Fowlers Gap Arid Zone Research Station



Research publications


  • Crino, O. L., Driscoll, S. C., Brandl, H. B., Buchanan, K. L., Griffith, S. C. (2020). Under the weather: Corticosterone levels in wild nestlings are associated with ambient temperature and wind. General and Comparative Endocrinology, 285, 113247.
  • Dunkerley, D. (2020). How Is the Intensity of Rainfall Events Best Characterised? A Brief Critical Review and Proposed New Rainfall Intensity Index for Application in the Study of Landsurface Processes. Water, 12, 929.
  • Griffith, S. C., Andrew, S. C., McCowan, L. S. C., Hurley, L. L., Duursma, D. E., Buchanan, K. L., Mariets, M. M. (2019). Egg size is unrelated to ambient temperature in the opportunistically breeding zebra finch. Journal of Avian Biology, 51(2),
  • Loning, H., Griffith, S. C., & Naguib, M. (2020). The ecology of wild zebra finch song – why do they sing? In Wias Annual Conference 2020: Frontiers in Animal Sciences (pp. 35‐35). WIAS.
  • Mine, J. (2020) The role of acoustic templates, contextual information and visual representation in the combinatorial communication system of chestnut‐crowned babblers. Masters thesis University of Exeter
  • Pahl, L. (2020). Macropods, feal goats, sheep and cattle. 1. Equivalency in how much they eat. The Rangeland Journal, 41(6), 497‐518.
  • Pahl, L. (2020). Macropods, feral goats, sheep and cattle. 2. Equivalency in what and where they eat. The Rangeland Journal41(6), 519-533.
  • Rees, J. D., Crowther, M. S., Kingsford, R. T., Letnic, M. (2020). Direct and indirect effects of carrion subsidies in an arid rangeland: Carrion has positive effects on facultative scavengers and negative effects on a small songbird. Journal of Arid Environments, 179, 104174.
  • Sheldon, E. L., Schrey, A. W., Hurley, L. L. Griffith, S. C. (2020). Dynamic changes in DNA methylation during postnatal development in zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata) exposed to different temperatures. Journal of Avian Biology, 51(5).
  • Szabo, B., Whiting, M. J. (2020). Do lizards have enhanced inhibition? A test in two species differing in ecology and sociobiology. Behavioural Processes, 172, 104043.


