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ISSN (Online) 2603-3925
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  • First data about cave fauna from the Albanian Alps

    • Abstract: ARPHA Conference s 5: e85375
      DOI : 10.3897/aca.5.e85375
      Authors : Joanna Kocot-Zalewska, Jakub Bienias, Robert Rozwałka, Paweł Sienkiewicz, Andrzej Woźnica : In September of 2021, a Polish expedition took place in the Valbona Valley in the Albanian Alps (Kocot-Zalewska et al. 2021) During the expedition, a project study of invertebrate cave fauna had begun. The main purpose of this presentation is to show the preliminary results of a study on the invertebrate fauna in the Albanian Alps. Within 14 days, arthropods were collected in subterranean habitats between 1500 and 2300 m a.s.l. The study was led on the left and right sides of the Valley. On the left side of the Valley, we explored bauxite mines and Spella Huxhise Cave; on the right side, the Ice Cave, Spella de Akullt, Spella e Valbones, and Spella Sportive caves were explored. Mainly, the direct searching method was used. However, pitfall traps with baits were used in one cave and one tunnel. Altogether, from five caves and a complex of four tunnels, 102 arthropods belonging to insects (beetles, flies, and crickets), millipedes, spiders, harvestmen, and springtails, have been collected. Flies and beetles are the most numerous groups. The majority of the collected specimens have been determined to the species level. Among these, many are new to Albanian fauna. Particular attention should be paid to the species highly related to the subterranean environment and those found in ice caves. This project will continue in the year 2022. We plan to explore the next caves in the studied area and re-examine the previously visited sites. HTML XML PDF
      PubDate: Tue, 26 Apr 2022 09:00:00 +030
       
  • The effect of climate on age specific survival and senescence in a Hazel
           Dormouse (Muscardinus avellanarius) population in Lithuania, across
           1997-2021

    • Abstract: ARPHA Conference s 5: e85540
      DOI : 10.3897/aca.5.e85540
      Authors : Thomas Berg, Fernando Colchero, Owen Jones, Lene Sanderhoff, Rimvydas Juškaitis : It is well known that survival and the dynamics of wild populations are affected by environmental factors. Recent research has found that, among some species of mammal, differences in environmental conditions between populations of the same species translate into changes in infant and juvenile mortality, but not in the rate of senescence (‘rate of aging’). This has been confirmed among primates and some species of carnivores, but has not been tested on other taxonomic groups, such as rodents. Here, we analyse age-specific survival and mortality on the most extensive capture-mark-recapture data set on Hazel Dormouse available from Lithuania. We used Bayesian survival trajectory analysis (BaSTA) and tested different models of age-specific mortality. Since the Hazel Dormouse population is in decline across its northern distribution, potentially in response to climate change, we divided the data into three periods to assess changes in survival over time. Regional climate data were obtained from the NOAA data service to test the effect of climatic factors on survival during winter and summer respectively. Our results show that, during all three periods, male life expectancies were longer than those of females. We found that the overall level of mortality was high for all three periods, with lowest mortality during the period 1999  - 2004. We found large differences in juvenile mortality and age-independent mortality between the three periods, but not in adult mortality or in the rate of senescence. This is consistent with previous findings on other mammals, supporting the invariant rate of aging hypothesis. HTML XML PDF
      PubDate: Tue, 26 Apr 2022 09:00:00 +030
       
  • Detecting Hazel Dormice in the UK: what are we missing'

    • Abstract: ARPHA Conference s 5: e84871
      DOI : 10.3897/aca.5.e84871
      Authors : Simone Bullion, Alison Looser : Multiple techniques can be used to detect the presence of Hazel Dormice and as a result, there is reasonable confidence that lack of detection means that dormice are probably absent. In the UK, ancient woodlands are frequently considered as the reservoir of Hazel Dormouse populations and are a usual starting point for surveys. However, we present evidence that this may be one of the most difficult habitats in which to detect the species. This is largely due to many of these woodlands being unmanaged, with a poorly developed shrub layer due to heavy shading. This reduces the probability of finding natural field signs such as nests and chewed hazel nuts. Similarly, because detection devices (nest boxes, nest tubes and footprint tunnels) are typically positioned no more than two metres from the ground for ease of study, there is an assumption that Hazel Dormice will leave the dense canopy to use them. We predict that there is a higher risk of false negatives in this habitat type and that more research is needed to provide better certainty of detection when surveying in high canopy woodland. HTML XML PDF
      PubDate: Fri, 15 Apr 2022 10:45:00 +030
       
  • Ecology and biology of the Roach’s Mouse-tailed Dormouse (Myomimus
           roachi, Bate 1937)

    • Abstract: ARPHA Conference s 5: e85302
      DOI : 10.3897/aca.5.e85302
      Authors : Nedko Nedyalkov, Ivailo Raykov, Lisa Hesse, Anna Staneva : The Roach’s Mouse-tailed Dormouse (Myomimus roachi, Bate 1937) is endemic to the Western Palearctic (occurring in SE Bulgaria, Turkish and Greek Thrace, and western Anatolia) and is one of the less known mammals within the region. There is no information about its biology and ecology in the wild. In the course of the past 3 years (2019-2021), we conducted intensive research on a small population situated in southeast Bulgaria (Sakar mountain). The population was regularly monitored during the active time of the species. To study its ecology and biology we used a combination of nest boxes, live traps and camera traps. During this period, we collected 259 records of sex, age, and weight. Those bigger than 10 g. were microchipped. The active period for the Roach’s Mouse-tailed Dormouse lasts between April and September. Males emerged first from hibernation at the end of April (24th of April - the earliest registration). During this short active period, the dormouse breeds only once, the litter size being between 5-9 young. The first young appeared at the end of June. We observed a summer dormancy (estivation); the adult males became less active and went in the estivation first. The last active dormice were observed in the first ten days of September.Here we also present data about the population numbers and dynamics, age, and sex structure of Roach’s Mouse-tailed Dormouse in the study area. HTML XML PDF
      PubDate: Fri, 15 Apr 2022 10:45:00 +030
       
  • Status and distribution of dormice (Mammalia, Gliridae) in Bulgaria

    • Abstract: ARPHA Conference s 5: e85301
      DOI : 10.3897/aca.5.e85301
      Authors : Nedko Nedyalkov, Ivaylo Raykov, Yordan Koshev : Here we summarize all available data about dormice (Gliridae) in Bulgaria, published one and our own observations, collected in the last 20 years. Four species are found in Bulgaria - the Forest Dormouse (Dryomys nitedula), the Edible Dormouse (Glis glis), the Hazel Dormouse (Muscardinus avellanarius) and the Roach’s Mouse-tailed Dormouse (Myomimus roachi). Altogether we collected 1200 records from 283 locations. A database has been created in which every single record is kept. The most common and widespread species are the Edible (G. glis) and Forest Dormouse (D. nitedula), found in 212 and 139 locations respectively. They inhabit mainly the deciduous and mixed forest in the country. The Hazel Dormouse (M. avellanarius) is found in 77 locations, the bulk of them are in the mountains, but there are some locations along the Danube and southeast Bulgaria. It prefers woods with a well-developed understorey. The Roach’s mouse-tailed dormouse (M. roachi) is the rarest one - found in 26 locations in southeast Bulgaria. In contrast to the other dormice, it avoids woods and lives in semi-open habitats with shrubs, tree lines, and islands in grasslands and agricultural fields. There are several anecdotal reports of the Garden Dormouse (Eliomys quercinus) but no hard proof exists for the presence of this species. We discussed the patterns of distribution, conservation status, and coexistence of Bulgarian dormice. HTML XML PDF
      PubDate: Fri, 15 Apr 2022 10:45:00 +030
       
  • How to deal with Hazel Dormice affected by large infrastructure projects

    • Abstract: ARPHA Conference s 5: e85238
      DOI : 10.3897/aca.5.e85238
      Authors : Lisa Höcker, Hanna Voll, Oliver Wild, Markus Dietz : Hazel Dormice (Muscardinus avellanarius) are protected by national implementation of European law. Protection comprises of the prohibition of physical harm to individuals and the destruction of breeding or nesting sites. Due to Germany’s policy goal of changing from a fossil fuel dominated energy supply to more sustainable energy sources, large infrastructural projects became crucial to, for example, redistribute energy from Northern and Eastern Germany to Bavaria. Within the context of the inevitable building projects, the protection goals for species like the Hazel Dormouse need to be maintained.The layout of such a project with a linear design stretching across hundreds of kilometers and intersecting different landscapes and habitats poses new challenges. Aspects of the construction phase of underground cables need to be considered in planning as well as the design of the protective strip above the finished cable. In order to plan mitigation and compensation measures, species presence and absence data need to be collected effectively.A total of 223 sample sites along a 207 km long corridor were equipped with 5,499 nest-tubes and monitored regularly. For habitat potential, biotope types were assessed and mapped within the corridor. All types of potential Hazel Dormouse habitat were selected considering regional differences. Based on previous research, we established guidelines for the transferability of presence and absence data.We present the procedure for data collection spanning a vast area using nest-tubes, proposed guidelines for the transferability of results, as well as mitigation and compensation measures necessary to ensure protection of the Hazel Dormouse. HTML XML PDF
      PubDate: Fri, 15 Apr 2022 10:45:00 +030
       
  • Protecting local populations of Hazel Dormice (Muscardinus avellanarius)
           by translocation: a long-term case study from North Rhine-Westphalia
           (Germany)

    • Abstract: ARPHA Conference s 5: e85236
      DOI : 10.3897/aca.5.e85236
      Authors : Lisa Höcker, Katja Weiß, Markus Dietz : As part of the mitigation measures adopted in the context of preparatory clearcutting for surface mining, Hazel Dormice have been translocated since 2011. The project is situated in the geographical region of Lower Rhine Basin (North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany). To date, Hazel Dormice have been translocated from an old-growth deciduous forest to four other sites. Three release sites are re-cultivation areas which were planted with trees and shrubs roughly 10 to 30 years ago. The other release site is an old-growth deciduous forest with a well-developed understory. Nest boxes were placed in the source forest and checked between April and October. Any dormice that were found were individually marked and released, inside their nest boxes, at the new sites. Two or three additional nest boxes were placed within the surroundings of each translocated box.Between 2011 and 2018 we translocated 1,840 individuals. We verify the success of translocation by monitoring the release sites in June and September of the first, second, fifth and eighth year after translocation. Additionally, a sample of 200 nest boxes were checked each month between April and October for five years. Finally, we examined groups of nest boxes shortly after translocation to gather information on the translocated animals immediately after release. Individual records reveals that translocation can be a successful conservation measure to secure local populations if their former habitat is damaged. HTML XML PDF
      PubDate: Fri, 15 Apr 2022 10:45:00 +030
       
  • Settling in: space utilization behaviour of translocated Hazel Dormice
           (Muscardinus avellanarius)

    • Abstract: ARPHA Conference s 5: e85235
      DOI : 10.3897/aca.5.e85235
      Authors : Lisa Höcker, Markus Dietz, Joanna Fietz : The Hazel Dormouse (Muscardinus avellanarius) is protected under the EU’s Habitat Directive and its national implementation, whereby physical harm to individuals as well as the destruction of breeding and nesting sites is prohibited. Within the context of inevitable environmental impacts these protection goals are not always maintained. Therefore, mitigation and compensation measures to secure a population’s viability are required.For sedentary and less mobile species like the Hazel Dormouse, mitigation often includes the translocation of individuals to a different habitat patch. In 2017 and 2018 a total of 108 individuals were translocated from an old growth oak-hornbeam forest to an area that was re-forested 40 years ago. Prior to translocation, individuals were equipped with a radio transmitter and they were followed for three consecutive nights and one control night, during which bearings were taken every five minutes using the triangulation technique. A control group of established Hazel Dormice was followed in the same manner. Nests and resting sites were searched for during the daytime.Twelve male Hazel Dormice were radio-collared and between 234 and 427 bearings were taken per individual. Resting sites of translocated dormice were mainly located within the forest canopy (33.3%). Furthermore, individuals were often found active during the daytime. Mean activity range size (MCP) and resource search areas (LoCoH 95 %) were larger in translocated dormice, whereas the mean core habitat size (LoCoH 50 %)  was larger in established dormice. The activity range during all of the monitored nights overlapped significantly more in established dormice, demonstrating exploratory behaviour by translocated individuals. HTML XML PDF
      PubDate: Fri, 15 Apr 2022 10:45:00 +030
       
  • Forests for the Forest Dormouse: Building conservation guidelines with and
           for land managers

    • Abstract: ARPHA Conference s 5: e85194
      DOI : 10.3897/aca.5.e85194
      Authors : Birgit Rotter, Robin Sandfort, Christine and Stefan Resch, Claudia Kubista : The Forest Dormouse (Dryomys nitedula) is native to a variety of Austrian forest landscapes, although recordings of the species are very rare. In a 3-year nationwide search we are trying to collect data on abundance, habitat preferences, and response to forest management practices. Nest box occupancy is recorded at 20 study sites. In an extensive citizen science initiative, we are also looking at data from footprint tunnels, camera traps and casualties from cat predation. Additionally, audio detectors (AudioMoths) are tested against other methods as a new monitoring approach.First year results indicate a surprising accumulation of Forest Dormice near or in anthropogenically shaped areas, such as settlements and pastures. Distribution of the species in Austria seems to be much more concentrated on some alpine areas than previously thought.The study results, together with data on land management, will form the basis for management guidelines which will be developed together with foresters and county administrations. HTML XML PDF
      PubDate: Fri, 15 Apr 2022 10:45:00 +030
       
  • Bridging environment, physiology and life history: stress hormones in the
           Edible Dormouse (Glis glis)

    • Abstract: ARPHA Conference s 5: e84811
      DOI : 10.3897/aca.5.e84811
      Authors : Nadine Havenstein, Franz Langer, Joanna Fietz : The performance of wild animals is impacted by diverse challenges imposed by the environment and distinct life history stages such as breeding and hibernation. Glucocorticoids (GCs) are hormonal mediators that reflect the response to these challenges, exerting their far-reaching effects on numerous processes such as energy allocation, immunity and behavior. Whereas short term elevations of GC levels are crucial for survival, by activation of the emergency life history stage, chronically increased GCs are capable of impairing various body functions and ultimately hamper survival and reproduction. The aim of this study was to disentangle the effects of reproductive activity, prolonged food limitation and hibernation on stress hormone levels in the Edible Dormouse (Glis glis) and to link them to formerly observed survival rates. We therefore measured urinary cortisol levels in wild Edible Dormice in South-western Germany during their active season (2012-2014). Results of our study revealed that reproductive activity was associated with high cortisol levels. During the mating season, particular individuals with a low body mass had high stress hormone levels. Elevated levels of cortisol were also measured during pre-hibernation fattening and were increased in females that had formerly invested in reproduction. Thus, reproduction represents a demanding, potentially stressful, event for both sexes and is linked to distinctly lowered survival rates occurring during years of high reproductive activity. Prolonged food limitation occurring during years of mast failure, did not affect stress levels and were not associated with increased mortality, demonstrating the ability of dormice to predict and cope with food restriction. HTML XML PDF
      PubDate: Fri, 15 Apr 2022 10:45:00 +030
       
  • The Benefit of Healthy Hedgerows

    • Abstract: ARPHA Conference s 5: e84975
      DOI : 10.3897/aca.5.e84975
      Authors : Ian White, Megan Gimber : There is an interest in hedgerows because they are home to both plants and animals and provide habitat connection corridors to enable wildlife can move around the landscape. They also deliver a number of additional benefits to farmland, beyond that of a field boundary. These can include:• shelter for livestock• regulation of water supply for crops• improvements in animal health• reduction in soil erosion• reduction in the need for pesticide use• sustaining pollinator communities which support productive farming• providing a sustainable source of wood fuel• reducing the risk of bovine tuberculosis in cattle herds• reducing the rate of climate change through carbon storage• reducing pollution  HTML XML PDF
      PubDate: Fri, 15 Apr 2022 10:45:00 +030
       
  • Hedgerow Management Cycle

    • Abstract: ARPHA Conference s 5: e84976
      DOI : 10.3897/aca.5.e84976
      Authors : Ian White, Megan Gimber : Hedgerows are as dynamic as the plants that make them, which means it would be fighting a losing battle if we tried to keep them the same size and shape forever. Instead, work out where the hedge is on the management cycle and work according to that. The ultimate goal in hedge management it to create a thick, dense hedgerow. These are the hedges that are most beneficial to landowners as well as for nature.When we cut hedges at the same point year after year, it will produce fewer flowers and fruits for wildlife, it will lose its lower branches and the hedge will become tall and at risk of invasion, opening up gaps and eventually even failure. Trimming to a slightly higher and wider point each year will help prevent this, and the hedge can be re-shaped when needed.However the hedge is managed each year, at some time the lower parts of the hedge vegetation will become thin and the hedge will need more dramatic action like laying or even coppicing. This only needs to be done every 40+ years to keep the hedge healthy and valuable for our wildlife. This is shown in more detail on the hedgerow management cycle plan. HTML XML PDF
      PubDate: Fri, 15 Apr 2022 10:45:00 +030
       
  • Diel activity patterns of Garden Dormice (Eliomys quercinus) assessed by
           camera trap data

    • Abstract: ARPHA Conference s 5: e85026
      DOI : 10.3897/aca.5.e85026
      Authors : Hendrik Queckenstedt, Sven Büchner, Hermann Ansorge, Johannes Lang : Garden Dormouse populations have been decreasing in range and declining in number throughout Europe. Understanding, and therefore preventing, this decline is urgently needed. To devise effective conservation strategies, it is essential to gain knowledge on activity patterns of the target species. Diel activity patterns of Garden Dormice (Eliomys quercinus) were investigated at 25 different sites in Germany. Through an intensive camera-trap survey from March to October 2020 a total of 192,136 pictures were recorded in over 3,682 camera-trap days. The association between activity and environmental parameters, such as habitat (urban vs. natural), the lunar phase and sunrise and sunset, was investigated. Garden Dormice were found to be predominantly nocturnal, but were occasionally active during the day in the summer months. The peak of activity at all sites was shortly before midnight. Garden Dormice in this study did not arrange their activity according to the lunar phase. Daytime activities could be related to the presence of young or the food supply. Weather conditions and cloud cover could explain the small influence of the lunar phase on the animals’ activity. This study revealed the effectiveness of camera trapping to gather information on activity of an elusive small rodent with minimum disturbance to the animals. The data was useful for analyzing and understanding diel activities in different habitats. HTML XML PDF
      PubDate: Fri, 15 Apr 2022 10:45:00 +030
       
