Mammals In a Sustainable Environment
Start date: Feb 28, 2011,
End date: Dec 30, 2014
MISE aims to use DNA analysis of non-invasive samples to monitor small and medium sized mammals in the cross-border region. Monitoring and conserving biodiversity is increasingly being recognised as critical for sustainable development. Developing strategies to maintain biodiversity requires baseline information on the current status and ecosystem requirements for each individual species. Small and medium sized mammals (such as pine marten, red squirrel, bank vole, dormouse & watervole) are key components of most ecosystems but can be difficult to monitor due to small numbers, elusive and/or nocturnal lifestyle. Traditional survey methods often depend on live trapping which has many disadvantages such as costs, labour intensive and is stressful to the animals. Project Objectives Use DNA based techniques to monitor key mammal species from non-invasively collected samples. For the purposes of this project the following target groups of mammals have been selected: • Red squirrels conservation: hair tube surveys will be carried out to define the population centres. This will inform trapping for red and grey squirrels.• Pine marten habitat comparison: pine martens are abundant in Waterford and present in other Irish counties in the eligible area but are very rare in Wales.• Otter behaviour: survey work on coastal and river otter distribution is ongoing in Wales. These skills will be applied to river catchments in Waterford.• Small mammal monitoring: small mammals are not only intrinsically important but form an important prey base for raptors and medium-sized carnivores. Data on their distribution and numbers is a valuable baseline of particular long term value in monitoring the effects of climate change.• Other Carnivore Surveys: little is known about the distribution of the stoat in Ireland and stoat, weasel and polecat in Wales.• Bat Dietary Analysis: DNA based analysis of insects in bat faecal pellets. This is important to look for changes over time as a consequence of climate change. Heighten public awareness of mammals in the environment by involving volunteers in sample collection. Volunteers will be recruited from the general public but also key staff, such as forest workers, local government and the utility supplier staff. Develop and run a range of workshops and training courses to enhance public understanding of the mammals in Ireland and Wales. To provide volunteers with the relevant expertise, a series of training courses will be developed and run in Ireland and Wales.
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