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Honours Student
Karl Lenser

Growing up, I have always had a love for palaeontology, so after spending over a decade in France and the UK, I decided return to Australia in 2020 to study a Bachelor of Science (Palaeontology) here at Flinders. Over the course of my undergraduate, I have also gained a fascination with birdswhich for some reason my assignments always seemed to centre around. In my third year, my now supervisor Trevor Worthy gave me a project looking at the morphometrics of fossil Plains-wanderers (a rare species of grassland loving bird) from Naracoorte Caves, which led me to become enamoured with the understudied avifauna of the site.

I’m now in my Honours year, studying the palaeoecology of fossil shorebirds from Naracoorte Caves. To do this, I have been sorting through hundreds of bird fossils from Naracoorte to identify any shorebird bones—plovers, snipes, sandpipers, buttonquails, and more. I will then be using these to help reconstruct the environment at Naracoorte during the middle to late Pleistocene (particularly focusing on wetland habitats, which are most shorebirds species’ preferred place of residence). From this, I hope to gain a better understanding of how climate change over the last ~500 ka has affected birds in southeast South Australia.