Science database


We have gathered decades of scientific research from Great Britain, continental Europe and North America to share with people interested in diving deeper into the world of beavers.

This list of resources is being constantly amended and updated.

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Beaver dams, streamflow complexity, and the distribution of a rare minnow, Lepidomeda copei

Published by: Ecology of Freshwater Fish

1st April 2018

In the USA, scientists explored whether a rare species of minnow, the northern leatherside chub, thrived in habitats around beaver dams. The results showed that the chub preferred warmer water, abundant aquatic life, and complex streamflows. All of these were found around beaver dams, but the scientists acknowledge that this is just one area and the test should be repeated on other sites.

Do wolves ambush beavers? Video evidence for higher-order hunting strategies

Published by: Ecosphere

30th March 2018

A debate surrounded the extent to which wolves used advanced thinking for hunting. Wolves typically hunt larger prey but occasionally target beavers. This study reports on the first-ever documented case of a wolf attacking a beaver. This event was recorded on video and shows that the wolf takes the beaver by surprise, showing advanced cognitive skills - they likely learn from past encounters to hunt effectively.

The forgotten prey of an iconic predator: a review of interactions between grey wolves Canis lupus and beavers Castor spp.

Published by: Mammal Review

2nd March 2018

With the relationship between beavers and wolves being pretty poorly understood, this text tried to bring together the research that had been done to identify what more research was needed. Wolves prey on beavers, with beavers being especially vulnerable in the ice-free season. However, beavers aren't wolves' primary prey. The complexities of this relationship had received little robust research and this was identified as a research need going forward.

Beaver Habitat Selection for 24 Yr Since Reintroduction North of Yellowstone National Park

Published by: Rangeland Ecology & Management

1st March 2018

Beavers vanished from areas north of Yellowstone National Park in the mid-1900s due to trapping, disease, and over-grazing of willow by elk. This paper brings together 24 years of data since their reintroduction in 1986. It finds that beavers have thrived despite sub-optimal availability of food, and that beavers have helped willow trees expand in the area. Beavers are shown to be helpful in ecological restoration efforts.

Modeling intrinsic potential for beaver (Castor canadensis) habitat to inform restoration and climate change adaptation

Published by: PLoS One

28th February 2018

Beavers, through dam-building, restore ecosystems: they are an increasingly common climate adaptation strategy. This study constructed a model to predict where beavers may be likely to settle across 5,000 km of rivers and streams in the USA. The model was based entirely on remote data but was checked with on-the-ground surveys. Existing patterns of land use and land ownership (such as by large, private timber companies) may limit restoration efforts.

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