  • Genetic assessment of the Forest Dormouse Dryomys nitedula (Pallas, 1773)
           in Latvia

    • Abstract: ARPHA Conference s 5: e84997
      DOI : 10.3897/aca.5.e84997
      Authors : Dainis Ruņģis, Inese Gavarāne, Linda Bankovska, Valdis Pilāts, Zanda Segliņa, Digna Pilāte : The Latvian population of the Forest Dormouse is small and isolated, situated far from the main distribution range of this species. The population is located in the south-eastern region of Latvia, close to the Belarusian border. Sixty-three nest-boxes were located throughout this distribution area and captured forest dormouse individuals were sampled for genetic analysis. Animal age, sex, and coordinates from place of capture were recorded. DNA was extracted from 120 individuals using the QIAamp DNA Mini Kit (Qiagen, Germany). RAPD-PCR polymorphisms at 65 loci were used to examine the genetic diversity and differentiation of the Forest Dormouse population in Latvia. 89% of loci were polymorphic, average expected heterozygosity over all loci was 0.321, average polymorphism information content (PIC) was 0.246. The program ‘Structure’ was used to perform Bayesian assignment of individuals to a predefined number of clusters. The deltaK method identified that the most likely number of clusters within the Latvian Forest Dormouse population was three. Assignment of individuals to a particular cluster mostly corresponded with the location where the individual was captured. Analysis of molecular variance (AMOVA) indicated that there was significant genetic differentiation between the three clusters with pairwise Phipt (a modification of Fst) values ranging from 0.118 to 0.180. HTML XML PDF
      PubDate: Fri, 15 Apr 2022 10:45:00 +030
       
  • Structural re-design of the Animex Wildlife Bridge for the Hazel Dormouse
           (Muscardinus avellanarius): Lessons Learnt from Two Connectivity
           Mitigation Case Studies in England

    • Abstract: ARPHA Conference s 5: e84977
      DOI : 10.3897/aca.5.e84977
      Authors : Ian White, Darrelle Moffat, Steve Béga : The Hazel Dormouse is an arboreal mammal present in Europe and Asia Minor. The population is declining in the United Kingdom (UK), partially due to habitat fragmentation caused by the development of roads and other linear infrastructure. In 2016, we designed and tested an arboreal bridge in Britain that proved to be effective for Hazel Dormice. Subsequently, the bridge materials were upgraded to meet the technical standards of UK road agencies, so that it could be approved and implemented as mitigation on projects throughout the country. In the UK, each bridge must be technically certified by the relevant road authority and, as the bridge is a unique structure, this can pose challenges on projects. Two installation designs were created: the ‘standalone’ bridge and the ‘retrofit’ bridge. Several bridges have now been installed above roads in the UK. We discuss the development and implementation process from two case studies: a 40-metre retrofit bridge to an underpass at St Athan in Wales and two 76+ metre bridges retrofitted to an overbridge and underpass on the M1 motorway at Gayhurst, Buckinghamshire. This poster discusses what we have learned from these projects, how they have influenced the future designs of the Animex wildlife bridge, and the production of best practice guidance to provide a summary of the entire process of implementing a bridge project. HTML XML PDF
      PubDate: Fri, 15 Apr 2022 10:45:00 +030
       
  • Developing an environmental DNA protocol for Hazel Dormouse surveys

    • Abstract: ARPHA Conference s 5: e84962
      DOI : 10.3897/aca.5.e84962
      Authors : Emma Cartledge, Paula Stockley : Recording Hazel Dormouse (Muscardinus avellanarius) presence allows conservation and mitigation efforts to be effectively directed towards populated sites. As it is a protected species, licences are required for survey methods which disturb the animals or their habitat. Therefore, reliable low disturbance survey techniques are desirable.In this study, we tested the potential of detecting environmental DNA (eDNA) from soil as a survey method for dormice. Firstly, we designed species-specific primers and the associated PCR protocol using tissue samples from Hazel Dormice. To ensure specificity, we also checked the protocol against tissue samples from non-target species. Next, we collected soil samples from occupied sites in England to test the methodology with environmental samples. This included testing site-level heterogeneity of dormouse DNA distribution and localised level DNA distribution surrounding occupied nest boxes. Finally, we tested the soil for DNA presence changes over time, after removal from the site.Using eDNA for dormouse surveys is promising. Our results indicate that a usable survey methodology can be developed, providing a relatively low cost and time-efficient tool when compared to existing dormouse survey methods. Future work should aim to further understand the changes of dormouse eDNA through time. Through identifying populated sites, eDNA could support mitigation projects and help to direct dormouse conservation efforts. HTML XML PDF
      PubDate: Fri, 15 Apr 2022 10:45:00 +030
       
  • 30 years of Dormouse Monitoring

    • Abstract: ARPHA Conference s 5: e84932
      DOI : 10.3897/aca.5.e84932
      Authors : Ian White, Nida Al-Fulaij, Laura Bower : The People's Trust for Endangered Species (PTES) owns a private woodland on the Isle of Wight (IoW) that is managed predominantly for woodland bats, Red Squirrels and Hazel Dormice. Dormice are considered to be widespread across the island in suitable habitat. The IoW is different from the mainland as it has no wild deer species. PTES has been monitoring dormice in its woodland since 1992, when nest boxes were first put up by Paul Bright. However, in spite of appropriate woodland management for dormice at the reserve, dormouse numbers there appear to be declining. This raised the question: “Is the apparent decline in dormice recorded in nest boxes, real or perceived'” If the decline was real, it may be necessary to reconsider management advice that we give for dormice. If the decline was perceived, then it may be necessary to reconsider advice that we give for monitoring dormice. The first challenge was to identify what the woodland may have looked like 30 years ago and identify why high numbers of dormice were recorded. We could then apply the known woodland management that was done in the intervening years, to determine why dormouse nest box occupancy changed by varying amounts in different parts of the wood. We were able to check some of our ideas using data from footprint tunnels and this work is ongoing in 2022. This talk will discuss woodland state, woodland management and dormouse next box occupancy in a dormouse hotspot in southern England. HTML XML PDF
      PubDate: Fri, 15 Apr 2022 10:45:00 +030
       
  • The Great British Hedgerow Survey

    • Abstract: ARPHA Conference s 5: e84931
      DOI : 10.3897/aca.5.e84931
      Authors : Ian White, Megan Gimber : In 2013, when the dormouse reintroduction protocol was revised, a national hedge survey methodology was available. This survey enabled individual hedge quality to be assessed and from that, it was possible to quantify the quality of landscape links between reintroduction sites. There was an opportunity to build on this survey so that it could be used more widely and have more useful outcomes. The People's Trust for Endangered Species (PTES) acquired the existing data from the national (DEFRA) survey and started to develop a survey methodology that would be compatible with it, be simple to use, provide a report on the existing state of the hedgerow and give management advice on how to maintain the hedgerow in good condition. As part of the survey development, posters were designed. One of these asks: ‘What have hedgerows ever done for us’, to demonstrate the benefit of hedgerows in the landscape. The other shows ‘The hedgerow management cycle’ to highlight the dynamic nature of hedgerow condition. There are two different hedgerow surveys available, each with a slightly different focus and outcomes. Healthy Hedgerows is a rapid hedgerow survey designed for landowners that want to create a hedge management plan. The Great British Hedgerow Survey generates more detailed feedback on hedgerow health and offers management advice. It is particularly suited to volunteer groups. This talk will discuss the development of the surveys and their part in hedgerow protection in the UK in the future. HTML XML PDF
      PubDate: Fri, 15 Apr 2022 10:45:00 +030
       
  • The Dormouse Reintroduction Program in the UK

    • Abstract: ARPHA Conference s 5: e84930
      DOI : 10.3897/aca.5.e84930
      Authors : Ian White : Hazel Dormice have been lost from 17 English Counties over the past 150 years and the population has declined by 51% since the year 2000. The dormouse reintroduction program has been running since 1993 with the aim of restoring dormice to their native range in the UK. In the early years, a single dormouse population was released in a suitable woodland with the hope that it would occupy all available habitats in the release site and then start to disperse into the wider countryside. While this approach did have some successes, it also had some failures. The program was reviewed in 2014 and some amendments were proposed to the original protocol. A key amendment was to identify at least two woodlands at a site, in relatively close proximity, each suitable for a dormouse release and to undertake at least two reintroductions in an area. Further to the dormouse reintroductions, a landscape project would be established to improve connectivity between the woodlands. The longer-term aim is now to facilitate the creation of a dormouse metapopulation in an area rather than just hoping it would happen. This talk discusses the advantages and difficulties of this new approach and its successes and failures. HTML XML PDF
      PubDate: Fri, 15 Apr 2022 10:45:00 +030
       
  • Number and length of whiskers in dormice

    • Abstract: ARPHA Conference s 5: e84929
      DOI : 10.3897/aca.5.e84929
      Authors : Eva Marie Famira-Parcsetich, Holger Meinig, Sven Büchner, Johannes Lang : Whiskers (vibrissae) are slender, curved and tapered hairs present in most mammals, which transmit vibrotactile information. In contrast to pelage hair, whiskers are longer and thicker and they possess highly innervated follicles. So called ‘whisking’, a symmetrical, cyclic movement of whiskers can be observed in some tactile specialists. It is used to scan the environment especially during locomotion and foraging. Animals showing the ability of whisking are mainly small, nocturnal and arboreal species like dormice. However, nearly everything we know about whiskers and whisking derives from just a handful of species, including laboratory rats and mice. Until now, information on whiskers and whisking in dormice has been scarce. We describe for the first time the number, length and arrangement of whiskers in the Garden Dormouse, the Edible Dormouse and the Hazel Dormouse.We counted and measured macro- and micro-vibrissae of five cadavers of the three species and calculated median values for each species. Anatomical studies on whiskers provide data for comparative studies between different species. Moreover, knowledge about whiskers and whisker-use can guide us in designing enriched enclosures for captive mammals. This is especially useful for small, nocturnal species that use whiskers for orientation; including a range of textures and climbing frames in their enclosures is important. HTML XML PDF
      PubDate: Fri, 15 Apr 2022 10:45:00 +030
       
  • Looking up to the sky: using high resolution remote sensing to
           characterise hibernaculum locations of the Hazel Dormouse

    • Abstract: ARPHA Conference s 5: e84812
      DOI : 10.3897/aca.5.e84812
      Authors : Leonardo Gubert, Fiona Mathews, Jon Bennie, Robbie McDonald, Robert Wilson, Ruud Foppen, Pim Lemmers, Maurice La Haye : The Hazel Dormouse is predominantly an arboreal species that moves down to the ground to hibernate in the autumn in temperate parts of its distributional ranges at locations not yet well understood. In this study, we tested whether environmental characteristics surrounding Hazel Dormouse hibernacula can be identified using high-resolution remote sensing and data collected in situ. We modelled remotely sensed variables, including canopy height and cover, topographic slope, sky view, solar radiation and cold air drainage around 83 dormouse hibernacula in England (n=62) and the Netherlands (n=21), and identified environmental characteristics that may be favoured by pre-hibernating dormice. We also collected and analysed data on leaf litter depth, temperature, canopy cover and distance to the nearest tree collected in situ at hibernaculum locations in England. We found that remotely sensed data were effective in identifying attributes surrounding the locations of dormouse hibernacula and, when compared to in situ information, provided more conclusive results. Our study suggests that remotely sensed topographic slope, canopy height and sky view have an influence on animals choosing suitable locations to hibernate; whilst in situ data suggested that average daily mean temperature at the hibernaculum may also have an effect. Remote sensing proved capable of identifying localised environmental characteristics in the wider landscape that may be important for hibernating dormice. We also propose that this method can provide a novel progression from habitat modelling to conservation management for the Hazel Dormouse, as well as other species using habitats where topography and vegetation structure influence fine-resolution favourability. HTML XML PDF
      PubDate: Fri, 15 Apr 2022 10:45:00 +030
       
  • Comparing methods to detect Garden Dormice (Eliomys quercinus) in
           mountainous forest habitats

    • Abstract: ARPHA Conference s 5: e84916
      DOI : 10.3897/aca.5.e84916
      Authors : Sarah Beer, Klaus Hackländer, Johannes Lang : Garden Dormouse populations show a severe and ongoing decline all over Europe. The drivers for this process are still unknown, as well as the exact distribution of the remaining populations. An evaluation of the occupied habitats could give information on important habitat parameters. Therefore, it is essential to improve detection methods and to evaluate the efficiency of available techniques. In this study, three different methods were tested on ten transects in the Fichtel Mountains, Germany. On each transect we installed two camera traps (CT), one autonomous sound recording unit (AudioMoth, AM) and 25 footprint tunnels (FT), which were checked weekly from the beginning of June until the end of October. AMs did not record a single call, FT detected Garden Dormice in seven and CT detected them in all ten transects. FT worked best during July, when they provided evidence of Garden Dormouse on six transects. CT worked best in August and September, confirming Garden Dormice in all ten transects. In every month, CT outperformed FT in the number of positive findings, and in the time interval until initial detection. CT worked most efficiently in this type of habitat, whereas FT produced false absence data. As Garden Dormice inhabit a variety of different habitats, this study should be repeated to see if the results are transferable. HTML XML PDF
      PubDate: Fri, 15 Apr 2022 10:45:00 +030
       
  • A 24-year investigation of the reproductive ecology of the Edible Dormouse
           (Glis glis)

    • Abstract: ARPHA Conference s 5: e84743
      DOI : 10.3897/aca.5.e84743
      Authors : Sarah Brooks, Roger Trout, Davina Hill : The Edible Dormouse is a non-native rodent introduced to the Chilterns, UK, in 1902. It shows extreme annual variation in breeding; either having one litter per year or, in some years, failing to breed at all. Despite this slow reproductive rate compared to other rodents, its population is increasing, and has spread beyond the anticipated landscape barriers. Communal nesting is sometimes observed. This study aims to characterise the reproduction parameters over time, including from communal breeding.Based on a population of>11,000 PIT-tagged individuals, 600 litters and 4000 nestlings at our Chilterns study site over 24 years, we show the best fit of the number of new-borns is an increasing exponential. Monthly weight of nestlings also increased over the 24 years, while annual reproduction rate, litter size and nestling growth rates remained unchanged. Litter size decreased from 6.6 new-borns in August to 4.3 in October, indicating an average death rate of 37% in the first two months of life. Preliminary analysis suggests a small decrease in death rate over the years. Average growth rate of nestlings was c.100% of birth weight per week in their first month, but then slowed. We also examined evidence of kinship between nest sharers and investigated whether this, or communal breeding in general, promotes offspring survival. Our results will provide a deeper insight into the factors that drive the reproductive success of this invasive species and enable investigation of the effect of climatic variables on the number, survival and growth rate of nestlings. HTML XML PDF
      PubDate: Fri, 15 Apr 2022 10:45:00 +030
       
  • Size variation in the Edible Dormouse and its environmental correlates

    • Abstract: ARPHA Conference s 5: e82818
      DOI : 10.3897/aca.5.e82818
      Authors : Boris Kryštufek, Franc Janžekovič : Intraspecific variation in size along spatial and environmental gradients has been documented in many studies, and different hypotheses have been proposed to explain these patterns of geographic variation. We explored size variation in 4 island and 35 mainland samples of the Edible Dormouse (Glis glis Linnaeus, 1758) from the western Balkans in Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, and Serbia. Samples comprised 4 to 207 (mean ± SD=19.0±32.9; total n=740) adult skulls (age>1 year) of both sexes. To remove phylogenetic effects, all samples were from a widespread European lineage. Condylobasal length of skull was used as a proxy for overall size. Dormice were the smallest along the southern margin of the Pannonia Plain, the largest were from beech forests of the Dinaric Alps, and intermediate in hilly parts of Serbia and on the Adriatic islands. The largest skulls (from Mt. Zelengora, Bosnia and Herzegovina) were on average 25% longer than the smallest, from the population occurring near Belgrade in northern Serbia. Size correlated with longitude (R2=0.262; p=0.0009) and the 1st Climatic Principal Component (R2=0.687; p
      PubDate: Fri, 15 Apr 2022 10:45:00 +030
       
  • Places to be: the Garden Dormouse (Eliomys quercinus) in south-western
           Germany

    • Abstract: ARPHA Conference s 5: e84892
      DOI : 10.3897/aca.5.e84892
      Authors : Harald Brünner, Joanna Fietz, Franz Langer, Rieke Vorderbrügge, Ulrich Weinhold : In Germany the Garden Dormouse (Eliomys quercinus) is assumed to have one of its main distributional areas in the south-western federal state of Baden-Württemberg. However, recent and detailed information from this area was lacking. In order to describe the actual distribution of the Garden Dormouse, and to characterize suitable habitats in this region, a monitoring study was conducted within the national biodiversity project “In Search of the Garden Dormouse” in 2021. Footprint tunnels and wildlife cameras were used to systematically investigate the occurrence of the species on 136 plots distributed over Baden-Württemberg. The data set was combined with Garden Dormouse records from a citizen science online reporting tool, registered between 2019 and 2021. The Garden Dormouse was found most frequently in the mountainous, conifer-rich Black Forest and in the settlements of the Mannheim-Heidelberg region. Another type of habitat was the dry deciduous forests bordering the river Rhine in the Southern Upper Rhine Valley. Only two isolated occurrences were detected in the eastern part of Baden-Württemberg. The results of this study show, that the distribution of the Garden Dormouse in South-West Germany is more limited than previously assumed. However, the diversity of the detected habitats is considerable, ranging from coniferous forests in higher altitudes to urban areas and almost sub-mediterranean deciduous forests. Further studies will focus on the ecology and biology of this species in the latter. For Germany this is an exceptional, but also threatened, habitat which may serve as a stepping stone to recolonize suitable forest habitats in the Rhine valley. HTML XML PDF
      PubDate: Fri, 15 Apr 2022 10:45:00 +030
       
