Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Bigger isn’t always better - especially if you’re a rodent

16.03.2004


Voles are pedestrians, too, and need just as much help crossing the road as the big animals, says new research from the University of Alberta.

"There has been a mindset that bigger is better--driven by research on large mammals and especially bears," said Dr. Colleen Cassady St. Clair, from the Department of Biological Sciences. "This research shows that small affordable culverts, which can be placed with high frequencies while building roads, are very effective conduits for small mammals."

The study, recently published in the Journal of Applied Ecology, investigated how small mammals--meadow voles, red-backed voles and deer mice--used crossing structures built across the Trans-Canada Highway. Cassady St. Clair and graduate student Wayne McDonald looked at size, vegetative cover at the entrances of the structures and the distance from home ranges to determine what kind of structures the animals would use the most.



The team captured the animals on one side of the crossing structure several different times to ensure that they had residency at that spot. They then moved them to the other side of the structure and released them--giving them a motivation to return "home." Before the release the researchers coated the animals with fluorescent dye so that, with a black light, they could monitor their return paths.

"We were apprehensive about the possibility that this manipulation would set animals up to be killed while trying to cross the road," said Cassady St. Clair. "However, we reasoned that they have to do this anyway as part of living beside a highway and we wanted to know how hard it is for them to cross. They appear to be pretty good at it. Not a single animal died in the two years of study and those that were not able to return on their own were captured and returned by Wayne."

The bottom line, says Cassady St. Clair, is that small covered culverts, which offer protection from other animals, are better for these tiny mammals. The research has already caused one of the paper’s referees, who had offered expert opinion on some new road construction, to change his instructions to the builders--asking for more culverts.

"Overall, the paper has some potential to help people appreciate that conservation involves more than big furry animals and that some quite affordable mitigation can also be quite effective for small animals," said Cassady St. Clair.

Phoebe Dey | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.ualberta.ca/

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Scientists uncover the role of a protein in production & survival of myelin-forming cells
19.07.2018 | Advanced Science Research Center, GC/CUNY

nachricht NYSCF researchers develop novel bioengineering technique for personalized bone grafts
18.07.2018 | New York Stem Cell Foundation

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Future electronic components to be printed like newspapers

A new manufacturing technique uses a process similar to newspaper printing to form smoother and more flexible metals for making ultrafast electronic devices.

The low-cost process, developed by Purdue University researchers, combines tools already used in industry for manufacturing metals on a large scale, but uses...

Im Focus: First evidence on the source of extragalactic particles

For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.

To rule out other origins with certainty, the team led by neutrino physicist Elisa Resconi from the Technical University of Munich and multi-wavelength...

Im Focus: Magnetic vortices: Two independent magnetic skyrmion phases discovered in a single material

For the first time a team of researchers have discovered two different phases of magnetic skyrmions in a single material. Physicists of the Technical Universities of Munich and Dresden and the University of Cologne can now better study and understand the properties of these magnetic structures, which are important for both basic research and applications.

Whirlpools are an everyday experience in a bath tub: When the water is drained a circular vortex is formed. Typically, such whirls are rather stable. Similar...

Im Focus: Breaking the bond: To take part or not?

Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.

A frequently used reaction in organic chemistry is nucleophilic substitution. It plays, for example, an important role in in the synthesis of new chemical...

Im Focus: New 2D Spectroscopy Methods

Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.

"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Leading experts in Diabetes, Metabolism and Biomedical Engineering discuss Precision Medicine

13.07.2018 | Event News

Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP: Fine Tuning for Surfaces

12.07.2018 | Event News

11th European Wood-based Panel Symposium 2018: Meeting point for the wood-based materials industry

03.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

A smart safe rechargeable zinc ion battery based on sol-gel transition electrolytes

20.07.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Reversing cause and effect is no trouble for quantum computers

20.07.2018 | Information Technology

Princeton-UPenn research team finds physics treasure hidden in a wallpaper pattern

20.07.2018 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>