Number Poster Abstracts Symposium




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Number

Poster Abstracts

Symposium

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Arenaviruses and hantaviruses in small mammals of Eastern Africa J. Tesikova, (jana.tesikova@centrum.cz), Masaryk Uni., Brno, Inst.Vert.Biol.,Konesin, Czech Rep.,Y. Meheretu,(meheretu@yahoo.com), Uni. Antwerp, Belgium, Mekelle Uni., Ethiopia, J. Bryja, (bryja@brno.cas.cz), J.G. de Bellocq, (joellegouy@gmail.com) Arenaviruses and hantaviruses are enveloped single-stranded RNA viruses, whose primary hosts are rodents and to a lesser extent soricomorphs and bats. Some representatives are important pathogens of humans and may cause serious health problems. The data about the diversity and distribution of these viruses in some regions are limited, especially in developing countries, where the risk of human infection is considerable and rodents have a major public health relevance. In this study we screened a comprehensive collection of rodent and soricomorph samples (dried blood and kidney) from Eastern Africa (Tanzania, Mozambique, Kenya, Ethiopia, DR Congo and Zambia) to investigate the presence of hanta- and arenaviruses. Among 3465 tested individuals, we detected new strains of Mobala and Mopeia arenaviruses from 4 host species in Ethiopia, Mozambique, DR Congo and Tanzania. Hantavirus-positive samples were found only in Ethiopia, from where we described a novel hantavirus, Tigray, hosted by the Ethiopian endemic rodent Stenocephalemys albipes.

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Wildlife-livestock interactions: implications for disease transmission between Eurasian badger and domestic cattle D. O'Mahony, (declan.o'mahony@afbini.gov.uk), Agri-Food and Biosciences Insitute, Belfast, UK. Bovine tuberculosis (TB) is a significant disease of domestic livestock, having considerable cost implications in its management. Wildlife species have been implicated in the transmission and maintenance of the disease in the rural environment with a particular focus on the Eurasian badger (Meles meles) in several countries. I utilised recent advances in technology to investigate interactions between badgers and cattle when animals are at pasture (proximity collars) and determined intrusion rates by badgers into farmyards (camera surveillance) in a 1,300 ha TB “hotspot”. A range of other studies on badger ecology also occurred in the area including the use of GPS collars. Preliminary data analysis suggested that the level of direct contact between badgers and cattle is very limited both at pasture and in farm buildings. This suggests that indirect sources of contact may be more important as potential disease transmission routes in this system.

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Quantifying and reducing indirect badger–cattle contact L. Ovens, (lo212@exeter.ac.uk), ESI, Uni. Exeter, Cornwall, UK, D. Hodgson, Daphne Du Maurier CEC, Uni. Exeter, Cornwall, UK, S. Carter, Nat. Wildl. Management Cent., Nympsfield, UK, Robbie McDonald Bovine tuberculosis (bTB) is a costly and problematic disease of cattle in the UK, caused by the bacterium Mycobacterium bovis. The European badger (Meles meles) is a well-known wildlife reservoir of bTB, but the route of disease transmission between badgers and cattle still remains unknown. At pasture, cattle contact with badger excretory products is thought to pose a high indirect transmission risk, with contact occurring more frequently than previously thought. However, a wide empirical study quantifying this contact is lacking. This poster presents a study currently in progress quantifying this indirect contact at farms across the South-West of England, utilising proximity logger technology. The efficacy of a simple and practical cattle exclusion technique, to reduce risk of transmission, is also being assessed

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A study of parasite dynamics in cycling field vole (Microtus agrestis) populations in Finland P. Stuart, (peterdstuart@hotmail.com), Finnish Forest Res.Inst., Suonenjoki, Finland, K. Forbes, (kristian.forbes@metla.fi), H. Henttonen, (heikki.henttonen@metla.fi), O. Huitu (otso.huitu@metla.fi) The role of parasites in rodent population cycles has long been debated. Transmission of parasites should increase with host density if they are to regulate their hosts. Parasites are also affected by changes in their host population dynamics. This study aimed to track the prevalence and intensities of field vole gastrointestinal parasites over the course of a population cycle. Field voles (n= 736) were trapped throughout Finland, in spring and autumn, from 2008 to 2011. Morphological measurements, sex, reproductive status and age were recorded for each vole. An abundance index (1 + number of voles trapped)/ (number of traps set) × 100) was calculated for each site sampling point. Index values observed ranged from 2 to 44.9. Eight species of parasite species were identified; 72% of voles were infected with at least one parasite species. Analysis is being carried out and key findings will be discussed.