  • Dormouse acoustics: The use of artificial intelligence to detect and
           identify European dormouse species

    • Abstract: ARPHA Conference s 5: e84742
      DOI : 10.3897/aca.5.e84742
      Authors : Jennifer MacIsaac : Passive acoustic monitoring (PAM) is becoming increasingly popular for wildlife surveying due to the benefits it offers in terms of non-invasiveness, reduced field time and spatial scalabilty. Acoustic surveying protocols are well established for bat species, but the use of PAM for non-volant small mammals has been largely unexplored. Some dormouse species are highly vocal and are therefore potentially good candidates for acoustic surveying.A landscape-scale acoustic survey is currently being carried out in Polesia, a vast lowland region in Eastern Europe. Three dormouse species have been recorded in this region: Dryomys nitedula, Glis glis and Muscardinus avellanrius, with a fourth species Eliomys quercinus considered rare or locally extinct. Acoustic surveys at this scale generate may hours of recordings, however data analysis can be automated using species classifiers. Classifiers have achieved varying levels of accuracy, but recent advances in artificial intelligence, specifically deep learning has led to the development of acoustic classifiers with high levels of accuracy.In this study, a convolutional neural network classifier was developed to identify D. nitedula, M. avellanarius and nine additional small mammal species. Overall, the classifier achieved 0.944 training accuracy and 0.943 test accuracy. During testing, the classifier achieved D. nitedula and M. avellanarius identification accuracies of 100% and 98% respectively. These preliminary results suggest that PAM could provide an effective, non-invasive method to survey dormice in large geographic areas. Further work will include expansion of the classifier to include G. glis and E. quercinus when sufficient acoustic data are obtained. HTML XML PDF
      PubDate: Fri, 15 Apr 2022 10:45:00 +030
       
  • The gastrointestinal tract histology of Eliomys quercinus and Glis
           glis

    • Abstract: ARPHA Conference s 5: e84817
      DOI : 10.3897/aca.5.e84817
      Authors : Mia Jakopović, Romana Gračan, Duje Lisičić : The Garden Dormouse (Eliomys quercinus) and the Edible Dormouse (Glis glis) differ in their omnivorous diet, with the first being more carnivorous and readily consuming small vertebrates and even poisonous invertebrates, while the latter consumes more plant-based foods. These differences could lead to histological differences in their gastrointestinal tract, which we wanted to test. Six animals of each species were caught in nature and fed the same diet for two weeks to diminish the impact of the short-term external factors. Tissue samples were taken of middle oesophagus, glandular stomach, middle small intestines and large intestines. They were stained with H&E for measuring the thickness of layers in oesophagus gastric mucosa and epithelial cell height in the intestines. Alcian blue - PAS stain was used for goblet cell count and type identification in the intestines, differentiating blue (acidic), lilac (neutral) and purple (mixed) cells. Results showed Eliomys quercinus having greater variance in oesophageal layer thicknesses, significantly thicker muscularis mucosae and thinner tunica muscularis in the oesophagus, and thicker gastric mucosa compared to Glis glis. Eliomys quercinus also had a significantly higher total goblet cell count in both intestines and a higher count of each type in the large intestine, although Glis glis had far more mixed and neutral goblet cells in the small intestine. Both showed intriguingly low numbers of neutral goblet cells in the small intestine. These results indicate interesting differences in gastrointestinal histology and goblet cell distribution in comparison with their distinct diets. HTML XML PDF
      PubDate: Fri, 15 Apr 2022 10:45:00 +030
       
  • The masked singer: vocalization in the Garden Dormouse (Eliomys quercinus)

    • Abstract: ARPHA Conference s 5: e84775
      DOI : 10.3897/aca.5.e84775
      Authors : Holger Meinig, Teresa Nava, Sarah Thivierge, Sven Büchner, Johannes Lang : Many animals make sounds for various reasons, mostly for mating and agonistic behaviour, but also for more complex social communication. These sounds are used for mapping and monitoring many animal groups and species (e.g. birds, bats, whales, grasshoppers, crickets) for mapping and monitoring. Although Glirids are known to use sounds for communication, to our knowledge vocalisations have only been used to map the Edible Dormouse. We checked the possibility of detecting the Garden Dormouse calls and used oscillograms and spectrograms to analyze these sounds. Garden Dormouse calls were recorded as mp4 files and converted to WAV format for this purpose. In combination with video recordings, the vocalisations could often be associated with the respective behaviour of the animals. Most analysed calls were related to apparent arousal, intraspecific aggression, mating or social communication within a family group between old and young animals. Some of the different calls are not yet clearly understood in their ethological context. Regardless of this, Garden Dormouse vocalizations can be clearly assigned to the species and distinguished from other species. It therefore provides a new method for mapping this species. When Garden Dormice mainly call in urban habitats, human impacts like habitat fragmentation, direct disturbance or noise pollution may challenge their acoustic behaviour in this environment. HTML XML PDF
      PubDate: Fri, 15 Apr 2022 10:45:00 +030
       
  • Distribution of Glirids in an Alpine national park

    • Abstract: ARPHA Conference s 5: e84753
      DOI : 10.3897/aca.5.e84753
      Authors : Ilaria Melcore, Davide Roviani, Lorenzo Attili, Giulia Ferrari, Emiliano Mori, Sven Büchner, Sandro Bertolino : In this long-term study, we evaluated the distribution of three species of Glirids: Hazel Dormouse (Muscardinus avellanarius), Garden Dormouse (Eliomys quercinus) and Edible Dormouse (Glis glis) in the Gran Paradiso National Park (Western Italian Alps). The aim was to investigate the ecology, adaptation strategies, and distribution of these dormouse populations along an altitudinal gradient. Monitoring started in 2015 and is still ongoing. We used five different techniques (searching for nests, grids of nest boxes, transects of live traps, nesting tubes, and footprint tunnels), placed along an altitudinal gradient from 700 to 2300 m a.s.l. We found a total of 680 signs of the presence of Hazel Dormouse and 46 individuals, 275 signs and 142 individuals of the Garden Dormouse and 674 signs and 67 individuals of the Edible Dormouse. The three species selected different altitudinal gradients: Edible Dormouse from 800 to 1700 m, with a prevalence between 800-1100 m; Garden Dormouse from 1100 to 2000 m, with a prevalence between 1400-1700 m. The Hazel Dormouse was ubiquitous from 800 to 2032 m, without a clear altitudinal pattern. Edible Dormice were mainly found in deciduous and mixed forests, while Garden Dormice usually occurred in coniferous forests. The Hazel Dormouse seemed to be regularly distributed in all forest types up to the tree limit. These results, obtained from diverse methodologies, permitted comparison between the monitoring protocols, improved knowledge of habitat selection by Glirids in Alpine habitats, as well as providing novel insights within the context of climate change. HTML XML PDF
      PubDate: Fri, 15 Apr 2022 10:45:00 +030
       
  • A mobile phone based thermal imaging camera to predict nest box occupancy
           by Edible Dormice (Glis glis) and Hazel Dormice (Muscardinus avellanarius)
           

    • Abstract: ARPHA Conference s 5: e84750
      DOI : 10.3897/aca.5.e84750
      Authors : Pamela Worrall, Roger Trout : Infra-red thermography is a non-invasive method of measuring heat radiation from objects and has many biological applications, including the detection and monitoring of individual wild animals. Thermal cameras have also assisted in the estimation of abundance of wild animal species.This study aimed to investigate whether the thermal signature from dormouse nestboxes, using a handheld mobile phone with a thermal camera attachment can be a useful predictor of both occupancy and numbers of present inside the nestbox.Thermal images of 70 Edible Dormouse nestboxes before disturbance and 213 undisturbed Hazel Dormouse nestboxes were taken to predict potential box occupancy. The surface temperature (°C) of any apparent hotspot was recorded. Subsequently the number of occupants (if any) and their total mass was also recorded.For Edible Dormice, the thermal hotspot signature (°C) showed a positive correlation with the absence (no hotspot) or numbers inside the nestbox (R2 = 0.458) and a strong positive correlation between the thermal signature and the combined mass (g) of those dormice inside the nestbox (R2 = 0.841).For Hazel Dormice on 3 sites, the technique correctly predicted the presence of a small mammal in 35 nestboxes with a range of 92.5 to 100% confidence but failed to identify a torpid dormouse.It is concluded that mobile phone based and other more expensive thermal cameras are useful for predicting nestbox occupancy and thus reduce the time taken to monitor nestboxes. HTML XML PDF
      PubDate: Fri, 15 Apr 2022 10:45:00 +030
       
  • Impacts on Hazel Dormice (Muscardinus avellanarius) of twenty years of
           incremental conifer removal

    • Abstract: ARPHA Conference s 5: e84739
      DOI : 10.3897/aca.5.e84739
      Authors : Roger Trout, Sarah Brooks, Phil Rudlin : Within a Planted Ancient Woodland Site (PAWS) of Corsican Pine, planted in 1970, Hazel Dormice (Muscardinus avellanarius) in nestboxes were individually marked by PIT tags from 2000 onwards. In adjacent experimental study plots of 3 ha each, different patterns of forest restoration were used.  In early winter 2003 c.33 % of conifers were removed: [a] in very small groups; [b] larger felling coupes similar to hazel coppicing; [c] traditional ‘rack-and-thin’ regime.  In 2009 and 2015 a third of remaining pines were removed and in 2020 almost all remaining conifers were removed. The effects on three dormouse abundance indices were recorded through routine monitoring of nest boxes. The overall number of captures varied from year to year, increasing the year following forestry operations in 2003 and 2009, 2015. This was possibly because nestboxes temporarily became more attractive except in 2021 which was a very poor dormouse year. In the rack-and-thin treatment little regeneration occurred and dormouse numbers slowly declined to almost zero. The numbers of individually marked adults in the other plots showed a rising trend. The numbers of nestlings and juveniles recorded initially increased, but have oscillated recently. This study demonstrates that during regular forestry operations in conifers, maintaining a population of this species is possible. This has important implications for managers. A regime of patchwork conifer removal over 4 phases appears to be pragmatic for an economic forestry business and also ensures that dormice remain. The rack-and-thin area lost its dormice but may recover in the next few years. HTML XML PDF
      PubDate: Fri, 15 Apr 2022 10:45:00 +030
       
  • When is a dormouse ‘Endangered’' Continued population decline of
           Hazel Dormice (Muscardinus avellanarius) in Great Britain. (Poster)

    • Abstract: ARPHA Conference s 5: e84738
      DOI : 10.3897/aca.5.e84738
      Authors : Eleanor Scopes, Cecily Goodwin, Nida Al-Fulaij, Ian White, Steve Langton, Katherine Walsh, Alice Broome, Robbie McDonald : It is important to monitor species populations to identify changes in Red List assessment, whether increases from conservation or continued declines. This can be more difficult when there are multiple modelling options available. Using data from the National Dormouse Monitoring Programme, provided by the People’s Trust for Endangered Species, we explore the change in British Hazel Dormice (Muscardinus avellanarius) populations using two appropriate generalised additive models. The first uses the negative binomial distribution, and second the Poisson distribution, with a fixed effect of month included. Both models indicate that dormice have declined by>70% between 1994 and 2018 in Great Britain, indicating a continuation of the chronic decline of the species. Our models do not differ significantly in their evaluation of the population trend, but do indicate different Red List categories, leading us to ask: when is the dormouse population considered ‘endangered’' HTML XML PDF
      PubDate: Fri, 15 Apr 2022 10:45:00 +030
       
  • Trials of Edible Dormouse (Glis glis) population reduction in a British
           woodland

    • Abstract: ARPHA Conference s 5: e84737
      DOI : 10.3897/aca.5.e84737
      Authors : Roger Trout, Margaret Grimsey, Sam Faggetter, Beth Hanlon : In the UK the Edible Dormouse is a non-native pest occurring in c.1000 sq.km of the Chilterns area, west of London, but it is spreading. It causes damage to biota in woodlands and is also increasingly present within buildings. Licenced humane culling (killing) is allowed in the UK and it is illegal to release them if captured alive. Poisoning is illegal. Several thousand are culled in buildings annually.The results of capture trials of adult Glis within our research woodland in 2010, 2019 and in 2020 are reported. From 40 nestboxes, 126 individual dormice were removed over 10 continuous days in July 2010 and released on the nearest adjacent tree (>80% of all adults recorded there in that year). In 2019, 72 catching devices were added to 26 established boxes in a 12ha. semi-isolated triangle of woodland. In 10 days 169 were culled. Five weeks later, 68 were found (not culled), indicating 20/ha overall and a maximum cull of 72%. Since 2019 was a non-breeding year (when many long-lived adults do not appear in our trapping record) we hypothesised that some old Edible Dormice not seen in 2019 might be captured in 2020. In 2020 two 5-day trapping periods were undertaken. In early July 160 were culled and another 110 four weeks later. We captured 36 more adults later; in total representing 26.5/ha. In 2021 monitoring revealed a minimum of 63 adult Glis. The capture data, movements, cost effectiveness and implications for control are discussed. HTML XML PDF
      PubDate: Fri, 15 Apr 2022 10:45:00 +030
       
  • Home ranges and activity of Garden Dormice in the Harz Mountains, Germany

    • Abstract: ARPHA Conference s 5: e84733
      DOI : 10.3897/aca.5.e84733
      Authors : Julia-Marie Battermann, Mona Wuttke, Dania Richter, Sven Büchner : For the conservation of endangered species, a good knowledge of their biology is essential. However, due to the secluded lifestyle and nocturnal activity of the Garden Dormouse (Eliomys quercinus), comprehensive research on these small mammals is difficult, resulting in a lack of data. Little is known about the habitat requirements of Garden Dormice in forest habitats. Radio tracking was used to analyze movement patterns to identify specific features of their habitat in the Harz Mountains National Park in Germany (~700 m a.s.l.). Four individuals (2 females, 2 males) were tracked during 11 weeks from May until September 2021. Home ranges were calculated using minimum convex polygon (MCP) and fixed kernel density estimation (KDE) methods. Home range sizes (100% MCP) of males were between 0.58 ha and 7.62 ha and of females between 3.63 ha and 6.39 ha. The size of the core areas (65% KDE) was 0.25 ha - 3.08 ha for males and 1.94 ha - 6.18 ha for females. Whereas the start of their daily activity did not correlate with sunset, the end of activity was associated with sunrise. The females never switched their nesting sites, but the males used 7 -10 nesting sites. Nesting sites were located between boulders and inside deadwood piles. Deadwood is an important habitat for insects which serve as food for Garden Dormice (and other small mammals). To this species in its natural habitat it is necessary to sustain deadwood in forests. HTML XML PDF
      PubDate: Fri, 15 Apr 2022 10:45:00 +030
       
  • Hazel Dormice (Muscardinus avellanarius) on the move in Nottinghamshire,
           England: A reintroduction success

    • Abstract: ARPHA Conference s 5: e84728
      DOI : 10.3897/aca.5.e84728
      Authors : Lorna Griffiths : Historical records from 1885 suggest that the Hazel Dormouse (Muscardinus avellanarius) was once present in Nottinghamshire. However, the species was thought to have become locally extinct as recently as the 1950s. After a failed attempt in 1994 to reintroduce Hazel Dormice back to the county, the species was finally returned to three neighbouring woodlands in north Nottinghamshire as part of a three-year project in 2013/14/15, Treswell Wood, Eaton Wood, and Gamston Wood, respectively. Data collected as part of the National Dormouse Monitoring Programme (NDMP) indicate a stable population in all three of the Nottinghamshire reintroduction woodlands, whereas dormouse declines have been reported in many southern populations. The Nottinghamshire Dormouse Group employ a range of survey techniques to monitor the populations and surveys in neighbouring habitats have confirmed that the dormice are steadily dispersing into the wider landscape. Dormouse presence has now been confirmed in two additional woodlands, including one approximately 600m from the closest reintroduction site. Dormice have also been recorded inhabiting nestboxes within trackside vegetation along the East Coast Railway line, including a dormouse nest on the far side of the high-speed (100mph) railway line, confirming that at least one dormouse has crossed over the track. A 5-year, landscape-scale PIT-tagging project commenced in September 2021 with the primary aim of investigating the dispersal capabilities and seasonal movements of the dormice. The project scope will include the three reintroductions woodlands, all woodlands in between and the connecting hedgerows. The data will be used to inform future dormouse reintroductions. HTML XML PDF
      PubDate: Fri, 15 Apr 2022 10:45:00 +030
       
  • Relationships between climate variables, seed production and reproduction
           of the Edible Dormouse (Glis glis) in mixed oak forests of the Iberian
           Peninsula

    • Abstract: ARPHA Conference s 5: e84673
      DOI : 10.3897/aca.5.e84673
      Authors : Carme Bartrina, Daniel Oro, Sílvia Míguez, Lídia Freixas : The Edible Dormouse (Glis glis) is a small arboreal mammal that lives in deciduous forests in much of Europe, the Iberian Peninsula being one of the southern limits of its distribution. Some studies have shown that this species uses the strategy of anticipatory reproduction, which means that it adapts its reproductive effort to seed production, such as beech mast and acorns, which varies greatly from year to year. The Edible Dormouse anticipates future seed availability of the coming autumn and modulates its reproductive effort, as beech mast and acorns are a crucial resource for the young to survive their first hibernation.This work aims to determine the correlations between annual variations in climate and seed production, and their effect on Edible Dormouse reproduction using 9 years of data (2012–2020) in two natural parks in Catalonia (Montseny and Montnegre-Corredor). These are located at the southernmost limit of the distribution of this species in the Iberian Peninsula. The results show that the productivity of Beech trees (Fagus sylvatica) is conditioned by local meteorological conditions and pollen availability, and that the acorn production by oak trees (Quercus sp.) is also affected by local meteorological conditions, but not by pollen availability. Additionally, breeding by the Edible Dormouse in Montseny has shown high synchrony with acorn production and that the presence of beech seeds increases the number of offspring per female. These results encourage us to conduct future studies to predict how Edible Dormouse populations will be impacted by climate change. HTML XML PDF
      PubDate: Fri, 15 Apr 2022 10:45:00 +030
       
  • Dormouse Project: a citizen science project for the monitoring of Edible
           Dormouse populations in the Iberian Peninsula