  • Austin, V. I., Higgot, C., Viguier, A., Grundy, L., Russell, A. F., Griffith, S. C. (2019). Song rate and duetting in the Chirruping Wedgebill (Psophodes cristatus): frequency, form and functions. Emu – Austral Ornithology, 119 (2),
  • Brandl, H. B., Farine, D. R., Funghi, C., Schuett, W., Griffith, S. C. (2019). Early‐life social environment predicts social network position in wild zebra finches. Proceedings of the Royal Society B, 286(1897),20182579,
  • Brandl, H. B., Griffith, S. C., Laaksonen, T., Schuett, W. (2019) Begging calls provide social cues for prospecting conspecifics in the wild Zebra Finch (Taeniopygia guttata). The Auk, 136(2) ukz007
  • Brandl, H. B., Griffith, S. C., Schuett, W. (2019). Wild zebra finches choose neighbours for synchronized breeding. Animal Behaviour, 151, 21‐28.
  • Brandl. H. B., Griffith, S. C., Farine, D. R., Schuett, W. (2019). Wild zebra finces that nest synchronously have long‐term stable social ties. Journal of Animal Ecology‐2656.13082
  • Cooper, C. E., Wither, P. C., Hurley, L. L., Griffiths, S. C. (2019). The Field Metabolic Rate, Water Turnover, and Feeding and Drinking Behavior of a Small Avian Desert Granivore During a Summer Heatwave. Front. Physiol.
  • Engesser, S., Holub, J. L., O’Neill, L. G., Russell, A. F., Townsend, S. W. (2019). Chestnut‐crowned babbler calls are composed of meaningless shared building blocks. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 116(39), 19579‐19584.
  • Funghi, C., (2019). The integration of spatial‐ecology and animal behaviour in the unpredictable arid zone. A case study with the zebra finch. PhD thesis Macquarie University and Universitat Hamburg
  • Dunkerley D. L. (2019). What does I30 tell us? An assessment using high‐resolution rainfall event data from two Australian locations. Catena, 180, 320‐332.
  • Dunkerley, D. L. (2019). How does sub‐hourly rainfall intermittency bias the climatology of hourly and daily rainfalls? Examples from arid and wet tropical Australia. International Journal of Climatology 39(4), 2412‐2421.
  • Dunkerley, D. L. (2019). Rainfall intensity bursts and the erosion of soils: an analysis highlighting the need for high temporal resolution rainfall data for research under current and future climates. Earth Surface Dynamics, 7(2).
  • Dunkerley, D. L. (2019). Sub‐Daily Rainfall Intensity Extremes: Evaluating Suitable Indices at Australian Arid and Wet Tropical Observing Sites. Water, 11(12), 2616.
  • Fisk, C., Clarke, K. D., Lewis, M. M. (2019). Comparison of Hyperspectral Versus Traditional Field Measurements of Fractional Ground Cover in the Australian Arid Zone. Remote Sensing, 11(23), 2825.
  • Funghi, C., McCowan, L. S. C., Schuett, W., Griffith, S. C. (2019) High air temperatures induce temporal, spatial and social changes in the foraging behaviour of wild zebra finches. Animal Behaviour, 149, 33‐43.
  • Gilbert, J. D. J. (2019). No division of labour, and subfertile foundresses in phyllode‐gluing Acacia thrips. bioRxiv
  • Hollis, R. (2019). The behaviours of sentinels and benefits of philopatry in helpers of the cooperatively breeding chestnut‐crowned babbler (Pomatostomus ruficeps). Masters Thesis University of Exeter
  • Leggett, K. E. A., Stubbs‐Oliver, A., Brun, M. L., Dawson, T. J. (2019). Carnivory in Euros, inland wallaroos (Macropus robustus erubescens). Australian Mammalogy, DOI: 10.1071/AM19055.
  • Maute, K., Hose, G. C., Story, P., Bull, C. M., French, K. (2019). Surviving drought: a framework for understanding animal responses to small rain events in the arid zone. Ecology, 100(11),
  • Melville, B., Fisher, A., Lucieer, A. (2019). Ultra‐high spatial resolution fractional vegetation cover from unmanned aerial multispectral imagery. International Journal of Applied Earth Observation and Geoinformation, 78, 14‐24.
  • Mukkavilli, S. K., Prasad, A. A., Taylor, R. A., Huang, J., Mitchell, R. M., Troccoli, A., Kay, M. J. (2019). Assessment of atmospheric aerosols from two reanalysis products over Australia. Atmospheric Research, 215, 149‐164.
  • Nomano, F. Y., Savage, J. L., Browning, L. E., Griffith, S. C., Russell, A. F. (2019). Breeding Phenology and Meteorological Conditions Affect Carer Provisioning Rates and Group‐Level Coordination in Cooperative Chestnut‐Crowned Babblers. Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution


  • Capp E., Liebl A. L., Cones A. G., Russell A. F. (2018). Advancing breeding phenology does not affect incubation schedules in chestnut‐crowned babblers: Opposing effects of temperature and wind. Ecology and Evolution, 8(1), 696-705.
  • Dunkerley, D. L. (2018). How is overland flow produced under intermittent rain? An analysis using plot‐scale rainfall simulation on dryland soils. Journal of Hydrology 556: 119‐130.a
  • Leggett, K. E., Welaratne, T., Letnic, M., McLeod, S., & Dawson, T. (2018). Rediscovery of the plains mouse (Pseudomys australis) (Rodentia: Muridae) in New South Wales. Australian Mammalogy, 40(1), 127‐130.
  • Richardson, B.J. (2018) Subspecies definitions and legislation: from eastern wallaroo (Osphranter robustus robustus) to euro (Osphranter robustus erubescens)*. Australian Mammalogy 41(1), 65‐75.