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Demography of the meadow vole, Microtus pennsylvanicus, in southeastern Virginia J. Eggleston, (jeggl001@odu.edu), Old Dominion Uni., Norfolk, Virginia, USA, R.K. Rose, (brose@odu.edu) We conducted a mark-capture-release (MCR) monitoring program of meadow voles, Microtus pennsylvanicus, on two separate old field restoration sites owned by The Nature Conservancy, in the Northwest River basin, formerly a part of the Great Dismal Swamp in Chesapeake, Virginia. We established an 8 x 8 research grid, at 12.5m intervals, with two modified Fitch traps per station on the Su Tract from 2002 to 2005 and on the Stephens Tract from 2005 to 2012. Both grids were trapped for three days each month, averaging 4600 trap nights per year. The life history traits for these two populations were analyzed and compared with data throughout their range for yearly and seasonal changes in density, individual, survival and growth rates, mean body mass, sex ratios, transient/resident ratios, periods of reproduction, as well as lifespans.

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Densities and spatial behaviour of small mammals in an Austrian primeval forest I. Kempter, (iris.kempter@boku.ac.at), Univ. of Nat.Res.& Life Sci., Vienna, K. Heissenberger, (k.heissenberger@students.boku.ac.at), U.Nopp-Mayr, (ursula.nopp-mayr@boku.ac.at), K. Hackländer, (klaus.hackländer@boku.ac.at) Forest rodents represent a seed predator and disperser guild in forest ecosystems influencing regeneration dynamics and tree species coexistence. Rodent population dynamics and their spatial behavior were observed in a primeval mountain forest in the Wilderness Area Dürrenstein, Lower Austria. Small mammals were captured in June, August, and October 2012, gathering a peak year of small mammals after heavy masting of European beech, Fagus sylvatica, in 2011. We selected five study sites representing different forest habitats: managed and primeval forest, a 20 year old uncleared windthrow, and an early succession area (avalanche 2009) within the primeval forest. Population density and home range size were estimated using program DENSITY 5.0 (Efford 2012). Differences in annual and seasonal density as well as moved distances were described for the two main species, the bank vole, Myodes (formerly Clethrionomys) glareolus and the yellow necked mouse, Apodemus flavicollis.

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Density of jaguars (Panthera onca) and pumas (Puma concolor) in El Eden Ecological Reserve, Quintana Roo, Mexico D. Avila, (terapan@hotmail.com), Colegio de Postgraduados, Montecillo, Estado de Mexico, Mexico, C. Chavez, (j.chavez@correo.ler.uam.mx), Uni. Auto.Metropol., M. Lazcano, (mlazcanobarrero@hotmail.com), El Eden Ecol. Reserve The Yucatan Peninsula is home to the largest population of jaguars in Mexico. This study was conducted in El Eden Ecological Reserve, Quintana Roo from 2008 to 2012. Tropical forest and acahual are the dominant vegetation. The abundance of jaguars and pumas was calculated with CAPTURE, using increased probability of capture over five days as a sampling period. We used MMDM/2 MMDM and telemetry data to estimate the density. The sampling effort was homogenized at 2137 hours/trap/year. The capture probability was greater than 0.9. It marked the closed population assumption with α > 0.05. Abundance of jaguars and pumas was greater in 2012 (6 +/- 2 and 12 +/-3 individuals respectively) and densities using MMDM (4,961 km and 7,877 km respectively), were 2/100 km2 and 2.5/100 km2 respectively.

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Effects of rainfall on population dynamics of Atlantic forest small mammals: evidence for a trade off between survival and reproduction C. de Barros, (camiladebarros@uol.com.br), Uni.São Paulo, Brazil, T. Coulson (timothy.coulson@zoo.ox.ac.uk), Oxford Univ., UK, T. Puettker, (thomaspuettker@gmx.de), R. Pardini, (renatapardini@uol.com.br) The factors that affect population dynamics have been a major issue for population ecologists. Rainfall can be an important exogenous factor as it is commonly the main determinant of food availability, and is often positively related to population size. Energy obtained from food can improve body condition and then population survival rates, or be allocated into reproduction, increasing recruitment rates, via newborn individuals. However, the high physiological costs of reproduction in small mammals can lead to a decrease in survival, thus making survival rates negatively related to rainfall. To date few studies focused on the effects of rainfall on both survival rates and reproduction. Using a capture-recapture dataset, we investigated the importance of rainfall for population dynamics of four Atlantic Forest small rodents. We found that, for most species, rainfall decreases survival and increases reproduction, indicating a trade-off between these two critical population parameters.