    • Abstract: ARPHA Conference s 5: e84671
      DOI : 10.3897/aca.5.e84671
      Authors : Lídia Freixas, Sílvia Míguez, Carme Bartrina : The Dormouse Project is a citizen science project that has been studying and surveying the Edible Dormouse populations of the Iberian Peninsula. The project started in 2004 at the Montnegre-Corredor Natural Park, because of the lack of studies in the Iberian Peninsula and the few existing records of this species in Catalonia. It is coordinated by the Natural Science Museum of Granollers and funded by the Catalan administration. This project aims to assess the distribution and population trends of the Edible Dormouse by the installation of special nest boxes along the Iberian Peninsula. Furthermore, it has an important dissemination and awareness-raising role, by conducting different informative sessions adapted to a broad audience.The web platform (www.dormice.org), created in 2020, is a tool that has facilitated citizen participation, together with the creation and consolidation of a network of collaborators within the Dormouse Project. It has helped to compile, store, and manage the data collected by citizen volunteers and interested scientific personnel. The project improves the quality and comparability of data collection by developing a standardized data collection framework. This will harmonise the collection of information between different volunteers and will make it easier to compare data. Nowadays, the platform is getting consolidated, and we are willing to expand its limits, as well as showing its potential as a shared platform within the regions of Edible Dormouse distribution. HTML XML PDF
      PubDate: Fri, 15 Apr 2022 10:45:00 +030
       
  • Living underground: Edible Dormouse (Glis glis) activity in the
           underground shelters during the active period

    • Abstract: ARPHA Conference s 5: e84612
      DOI : 10.3897/aca.5.e84612
      Authors : Anna Marchewka, Tomasz Postawa : The Edible Dormouse (Glis glis) uses different types of shelters at particular times of the year. During hibernation, they are found in underground cavities or sometimes in caves, while during active periods they mostly use above-ground shelters: tree hollows or nest boxes. Selection of such thermally varied shelters is the result of different physiological requirements during both active and non-active periods, choosing a lower and constant temperature during hibernation and higher temperature during mating, gestation, and lactation. However, this species is also observed underground outside of hibernation. It is possible that the Edible Dormouse uses caves as alternative shelters during adverse weather conditions or food shortages. We examined the annual and circadian activity of G. glis in two caves (Czestochowska Upland, southern Poland). Research was conducted for three years (2019 – 2021) using a non-invasive method: camera-traps. We evaluated climatic parameters outside and inside caves and the availability of the main diet (beech seeds, Fagus sylvatica). Our research indicates the year-round presence of G. glis in both caves. Dynamics of their activity vary between seasons (masting vs non-masting), but they are similar in different sites within a year. Dormouse activity in the cave was highest during a full masting season and intermediate and lowest during a mast failure year. Circadian activity varied between phenological periods: from 24-hour activity at the beginning of the season (mating period), to becoming exclusively nocturnal in the remaining period. These results may indicate that, apart from being used for hibernation, caves are also a regular daily shelter for active dormice. HTML XML PDF
      PubDate: Fri, 15 Apr 2022 10:45:00 +030
       
  • Characteristics of underground shelters used by the Edible Dormouse (Glis
           glis) in its European range.

    • Abstract: ARPHA Conference s 5: e84663
      DOI : 10.3897/aca.5.e84663
      Authors : Anna Marchewka, Tomasz Postawa : In response to the seasonally changing environment, mammals have developed a number of strategies that allow them to adapt to and avoid unfavourable weather conditions, along with the food shortages they often bring. In both cases, the selection of an appropriate shelter allows them to reduce their energy expenditure and to diminish the risk of suffering predation. Underground habitats, both natural (cave) and artificial (tunnels, bunkers, mines, cellars), differ in morphology (depth, length), substrate type and their connectivity with the exterior. In each underground shelter, zones can be distinguished as differing in light, humidity, and temperature that cause microclimate differentiation and determine potential habitat quality. Edible Dormice are considered a thermophilic species that prefers warm daily shelters during their active period. However, information from people exploring underground in both natural and artificial sites, indicates that this species is very common there. Here, we analyzed the data available from scientific and popular journals, speleological periodicals, website resources (such as iNaturalist), speleological websites, and personal contacts. Each find was characterized by the underground parameters: length, depth, location, and average yearly temperature. We identified more than 150 underground shelters, with morphological and thermal diversity, inhabited by this species across its range. These results indicate that underground, despite being a challenging environment, is potentially an important refuge for this arboreal species even during its active period. HTML XML PDF
      PubDate: Fri, 15 Apr 2022 10:45:00 +030
       
  • Road mortality in Hazel Dormice (Muscardinus avellanarius): first
           evidences for this species and implications for road mortality research

    • Abstract: ARPHA Conference s 5: e84657
      DOI : 10.3897/aca.5.e84657
      Authors : Eliana Sevianu, Ionela Rădac, Ioan Rădac, Cristian Maloș, Viorel Dumitru Gavril, Tiberiu Hartel : Roads are considered major movement barriers for the Hazel Dormouse, a strictly arboreal mammal. Recent evidence shows that they inhabit roadside habitats and can safely cross roads, but no evidence of road mortality has been documented so far. In our study we investigate the occurrence of safe road crossings and roadkills using direct observation during optimal activity of Hazel Dormice, by surveying 35 km of national and local roads transects in Romania. The transect crossed a representative landscape with forests, pastures, arable land and small villages. We encountered Hazel Dormice on roads on 21 occasions, out of which 10 were roadkills, 8 were safe crossings and 3 were individuals standing by the side of the road. Our study gives direct evidence that safe crossings do occur, but also documents road mortality in this species for the first time. We explored the habitat context around the roads to understand the determinants of road crossings. We found that woody and shrubby vegetation elements in the vicinity of the roads are important, especially in arable dominated landscapes. Factors influencing road crossing behaviour and the ways mortality impacts the dormouse population are still largely unknown. Understanding these can improve mitigation actions. HTML XML PDF
      PubDate: Fri, 15 Apr 2022 10:45:00 +030
       
  • The slow invasion of England by the non-native Edible Dormouse (Glis
           glis): where and how many after 120 years'

    • Abstract: ARPHA Conference s 5: e84603
      DOI : 10.3897/aca.5.e84603
      Authors : Roger Trout, Pat Morris, Sarah Brooks : Since the Edible Dormouse (Glis glis) was introduced to England in 1902, it very slowly invaded a wider area west of London. A recent and more rapid increase in both numbers and distribution is reported. Regular population monitoring for 23 years by volunteers at a woodland study site using nestboxes, and microchipping individuals, confirmed consistently increasing numbers. Independent reports of culling in buildings (under Licence) also indicates an increasing level of conflict. As part of a formal assessment of all British mammals published in 2018, the Glis population size was unfortunately based on estimated density data from two decades ago, indicating
      PubDate: Fri, 15 Apr 2022 10:45:00 +030
       
  • Nest sites used for daytime rest in urban Garden Dormice (Eliomys
           quercinus) in Wiesbaden, Germany

    • Abstract: ARPHA Conference s 5: e84602
      DOI : 10.3897/aca.5.e84602
      Authors : Silvia Waldinger, Franziska Sommer, Eva Griebeler, Johannes Lang : Garden Dormouse (Eliomys quercinus) populations have declined by 50% throughout Europe over the last 30 years. They are increasingly found in German cities, but little is known about their urban lifestyle. A radiotelemetry study was performed in the city of Wiesbaden, to investigate the daily resting habits of Garden Dormice. The location and structure of nest sites used for daytime rest (DNS) of five individuals (one female, four males) were recorded each to every second day during the months of May to July 2021. The animals were located 90 times in total in a DNS, and two to six different DNS per animal were identified. DNS were found in hedges, trees, bird nests, facade greening, nest boxes, and inside buildings. Garden Dormice in this study were often located in DNS that provide consistent temperatures (false floors, walls) and a high degree of protection from predators. DNS with visual cover and possible food supply (facade greening, hedges) were also often used. The frequency with which DNS were changed varied greatly depending on the individual. The dormice in this study showed adaptations to urban living, as each animal used at least one anthropogenic structure as DNS. Recommended conservation measures for Garden Dormice in urban areas, based on this study, include raising public awareness and protection and promotion of facade greening (climbing plants on walls and fences), hedges and old buildings. Further research on the life of Garden Dormice in urban areas is needed. HTML XML PDF
      PubDate: Fri, 15 Apr 2022 10:45:00 +030
       
  • Changes in the status of dormice species in Latvia over the last three
           decades

    • Abstract: ARPHA Conference s 5: e84599
      DOI : 10.3897/aca.5.e84599
      Authors : Valdis Pilāts : The first assessment of the status of dormice in Latvia, with emphasis on their distribution, was made in 1993. In accordance with the methodology used within the LIFE-IP LatViaNature project (2020–2028), to set favourable reference values (FRVs) for species range and population, the early 1990s was chosen as  the baseline for evaluating population trends of species listed in the Habitats Directive, as this was a socio-economic turning point in  the country. The next milestones were 2004 (Latvia joined EU) and the present time. Knowledge about dormice, especially the Forest and Hazel Dormouse, has considerably improved. Since then, one of four dormice species, the Garden Dormouse, has vanished from Latvia. No records of this species are known since the mid-1990s, despite widespread use of nest boxes for monitoring dormice. The limited ranges and population sizes of the Forest Dormouse and Edible Dormouse within the country are related to their occurrence here at their northern limits of distribution. Among other dormice species, the Hazel Dormouse is the most numerous and widespread. Currently, it has three disjunct populations, one of which has probably  vanished. Dormice monitoring as part of the national biodiversity monitoring programme started only in 2016. Therefore, long term population trends  are unknown.  Nest box occupation by the Forest Dormouse has been relatively stable, but in the Hazel Dormouse it decreased in 2019–2021 compared to 2017–2018, most probably, due to mild winters. HTML XML PDF
      PubDate: Fri, 15 Apr 2022 10:45:00 +030
       
  • Developing a novel bioacoustic monitoring for Garden Dormice using passive
           sound recorders and machine learning

    • Abstract: ARPHA Conference s 5: e84574
      DOI : 10.3897/aca.5.e84574
      Authors : Sarah Thivierge, Robin Sandfort, Holger Meinig, Livia Schäffler, Johannes Lang : One of the challenges of small mammal conservation is to be able to find the target species in the field. This is especially true for small nocturnal hibernators like dormice. Passive bioacoustic monitoring, as a non-invasive method, can be a useful tool to more efficiently find vocalizing animals in the field. However, bioacoustic methods produce a large amount of data, of which the manual analysis is highly time consuming. Therefore, there is need for an automatized process for identifying animal vocalization in acoustic data. Two types of recorders, audiomoths and BAR-LT recorders, were installed at a total of 10 locations of known Garden Dormouse (Eliomys quercinus) activity in Germany and were left recording in the field from June to September, producing a total of 3.54 TB of data. Based on our own and volunteers’ observations, Garden Dormouse vocalizations were manually identified in a subset of the sound files produced. These vocalizations, as well as ambient sound samples, were labelled and extracted to train a TensorFlow model, which was then tested on new subsets of the complete dataset. Comparing sound quality and acquisition costs of the two recorder types shows the potential for large-scale monitoring applications using the less expensive and open source audiomoth. Next steps include a time analysis of Garden Dormouse calls to find out when they are vocally more active during the study period. Such knowledge can help narrow the temporal scale of future bioacoustic studies on this species. HTML XML PDF
      PubDate: Fri, 15 Apr 2022 10:45:00 +030
       
  • Was everything better in the good old days' Declining body mass in the
           Garden Dormouse (Eliomys quercinus)

    • Abstract: ARPHA Conference s 5: e84566
      DOI : 10.3897/aca.5.e84566
      Authors : Stefanie Erhardt, Marc Förschler, Joanna Fietz : Garden Dormouse (Eliomys quercinus) populations have shown a drastic decline over the last 20-30 years, the reasons for this decline are still unknown. In wild animals, body mass is a good indicator of fitness and survival probability, especially in hibernating species like dormice. Fat accumulation before the onset of hibernation and juvenile growth are crucial to survive the following winter. We conducted a capture-mark-recapture study in the Black Forest (south-western Germany) between 2018 and 2021 and compared the body mass of captured Garden Dormice with data collected between 2003 and 2005. Furthermore, we investigated the dietary spectrum of this species by faecal analyses. The results show that adult Garden Dormice nowadays have a significantly lower body mass (difference 11 ± 2.8 g) before the onset of hibernation than two decades ago. Furthermore, juveniles showed a significantly lower body mass gain in the years 2018-2021 compared to juveniles in 2003-2005. Dietary analyses have revealed that insects represent the main food resource for juvenile Garden Dormice and also in adults during pre-hibernation fattening. This study shows, that the body mass of the Garden Dormice in the Black Forest has decreased over the last two decades, which could reduce their reproductive success and their survival rate, especially during hibernation. A reason for this body mass reduction could be the severe decline of insects leading to an insufficient availability of the key food resource of this species. In particular, reproductive females might not be able to cover their investment during gestation and lactation. HTML XML PDF
      PubDate: Fri, 15 Apr 2022 10:45:00 +030
       
  • The contribution of dormice monitoring to the assessment of the
           

    • Abstract: ARPHA Conference s 5: e84560
      DOI : 10.3897/aca.5.e84560
      Authors : Laura Taube, Valdis Pilāts, Digna Pilāte, Zanda Segliņa, Inese Kivleniece : In Latvia, four dormouse species have been recorded. In 2016 an annual monitoring of the Hazel Dormouse (Muscardinus avellanarius) and Forest Dormouse (Dryomys nitedula) was commenced within the national biodiversity monitoring programme to obtain data that would allow assessmen of the conservation status of those species and their habitats.The nestbox method was used for the surveys, as it is equally suitable for collecting data on all four species of dormice. Since 2016, 133 temporary study plots with 5–15 nest-boxes each, were established all over the country to record species presence. Sevenadditional permanent study plots collected data on population dynamics, each consisting of at least 50 nestboxes placed within a grid system at 50 m intervals.No Garden Dormice (Eliomys quercinus) were recorded, supporting the presumption that this species has vanished in Latvia. A new location for Edible Dormouse (Glis glis) has been discovered. The Forest Dormouse is found exclusively in a small area near the Latvia-Belarus border, but Hazel Dormice found in Latvia are probably are part of a metapopulation located to the south. No overlapping of distribution areas of species was found.The previous assessment of dormouse species, according to outdated IUCN criteria, was done 20 years ago. Re-assessment according to current IUCN criteria, and using monitoring data, is now carried out within the recently commenced LIFE FOR SPECIES project (2021–2024). Preliminary assessments indicate that each dormouse species will be classified in different categories - rangingfrom Least Concern to Regionally Extinct.   HTML XML PDF
      PubDate: Fri, 15 Apr 2022 10:45:00 +030
       
  • The beginning of the dormouse monitoring program in Normandy, France
           (Poster presentation)

    • Abstract: ARPHA Conference s 5: e84557
      DOI : 10.3897/aca.5.e84557
      Authors : Mélanie Marteau : Bibliography can be used as a source of informations on the ecology and threats to the Hazel Dormouse. However, little data is available on French dormouse populations, and population trends remain unknown. The Hazel Dormouse is a protected species in France, but no particular attention is afforded to it by political policies. In 2018, the GMN (Groupe Mammalogique Normand) started a dormouse monitoring program in Normandy (France), based on volunteer work by its members. The aim of the program is to obtain information about local dormouse populations using nestbox monitoring at 10 study sites spread throughout Normandy, over a period of 5 to 10 years. The first years of the program were devoted to the search for potential study sites, the construction of nearly 400 nestboxes and their installation and monitoring at 8 study sites (beginning in 2019 for the first site). Since then, Hazel Dormouse nests and/or individuals have been observed in nestboxes at 7 study sites, with interannual fluctuations. The GMN is expanding its research to an additional two new sectors in 2022 or 2023. Further analysis will follow over the next few years. HTML XML PDF
      PubDate: Fri, 15 Apr 2022 10:45:00 +030
       
  • Distribution data of the dormice species in Romania: a review

    • Abstract: ARPHA Conference s 5: e84507
      DOI : 10.3897/aca.5.e84507
      Authors : Ramona Bivoleanu, Gabriel Chișamera, Răzvan Zaharia, Ioana Cobzaru, Eliana Sevianu, Viorel Gavril, Cătălin Stanciu, Dumitru Murariu : All four species of dormice present in Romania are listed as Vulnerable in the Romanian Red Book of Vertebrates and are protected by national laws. Even though they are important bioindicators of the condition of forest habitats, little is known about their distribution.We reviewed the distribution data for the Romanian dormice species: the Garden Dormouse (Eliomys quercinus), Hazel Dormouse (Muscardinus avellanarius), Edible Dormouse (Glis glis), and Forest Dormouse (Dryomys nitedula). Our sources include published scientific literature, online databases (such as GBIF, Observation.org and iNaturalist), museum collections, verified citizen’s data as well as original data. A database was organized in GeoPackage format in QGIS 3.16.0. Historical locations from old scientific papers were georeferenced and included in the database with all metadata found. Recent and original data locations were recorded using geographical coordinates. Our aim was to produce up to date distribution maps for the dormice species occuring in Romania that can be further used in potential habitat modelling for the study and protection of these species and their habitat.We found the most abundant observation were of Muscardinus avellanarius and the least recorded species was Eliomys quercinus, without any recent data. HTML XML PDF
      PubDate: Fri, 15 Apr 2022 10:45:00 +030
       