  • Dunkerley, D. L. (2017). An approach to analysing plot scale infiltration and runoff responses to rainfall of fluctuating intensity. Hydrological Processes, 31(1), 191-206.
  • Vendl, C., Munn, A. J., Leggett, K., Clauss, M. (2017). Merycism in western grey (Macropus fuliginosus) and red kangaroo (Macropus rufus). Mammalian Biology, 86, 21-26.


  • Acworth, R. I., Rau, G. C., Cuthbert, M. O., Jensen, E., & Leggett, K. (2016). Long-term spatio-temporal precipitation variability in arid-zone Australia and implications for groundwater recharge. Hydrogeology journal 24(4): 905-921.
  • Chapell, MA, Buttermer WA, Russell AF (2016). Energetics of communal roosting in chestnut-crowned babblers: implications for group dynamics and breeding phenology. Journal of Experimental Biology, 219, 3321-3328.
  • Crane JMS, Savage JL, Russell AF (2016). Diversity and function of vocalisations in the cooperatively breeding chestnut-crowned Babbler. Emu 116, 241-241. 
  • Liebl AL, Browning LE, Russell AF (2016). Manipulating carer number versus brood size: complementary but not equivalent ways of quantifying carer effects on offspring. Behavioral Ecology 27, 1247-1254. 
  • Liebl AL, Nomano FY, Browning LE, Russell AF (2016). Experimental evidence for fully additive care among male carers in the cooperatively breeding chestnut-crowned babbler. Animal Behaviour 115, 47-53.
  • Munn AJ, Alemseged Y, Vendl C and Leggett K (2016) Comparative daily energy expenditure and water turnover by dorper and merino breed sheep measured using doubly-labelled water. The Rangeland Journal 38: 361-366
  • Russell AF (2016). Chestnut-crowned babblers: Dealing with climatic adversity and uncertainty in the Australian arid zone. In Cooperative breeding in vertebrates (eds. WD Koenig & JL Dickinson). University Press: Cambridge MA, 150-164.  
  • Sorato E, Griffith SC, Russell AF (2016). The price of associating with breeders in the cooperatively breeding chestnut-crowned babbler: foraging constraints, survival and sociality. Journal of Animal Ecology 85, 1340-1351. 
  • Sorato, E., Griffith, S.C., & Russell AF (2016). The price of associating with breeders in the cooperatively breeding chestnut‐crowned babbler: foraging constraints, survival and sociality. Journal of Animal Ecology 85, 1340-1351.
  • Zhang, Z. S., Zhao, Y., Li, X. R., Huang, L., & Tan, H. J. (2016). Gross rainfall amount and maximum rainfall intensity in 60-minute influence on interception loss of shrubs: a 10-year observation in the Tengger Desert. Scientific Reports 6(1): 1-10.


  • Dunkerley D. L. (2015). Intra‐event intermittency of rainfall: An analysis of the metrics of rain and no‐rain periods. Hydrological Processes 29(15): 3294-305.
  • Engesser S, Crane JM, Savage JL, Russell AF*, Townsend SW (2015). Experimental evidence for phonemic contrasts in a nonhuman vocal system. PLOS Biology 13(6), e1002171.
  • Holdaway, S. and Douglass, M. (2015). Use beyond manufacture: non-flint stone artifacts from Fowlers Gap, Australia. Lithic Technology 40(2): 94-111.
  • Macdonald, B. C. T., Warneke, S., Maïson, E., McLachlan, G. and Farrell, M. (2015). Spatial decoupling of soil nitrogen cycling in an arid chenopod pattern ground. Soil Research 53(1): 97-104.
  • Nomano FY, Browning LE, Savage JL, Rollins LA, Griffith SC, Russell AF (2015). Unrelated helpers neither signal contributions nor suffer retribution in chestnut-crowed babblers. Behavioural Ecology 26, 986-995. 
  • Sharp, M., McLeod, S.R., Leggett, K.E.A.  and T. J. Gibson, (2015). Evaluation of a spring-powered captive bolt gun for killing kangaroo pouch young. Wildlife Research,
  • Sorato E, Gullett PR, Creasey MJS, Griffith SC, Russell AF (2015). Plastic territoriality in group-living chestnut-crowned babblers: Roles of resource value, holding potential and predation risk. Animal Behaviour 101, 155-168. 
  • Vendl C, Clauss M, Stewart M, Leggett K, Hummel J, Kreuzer M, Munn A (2015) Decreasing methane yield with increasing food intake keeps daily methane emissions constant in two foregut fermenting marsupials, the western grey (Macropus fuliginosus) and red kangaroos (Macropus rufus). Journal of Experimental Biology 218: 3425-3434T. 


