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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Hyporheic Flows Along a Channelled Peatland: Influence of Beaver Dams

Published by: Canadian Water Resources Journal / Revue canadienne des ressources hydriques

1st January 2011

This study aimed to understand how beaver dams affect water movement in a peatland in Canada. They found data that conflicted with previous thinking. Beaver dams may create longer paths of water flow through the peatland system, connecting more of it to the stream, with impacts on nutrient retention and downstream water quality.

First set of microsatellite markers for genetic characterization of the Eurasian beaver (Castor fiber) based on tissue and hair samples

Published by: European Journal of Wildlife Research

29th December 2010

This study identified new genetic markers for the Eurasian beaver which can help scientists to identify which subspecies the beaver is from. This information can be used to understand how beavers have dispersed over time. These markers can be identified from DNA samples in the beavers' hair, which can be taken from the beaver without hurting them. The author recommends this as a tool in conservation going forward.

The River Discontinuum: Applying Beaver Modifications to Baseline Conditions for Restoration of Forested Headwaters

Published by: BioScience

1st December 2010

Billions of dollars are spent on river restoration in the USA. Often this is without a clear reference condition; instead, practitioners may aim for a free-flowing, continuous watercourse. However, North American beavers, as a natural part of rivers' ecological processes, build dams which create discontinuities in river systems - the exact opposite. This article explores the ecological benefit of such discontinuities and proposes that river restoration efforts should use human engineering only when it is not possible to reintroduce beavers.

The importance of aquatic vegetation in beaver diets and the seasonal and habitat specificity of aquatic‐terrestrial ecosystem linkages in a subarctic environment

Published by: Oikos

18th November 2010

In this text, scientists sought to understand how much North American beavers in subarctic regions rely on aquatic plants for food. They found that beavers consumed 60-80% aquatic vegetation. Comparing pond- to stream-dwelling beavers, they found that pond-dwelling beavers rely on aquatic plants more in winter, whereas stream-dwelling beavers rely more on shrubs growing on land. This is influenced by the fact that ponds freeze over during the winter in this region. Please note, this resource is not open-access.

Re-Evaluation of Sinocastor (Rodentia: Castoridae) with Implications on the Origin of Modern Beaver

Published by: PLoS One

15th November 2010

The study analyses the skull shape of an ancient beaver ancestor found in China. The scientists describe very different features to modern day species. As a result, they enters into a debate amongst historians around the classification of species, confirming that a genus called Sinocastor was different from that of modern beavers. They suggest that today's species of beaver may have evolved from animals from Asia.

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