  • A new endemic dormouse species in Anatolia

    • Abstract: ARPHA Conference s 5: e84506
      DOI : 10.3897/aca.5.e84506
      Authors : Ortaç Çetintaş, Sercan Irmak, Ferhat Matur, Mustafa Sözen : Molecular studies provide very useful information on predicting the evolutionary history of species, species ecology and for describing new species. Dryomys laniger is an alpine species that is endemic to Anatolia, inhabiting high rocky areas. Its known distribution consists of fragmented and isolated populations. In order to determine the evolutionary history of the species, a phylogenetic tree was created with one mtDNA and two nuDNA. Thirty-one samples were collected from 6 populations of Dryomys laniger distributed in Anatolia. Among these 6 populations, Subaşı plateau (Antalya) and Çiçekliboyun plateau (Niğde) populations are new distribution records for the species. According to the result of this study the genetic distance between Eastern lineage and Western lineage is 7%. Beside this genetic distance, two clades are morphologically significantly different from each other. Based on the differences, the Eastern lineage was defined as a new Dryomis species. The two lineages appear in the evolutionary tree as two monophyletic lineages and no common haplotype is shared between these lineages. According to the data available in the literature, and provided in this study, the westernmost distribution limit of Dryomys laniger is around the Subaşı plateau (Antalya), and the easternmost distribution limit is probably the Saimbeyli-Tufanbeyli line. The distribution area of the new Dryomys species is Tahtalı Mountains on the Adana-Kahramanmaraş border in the west, and the Erzurum region in the east. This study strongly suggests the importance of Anatolian high mountain ecosystems in terms of biodiversity, their potential to host new species, and the need for careful conservation. HTML XML PDF
      PubDate: Fri, 15 Apr 2022 10:45:00 +030
       
  • Dormice (Mammalia, Gliridae) in Ukraine: сurrent state of knowledge and
           perspectives of investigations

    • Abstract: ARPHA Conference s 5: e84456
      DOI : 10.3897/aca.5.e84456
      Authors : Alina Mishta : I am setting up the national databases for four species of the Gliridae family (Dryomys nitedula, Glis glis, Muscardinus avellanarius, Eliomys quercinus) with data available from museum collections, scientific literature, biodiversity social networks, and original observations in nature made within the borders of Ukraine. The database contains 656 records: Dryomys nitedula 287 records, Glis glis 152 records, Muscardinus avellanarius 216 records and Eliomys quercinus 1 record. Dryomys nitedula is listed in the Red Lists of 5 administrative regions, Glis glis in the Red Lists of 2 administrative regions, and Muscardinus avellanarius in the Red Lists of 4 administrative regions. We revealed 2 findings of Glis glis outside the known range of this species. The current state of knowledge and distribution of Gliridae representatives in Ukraine are discussed. We propose to change the conservation status of the Garden Dormouse Eliomys quercinus, which is listed in the Red Data Book of Ukraine (2009) as a critically endangered species (a species on the edge of extinction). The revision of literature and museum samples attributed to this species has demonstrated that the only specimen, that without a doubt belongs to this species, collected in the Cherkasy region in 1965, was assigned to a non-existent settlement. The rest of the museum specimens (one from Ivan Franko National University of Lviv Zoological Museum and one from the National Museum of Natural History National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine) were redefined as Dryomys nitedula. HTML XML PDF
      PubDate: Fri, 15 Apr 2022 10:45:00 +030
       
  • Nocturnal space and habitat use by Garden Dormice in an urban area in
           Germany

    • Abstract: ARPHA Conference s 5: e84451
      DOI : 10.3897/aca.5.e84451
      Authors : Franziska Sommer, Silvia Waldinger, Johannes Lang : The Garden Dormouse (Eliomys quercinus) is currently disappearing from parts of its former range. While its population is declining in many parts of Germany, a stable occurrence is found in the city of Wiesbaden. A radio telemetry study was conducted to investigate nocturnal activity and habitat use.Three males and one female were tracked for six weeks from May to July 2021. Males weighed 85 ± 15 g (n = 6), females 63 ± 8 g (n = 2). Home ranges were calculated using the minimum convex polygon (MCP) method. Males had larger home range sizes (MCP100: 2.69 ± 1.8 ha, n = 3) than females (0.53 ha, n = 1). The home ranges of males overlapped. Males regularly crossed roads up to 16 m wide. Animals exhibited nocturnal behavior with sporadic activity at dusk. Garden Dormice preferred structures with more than 75 % cover from a bird's eye view and 50 % cover when viewed from the side. Broad hedges were strongly preferred over single shrubs and trees or structures without vegetation. They were used by the animals for foraging, mating, as a place for other interactions, and as protected pathways through the habitat.The smaller home range sizes compared to previous studies may be due to good food availability in the city. Animals also seem to benefit from continuous habitat and high levels of plant cover. Recommended conservation measures include maintaining and promoting broad hedges and habitat connectivity. HTML XML PDF
      PubDate: Fri, 15 Apr 2022 10:45:00 +030
       
  • Acoustic detection of Garden Dormice: a field mapping study in an urban
           habitat in Germany

    • Abstract: ARPHA Conference s 5: e84450
      DOI : 10.3897/aca.5.e84450
      Authors : Teresa Nava, Pamela Burn, Sven Büchner, Holger Meinig, Johannes Lang : Garden Dormouse populations have been decreasing in range and declining in number throughout Europe. For effective conservation strategies, it is important to know where and in which habitats the species still occurs. Effective monitoring methods are therefore urgently needed especially because Glirids are difficult to monitor due to their nocturnal activity and their relatively low population density. The city of Wiesbaden (central Germany close to the River Rhine) harbors a stable Garden Dormouse population. In summer 2019 a field mapping study was conducted in which the occurrence of this species was investigated. During the summertime detection of the animals, based on their characteristic vocalizations, was used for the first time to map the occurrence of the species. Within 20 nights we obtained 128 acoustic detections of Garden Dormice, involving at least 168 individuals, and resulting in records for 55 out of 61 km² grids investigated. In Wiesbaden, the species is widespread and could be easily detected by its calls. It was found over almost the whole area, mainly in semi-open areas like gardens and allotments, but also in highly built up and cultivated areas, right in the immediate vicinity of humans, and in some cases even inside buildings. Thus, the Garden Dormouse has successfully adjusted to a life in an urban environment. Using this simple, cheap, fast and non-invasive method can provide many data for biodiversity monitoring and should therefore be given more consideration in future surveys. HTML XML PDF
      PubDate: Fri, 15 Apr 2022 10:45:00 +030
       
  • Habitat use and movement of Garden Dormice in the Harz Mountains, Germany

    • Abstract: ARPHA Conference s 5: e84445
      DOI : 10.3897/aca.5.e84445
      Authors : Mona Wuttke, Julia-Marie Battermann, Dania Richter, Sven Büchner : The Garden Dormouse (Eliomys quercinus) is an example of an endangered species with a distribution focus in Germany. Little is known about its habitat use and movements. Radio tracking is a common method used to analyze movement patterns to identify specific habitat requirements. During 11 weeks from May until September 2021, we tracked four individuals (2 females, 2 males) in the Harz Mountains National Park (~700 m a.s.l.). The study area was characterized by a predominance of rocks and spruce. Within one hour, males moved a distance of up to 173.95 m, females covered a maximum distance of 155.62 m. We analyzed whether a hiking trail cutting through the study area represented a potential barrier for the movement of these animals. Three individuals were tracked crossing the path up to 4 times a night. Raspberry bushes along the path were a potential incentive for crossing. A dense rocky cover and a well-developed shrub layer with raspberry bushes within spruce woodlands seem favorable to the presence of Garden Dormice. For the conservation of this species, it is necessary to protect similar habitats. To connect areas with populations of garden dormice, it may be important to encourage bushes with wild fruits among forest edges and pathways. HTML XML PDF
      PubDate: Fri, 15 Apr 2022 10:45:00 +030
       
  • Combining citizen science and conservation genomics to reveal the causes
           of rapid population decline in the Garden Dormouse (Eliomys quercinus)

    • Abstract: ARPHA Conference s 5: e84437
      DOI : 10.3897/aca.5.e84437
      Authors : Alina von Thaden, Sven Büchner, Johannes Lang, Holger Meinig, Carsten Nowak : The Garden Dormouse (Eliomys quercinus) is a native European rodent species that has suffered extensive range contraction and severe population decline across large parts of its distribution in Central and Eastern Europe and is now considered extinct in several countries. At the same time, contrasting population dynamics are observed in its western distribution, where Garden Dormice are regionally abundant and even occupy habitats in the built environment. Reasons for these opposing range dynamics and drastic declines remain unknown. We therefore started a long-term cooperation project, joining the efforts of different research institutions, conservation NGOs and citizen scientists to investigate the underlying causes. Here, we present the results of a RADseq analysis of 103 samples collected from several parts of the European species range to infer regional phylogeography and delineate different conservation units. Preliminary genomic data show the existence of highly divergent genetic lineages, even on a local scale. Based on these findings, we have developed a reduced SNP panel, which allows for lineage discrimination, assessment of population structure and identification of individuals from non-invasively collected samples. The panel is now routinely applied in Garden Dormouse conservation, e.g., when selecting appropriate locations to release displaced Garden Dormice found accidentally or to identify isolated Garden Dormouse populations in need of improved habitat connectivity. HTML XML PDF
      PubDate: Fri, 15 Apr 2022 10:45:00 +030
       
  • You are what you eat: on the diet of the Garden Dormouse

    • Abstract: ARPHA Conference s 5: e84436
      DOI : 10.3897/aca.5.e84436
      Authors : Sven Büchner, Nicolle Bräsel, Irmhild Wolz, Johannes Lang : The Garden Dormouse is considered the most carnivorous species among Glirids. However, this information is based on small sample sizes. In order to develop conservation measures for this declining species, understanding its feeding ecology is crucial. In this context, we studied the diet of the Garden Dormouse in Germany using microscopic analyses of 1,000 faeces collected in different habitats over 3 years. We also examined 100 stomachs from fresh carcasses.More than 90 % of all faeces contained food of animal origin, mainly arthropods, also annelids and molluscs, but rarely vertebrates. It was possible to identify most food items of animal origin to Order level, in some cases even the species was determined. Almost all faecal samples contained plant material, mainly vegetative parts of plants (74.5 %) but also generative parts (25.5 %). Fruits like raspberries, blueberries or blackberries play a role as food sources in late summer. Surprisingly, seeds are of secondary importance. Results from stomach analysis show a higher proportion of annelids and molluscs, but otherwise confirm the data from faecal samples.Our results confirm that the Garden Dormouse is a generalist omnivore. It preys on a wide range of animals of different taxonomic groups, also many different plant species and parts. Due to the high proportion of food of animal origin, Garden Dormice are on a higher trophic level compared to other European dormouse species. They are, therefore, vulnerable to losses of arthropod biomass and sensitive to pesticide accumulation. HTML XML PDF
      PubDate: Fri, 15 Apr 2022 10:45:00 +030
       
  • A large-scale citizen science approach to assess the distribution and
           ecology of the declining Garden Dormouse in Germany

    • Abstract: ARPHA Conference s 5: e84434
      DOI : 10.3897/aca.5.e84434
      Authors : Sven Büchner, Johannes Lang, Holger Meinig, Alina von Thaden, Andrea Andersen, Harald Brünner, Carsten Nowak : The Garden Dormouse has shown an ongoing decline over the last decades across large parts of its range. As the reasons for the species’ shrinking range are poorly understood, effective conservation actions have been lacking so far. The Germany- wide project “In Search of the Garden Dormouse” aims to investigate the causes, and develop concepts and measures to mitigate the decline. The current distribution has been assessed using a large-scale citizen science approach. More than 6,000 dormouse observations were gathered via an online reporting tool, of which>4,000 reports could be verified by photos, videos, or call recordings. Our aim was to obtain important information about the ecology of the species in different habitat types. For this, volunteers systematically collected approximately 1,000 Garden Dormouse droppings for food analysis, installed footprint tunnels and camera traps, helped to obtain several hundred DNA samples, collected> 500 carcasses, and recorded Garden Dormouse calls from various sampling sites. Volunteers also used a novel device for automated Garden Dormouse monitoring in the field that was developed and successfully applied in support of the project. The gathered data displays the current Garden Dormouse distribution in Germany and provides insights into the biology and ecology of this endangered, understudied species. The multidisciplinary approach of the project combined several disciplines, from field ecology to population genomics, in a fruitful cooperation of scientists, citizen scientists, and a conservation NGO. It can serve as a template for future projects aiming to produce large-scale scientific data in animal research and conservation. HTML XML PDF
      PubDate: Fri, 15 Apr 2022 10:45:00 +030
       
  • Habitats change habits: How Garden Dormice cope with different
           environments in Germany

    • Abstract: ARPHA Conference s 5: e84433
      DOI : 10.3897/aca.5.e84433
      Authors : Johannes Lang, Julia-Marie Battermann, Franziska Sommer, Silvia Waldinger, Mona Wuttke, Holger Meinig, Eva Marie Famira-Parcsetich, Sven Büchner : The Garden Dormouse is currently disappearing from parts of its range. While its population is declining in many parts of Germany including forest habitats in low mountain ranges, a stable occurrence is found in some cities. A radiotelemetry study was performed in the spruce forests of the Harz National Park (mountains) and the city of Wiesbaden to compare space and habitat use, and the structure and use of daytime nest sites (DNS) used for rest.In total, eight individuals (5 males, 3 females) were tracked between May and September 2021. They used smaller home ranges in the city (MCP100: 2.39 ± 1.34 ha; n = 4) than in the forest (MCP100: 4.56 ± 3.13 ha; n = 4). At night, the animals used structures offering protection from predators and providing food like wide hedges in the city and rock crevices and berry bushes in the forest.The animals were located in a DNS a total of 133 times, and one to ten different DNS per animal were identified. They were situated in structures providing a high degree of protection from predators and also had consistent temperatures (e.g. rock crevices , deadwood piles , hedges, vines on buildings, nest boxes, and buildings). While females rarely changed their DNS, males used several of them.Recommended conservation measures for Garden Dormice include raising public awareness and also the protection and promotion of facade greening, hedges and old buildings in urban areas. A dense rocky cover, as well as a well-developed shrub layer with raspberry bushes are valuable in spruce woodlands . HTML XML PDF
      PubDate: Fri, 15 Apr 2022 10:45:00 +030
       
  • Who is waiting at the main entrance' Species composition and temporal
           dynamics of the use of underground cavern exits of Edible Dormice (Glis
           glis) by their potential predators

    • Abstract: ARPHA Conference s 5: e84407
      DOI : 10.3897/aca.5.e84407
      Authors : Lovrenc Ponikvar, Boris Kryštufek, Dejan Bordjan, Klemen Jerina : A diverse assemblage of reptiles, birds and mammals, ranging from the smallest to the size of the Brown bear, prey on the Edible Dormouse. Dormice are particularly exposed to predation while actively searching for food in the tree canopy. A much narrower spectrum of species can access dormice during their periods of inactivity, typically spent underground in burrows, caves and shafts. Entrances of underground caverns are frequently so narrow that they prevent the passing of larger predatory species. Dormice concentrate at such entrances/exits as many individuals use the same cavern. Their emergence is predictable and dormice are less agile on the ground than in the tree canopy. The exits therefore may act as efficient hunting spots for predators. However, we are not aware of any research addressing this.The goal of our study was to document species composition of predators at the exits from caverns used by dormice. The entrances of 10 of these caverns in the Dinaric Mountains in Slovenia were continuously monitored by infra-red camera traps for the whole 2021 season, set to maximum sensitivity at 1.5 m from entrances.We recorded 250 arrivals/departures of dormice from caverns and 480 recordings of 7 predatory species waiting at entrances: Stone/Pine Marten (266), Wild Cat (68), Fox (67), Domestic Cat (45), Badger (19), Brown Bear (17) and Wild Boar (4). Recorded predators were often alert and apparently controlled the exit which (in addition to the time of recordings) indicates, that they may have been there to prey on dormice. However, we did not record any predation. HTML XML PDF
      PubDate: Fri, 15 Apr 2022 10:45:00 +030
       
  • Solitary vs communal use of nest boxes by the Edible Dormouse (Glis glis)

    • Abstract: ARPHA Conference s 5: e83207
      DOI : 10.3897/aca.5.e83207
      Authors : Peter Adamik, Nikola Zdarilova : The Edible Dormouse often forms group associations in den sites. We characterize, over a 13-year period, how often the dormice rest alone or communally in nest boxes. The majority (87%) of individuals are solitary, resting alone during the daytime in nest boxes. In communal associations, groups of two or three individuals were the most common. We assessed the role of ambient temperature, seed mast, density of nest boxes and the surrounding vegetation on occupancy patterns. Seed mast and nest box density had a significant effect on group associations. Groups were more common in non-masting years. The lower the density of nest boxes at the study sites, the more common were group associations. In addition, a higher proportion of beech trees surrounding the nest boxes was associated with more frequent group associations. HTML XML PDF
      PubDate: Fri, 15 Apr 2022 10:45:00 +030
       
  • Historical distribution of the Garden Dormouse in Poland

    • Abstract: ARPHA Conference s 5: e83191
      DOI : 10.3897/aca.5.e83191
      Authors : Jan Cichocki, Krzysztof Klimaszewski, Agnieszka Ważna, Błażej Wojtowicz, Maria Sobczuk, Agnieszka Suchecka : The Garden Dormouse (Eliomys quercinus), is the rarest species of the Gliridae family in Central Europe. So far, information on the occurrence of this species in Poland is based mainly on historical data in the literature. The presence of the Garden Dormouse is additionally confused by the occurrence of the Forest Dormouse (Dryomys nitedula) of similar appearance. The range of both species overlap in Poland, and they have often been distinguished incorrectly.The aim of the research was to critically analyse the known localities of the Garden Dormouse in Poland, using both literature data and museum collections. The analysis of museum collections indicated errors in species identification, where specimens of the Forest Dormouse were usually described as a Garden Dormouse. New, previously unknown, localities have also been found. Most numerous in the collections are specimens from the vicinity of Babia Góra (Western Carpathians), where 5 individuals were caught in the early 1960s. Another occurrence of the Garden Dormouse in the Carpathians was recorded in Zakopane in the second half of the 19th century. Another region of the species’ occurrence is the area of Lusatia, in the lowland, western part of the country, where one specimen was found. The last specimen was found in Silesia in the first half of the 20th century. The remaining literature information should be considered uncertain. The last certain information about the occurrence of the Garden Dormouse in Poland comes from the 1960s from Zawoja (vicinity of Babia Góra) and since then, despite intensive searches in the 1970s and 1980s, this species has not been found in the localities where it was captured earlier. There have been significant changes in the landscape in the areas where the species historically occurred. The mosaic of mountain pastures, arable fields and small spruce forests, constituting a favourable habitat for the Garden Dormouse, has been replaced by beech forests, which are currently dominated by the Edible Dormouse (Glis glis). HTML XML PDF
      PubDate: Fri, 15 Apr 2022 10:45:00 +030
       