  • Dunkerley, D. L. (2014). Stemflow production and intrastorm rainfall intensity variation: an experimental analysis using laboratory rainfall simulation. Earth Surface Processes and Landforms 39(13): 1741-1752.
  • Fisher, A., Fink, D., Chappell, J. and Melville, M. (2014). 26Al/10Be dating of an aeolian dust mantle soil in western New South Wales, Australia. Geomorphology 219: 201-212.
  • Nomano FY, Browning LE, Nakagawa S, Griffith SC, Russell AF (2014). Validation of an automated data collection method for quantifying social networks in collective behaviours. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology 68, 1379-1391. 


  • Dunkerley, D. L. (2013). Sub-daily rainfall events in an arid environment with marked climate variability: Variation among wet and dry years at Fowlers Gap, New South Wales, Australia. Journal of arid environments 96: 23-30.
  • Nomano F, Browning LE, Rollins LA, Nakagawa S, Griffith SC, Russell AF (2013). Feeding nestlings does not function as a signal of social prestige in cooperatively breeding chestnut-crowned babblers. Animal Behaviour 86, 277-289.
  • Young CM, Browning LE, Savage JL, Griffith SC, Russell AF (2013). No evidence for deception over allocation to brood care in a cooperative bird. Behavioral Ecology 24, 70-81.


  • Dunkerley, D. L. (2012). Effects of rainfall intensity fluctuations on infiltration and runoff: rainfall simulation on dryland soils, Fowlers Gap, Australia. Hydrological Processes 26(15): 2211-2224.
  • Browning LE, Patrick SC, Rollins LA, Griffith SC, Russell AF (2012). Kin selection, not group augmentation, predicts helping in an obligate cooperatively breeding bird. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London: Biological Sciences, 279: 3861-3869.
  • Browning LE, Young CM, Savage JL, Russell DJF, Barclay H, Griffith SC, Russell AF (2012). Carer provisioning rules in an obligate cooperative breeder: Prey type, size and delivery rate. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology 66, 1639-1649.
  • Rollins LA, Browning LE, Holleley CE, Savage JL, Russell AF, Griffith SC (2012). Building genetic networks using relatedness information: a novel approach for the estimation of dispersal and characterization of group structure in social animals. Molecular Ecology 21, 1727-1740. 
  • Sorato E, Gullett PR, Griffith SC, Russell AF (2012). Effects of predation risk on foraging behaviour and group size: adaptations in a social cooperative species. Animal Behaviour 84, 823-834.


  • Lee, E., Croft, D. B. and Ramp, D. (2010). Flight response as a causative factor in kangaroo–vehicle collisions. Coulson, G. & Eldridge, M. [Eds]. Macropods: the Biology of Kangaroos, Wallabies and Rat-kangaroos. CSIRO Publishing, Melbourne.
  • Russell AF, Portelli DJ, Russell DJF, Barclay H (2010). Breeding ecology of the Chestnut-crowned Babbler: a cooperative breeder in the desert. Emu 110, 324-331.  
  • Rollins LA, Holleley CE, Wright J, Russell AF, Griffith SC (2010). Isolation and characterization of 12 polymorphic tetranucleotide microsatellite loci in the apostlebird (Struthidea cinerea). Conservation Genetics Resources 2, 229-231.


