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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Interactions among herbivory, climate, topography and plant age shape riparian willow dynamics in northern Yellowstone National Park, USA

Published by: Journal of Ecology

1st May 2014

This study seeks to understand how the willow tree food web works in Yellowstone, USA. They find that the fate of the willow doesn't only rely on the population density of elk who graze on them, but also relates to beaver populations, landscape features, the age of willow plants, and the climate.

Beaver dams shift desert fish assemblages toward dominance by non-native species (Verde River, Arizona, USA)

Published by: Ecology of Freshwater Fish

1st May 2014

This study examines fish populations in beaver ponds found in dry areas. It found that these ponds, compared to stretches of river without beaver activity, had more non-native fish species. Native fish were the minority in all stretches, but were still less common in beaver ponds. This suggests that beaver ponds could be sources of non-native fish which might harm native fish populations.

Aspen Restoration Using Beaver on the Northern Yellowstone Winter Range under Reduced Ungulate Herbivory

Published by: Restoration Ecology

1st May 2014

Aspen trees have struggled to grow in part of Yellowstone, USA, due to elk grazing and lack of disturbance. Beaver reintroduction in 1991 helped by 'disturbing' the ecosystem by removing mature trees and stimulating aspen regrowth. However, elk browsing held back the recovery. Since wolves return, the lower number of elk has allowed aspen communities to regenerate. Please note, this resource is not open-access.

Ancient mitochondrial DNA and the genetic history of Eurasian beaver (Castor fiber) in Europe

Published by: Molecular Ecology

1st April 2014

This paper explored the genetics of ancient and modern beavers. By the late 19th century, human hunting had wiped out Eurasian beavers across much of their original range; this study found that this hunting has led to a decline in beavers' genetic diversity. There are three distinct genetic groups of beavers now existing and, even though populations are recovering, the genetic diversity of beavers is not as broad as it was before the low-point of beaver population. Please note, this resource is not open-access.

Ear-Tag Loss Rates in American Beavers

Published by: Wildlife Society Bulletin

1st March 2014

Being able to identify beavers is crucial for studying them. This study reported on 627 beavers with ear tags in the USA and how the tags fared over 6 years. Only 6% lost a tag; tag loss didn't depend on factors like age or sex. Overall, the author says that ear-tagging methods are reliable. Please note, this resource is not open-access.

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