  • Habitat preferences and vertical distribution of dormice in the Tatra
           Mountains

    • Abstract: ARPHA Conference s 5: e83190
      DOI : 10.3897/aca.5.e83190
      Authors : Jan Cichocki, Agnieszka Ważna, Tomasz Zwijacz–Kozica, Zbigniew Mierczak, Krzysztof Klimaszewski : Dormice monitoring was carried out between 2014 and 2019 at 14 areas located in various regions of the Tatra National Park in Poland. The areas were located in various habitats: beech forests and spruce forests in the low mountain zone; spruce forests, windbreaks and mountain pine (Pinus mugo) thickets in the high mountain zone. The choice of the area for monitoring resulted from the habitat type and technical possibilities enabling regular inspections. Each area was equipped with 30 nest boxes dedicated to dormice. The boxes were hung on trees at a height of 1.5 to 2 meters, only in mountain pine thickets. In habitats with a dense cover of European Red Raspberries (Rubus idaeus) the boxes were hung lower, on branches or on specially constructed poles. The use of boxes was determined on the basis of the presence of dormice or their nests.A comparison of nest box use shows that the Hazel Dormouse has specific habitat preferences in mountainous areas. This species was most frequently found in windbreaks, often those with a high proportion of trees destroyed after an outbreak of the spruce bark beetle (Ips typographus). These habitats are characterized by extensive undergrowth with numerous raspberries, Common Rowan (Sorbus aucuparia), Rosebay Willow Herb (Epilobium angustifolium) and spruce undergrowth (Picea abies). Beech forest (Fagus sylvatica) forms a habitat which is not preferred, but is unavoidable. Negative selectivity was demonstrated in relation to the spruce and mountain pine forests that are dominant in the Tatra National Park. The Forest Dormouse (Dryomys nitedula) was found at only one plot in the fourth year of observation. It was located in a small patch of beech in the vicinity of the site where this species was detected in 2011. HTML XML PDF
      PubDate: Fri, 15 Apr 2022 10:45:00 +030
       
  • Perpetuating ambiguity: a review of Garden Dormouse (Eliomys quercinus)
           records from Romania

    • Abstract: ARPHA Conference s 5: e82838
      DOI : 10.3897/aca.5.e82838
      Authors : Zsolt Hegyeli : Published records of species are often uncritically cited by other authors. However, when such records are based on uncertain data, reproducing them can misrepresent species distribution or conservation status. This, in turn, may result in misguided management decisions for threatened taxa. While still widely distributed in southwestern Europe, eastern populations of the Garden Dormouse (Eliomys quercinus) are small and isolated, and the species has seen a serious decline in recent decades. Given the patchy nature of this eastern range, as well as a general confusion regarding its Romanian presence, our study aimed at critically reviewing all Garden Dormouse records from this country. The mammal collections of several Romanian museums were inspected for Garden Dormouse specimens, and literature data were reviewed to assess the validity of records. Aspects such as presence of voucher specimens, photographic or biometric evidence, type of record, ecological or behavioural data were considered when analysing published records. Eleven museum specimens and 31 literature records of alleged E. quercinus were identified. All museum specimens were re-determined as being forest dormice (Dryomys nitedula). None of the publications provided either photos, measurements or detailed description of individuals, which might have excluded confusion with the Forest Dormouse. Another peculiar aspect was the frequent lack of Forest Dormouse records, even in regions where the species is presently known to occur. In conclusion, our study failed to detect unambiguous evidence of past or present Garden Dormouse occurrence in Romania, which raises new questions about the range and status of this species. HTML XML PDF
      PubDate: Fri, 15 Apr 2022 10:45:00 +030
       
  • Reproductive parameters of captive common dormice (Muscardinus
           avellanarius) in the UK.  (Oral Presentation)

    • Abstract: ARPHA Conference s 5: e82829
      DOI : 10.3897/aca.5.e82829
      Authors : Hazel Ryan, Suzanne Kynaston, Judi Dunn, Sam Nurney : The common dormouse (Muscardinus avellanarius) became extinct in half its former range in the UK during the 20th century. The Common Dormouse Captive Breeders Group was set up in 1995 to breed dormice for reintroduction into their former range. A national studbook records all dormice held in captivity since 1990; more than 1400 individuals and 214 litters to date. Studbook data were analysed, to examine the relationship between age of breeding female (dam) and various reproductive parameters, to aid captive breeders in maximising production of young despite limited resources. Maximum lifespan within the captive population is nine years and two months, compared with five years recorded in the wild in the UK. Maximum breeding age of captive dams is five years.  Captive dormice produced up to four successive litters in a season. Litter size ranged from 1-9 with four being the most frequent. A dam may be paired with a male for several successive years. There was a non-significant decline in both mean and maximum litter size with dam age and significant variation in the number of young born between sequential litters. The highest mortality rates of young before 30 days of age occurred in those born to five year old dams. To maximise captive breeding potential it is recommended that resources are focussed on breeding using younger dams. More precise and detailed record keeping by breeders for input into the studbook database would aid future analysis. HTML XML PDF
      PubDate: Fri, 15 Apr 2022 10:45:00 +030
       
  • Another one bites the dust: pollutants and pesticides in Garden Dormice
           found dead

    • Abstract: ARPHA Conference s 5: e82820
      DOI : 10.3897/aca.5.e82820
      Authors : Eva Marie Famira-Parcsetich, Sonja Schanzer, Christoph Müller, Detlef Schenke, Michael Lierz, Johannes Lang : Persistent organic pollutants, pesticides and biocides have a harmful impact on biological diversity. Besides short-term toxic effects on directly exposed organisms, they can have long-term effects resulting in changes of habitats and food chains. Their widespread use makes contact with pesticides and their residues inevitable for some wildlife. However, little is known about the exposure of dormice to pollutants and pesticides.Garden Dormice found dead were collected from all over Germany and toxicological examinations were conducted. Fifty-seven livers were investigated for anticoagulant rodenticides by liquid chromatography, coupled to tandem mass spectrometry, resulting in 28 rodenticide-positive samples. In addition, livers of 110 Garden Dormice were analysed for 209 different persistent organic pollutants and pesticides using gas chromatography, coupled to tandem mass spectrometry. In total, 21 different analytes were found. At least four and up to 15 different analytes were detected per sample.Several studies have showed that pesticide exposure negatively affects the nervous, immune and endocrine systems in other species. Possible consequences might be a higher risk of predation, an impaired resistance against pathogens and a negative impact on reproduction. As many analytes are lipophilic, it seems most likely that species with phases of torpor are especially vulnerable because, during fasting periods, large amounts of toxins might be released from the mobilised fat tissue.To our knowledge, this is the first study of toxins in free-living Garden Dormice. The possible impact on the decline of this species is not yet fully understood. HTML XML PDF
      PubDate: Fri, 15 Apr 2022 10:45:00 +030
       
  • Evolutionary history of the Forest Dormouse (Dryomys nitedula)

    • Abstract: ARPHA Conference s 5: e82809
      DOI : 10.3897/aca.5.e82809
      Authors : Anissa El Mojahid, Nedko Nedyalkov, Christos Astaras, Rimvydas Juškaitis, Ramona-Andreea Bivoleanu, Eva Ladurner, Gaetano Aloise, Valeriy Stakheev, Johan Michaux, Alice Mouton : The Forest Dormouse, Dryomys nitedula, has a wide geographic distribution, from Switzerland in the west, through eastern and southern Europe, Asia Minor and the Caucasus, to central Russia, central Asia and Mongolia in the east. Previous phylogenetic studies revealed highly divergent lineages in some part of the distribution, suggesting that the history of the species might be complex and a revision of the taxonomy might be warranted. In order to clarify the status of the subspecies identified in previous studies, we increased the current Genbank dataset (n=106) by analyzing>150 samples from Italy, Hungary, Lithuania, the Czech Republic, Russia, Bulgaria, Romania, Austria, and Greece. Preliminary phylogenetic analyses, based on cytochrome b, show the presence of five super lineages with two highly divergent lineages in Iran and Russia. These preliminary results will be completed by additional samples from Mongolia and Afghanistan. This study should help shed light on the evolutionary history of this species across its distribution. HTML XML PDF
      PubDate: Fri, 15 Apr 2022 10:45:00 +030
       
  • Distribution and habitat use by sympatric dormice species in two Natura
           2000 sites in central Macedonia, Greece

    • Abstract: ARPHA Conference s 5: e82802
      DOI : 10.3897/aca.5.e82802
      Authors : Christos Astaras, Despina Migli, Ilias Karmiris, Magdalini Pleniou, George Mitsainas, Dionisios Youlatos : There has been little research on the distribution and ecology of the four dormouse species occurring in Greece; the Edible Dormouse (Glis glis), Forest Dormouse (Dryomys nitedula), Hazel dormouse (Muscardinus avellanarius) and Mouse-tailed Dormouse (Myomimus roachi). As a result, the latter three species are listed as data deficient (DD) in the National Red Data Book. Recently, the government has tried to address this knowledge gap, funding dormouse surveys within the Natura 2000 network. In this context, we used a combination of nest-tubes (n=442) and track-tunnels (n=238) to study dormouse distribution and habitat use across 37 sites representing different habitat types (with varying levels of grazing) of two mountainous N2K sites (GR1270001, GR1270005) in central Macedonia. We detected G. glis at 28 sites, D. nitedula at 32 sites, and M. avellanarius at seven sites. Positive identification of the different species was twice as likely in track-tunnels (unbaited; metal sheets covered in soot) than nest-tubes. We estimated relative abundance across sites using Royle-Nichols occupancy models, except for M. avellanarius due to data limitations. For all species, we examined habitat use using MaxEnt ecological-niche models. Our findings show that D. nitedula has the widest distribution, occurring even in sparse forests and maqui with moderate or high livestock grazing intensity. G. glis is common, but restricted to medium-high elevation forests. M. avellanarius appears to have a discontinuous distribution. If this study is representative of its status across the country, that species requires conservation efforts. HTML XML PDF
      PubDate: Fri, 15 Apr 2022 10:45:00 +030
       
  • Alpine forests are a suitable habitat for the Hazel Dormouse

    • Abstract: ARPHA Conference s 5: e82512
      DOI : 10.3897/aca.5.e82512
      Authors : Ilaria Melcore, Noemi Gargano, Annalisa Demitri, Sandro Bertolino : The Hazel Dormouse (Muscardinus avellanarius) is commonly considered a typical lowland species, occasionally observed at higher elevations in mountain habitats. This study began with preliminary investigations in the Gran Paradiso National Park in the Western Alps, where nests of Hazel Dormice were observed at around 2000 m a.s.l. In 2019, a mark-recapture project started in two valleys (Valsavarenche and Val di Rhêmes), positioning six grids with 40 nest boxes from 1000 m to 2000 m a.s.l. to investigate the ecology and adaptations of dormouse populations along the altitudinal gradient. In these years, nest boxes were checked irregularly, and the number of marked animals was low. The number of individuals captured in the highest grids at 2000 m increased from 1 to 8 in Valsavarenche and from 11 to 15 in Val di Rhêmes. These results seem to confirm a continuous presence of the species at the upper edge of the forest vegetation. The data from Valsavarenche suggest some significant population fluctuations, but the effect of nest boxes on population densities cannot be excluded. HTML XML PDF
      PubDate: Fri, 15 Apr 2022 10:45:00 +030
       
  • Quantification of Edible Dormouse (Glis glis) calling activity for
           biodiversity surveys: comparison of core and peripheral populations

    • Abstract: ARPHA Conference s 5: e82441
      DOI : 10.3897/aca.5.e82441
      Authors : Justyna Barščevska, Peter Adamik : In Lithuania, the Edible Dormouse (Glis glis) is an endangered red-listed species and only 10 populations are known at present. It is situated on the northern periphery of its distribution range and outside the continuous range of the European Beech (Fagus sylvatica) which is a key-species for this rodent. For this reason, habitats of the Edible Dormouse are completely different in Lithuania, where most dormouse populations are fragmented, isolated and might be very small compared to other countries, where beech stands predominate in Glis habitats.Alhough the Edible Dormouse is a well-investigated species in many parts of its range, there is still a lack of information about the ecology of this species on the periphery of its distribution range. In this presentation, we compare calling activity of the Edible Dormouse in core and peripheral populations using voice recorders. During the summer 2017, three voice recorders were deployed on three permanent sites in the Czech Republic, and three voice recorders were deployed at three different localities in Lithuania during the summer 2020. Voice recorders were continuously recording dormouse voices over the entire summer until the beginning of autumn, and relevant days of voice records were selected for the comparison of calling activity.The results of this study will help to evaluate a new method for Edible Dormouse investigation in Lithuania, revealing new and interesting information about its nocturnal life. HTML XML PDF
      PubDate: Fri, 15 Apr 2022 10:45:00 +030
       
  • Population genomics of the Forest Dormouse (Dryomys nitedula) in Bulgaria

    • Abstract: ARPHA Conference s 5: e82475
      DOI : 10.3897/aca.5.e82475
      Authors : Alice Mouton, Anissa El Mojahid, Nedko Nedialkov, Johan Michaux : The Forest Dormouse (Dryomys nitedula) is one of the most widespread species of the Gliridae family, occurring in the Eastern Mediterranean, Central Asia, Caucasus and the Arabian plateau. The populations are mostly threatened by the destruction of their forest habitats. Despite being considered as Least Concern by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the general population trend is unknown and the species is listed in Annex IV of the Habitat Directive in Europe and Annex III of the Bern Convention. Our goal was to determine its population structure in Bulgaria, where the species is well studied. We generated reduced representation genomic libraries using the 3RAD method on 62 samples collected from April 2020 to June 2021 from several study sites. Preliminary results based on cluster analyses suggest the presence of several geographically well-structured populations. With this study, we hope to gain new insights into the population genetics and trends of this overlooked species. HTML XML PDF
      PubDate: Fri, 15 Apr 2022 10:45:00 +030
       
  • Dormice (Gliridae) in the diet of predators in Eurasia: a review

    • Abstract: ARPHA Conference s 5: e82403
      DOI : 10.3897/aca.5.e82403
      Authors : Rimvydas Juškaitis : Dormice are widely distributed through Eurasia and Africa, but their abundance varies considerably. In many regions, dormice are rare, and their role in ecosystems is considered to be unimportant. The aim of this study was to evaluate the significance of dormice in the diet of predators in the Palaearctic (excluding Japan). A total of 540 sources, containing information on dormice in the diet of predators was analysed. Countries of Southern and Central Europe had the largest numbers of target sources. Dormice were recorded in the diet of 57 predator species: 21 mammals, 13 owls, 18 diurnal birds and 5 reptiles. Owls hunting in the forests, particularly the Tawny Owl (Strix aluco), are the main dormouse predators. The highest proportion of dormice in the diet of predators was recorded in the Mediterranean region, where Edible Dormice (Glis glis) are abundant and some other dormouse species are sympatric. In particular periods, dormice may be an alternative prey for predators such as Tawny Owl and even Lynx (Lynx lynx). It was supposed previously that predation was an important cause of high winter mortality in dormice, but analysis of publications showed that dormice were rather seldom recorded in the winter diet of predators. Thus, the exact impact of predators on winter mortality of dormice remains unclear. The role of dormice in the diet of predators depends on dormouse abundance. In areas where dormice are rare, it is trivial. However, predators catching even individual females, may have a significant impact on dormouse reproductive success. HTML XML PDF
      PubDate: Fri, 15 Apr 2022 10:45:00 +030
       
  • Ticks on the Edible Dormouse (Glis glis)

    • Abstract: ARPHA Conference s 5: e82399
      DOI : 10.3897/aca.5.e82399
      Authors : Karolína Srbová, Pavlína Paclíková, Luděk Žůrek, Peter Adamik : Rodents in central Europe, such as the Edible Dormouse, are common hosts for many ectoparasites, including ticks. One of the most extensively studied tick species is Ixodes ricinus, whose geographic distribution extends from Scandinavia to Morocco. In 2014, a new North African species I. inopinatus was described and found in Morocco, Tunisia, the Iberian Peninsula, and peripherally also in Romania, Austria, and southern Germany. Both Ixodes species were reported in sympatry in southern Europe (Spain and Portugal) where they feed mainly on lizards. During the period from early June to October in 2016-2019, we captured 4597 dormice and calculated the rate of tick infestation. Our results show that the mean prevalence of ticks in the dormouse population was 31.9 %. In the next step, 400 ticks from 2019 (255 larvae, 144 nymphs, 1 adult) from dormice were identified morphologically and by multiplex-PCR to distinguish I. ricinus and I. inopinatus. The results of our analysis show the first report of I. inopinatus feeding on rodents. HTML XML PDF
      PubDate: Fri, 15 Apr 2022 10:45:00 +030
       
  • Living in a changing world: Physiological and behavioural flexibility of
           juvenile Garden Dormice

    • Abstract: ARPHA Conference s 5: e81850
      DOI : 10.3897/aca.5.e81850
      Authors : Sylvain Giroud, Caroline Habold, Sebastian Vetter, Johanna Painer, Anouck Four-Chaboussant, Steve Smith, Caroline Gilbert : Heterothermy, or torpor, allows individuals to save energy by active reduction of metabolism and decreased body temperature. Social thermoregulation or huddling allows individuals to minimize energy needs while maintaining a relatively high body temperature. The Garden Dormouse (Eliomys quercinus), a highly endangered European rodent, uses both strategies of torpor and huddling, which are particularly beneficial for young individuals to cope with environmental fluctuations. Since juveniles are an important component of population renewal, determining the flexibility of energy-saving strategies and its consequences on somatic integrity of young individuals is key to protecting this species. We measured individual torpor patterns, body mass gain and structural growth, and assessed telomere dynamics in male and female juvenile Garden Dormice according to housing condition (singly or groups of four individuals) and food availability (fed ad-libitum or energy-limited) before and during hibernation. During development, juveniles used more frequent, longer and deeper torpor when housed singly than in groups. Torpor was encouraged by lower food availability. Juveniles showed similar body mass gain and growth, irrespective of experimental conditions. During hibernation, huddling dormice showed similar hibernating patterns and mass loss compared to single individuals regardless of food availability. Telomere lengthened across all individuals before hibernation, with larger elongation in males, which also experienced greater telomere loss than females during hibernation. We conclude that the use of torpor and huddling allows juvenile Garden Dormice to cope successfully with energetic bottlenecks, without major effects on somatic integrity. Future studies will need to confirm such findings under natural environmental conditions. HTML XML PDF
      PubDate: Fri, 15 Apr 2022 10:45:00 +030
       