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Habitat quality vs. landscape metrics as determinants of abundance and composition of small mammals in Atlantic Forest remnants Brazil A.C. Delciellos, (anadelciellos@yahoo.com.br), Uni.Fed.do Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, M.V. Vieira, (mvvieira@biologia.ufrj.br), C.E. de Viveiros Grelle, (grellece@biologia.ufrj.br), P. Cobra, Ecotropica Ambiental (priscillacobra@gmail.com) The conceptual foundation of habitat fragmentation research is based on island biogeography and metapopulation theories, where fragment size and isolation are the most important determinants of species richness and composition. Habitat quality inside forest fragments has received considerably less attention. We determine how habitat structure, a measure of habitat quality, compares to fragment size, shape, isolation, and matrix properties as determinants of richness and composition of non-volant small mammals in a fragmented landscape of Atlantic Forest. Small mammals were surveyed in 25 fragments in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. A total of 36 candidates models were compared by Akaike Information Criteria. Habitat structure was the main determinant of assemblages, which varied mostly along a gradient of canopy and understory openness, and presence of fallen logs. Traditional landscape geometric variables provided a smaller additional predictive ability. Habitat quality may be an unappreciated yet important determinant of assemblages.

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Long-term population and diversity trends across mammalian communities in a shifting conservation landscape in Kenya A. Massey, (aimeelmassey@gmail.com), Uni.Michigan, Ann Arbor, USA We focus on community-level change in the Aberdare mountain range ecosystem, a matrix of tropical forests that support a high concentration of large-bodied mammalian species. Conservation efforts, particularly the construction of an electric fence around the entire perimeter of the ecosystem, have drastically changed the structure of the landscape. Many have hailed these changes as a win-win for wildlife and the communities that surround the protected area. However, little work has been done to document long-term trends in population and diversity of the highly-valued mammalian communities. Here we use exceptionally long-term datasets of daily observation data from two flagship wildlife lodges in Aberdare National Park to investigate spatial and temporal changes in this habitat. Our results show an overall decrease in wildlife population and significant differences between the population and diversity trends across the two study sites. We discuss the potential impacts of the Aberdare fence on these mammalian communities.

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Temporal variation on survival, and population dynamics of three sympatric rodents C. Rocha, (rocha.clarisse@gmail.com), Uni.de Brasília, Brazil, R. Ribeiro, (rs.raquel@gmail.com), Uni.Cat.de Brasília, I. de Mattos, (mtt.ingrid@gmail.com), J. Marinho-Filho, (jmarinho@unb.br) We tested the hypothesis the abundance of rodents varies with dry and wet seasons, this variation remaining constant between years. A capture-mark-recapture program was performed at Aguas Emendadas Ecological Station, Federal District, Brazil. Two grids of baited live traps were set monthly in a grassland from March 2004 to April 2010. The abundance of each species was calculated using MARK. Calomys tener and Thalpomys lasiotis showed marked seasonal variation being more abundant in the early dry period. Calomys maintained numbers over time, while Thalpomys showed a population decline and was not captured in the last year of the study. Necromys lasiurus had no seasonal pattern but had a biannual fluctuation in abundance. Seasonality of Calomys and Thalpomys may result from an annual reproductive cycle associated with the rainy season, the recruitment occurring until mid dry season. Population cycles of Necromys seem to be explained by factors such as productivity, predation and competition.

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Variations of a small mammal community in a changing landscape in southeastern Virginia K. Rogers, (kroge013@odu.edu), Old Dominion Uni. Norfolk, Virginia, USA, S. Crawford, (scraw020@odu.edu), J. Eggleston, (jeggl001@odu.edu), R.K. Rose, (brose@odu.edu) In 2005, an ongoing monitoring program of the small mammal community began on a secondary successional wetland site owned by The Nature Conservancy. We hypothesized the spatial distribution of the herbivorous small mammal community and populations would be related to that of vegetation. Our study site consisted of an 8 x 8 grid, at 12.5m intervals, and had two modified Fitch traps per station. We trapped for three days each month, averaging 4600 trap nights per year. After determining the spatial densities for the small mammal community and populations, we used ArcGIS to map and conduct cluster analyses using a combination of LiDAR data and ground surveys, with respect to the small mammal community and population densities. As succession continued, this site experienced a general and parallel decline of all old field species, both for vegetation and the small mammal community.

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Different patterns of populations outbreaks in two rodents from the Brazilian semiarid region G. Sobral, (gisasobral@gmail.com), Mus.Nacional/UFRJ, Rio de Janeiro, Brasil, J. Alves de Oliveira, (jaoliv@mn.ufrj.br) Life histories comparisons may identify common components among different strategies. This study focuses on a comparison between life cycles of two rodent species of similar size living in the same region, Wiedomys pyrrhorhinos and Necromys lasiurus. Sampling comprised about 4500 individuals collected in semi-arid Brazil between 1951 and 1955. Both species had population booms with alternating densities during this period. Necromys but not Wiedomys showed a population outbreak seven months after an abnormal rain season (three times above average). A second synchronised outbreak occurred in both species, with Wiedomys showing a higher density. The a reproductive period in both species was concentrated in the months following the rainy season, but reproductive female Wiedomys were also captured during the dry season. Such strategy may have evolved as an adaptation to long periods of drought in semi-arid Brazil where Wiedomys is endemic, whilst Necromys is more generalist, inhabiting mesic microhabitats.

