Fowlers Gap (24)

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Site name: Fowlers Gap
Site number: 24
Point numbers: 93 (FOWLERS GAP Dry A), 94 (FOWLERS GAP Wet A), 95 (FOWLERS GAP Dry B), 96 (FOWLERS GAP Wet B)
Ecoregion: Deserts and xeric shrublands
Participant and site owner: University of New South Wales, Fowlers Gap Arid Zone Research Station
Site location: Western New South Wales
Latitude: -31.09
Longitude: 141.71
Site description: Fowlers Gap is an arid zone research station located in western New South Wales, about 110 km to the north of Broken Hill. The research station of around 39,000 hectares straddles the Barrier Range and has an arid climate with <250 mm rainfall annually. The Research Station has been established for over 50 years (since 1966) and been the site of long-term research projects focused on kangaroos, arid zone vegetation and birds (particularly the Zebra Finch and Chestnut-crowned Babbler). The barrier ranges are composed largely of sandstone, while the flat country on the eastern side of the research station is scalded flats of loamy sands and clays (site A is in the former and site B in the latter country). Chenopod shrubs dominate in both areas, including Saltbush (Atriplex sp.), Blue Bush (Maireana sp.), and Copperburrs (Sclerolaena sp.). In the flat country major river channels are dominated by River Red Gum (Eucalyptus camaldulensis), with minor drainage lines holding stands of Prickly Wattle (Acacia victoriae) and Dead Finish (Acacia tetragonophylla).

The classic pattern of arid zone ecology, with primary productivity determined by unpredictable rains (both spatially and temporally) make Fowlers Gap an ideal location for long-term ecoacoustic monitoring, with dramatic changes in both the abundance and community structure of animals and plants across years.