Ecology is certainly the most complex of all research disciplines and there are not many studies (related to Varanus spp.) that can explain ecological relationships to the greatest extent possible. Often field visits of several years are necessary to understand a species in its habitat, within its life communities and population over varying annual climate events. Such field studies are therefore time-consuming and above all costly, thus commonly information on a species’ ecology is compiled from many short-termed studies. It is also evident that working conditions in terrestrial species in open, sparsely forested realms are easier than studying arboreal species of the tropics. However, but as the saying goes, exceptions prove the rule, and this applies without doubt to the ecological studies of Walter Auffenberg; his outstanding monographs, as exemplied under the link “Publications & Media” > “Books”. Also on a par are the works of Eric Pianka, who has studied the ecology of Australian monitor lizards for more than 20 years; some papers and books exemplify these studies (see “Publications & Media”).

Nowadays, time plays a much more important role, the pressure of various interest groups on the population status of a species as well as, to a certain extent, scientific framework conditions and the financial basis to be able to conduct field research over several years, even if the foundation of technical aids for field research, which is essential for obtaining more detailed and improved research results, has made a very profitable development.

The MLSG hopes to trigger more ecological research of Varanus spp. e.g. to study specific ecological traits that may explain current distribution patterns, abundance and/or local declines, and also to share expertise, field methods, etc.

Ideally all species fact sheets will include information on research needs in the single species, and thus will also emphasize the importance of specific field studies related to the ecology of the relevant species.




Population ecology