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Dynamics of a fluctuating vole population: effects of phase, density and climatic variation working in synergy M. Oli, (olim@ufl.edu), Uni. Florida, Gainesville, Florida, USA, V. Goswami, (vgoswami@ufl.edu), L.L. Getz, (l getz@life.illinois.edu), J.A. Hostetler, (HostetlerJ@si.edu) The role of density-dependent and independent processes in governing the dynamics of mammal populations that exhibit high amplitude, often multiannual, fluctuations in abundance, has been the subject of intense debate among ecologists. We address this long-standing issue by applying CMR analysis to 25 years of monthly trapping data of a fluctuating population of prairie vole Microtus ochrogaster in Illinois, USA, to estimate and model realized population growth rates and associated vital rates as a function of vole density and density-independent climatic variation. Phase-specific effects of vole density lagged by one month and mean monthly temperatures with no time lags were the primary drivers of variation in realized population growth rate. The underlying vital rates, survival and recruitment, were affected by phase of population fluctuations, vole density, mean monthly temperatures, and the additive and interactive effects of these variables. We conclude that the synergistic effects of density-dependent and -independent variables during each phase of density fluctuations drive the dynamics of our study population.

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Functional morphology of the quill vibrating mechanism as a sounding apparatus in the streaked tenrec H. Endo, (hendo@um.u-tokyo.ac.jp), Uni. Mus., Uni. Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan, A. Matsui, (Amatsuidenshi@yahoo.co.jp), T. Yonezawa, (Tyonezawadenshi@yahoo.co.jp), Fudan Uni. A.Shinohara, (Ashinoharadenshi@yahoo.co.jp), Uni. Miyazaki The streaked tenrec (Hemicentetes semispinosus) possesses a quill vibrating mechanism in the dorsal side of the caudal trunk that has evolved as a specialized sounding apparatus for communication. An arrangement of 15-16 light-brown quills was observed in its dorso-caudal area. Thickened cutaneous muscles were revealed beneath the quills. We named this structure “quill vibrator disc (QVD)”. QVD was found to be 16.8 mm in length and 8.55 mm in width in a typical adult. The longitudinal musculature was found to be symmetrical about the sagittal plane was developed in the QVD. Immunohistochemecally, myocytes were found to contain mainly the fast myosin and not slow myosin. These findings indicate that QVD is an extraordinarily specialized apparatus consisting of the cutaneous myocytes that contributes to vibration of quills and to the production of noise for sound communication in this species.

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Morphological convergence and disparity in Malagasy tenrecs (Afrosoricida, Tenrecidae) S. Finlay, (sfinlay@tcd.ie), Trinity Coll.Dublin, Ireland, N. Cooper, (ncooper@tcd.ie) Understanding patterns of morphological variation, such as convergence and disparity, remains a central challenge in evolutionary biology. Tenrecs appear to be both disparate from each other and convergent with other “insectivore” mammals. It is suggested that these morphological patterns may arise as a function of ecological similarities and differences among the species. However, previous studies have neither quantified morphological (dis)similarity in tenrecs nor attempted to identify reasons for the occurrence of these patterns. We collected morphological data from tenrecs and the mammals they resemble convergently . We use traditional and geometric morphometric techniques to assess the evidence for significant morphological disparity among tenrecs and convergences among tenrecs and other species. We also compare species’ ecological niches using novel techniques and determine the influence of ecological similarity in contributing to morphological convergence. The methods developed in this work have useful applications in diverse research areas including functional diversity, biodiversity monitoring and conservation.

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Development of novel real-time TaqMan® PCR assays for the non-invasive genetic monitoring of otter (Lutra lutra) populations D. O'Neill, (dfoneill@wit.ie), Waterford Inst.Technol., Waterford, Ireland, P.D. Turner, (pturner@wit.ie), D.B. O’Meara, (domeara@wit.ie), C. O’Reilly, (coreilly@wit.ie) Developing strategies to maintain biodiversity requires baseline information on the current status of each species. The development of genetic techniques and their application to non-invasively collected samples has the potential to yield information on the structure of elusive animal populations and so are important tools in conservation management. Using DNA isolated from faecal samples can be challenging owing to low quantity and quality of DNA recoverd. This study presents the development of novel, real-time polymerase chain reaction assays using fluorescently-labelled TaqMan® MGB probes enabling species and sex identification of Eurasian otter using spraints (faeces). These assays can also be used in determining an optimum microsatellite panel and can be employed as cost-saving screening tools for downstream genetic testing including microsatellite genotyping and haplotype analysis. The techniques are shown to work efficiently with DNA isolated from otter tissue, hair, spraint, blood and anal jelly samples.

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