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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A DNA assay for rapid discrimination between beaver species as a tool for alien species management

Published by: European Journal of Wildlife Research

22nd February 2014

This article describes a quick and cheap genetic test to distinguish between North American and Eurasian beavers. This is useful for identifying invasive species, especially in regions where they overlap. The test works on different types of samples and was tested on beavers in Scotland of unknown origin.

Beavers and lilies: Selective herbivory and adaptive foraging behaviour

Published by: Freshwater Biology

7th February 2014

Scientists studied beavers feeding preferences for white water lilies in Scotland. They found that beavers selectively choose larger leaves, possibly to avoid toxins in smaller ones. They mainly graze near the shore. Overall, beavers remove a small percentage of water lily leaves with minimal impact on overall plant diversity.

Effects of spatiotemporal resource heterogeneity on home range size of American beaver

Published by: Journal of Zoology

30th January 2014

Here, researchers report on a study of 26 North American beavers in the USA to understand how the availability of plant resources affects the size of their range. They found that beavers' range sizes depended on factors like how densely plants were growing in the area and how the plants' availability changed over the course of the seasons. Beavers also adjusted their home range sizes based on habitat productivity.

Wolves, white-tailed deer, and beaver: implications of seasonal prey switching for woodland caribou declines

Published by: Ecography

1st December 2013

This article describes the interactions of wolves with various species of prey in Alberta, Canada. They found that wolves mainly hunted deer in winter and beavers in summer. Because the beavers are often found in peatlands along with the caribou, this means that wolves come into contact with caribou more in the summer. This coincides with the fact that more caribou died in the summer. Understanding these patterns - alongside the impacts of human industrial activity - helps to better design management programmes to protect caribou.

The Battle for British Beavers

Published by: British Wildlife

1st August 2013

In this article, scientists describe the state of play for beaver re-introductions to Britain. They summarise many different aspects of beavers' impacts: from history to health, genetics to biodiversity. Management options are described. Finally, the status of beaver populations and of the political debate in the different British countries are summarised. Whilst progress was being made with the Welsh Government, the lack of political support in England (aside from in the grassroots) was noted.

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