, but it is also subjective and relies on the skill of the assessor and their assumptions of tooth wear. Deer managers and hunters have suggested that the TEW patterns observed in Tasmania are not consistent with age predictions of deer based on male antler growth. The cementum annuli (CA) technique provides a more objective assessment of age, but is more costly to perform. Our objective was to examine the relationship between the TEW and CA techniques for estimating the age of wild fallow deer in Tasmania. A game manager experienced in the use of the TEW technique assigned 300 deer jawbones collected from 3 sites during the 2001–2006 hunting seasons in Tasmania to different age categories. We conducted preliminary trials to develop a protocol that reliably exposed the CA in incisor teeth. Finally, we compared the ages determined by both methods. The preliminary trials successfully developed a protocol to use incisor teeth for reliably assessing CA. The CA technique gave a higher putative age than the TEW technique, though the magnitude of this result was dependent on location. The amount of soil ingested by the animals, and whether the animals mainly browsed or grazed were possible reasons why tooth wear varied between locations. Whilst the CA method is effective at indicating the age of wild deer, the method should be proven against known-aged deer before being offered as a definitive measure of age. Managers should be clear in their objectives whether they require an approximate guide to age or an objective measure of age before deciding on which method to use. © 2011 The Wildlife Society.
    Wildlife Society Bulletin 03/2012; 36(1). · 0.95 Impact Factor
  • 01/2011;
  • M. Flint, P. J. Murray
    01/2011;
  • M. Flint, P. J. Murray
    01/2011;
  • M. Flint, P. J. Murray
    01/2011;
  • M. Flint, P. J. Murray
    01/2011;
  • M. Flint, P. J. Murray
    01/2011;
  • M. Flint, P. J. Murray
    01/2011;
  • Journal of Wildlife Management 11/2010; · 1.64 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Feral pigs threaten biodiversity worldwide by altering ecosystem structure and function. The most noticeable effect of pigs on ecosystems is disturbed soil caused by their rooting foraging behaviour, which can impact upon invertebrate populations, nutrient cycles, and plant regeneration. In this study, we assessed the impact of feral pigs on rainforest dynamics in north-eastern Australia by comparing plots where fencing had been used to exclude pigs for 2 and 14 years with unfenced plots at continual risk to pig damage in both the wet and dry seasons. Rainforest dynamics were quantified using a range of earthworm, soil, litter, and plant characteristics, and we used mixed linear models to explain the response of these variables to both plot type and season. Our results show that feral pigs do not have a strong impact on rainforest dynamics. The only significant result was greater litter moisture in the fenced compared to unfenced long-term plots. In contrast, the majority of response variables exhibited significant seasonal differences. For the plot type and season interaction effect, the only significant result was litter biomass in the long-term plots. There was no significant difference between means for the fenced and unfenced plots within the wet and dry seasons; however, litter biomass was greater in the unfenced plots during the wet season and, conversely, greater in the fenced plots during the dry season. Overall, our results show that season has a greater impact on rainforest dynamics than feral pigs.
    Proceedings of the 24th Vertebrate Pest Conference, Sacramento; 01/2010
  • Julia M Hoy, Peter J Murray, Andrew Tribe
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    ABSTRACT: The greatest limitation involved with providing enrichment and evaluating its effects on captive mammals is a lack of available staff time [Hoy et al., 2009]. One method to overcome this is through the use of automated husbandry systems to dispense enrichment to individual animals by using implantable radio frequency microchips. An international multi-institutional survey was conducted to determine whether the personnel involved with management, research, and husbandry of captive mammals would support the development of such automated husbandry systems. The survey was also designed to establish which applications of the system would be considered to be most beneficial. Overall, there was a very high level of interest by survey respondents in adopting automated husbandry systems and all potential applications were considered beneficial to varying degrees. These results, together with the relatively low cost of installation and operation, demonstrate that in the future automated enrichment could be an important and effective means of enhancing captive animal management.
    Zoo Biology 12/2009; 29(5):586-99. · 1.14 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Chelonid corneal fibropapillomatosis has not previously been recorded in Australian waters. During 2008, 724 green sea turtles (Chelonia mydas) were examined in Queensland, Australia at two sites, Moreton Bay (n=155) and Shoalwater Bay (n=569), during annual monitoring. In the same calendar year, 63 turtles were submitted from various sites in southern Queensland for post-mortem examination at the University of Queensland. Four of the 787 animals (0.5%) were found to have corneal fibropapillomas of varying size, with similar gross and microscopical features to those reported in other parts of the world. Two animals with corneal fibropapillomas also had cutaneous fibropapillomas. Clinical assessment indicated that these lesions had detrimental effects on the vision of the turtles and therefore their potential ability to source food, avoid predators and interact with conspecifics. Importantly, these findings represent an emergence of this manifestation of fibropapillomatosis in green sea turtle populations in the southern Pacific Ocean.