  • Chen, Y. and Gillieson, D. (2009). Evaluation of Landsat TM vegetation indices for estimating vegetation cover on semi-arid rangelands: a case study from Australia. Canadian Journal of Remote Sensing 35(5): 435-446.
  • Griesser M, Barnaby J, Schneider NA, Figenschau N, Kazem A, Wright J, Griffith SC, Russell AF (2009). Influence of winter ranging behaviour on the social organization of a cooperatively breeding bird species, the apostlebird. Ethology 115, 888-896.  
  • Holleley CE, Russell AF, Griffith SC (2009). Isolation and characterization of tetranucleotide loci in the chestnut-crowned babbler Pomatostomus ruficeps. Molecular Ecology Resources 9, 993-995.


  • Dunkerley, D. L. (2008). Identifying individual rain events from pluviograph records: a review with analysis of data from an Australian dryland site. Hydrological Processes: An International Journal 22(26): 5024-5036.
  • Dunkerley, D. L. (2008). Intra‐storm evaporation as a component of canopy interception loss in dryland shrubs: observations from Fowlers Gap, Australia. Hydrological Processes: An International Journal 22(12): 1985-1995.
  • Lee, E. and Croft, D. B. (2008). The effects of an arid-zone road on vertebrates: what are the priorities for management. Lunney, D. & Miekle, W. [Eds]. Too Close for Comfort: Contentious Issues in Human–Wildlife Encounters: Royal Zoological Society of New South Wales, Mosman.


  • Oke, A. M. C., Dunkerley, D. and Tapper, N. J. (2007). Willy-willies in the Australian landscape: sediment transport characteristics. Journal of arid environments 71(2): 216-228.


  • Choi, C. Y. J. and Croft, D. (2006). The behavior of avian scavenger at Fowlers Gap in Australia. Journal of Ornithology 147(5): 148.


  • Shiner, J., Holdaway, S., Allen, H. Fanning, P. (2005) Stone artefact assemblage variability in Late Holocene contexts in Western New South Wales. In Lithics ‘down under’; Australian perspective on lithic reduction, use and classification. Archeopress, Oxford.  


  • Arzani, H., King, G. W. & Forster, B. (2004). Estimating rangeland cover and yield using digital data in the arid and semi-arid areas. Proceedings of the World Engineers' Convention, Shanghai: 209-222.


  • Dunkerley, D. L. (2003). Organic litter: Dominance over stones as a source of interrill flow roughness on low‐gradient desert slopes at Fowlers Gap, arid western NSW, Australia. Earth Surface Processes and Landforms: The Journal of the British Geomorphological Research Group 28(1): 15-29.
  • Hill, S. M., Roach, I. C. (2003). The regolith-landforms of Sandstone Paddock, Fowlers Gap, Western NSW. In Advances in Regolith, 193-200. PDF


  • Buffenstein, R., McCarron, H. C. K. and Dawson, T. J. (2001). Erythrocyte osmotic fragility of red (Macropus rufus) and grey (Macropus fuliginosus and Macropus giganteus) kangaroos and free-ranging sheep of the arid regions of Australia. Journal of Comparative Physiology B 171(1): 41-47.


  • Dunkerley, D. L. (2000). Assessing the influence of shrubs and their interspaces on enhancing infiltration in an arid Australian shrubland. The Rangeland Journal 22(1): 58-71.
  • Gibson, D. L. (2000). Post-early cretaceous landform evolution along the western margin of the Bancannia trough, western NSW. The Rangeland Journal 22(1): 32-43.
  • Hewson, R. D. and Taylor, G. R. (2000). An investigation of the geological and geomorphological features of Fowlers Gap using thermal infrared, radar and airborne geophysical remote sensing techniques. The Rangeland Journal 22(1): 105-123.
  • Lewis, M. (2000). Discrimination of arid vegetation composition with high resolution CASI imagery. The Rangeland Journal 22(1): 141-167.
  • Macdonald, B. C. T. (2000). University of New South Wales Fowlers Gap and Arid Zone Research Station-Nearly 50 years of Research. The Rangeland Journal 22(1): 5-31.
  • Macdonald, B. C. T. and Melville, M. D. (2000). A comparison of the soils from two areas of sorted step chenopod patterned ground, at Fowlers Gap Field Station, Western New South Wales. The Rangeland Journal 22(1): 72-87.
A full list of publications from 1956 - 2020 can be downloaded here