Science database

KNOWLEDGE BASE

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 Ponds: Resurgent Nitrogen Sinks for Rural Watersheds in the Northeastern United States

Published by: Journal of Environmental Quality

16th September 2015

Beaver ponds increasingly reshape streams in the USA, creating pond networks. This study looked at nitrate processing in three beaver ponds. They found that around one-third of the nitrate was processed, much of this through a pathway called denitrification. The findings suggest beaver ponds, at a landscape scale, could reduce nitrate levels in river systems with high loading.

Masticatory Muscle Anatomy and Feeding Efficiency of the American Beaver, Castor canadensis (Rodentia, Castoridae)

Published by: Journal of Mammalian Evolution

12th August 2015

This article described how beavers possess specialised skull, jaw, and muscles that enable powerful biting. Despite having relatively smaller muscles compared to other rodents, beavers showed remarkably high bite forces, primarily due to being able to efficiently direct the force through their lower incisors. This adaptation enables beavers to excel as ecosystem engineers, particularly in their tree-cutting behaviour.

Experimental evidence that the ecosystem effects of aquatic herbivory by moose and beaver may be contingent on water body type

Published by: Freshwater Biology

1st August 2015

This paper looks at the impacts that moose and beaver have on plants in different freshwater ecosystems. These different ecosystems included some made by beavers and others not. There were some differences in how plants responded to grazing but, on the whole, grazing led to only seasonal reductions in plant biomass. The authors suggest that grazing increased the amount of light available to plants, enabling them to recover and ensuring long-term stability of plant communities. Please note, this resource is not open-access.

Echinococcus multilocularis Detection in Live Eurasian Beavers (Castor fiber) Using a Combination of Laparoscopy and Abdominal Ultrasound under Field Conditions

Published by: PLoS One

13th June 2015

This text describes a technique for veterinarians and ecologists to screen beavers for a dangerous parasite. This parasite is absent in the UK but may be carried by Eurasian beavers. The authors screened live and dead beavers from Scotland and Germany, finding no signs of infection in Scottish individuals but suspected infection in two German beavers. This is the first non-lethal procedure for testing beavers in the field so will be very helpful for managing disease risk.

Haematology and Serum Biochemistry Parameters and Variations in the Eurasian Beaver (Castor fiber)

Published by: PLoS One

12th June 2015

This study establishes typical blood characteristics for Eurasian beavers in Norway and England (although these originated from Germany). There was no variation between sexes, age, but some slight differences were noted between the two geographic groups. These reference values are important for assessing beaver health and welfare, especially in reintroduction programs.

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