  • Drivers of torpor during the active season of Hazel Dormouse

    • Abstract: ARPHA Conference s 5: e80756
      DOI : 10.3897/aca.5.e80756
      Authors : Charlotte Armitage : Torpor is a life history strategy within more than half of mammalian orders, to achieve the conservation of energy particularly when species are experiencing unfavourable conditions. Daily torpor is limited to a duration of less than 24 hours and occurs when an animal reduces its metabolic rate and lowers its body temperature between bouts of activity. Hazel Dormice utilise daily torpor as an energy saving strategy during their active period (April-October) and the prevalence of torpor varies from year to year. The intrinsic and extrinsic drivers of daily torpor in Hazel Dormice are not yet well understood. I have identified drivers of torpor among Hazel Dormice which include climatic variables and the life history of individual animals. Dormice were more likely to be found in torpor on colder and wetter days and during colder and wetter seasons. Weight was a strong predictor of torpor; lighter individuals were more likely to be torpid earlier in the year (April-August) and heavier individuals later in the year (September-October). Individuals found in breeding nest boxes rarely enter torpor and solitary animals are more likely to be torpid. Sex only affects the prevalence of torpor in two months, August and September; males were more likely to be torpid in August and females in September. Using the resulting model I can predict how daily torpor occurrence might change under a changing climate. This will have consequences for Hazel Dormice in the UK as it is likely to affect survival and breeding rates. HTML XML PDF
      PubDate: Fri, 15 Apr 2022 10:45:00 +030
       
  • Quantifying troglomorphism in hyperspace

    • Abstract: ARPHA Conference s 5: e82941
      DOI : 10.3897/aca.5.e82941
      Authors : Stefano Mammola, Martina Pavlek, Miquel Arnedo, Filippo Milano, Roberto Milione, Marco Tolve, Marco Isaia, Pedro Cardoso : Many ecological and evolutionary studies require to quantify the degree of adaptation of subterranean species to caves or other subterranean systems. In 1962, Kenneth A. Christiansen (1924–2017) coined the term “troglomorphism” to illustrate the process of subterranean adaptation and the suite of adaptive traits of organisms (“troglomorphic traits” or “troglomorphies”) (Christiansen 1962). Although this term was proposed in a paper published in French, “troglomorphism” and its derivatives (e.g. “troglobiomorphism”) became widely adopted jargon in subterranean biology. Yet, after decades of work and countless discussions around the subtle meanings of the term, there is still no consensus on how to best quantify troglomorphism in a simple operational way to support eco-evolutionary research. In a recent interview, Boris Sket made the excellent point that “nothing [makes] sense in speleobiology without a comparison of cave animals with the 'normal' epigean ones” (Lučić 2021). Building on this idea, we contend that one could quantify troglomorphism on a continuous scale within a given group of organisms (e.g., family or genus) as the functional distance of each species to the phylogenetically closest surface species or the “average” surface species (depending on whether phylogenetic information is available or not). We illustrate this approach using subterranean spiders in the genus Troglohyphantes, a well-studied group for which both a phylogeny and functional traits are available (Isaia et al. 2017, Mammola et al. 2020). We tested two approaches: i) quantifying adaptation as the morphological distance of each species to the phylogenetically closest surface-dwelling relative; ii) using a kernel density n-dimensional hypervolume (sensu Blonder et al. 2014) to construct the morphospace occupied by all surface-dwelling species of Troglohyphantes, and quantifying the degree of adaptation of subterranean species as their distance from the centroid of this “average” surface species. To test the effectiveness of these alternative methods, we compare how functional distance varies in relation the habitat occupied by each species (deep caves vs cave entrances vs interstitial habitats) and its range size. We suggest our approach could be applied to any group of subterranean organisms for which a surface relative is known, allowing to explore a range of questions on the degree to which the specialization of a given community relates to local environmental conditions, interspecific interactions, and more. HTML XML PDF
      PubDate: Thu, 14 Apr 2022 10:45:00 +030
       
  • Food products identified as source of a foodborne disease outbreak by a
           fast and robust likelihood estimation

    • Abstract: ARPHA Conference s 4: e68945
      DOI : 10.3897/aca.4.e68945
      Authors : Jakub Fusiak, Kyrre Kausrud, Marion Gottschald, Dominic Tölle, Marco Rügen, Birgit Lewicki, Isaak Gerber, Michele Kayser, Alexander Falenski, Armin Weiser, Solveig Jore, Madelaine Norström, Katja Alt : Identifying a specific product causing a foodborne disease outbreak can be difficult, especially when dealing with a large amounts of suspicious food items and weak epidemiological evidence. A previously described likelihood model (Norström et al. 2015), improved within the OHEJP NOVA project, helps to prioritize food products that should be sampled for laboratory analysis. It is the aim of our study to integrate this approach into state of the art tracing software FoodChain-Lab (FCL; https://foodrisklabs.bfr.bund.de/foodchain-lab) developed at BfR to facilitate outbreak investigations.The model improved by Kausrud et al. in R (Ihaka and Gentleman 1996) uses wholesale data, the distribution of disease cases and census data to sort food items by their estimated likelihood to be the source of an outbreak. We developed a fast and secure intuitive software module using the Web Assembly technology (Haas et al. 2017) allowing professionals to embed the module easily into other applications. We integrated the module into the FCL web application for tracing (FCL Web; https://fcl-portal.bfr.berlin) to provide an intuitive and user-friendly solution. This solution combines a simple data input with extended data wrangling to make the calculation of the NOVA model as easy as possible. Since the model can be executed directly inside the web browser and therefore does not rely on any server environment, the possibility of data leakage can be highly reduced. The implementation of the advanced likelihood model into FCL Web increase the availability of this model and provides investigators easy, fast and reliable usage to improve outbreak investigation workflows.  HTML XML PDF
      PubDate: Fri, 28 May 2021 10:00:00 +030
       
  • One Health EJP - RaDAR model inventory: a user-friendly tool for
           annotating and exchanging models

    • Abstract: ARPHA Conference s 4: e68936
      DOI : 10.3897/aca.4.e68936
      Authors : Jakub Fusiak, Annemarie Käsbohrer : The lack of a harmonized model exchange formats among modelling tools impedes communication between researchers, since the exchange and usage of existing models in various software environments can be very difficult. The RaDAR model inventory aims to provide a platform to exchange models among professionals utilizing the Food Safety Knowledge Exchange (FSKX) Format (de Alba Aparicio et al. 2018) as a harmonized model exchange format. FSKX defines a framework that encodes all relevant data, metadata, and model scripts in an exchangeable file format. However, the creation of such a file can be a time-consuming and difficult process. To increase the usage of the FSK standard, we developed the RaDAR model inventory web application that targets the process of creating an FSKX file for the end user. Our inventory aims to be a user-friendly tool that allows users to create, read, edit, write, execute and compile FSKX files within the web browser. The possibility of sharing models with the public or a specific group of people facilitates collaboration and the exchange of information. Since the RaDAR model inventory is based on the open-source technology of Project Jupyter (Granger and Perez 2021), it can support nearly all relevant programming languages executed within a reproducible cloud-computing environment. The intuitive nature of the RaDAR model along with its wide range of features reduce the threshold for contribution to a harmonized model exchange format and eases collaboration. The RaDAR model inventory can be accessed at http://ejp-radar.eu. HTML XML PDF
      PubDate: Fri, 28 May 2021 10:00:00 +030
       
  • How much time have we got'

    • Abstract: ARPHA Conference s 4: e68934
      DOI : 10.3897/aca.4.e68934
      Authors : Kyrre Kausrud, Karin Lagesen, Ryan Easterday, Jason Whittington, Wendy Turner, Cecilia Wolff, Marie Feiring, Nils Stenseth : Here we present a developing probabilistic simulation model and tool to assess likely lead times from emergence to detection and arrival for new emerging infectious diseases (EIDs). Key aspects include combining real-world data available on multiple scales with a flexible underlying disease model.As demonstrated by the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic and other emerging infectious diseases, there is a need for scenario exploration for mitigation, surveillance and preparedness strategies. Existing simulation engines have been assessed but found to offer an insufficient set of features with regards to flexibility and control over processes, disease model structure and data sets incorporated for a wider enough range of diseases, circumstances, cofactors and scenarios (Heslop et al. 2017) to suit our aims.We are therefore developing the first version of a simulation model designed to be able to incorporate a diverse range of disease models and data sources including multiple transmission and infectivity stages, multiple host species, varying and evolving virulence, socioeconomic differences, climate events and public health countermeasures. It is designed to be flexible with respect to implementing both improvements in the model structure and data as they become available. It is based on a discrete-time (daily) structure where spatial movement and transition between categories and detection are stochastic rates dependent on spatial data and past states in the model, while being informed by the most suitable data available (Fig. 1).The probability of detection is in itself treated as a probabilistic process and treated as a variable dependent on socioeconomic factors and parameterized by past performance, yet open for manipulation in scenario exploration regarding surveillance and reporting effectiveness.Pathogen hotspot data are sourced from literature and included as a probabilistic assessment of emergence as well as a source of cofactor data (Allen et al. 2017), population data are adressed (Leyk et al. 2019) for utility and combined with data on local connectivity (Nelson et al. 2019) and transnational movement patterns (Recchi et al. 2019Fig. 1), as well as an increasing set of ecological and socioeconomic candidate variables.Model parameterization relies on a machine learning framework with matching to the often partial data available for known relevant disease cases as the training data, and assessing them for plausible ranges of input for new, hypothetical EIDs.As parameterizations improve, the range of scenarios to explore will incorporate effects of climate change and multiple stressors. When a suitable version becomes available it will be shared under a MIT license. HTML XML PDF
      PubDate: Fri, 28 May 2021 10:00:00 +030
       
  • Practical aspects of implementing the IRIDA system as a solution for One
           Health bioinformatics analyses

    • Abstract: ARPHA Conference s 4: e68913
      DOI : 10.3897/aca.4.e68913
      Authors : Jeevan Karloss Antony-Samy, Georgios Marselis, Eve Fiskebeck, Taran Skjerdal, Camilla Sekse, Karin Lagesen : Managing sequence data, associated metadata, bioinformatics analyses and results can be challenging. In a One Health context, the challenge is even larger as there are many actors involved, many diverse types of results need to be produced, and the ensuing process data, such as software versions and options have to be tracked for auditing purposes. In addition, results must often be produced rapidly to be actionable, and non-bioinformaticians should be able to perform the the analyses. Therefore,  a graphical user interface (preferably web system) with pipelines and visualization tools are needed to do these analyses. The Public Health Agency of Canada has together with other actors developed the web based system IRIDA (https://www.irida.ca) which uses Galaxy for analyses. IRIDA comes with a set of pipelines, visualization tools and a project based data management system that allows for fine grained data access control, which satisfies many of the requirements that a One Health bioinformatics platform dictates.  However, as is often the case with a system meant to satisfy high demands, the platform is not trivial to set up and adapt for local use. In our setup, we are using two web servers, two database servers and one file server. The IRIDA web server provides the user interface. The Galaxy web server receives commands from IRIDA, executes the commands and returns results. Each web server has a database that keeps their respective metadata: user information, file locations and results. The actual files are stored on the fileserver. This spoke-and-wheel infrastructure was implemented to ensure minimum disruption of service if a component should go down.  To get the necessary compute resources for this system, we are contracting with the Norwegian Research and Education Cloud (NREC), which offers Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) services for Norwegian institutions and universities. NREC utilizes template VM images which can be instantiated according to need. The automated configuration and orchestration of images ensure that we can have dynamic access to resources according to need. This dynamic scaling is accomplished through collaboration with Elixir Norway. They have implemented the Pulse software which can check usage and instantiate and take down virtual machines as needed. At the Institute, we have spent close to two years on exploring and setting up this system. We have learned that it is important to not underestimate the amount compute resources needed to get a solid setup. However, having enough compute is irrelevant without knowledgeable staff. IRIDA comes with many features, which require considerable prior knowledge to adapt and set up in a local infrastructure. This includes knowledge on webservers, database systems, linux administration and Galaxy systems administration. The complexity dictates that these systems need to be set up and managed by in-house IT trained staff that will be able to tend the system along the way. It is also very important to maintain interactions with the users of the system, to ensure that the setup produces results that are useful to the users. To accomplish this, bioinformaticians are needed to develop pipelines and visualizations that give results that will on their own be easy for users to interpret in a biologically correct manner. Last but not least - such systems require a significant investment from the institution, thus it is important to showcase the benefits that the system will provide.    HTML XML PDF
      PubDate: Fri, 28 May 2021 10:00:00 +030
       
  • Sykdomspulsen One Health - A real time surveillance system in an
           infrastructure coping with half a million analysis a day

    • Abstract: ARPHA Conference s 4: e68891
      DOI : 10.3897/aca.4.e68891
      Authors : Clemence Koren, David Swanson, Gry Grøneng, Gunnar Rø, Petter Hopp, Malin Jonsson, Richard White : Sykdomspulsen is a real time surveillance system developed by the Norwegian Institute of Public Health (NIPH) for One Health surveillance and the surveillance of other infectious diseases in humans like respiratory diseases and lately covid-19.The One Health surveillance comprise of Campylobacter data from humans and chicken farms and also includes diagnosis codes from doctor appointments and weather data with analysis forecasting outbreaks in Norway. It is a joint project between the Norwegian Institute of Public Health (NIPH) and the Norwegian Veterinary Institute (NVI), under the framework of the OHEJP NOVA (Novel approaches for design and evaluation of cost-effective surveillance across the food chain) and MATRIX (Connecting dimensions in One-Health surveillance) projects.The system relies on two pillars, the first being an analytics infrastructure which in real time retrieves data from tens of sources, cleans and harmonizes it, then runs over half a million analyses each day and produces over 20 000 000 rows of results to be used every day. The analytics infrastructure is based on R. Results are notably being used by NIPH for the monitoring of covid-19 development and the surveillance of other transmittable diseases such as influenza and gastro-intestinal illness. The analytics framework also generates hundreds of reports every day, directed at dissemination to municipal health authorities. This framework is not currently publicly available, but an open-source release is expected by the end of 2021.The second pilar is an interactive R Shiny dashboard platform, which is used for communicating the data and the model results to partner organisations. It allows for the easy creation of a website where public and animal health researchers and food safety experts can view real time analyses. This dashboard combines the powerful data visualisation and analysis strength of R with the accessibility, flexibility, structure and interactivity of web-based platforms.The result is a real time interactive surveillance system, that is supported by a solid infrastructure and streamlined data flow, and shared with actors through a beautiful and user-friendly website, based entirely on R. HTML XML PDF
      PubDate: Fri, 28 May 2021 10:00:00 +030
       
  • Making Linked Data accessible for One Health Surveillance with the "One
           Health Linked Data Toolbox"

    • Abstract: ARPHA Conference s 4: e68821
      DOI : 10.3897/aca.4.e68821
      Authors : Taras Günther, Matthias Filter, Fernanda Dórea : In times of emerging diseases, data sharing and data integration are of particular relevance for One Health Surveillance (OHS) and decision support. Furthermore, there is an increasing demand to provide governmental data in compliance to the FAIR (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, Reusable) data principles. Semantic web technologies are key facilitators for providing data interoperability, as they allow explicit annotation of data with their meaning, enabling reuse without loss of the data collection context. Among these, we highlight ontologies as a tool for modeling knowledge in a field, which simplify the interpretation and mapping of datasets in a computer readable medium; and the Resource Description Format (RDF), which allows data to be shared among human and computer agents following this knowledge model. Despite their potential for enabling cross-sectoral interoperability and data linkage, the use and application of these technologies is often hindered by their complexity and the lack of easy-to-use software applications.To overcome these challenges the OHEJP Project ORION developed the Health Surveillance Ontology (HSO). This knowledge model forms a foundation for semantic interoperability in the domain of One Health Surveillance. It provides a solution to add data from the target sectors (public health, animal health and food safety) in compliance with the FAIR principles of findability, accessibility, interoperability, and reusability, supporting interdisciplinary data exchange and usage. To provide use cases and facilitate the accessibility to HSO, we developed the One Health Linked Data Toolbox (OHLDT), which consists of three new and custom-developed web applications with specific functionalities. The first web application allows users to convert surveillance data available in Excel files online into HSO-RDF and vice versa. The web application demonstrates that data provided in well-established data formats can be automatically translated in the linked data format HSO-RDF. The second application is a demonstrator of the usage of HSO-RDF in a HSO triplestore database. In the user interface of this application, the user can select HSO concepts based on which to search and filter among surveillance datasets stored in a HSO triplestore database. The service then provides automatically generated dashboards based on the context of the data. The third web application demonstrates the use of data interoperability  in the OHS context by using HSO-RDF to annotate meta-data, and in this way link datasets across sectors. The web application provides a dashboard to compare public data on zoonosis surveillance provided by EFSA and ECDC.The first solution enables linked data production, while the second and third provide examples of linked data consumption, and their value in enabling data interoperability across sectors. All described solutions are based on the open-source software KNIME and are deployed as web service via a KNIME Server hosted at the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment. The semantic web extension of KNIME, which is based on the Apache Jena Framework, allowed a rapid an easy development within the project. The underlying open source KNIME workflows are freely available and can be easily customized by interested end users.With our applications, we demonstrate that the use of linked data has a great potential strengthening the use of FAIR data in OHS and interdisciplinary data exchange. HTML XML PDF
      PubDate: Fri, 28 May 2021 10:00:00 +030
       
  • INSaFLU-TELE-Vir: an open web-based bioinformatics suite for influenza and
           SARS-CoV-2 genome-based surveillance

