|MadSci Network: Zoology|
Hi Melissa, I am assuming that by saying Biome you are referring to their Habitat. Habitat' refers to the types of bushland that koalas like to live in. They are found in a range of habitats, from coastal islands and tall eucalypt forests to low woodlands inland. Today, they do not live in rainforest, although it is thought that millions of years ago, the ancestors from which today's koalas evolved lived in the rainforests which covered much of Australia at that time. Koala populations only occur if suitable habitat is available. The two most important factors which make habitats suitable are (1) the presence of tree species preferred by koalas (usually eucalypts, but also some non-eucalypts) growing in particular associations on suitable soils with adequate rainfall and (2) the presence of other koalas. Research shows that socially stable koala populations occur only when there are primary (or favourite) tree species present. Even if a selection of tree species known to be used by koalas occurs within an area, it will not support a koala population, or at least the koala population will not use it, unless one or two favourite species are present. This is one reason why it is not a good idea to rely on a general list of preferred koala food trees. Leaving out the key species from tree plantings to restore koala habitat, could be a waste of time and effort. With the latest research, it is becoming clear that the koalas' selection of tree species influences the social structure of populations and the maintenance of each individual koala's home range within the population. A greater understanding of the koala's behaviour is a very important factor when identifying suitable koala habitat. Planning for future protection and management of koala habitat needs to take such factors into consideration. Koalas live in societies, just like humans, so they need to be able to come into contact with other koalas. Because of this they need to have areas of suitable eucalypt forest which are large enough to support a healthy koala population and to allow for expansion by maturing young koalas. The information was taken from the Australian Koala Foundation located at http://www.akfkoala.gil.com.au/koala.html Thanks for taking the time to send in a question to the MadSci Group June Wingert Research Associate Lexicon Genetics Texas
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