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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Showing 525 articles

Beaver assisted river valley formation

Published by: River Research and Applications

3rd February 2011

The research uncovers a way beavers shape landscapes by creating meadows. In the USA, beavers built a dam in a river, triggering a flood which drowned vegetation, leaving only hummocks untouched. Sediment accumulated along the flood's path and remained after the dam broke. This sediment, raised above future floods, supported new vegetation growth, forming diverse meadows. This study expands our understanding of how beavers influence valley ecosystems. Please note, this resource is not open-access.

Does the morphology of beaver ponds alter downstream ecosystems?

Published by: Hydrobiologia

2nd February 2011

In this article, researchers report on attempts to work out how beaver dams influence ecosystems downstream. They looked at 12 beaver ponds over two years, one very wet and the other very dry. They found a number of impacts but none of them consistent, depending not only on the size of the dam but also the size of the pond and water levels more broadly. The authors note that the knowledge gathered about human-made lakes and ponds is of limited use when trying to understand beaver ponds.

Mitochondrial Genomes Reveal Slow Rates of Molecular Evolution and the Timing of Speciation in Beavers (Castor), One of the Largest Rodent Species

Published by: PLoS One

28th January 2011

This study explores the evolutionary history of beavers by studying the genes of both living beaver species. The scientists found that beavers are closely related to scaly-tailed squirrels, who may have diverged from other rodents around 54 million years ago (mya). The divergence between North American and Eurasian beavers probably occurred over 7 mya, possibly due to migration from Eurasia to North America. Finally, they find that the last common ancestor of all the Eurasian beaver populations probably lived much earlier than thought, around 210,000 years ago.

River management and habitat characteristics of three sympatric aquatic rodents: common muskrat, coypu and European beaver

Published by: European Journal of Wildlife Research

20th January 2011

The study in the French Ardennes region compared the ecological needs of three aquatic rodents: the invasive coypu and muskrat, and the protected European beaver. Coypus and muskrats were found in various habitats while beavers preferred wider waterways with specific woody plants. The findings suggest potential settlement areas for each species, but more data for beavers is needed for conclusive management decisions.

Welsh Beaver Assessment Initiative Report: An investigation into the feasibility of reintroducing European Beaver (Castor fiber) to Wales

Published by: Wildlife Trusts Wales

1st January 2011

This report set out the reasons for, and feasibility of, reintroducing beavers to Wales. It describes beavers' ecology as well as its current legislative and reintroduction status across Europe. The authors also set out potential sources of conflict and mechanisms for managing those. A trial re-introduction is proposed, including ideas for funding and an exit strategy.

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