    Journal of comparative pathology 11/2009; 142(4):341-6. · 1.73 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Biochemical and haematological reference intervals (RIs) have been reported for sea turtles, but their value for ante-mortem disease diagnosis may be limited due to small sample sizes and outdated statistical analyses. In the present study, 290 green sea turtles (Chelonia mydas) were captured, clinically assessed and blood sampled. Of these, 211 were classified as 'clinically healthy' and 25 as 'clinically unhealthy'. RIs were estimated using data from the healthy turtles and compared with blood values from the unhealthy animals. All of the unhealthy animals had plasma biochemical and haematological values outside one or more RIs (albumin, 48% of unhealthy animals; alkaline phosphatase, 35%; aspartate transaminase, 13%; creatinine, 30%; globulin, 3%; glucose, 34%; lactic dehydrogenase, 26%; phosphorus, 22%; sodium, 13%; thrombocytes, 57%; and monocytes, 5%). Among small immature turtles, those with Chelonibia testudinaria plastron barnacle counts 20 were three times more likely to be unhealthy than those with no barnacles. In addition, small immature and mature turtles were more likely to be unhealthy than large immature turtles.
    The Veterinary Journal 09/2009; 185(3):299-304. · 2.42 Impact Factor
  • Julia M Hoy, Peter J Murray, Andrew Tribe
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    ABSTRACT: Environmental enrichment of captive mammals has been steadily evolving over the past thirty years. For this process to continue, it is first necessary to define current enrichment practices and then identify the factors that limit enhancing the quality and quantity of enrichment, as well as the evaluation of its effectiveness. With the objective of obtaining this information, an international multi-institutional questionnaire survey was conducted with individuals working with zoo-housed mammals. Results of the survey showed that regardless of how important different types of enrichment were perceived to be, if providing them was particularly time-consuming, they were not made available to captive mammals as frequently as those requiring less staff time and effort. The groups of mammals provided with enrichment most frequently received it on average fewer than four times per day, resulting in less than two hours per day spent by each animal care staff member on tasks related to enrichment. The time required for staff to complete other husbandry tasks was the factor most limiting the implementation and evaluation of enrichment. The majority of survey respondents agreed that they would provide more enrichment and carry out more evaluation of enrichment if it was manageable to do so. The results of this study support the need for greater quantity, variety, frequency, and evaluation of enrichment provided to captive mammals housed in zoos without impinging on available staff time.
    Zoo Biology 06/2009; 29(3):303-16. · 1.14 Impact Factor
  • M Flint, PJ Murray
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    ABSTRACT: By reducing the stress associated with high stocking density in a feedlot it is likely that goats will utilise their feed more efficiently and suffer fewer health problems. One possible method of reducing stress is to enrich the feedlot environment. In a feedlot of 160 castrated goats (average weight 24.6 +/- 2.6 kg), 2 types of feedlot structures were compared; a typical feedlot and an 'environmentally enriched' feedlot, and goats stocked at 2 densities; a high stocking density (1667 goats/ha) and a relatively low stocking density (897 goats/ha). Over a 42-day period, environmental enrichment (old car/truck tyres and wooden railway sleepers to climb on and PVC piping to mouth and butt) increased weight gain by 83% (P = 0.04) and reduced the occurrence of inanition by 36%. Aggressive behaviour at the feed trough was reduced by 30% (P = 0.03) in pens of lower density when compared with pens of higher density. We conclude that lot feeding goats in environmentally enriched surroundings will increase feed conversion and reduce the number of non-eaters when compared with typically bare pen structures. Doubling in liveweight gain of goats within enriched feedlot surroundings when compared with typical structures shows promise as a cost effective, animal-welfare-orientated practice.
    01/2001;
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    ABSTRACT: Chelonid corneal fibropapillomatosis has not previously been recorded in Australian waters. During 2008, 724 green sea turtles (Chelonia mydas) were examined in Queensland, Australia at two sites, Moreton Bay (n ¼ 155) and Shoalwater Bay (n ¼ 569), during annual monitoring. In the same calendar year, 63 turtles were submitted from various sites in southern Queensland for post-mortem examination at the University of Queensland. Four of the 787 animals (0.5%) were found to have corneal fibropapillomas of varying size, with similar gross and microscopical features to those reported in other parts of the world. Two animals with corneal fibropapillomas also had cutaneous fibropapillomas. Clinical assessment indicated that these lesions had detrimental effects on the vision of the turtles and therefore their potential ability to source food, avoid predators and interact with conspecifics. Importantly, these findings represent an emergence of this manifestation of fibropapillomatosis in green sea turtle populations in the southern Pacific Ocean.
  • P. J. O'Hara, M. Flint, P. J. Murray