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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Seeking Nature’s Limits: Ecologists in the Field

Published by: KNNV

1st December 2005

This vividly-illustrated book offers a diverse array of ecological tales, showcasing how animals navigate the boundaries set by their physiology and environment. One chapter recounts the story of the beaver's return to the Netherlands. Please note, this resource is not open-access.

The beaver tail function in swimming and connective-tissue structure

Published by: Integrative and Comparative Biology

1st December 2005

The beaver is uniquely adapted for swimming, with a streamlined body and webbed feet. This document studies the function of the beaver tail. The tail has a muscular base and a flattened "paddle." The tail is shown to propel the beaver through water by undulating. This adds to the power from the paddling of the beavers' hind feet. This observation is said to be consistent with how biologists think mammals evolved towards life in the water. Please note, this resource is not open-access.

Sequence diversity of the MHC DRB gene in the Eurasian beaver (Castor fiber)

Published by: Molecular Ecology

1st December 2005

This study explores how a specific set of genes - the Major Histocompatibility Complex - vary in beavers. In general, these genes are very diverse in animals but scientists found limited variation in most of the beaver populations studied. This lack of diversity may be due to the population bottleneck created by over-hunting. The authors set out some implications for beaver conservation.

Prevalence of Agglutinating Antibodies to Toxoplasma gondii and Sarcocystis neurona in Beavers (Castor canadensis) From Massachusetts

Published by: Journal of Parasitology

1st October 2005

Researchers investigated the presence of two parasites in beavers from Massachusetts, USA. 62 blood samples were collected and tested showing a low overall prevalence: 10% of samples were positive for T. gondii and 6% for S. neurona. The presence of these parasites in beavers suggests they have been ingesting it from nearby water or foliage, possibly as a result of contamination by cats or opossums.

Mitochondrial phylogeography of the Eurasian beaver Castor fiber L.

Published by: Molecular Ecology

1st October 2005

In this study, researchers analysed the genes of Eurasian beaver populations from across Eurasia. They focused on 8 'relict' populations that survived the peak of beaver overhunting in the late 1800s. They found 16 types of gene pattern, none of them shared by more than one of these populations. However, these 16 patterns can be grouped in two main genetic lineages, eastern and western, which were possibly formed during the last ice age. The study suggests managing each population as a distinct unit and offers guidelines for future conservation efforts.

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