    • Abstract: ARPHA Conference s 4: e68845
      DOI : 10.3897/aca.4.e68845
      Authors : Miguel Pinheiro, Ricardo Pais, Joana Isidro, Miguel Pinto, Carlijn Bogaardt, Joaquin Prada, Daniel Horton, João Gomes, Vítor Borges : A new era of virus surveillance is emerging based on the real-time monitoring of virus evolution at whole-genome scale (World Health Organization 2021). Although national and international health authorities have strongly recommended this technological transition, especially for influenza and SARS-CoV-2 (World Health Organization 2021, Revez et al. 2017), the implementation of genomic surveillance can be particularly challenging due to the lack of bioinformatics infrastructures and/or expertise to process and interpret next-generation sequencing (NGS) data (Oakeson et al. 2017).We developed and implemented INSaFLU-TELE-Vir platform (https://insaflu.insa.pt/) (Borges et al. 2018), which is an influenza-  and SARS-CoV-2-oriented bioinformatics free web-based suite that handles primary NGS data (reads) towards the automatic generation of the main “genetic requests'' for effective and timely laboratory surveillance. By handling NGS data collected from any amplicon-based schema (making it applicable for other pathogens), INSaFLU-TELE-Vir enables any laboratory to perform multi-step and intensive bioinformatics analyses in a user-oriented manner without requiring advanced training.INSaFLU-TELE-Vir handles NGS data collected from distinct sequencing technologies (Illumina, Ion Torrent and Oxford Nanopore Technologies), with the possibility of constructing comparative analyses using different technologies. It gives access to user-restricted sample databases and project management, being a transparent and flexible tool specifically designed to automatically update project outputs as more samples are uploaded. Data integration is thus cumulative and scalable, fitting the need for both routine surveillance and outbreak investigation activities.The bioinformatics pipeline consists of six core steps:read quality analysis and improvement,human betacoronaviruses (including SARS-CoV-2 Pango lineages) and influenza type/subtype classification,mutation detection and consensus generation,coverage analysis,alignment/phylogeny,intra-host minor variant detection (and automatic detection of putative mixed infections).The multiple outputs are provided in nomenclature-stable and standardized formats that can be visualized and explored in situ or through multiple compatible downstream applications for fine-tuned data analysis.Novel features are being implemented into the INSaFLU-TELE-Vir bioinformatics toolkit as part of the OHEJP TELE-Vir (https://onehealthejp.eu/jrp-tele-vir/) project, including rapid detection of selected genotype-phenotype associations, and enhanced geotemporal data visualization.All the code is available in github (https://github.com/INSaFLU) with the possibility of a local docker installation (https://github.com/INSaFLU/docker). A detailed documentation and tutorial is also available (https://insaflu.readthedocs.io/en/latest/).In summary, INSaFLU supplies public health laboratories and researchers with an open and user-friendly framework, potentiating a strengthened and timely multi-country genome-based virus surveillance. HTML XML PDF
      PubDate: Fri, 28 May 2021 10:00:00 +030
       
  • The Glossaryfication Web Service – an automated glossary creation tool
           to support One Health communication

    • Abstract: ARPHA Conference s 4: e68843
      DOI : 10.3897/aca.4.e68843
      Authors : Estibaliz Lopez de Abechuco, Nazareno Scaccia, Taras Günther, Matthias Filter : Efficient communication and collaboration across sectors is an important precondition for true One Health Surveillance (OHS) activities. Despite the overall willingness to embrace the One Health paradigm, it is still challenging to accomplish this in day-to-day practice due to the differences in terminology and interpretation of sector-specific terms. In this sense, simple interventions like the inclusion of integrative glossaries in OHS documents (e.g. reports, research papers and guidelines) would help to reduce misunderstandings and could significantly improve the written communication in OHS. Here, we present the Glossaryfication Web Service that generates a document-specific glossary for any text file provided by the user. The web service automatically adds the available definitions with their corresponding references for the words in the document that match with terms in the user-selected glossaries.The Glossaryfication Web Service was developed to provide added value to the OHEJP Glossary that was developed within the OHEJP project ORION. The OHEJP Glossary improves the communication and collaboration among OH sectors by providing an online resource that lists relevant OH terms and sector-specific definitions. The Glossaryfication Web Service supports the practical use of the curated OHEJP Glossary and can also source information from other glossaries relevant for OH professionals (currently supporting the online CDC, WHO and EFSA glossaries).The Glossaryfication Web Service was created using the open-source software KNIME and the KNIME Text Processing extension (https://www.knime.com/knime-text-processing). The Glossaryfication KNIME workflow is deployed on BfR’s KNIME Server infrastructure providing an easy-to-use web interface where the users can upload their documents (any text-type file e.g. PDF, Word, Excel) and select the desired glossary to compare with. The Glossaryfication KNIME workflow reads in the document provided via the web interface and applies natural language processing (e.g. text cleaning, stemming), transforming (bag-of-words generation) and information retrieval methods to identify the matching terms in the selected glossaries.The Glossaryfication Web Service generates as an output a table containing all the terms that match with the selected glossaries. It also provides the available definitions, corresponding references and additional meta-information, e.g. the term frequency, i.e., how often each term appears in the given text, and the sectoral classification (only for the OHEJP Glossary terms). Furthermore, the workflow generates a tag cloud where the terms are categorized as: (i) exact match when the term in the text matches exactly with the entry of this term in the glossary; (ii) inexact match when the term appears in the text slightly modified (e.g. plural forms or suffixes) and (iii) non-matching that corresponds to all the other words appearing in the text that do not match with any glossary term. Through the user interface, the users can then choose if they want to download the whole list of terms, select only the exact/inexact matching terms, or just choose those terms and definitions that match with the meaning intended for this term in the user-provided document. The resulting table of terms can be downloaded as an Excel file and added to the user’s document as a document-specific glossary.The Glossaryfication Web Service provides an easy-to-adopt solution to enrich documents and reports with more comprehensive and unambiguous glossaries. Furthermore, it improves the referentiality of terms and definitions from different OH sectors. An additional feature provided by the Glossaryfication Web Service is the possibility of extending its use to other glossaries from other national or international institutions allowing the user to customize this glossary creation service.  HTML XML PDF
      PubDate: Fri, 28 May 2021 10:00:00 +030
       
  • FoodChain-Lab Web: An integrative modular software to visualise and
           analyse complex global food supply chain networks during foodborne
           incidents

    • Abstract: ARPHA Conference s 4: e68835
      DOI : 10.3897/aca.4.e68835
      Authors : Marion Gottschald, Birgit Lewicki, Alexander Falenski, Marco Rügen, Isaak Gerber, Jakub Fusiak, Dominic Tölle, Annemarie Käsbohrer, Armin Weiser : In times of globalised food and feed trade, powerful integrative software tools are essential to solve foodborne crises quickly and reliably. The FoodChain-Lab web application (FCL Web; https://fcl-portal.bfr.berlin/) is such a tool. FCL Web is free and open-source software which helps to trace back and forward food along complex global supply chains during foodborne disease outbreaks or other food-related events. In the framework of One Health EJP COHESIVE, the efforts of several national and international tracing-related software projects are integrated within FCL Web to provide a modular tracing platform following the One Health approach.FCL Web unifies interactive tracing data visualisation, analysis as well as reporting - and in the future data collection - in one modular tracing platform (Fig. 1). The interactive analysis module was developed in a project with EFSA and offers automated visualisation of supply chains based on the needs of the user. A data table displays key information on involved food business operators and food items and includes comprehensive filter functions to analyse the information given in the table. The analysis module also helps to run simulations on hypothetical cross contamination or geographic clustering events during outbreaks via a scoring algorithm for deliveries and food business operators. A pilot version of a reporting module was integrated in FCL Web as well to display tracing, sample and case information in a format suitable for publishing tracing results in outbreak reports. A web-based tracing data collection mask offering a guided and structured data assessment with access to curated data was developed in a national project and will be integrated in FCL Web soon. Its multi-language design allows for potential European-wide use. In the future, more modules, e.g. to analyse genome sequencing data in the context of tracing are planned for FCL Web.With its features and its integrative approach, FCL Web blends seamlessly into a list of crucial tracing tool projects in Europe. In the future, these tools will be strongly interconnected to serve several tracing purposes on the local, national or European level. Hence, there is a need to improve interoperability of the tools e.g. via a universal data exchange format. HTML XML PDF
      PubDate: Fri, 28 May 2021 10:00:00 +030
       
  • An interactive online IT tool to aim the environmental surveillance of
           veterinary antibiotics in agriculture and pasture lands

    • Abstract: ARPHA Conference s 4: e68820
      DOI : 10.3897/aca.4.e68820
      Authors : Antonio Rodríguez, Ana de la Torre : The undermining of the therapeutic effectiveness of antibiotics by their widespread use is causing the emergence of antimicrobial resistance, which is a major threat for both animal and human health. Since most veterinary antibiotics employed in livestock production are excreted essentially unaltered, they have been identified as major contributors of environmental contamination. However, the efforts of monitoring antimicrobial effects are focused on humans and livestock, neglecting the environment. The European Union institutions recognized this gap in the appreciation of the issue, and adopted an approach that includes to prioritize environmental tracking and to build the tools to make it economically accessible. This abstract has three main targets. Firstly, to fill the gap applying the IT methodological approach (the soil vulnerability map to antibiotic contamination) developed by De La Torre et al. (2012). Secondly, to identify the main livestock species and scenarios (agriculture and pasture) to be prioritized in surveillance efforts. Finally, to implement the code of agriculture practices and the stocking rates of grazing animals based on high vulnerability areas for antibiotic contamination. To facilitate the implementation of this risk evaluation procedure, we developed an interactive tool that allows to obtain downloadable maps of soil vulnerability to contamination for several land use (agriculture and pasture) and livestock (cattle, pig and chicken) scenarios for any veterinary antibiotics. Additionally, the tool allows to obtain a plot of the mean vulnerability of each considered administrative unit. We implemented the European Union countries as an example, but the tool could be applied to individual countries or even regional or sub-national scales. HTML XML PDF
      PubDate: Fri, 28 May 2021 10:00:00 +030
       
  • Performance and cost-efficiency of eDNA and eRNA capture methodologies:
           experimental assessment using cultured microalgae

    • Abstract: ARPHA Conference s 4: e65098
      DOI : 10.3897/aca.4.e65098
      Authors : Anastasija Zaiko, Ulla von Ammon, Jacqui Stuart, Kirsty Smith, Richard Yao, Melissa Welsh, Xavier Pochon, Holly Bowers : Following the recent leap in biotechnologies and particularly in high-throughput sequencing techniques, environmental DNA and RNA (eDNA and eRNA) are increasingly being used for biodiversity assessments and monitoring of complex ecosystems – lakes, streams and coastal waters. Growing interest and affordability of eDNA/eRNA based tools have led to the emergence of manifold protocols for capturing genetic material from variable biological matrices, e.g. soil, water, feces, biofilms, etc. The variability in eDNA and eRNA material (ranging from free-floating molecules to cellular complexes to intact organisms) and its patchy distribution in the environment may substantially affect effective capture from the environment. Therefore, it is extremely challenging for stakeholders to standardize or choose optimal protocols, impeding incorporation of eDNA/eRNA methods into routine monitoring and surveillance programs.Although there is still no consensus on the standardized workflow for processing eDNA/eRNA samples, the common practice for water samples is to concentrate nucleic acids (NA) via filtration, ranging from 0.22 to 20-micron pore size. Although using the smallest pore is assumed efficient for NA capture from a wide range of material (including sub-cellular particles), a trade-off between detection of the meaningful molecular signal and time(cost)-efficiency is needed. Using finer pore membranes increases the likelihood of clogging and prohibits processing larger volumes of water, thus reducing the chances of detecting rare biodiversity. Moreover, large sample volumes may be accompanied by increased concentrations of inhibitory substances (e.g. humic compounds), suppressing target molecular signal.Comparative studies involving formal cost-efficiency assessments are lacking, restricting informed decision-making around the optimized sampling approach for addressing a particular research or surveillance question. Identifying the optimal combination of time effort and signal detection efficiency is particularly crucial for targeted surveillance, e.g. detection and monitoring of nuisance organisms, endangered and indicator taxa or other species of particular economic or cultural importance. Although it has been previously shown that larger pore filters can be as efficient for species detection from waterborne eDNA, more data are needed on the amount and type of NA material capture and loss.Here, we present a comparison study using an easily cultured microalgal species (Alexandrium pacificum) as a proxy to test the effectiveness of different filter membranes (cellulose acetate membranes of 5 μm, 1.2 μm or 0.45 μm pore size, and positively charged nylon membrane with 1.2 μm pore size) in the context of targeted species detection. We performed an efficiency analysis to identify the method that delivered the optimal use of resources. A tiered experimental design was applied to: i) assess the impact of membranes on capturing various fractions of target eDNA/eRNA (intact cells, partially lysed cells, naked NAs) spiked into pre-filtered and ambient environmental seawater and ii) establish efficiency and utility of different membranes in terms of optimizing the performance – maximized output (capture of target eDNA and eRNA) balanced against minimized time and cost input.The results showed no statistically significant difference between membranes for capturing DNA signal from intact and partially lysed cell treatments. However, positively charged nylon membranes were more efficient in capturing naked NAs, as well as RNA from partially lysed cells. In terms of time effort and volume processed, higher efficacy was reported for the larger pore size cellulose membranes. However positively charged nylon consistently performed better for capturing RNA signal across treatments. HTML XML PDF
      PubDate: Mon, 15 Mar 2021 09:30:00 +020
       
  • Environmental DNA methods for the analysis of macroorganismal populations

    • Abstract: ARPHA Conference s 4: e65549
      DOI : 10.3897/aca.4.e65549
      Authors : Hideyuki Doi : Environmental DNA (eDNA) methods have been widely used to investigate the distribution and abundance/biomass of macroorganisms. eDNA methods analyze DNA collected directly from the environment, such as from water, soil, and air. The techniques have been applied to many taxa inhabiting various aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems. The recent development of eDNA methods has revolutionized the way we assess macroorganisms in natural environments.In this talk, I will present current developments of eDNA methodology, especially with regard to population analysis using various DNA measurement methods. For example, 1) eDNA was used to assess fish species distributions and abundance/biomass (Takahara et al. 2012, Doi et al. 2017a), 2) quantitative PCR of sedimentary DNA was applied to sediment core samples to detect the DNA of three dominant fish species spanning the last 300 years (Kuwae et al. 2020), and 3) new methods for sampling eDNA from water (Doi et al. 2017b) and on-site measurement (Doi et al. 2020) will be presented. I end by addressing the need for standardized protocols for eDNA monitoring to enable broader uptake of eDNA technology (Minamoto et al. 2021). HTML XML PDF
      PubDate: Mon, 8 Mar 2021 16:47:58 +0200
       
  • The pathway of molecular methods from research to routine use

    • Abstract: ARPHA Conference s 4: e65556
      DOI : 10.3897/aca.4.e65556
      Authors : Meissner Kristian : In this talk I explore how to advance molecular methods from tools in the research domain to routine use in national biomonitoring. I outline the necessity of common guidance, networks, international pilot studies and cooperation with officials to achieve the goal of method uptake into routine use. Lastly, I will explain the role that international method standardization plays in speeding up the uptake process of molecular methods into routine biomonitoring. HTML XML PDF
      PubDate: Mon, 8 Mar 2021 16:47:52 +0200
       
  • Degradation factors of environmental DNA evaluated by experiments and
           meta-analysis

    • Abstract: ARPHA Conference s 4: e65552
      DOI : 10.3897/aca.4.e65552
      Authors : Tatsuya Saito, Hideyuki Doi : Environmental DNA (eDNA) methods have been developed to detect organisms' distributions and abundance/biomass in various environments. eDNA degradation is critical for eDNA evaluation, but, the dynamics and mechanisms of eDNA degradation are largely unknown, especially when considering different eDNA sources, e.g., cell-derived and fragmental DNA. In this study, we conducted the degradation experiments (Saito and Doi 2020a) and a meta-analysis (Saito and Doi 2020b). Firstly, we experimentally evaluated the degradation rates of eDNA derived from multiple sources, including fragmental DNA (the DNA of internal positive control, IPC), free cells from Oncorhynchus kisutch, and the resident species (Saito and Doi 2020a). We conducted the experiments with pond and seawater to evaluate the differences between freshwater and marine habitats. Our results showed that eDNA derived from the both cells and fragmental DNA decreased exponentially in the both sea and pond samples. The degradation of eDNA from the resident species showed similar behavior to the cell-derived eDNA.As a meta-analysis, we complied the degradation rates of eDNA in laboratory experiment and field studies from 28 studies (Saito and Doi 2020b). We also collected the related factors, including water sources, water temperature, DNA regions, and PCR amplicon lengths of the measured DNA. Our results suggested that water temperature and amplicon length were significantly related to the degradation rate of eDNA. From the simulation based on the 95% quantile model, we predicted the maximum degradation rate of eDNA in various combinations of water temperature and PCR amplicon length. HTML XML PDF
      PubDate: Mon, 8 Mar 2021 16:47:47 +0200
       
  • Accurate long-read eDNA metabarcoding of North Sea fish using Oxford
           Nanopore sequencing

    • Abstract: ARPHA Conference s 4: e65550
      DOI : 10.3897/aca.4.e65550
      Authors : Karlijn Doorenspleet, Lara Jansen, Saskia Oosterbroek, Reindert Nijland : To halt North Sea ecosystem degradation, accurate and intensive monitoring of the North Sea ecosystem and its fish is vital to correctly inform management decisions. DNA based techniques and especially the use of environmental (e)DNA from seawater can become a powerful monitoring tool. However, current eDNA based metabarcoding approaches are based on genetic target regions of
      PubDate: Mon, 8 Mar 2021 16:47:46 +0200
       
  • Can eDNA metabarcoding offer a catchment-based approach for biodiversity
           monitoring'

    • Abstract: ARPHA Conference s 4: e65651
      DOI : 10.3897/aca.4.e65651
      Authors : Laura Allen, Martin Wilkes, Marco Van De Wiel, Mike Morris, Alex Dumbrell, Alessia Bani : In previous studies eDNA metabarcoding has been demonstrated as a viable tool for catchment-level biodiversity sampling in rivers (Deiner et al. 2016). However, questions still remain over the appropriate sampling protocol for large spatial scale sampling. River reaches are composed of multiple habitats with species composition varying from one to the next (Costa and Melo 2007). Therefore, how many spatial replicates are needed to reliably represent the river network' Is the previously used approach to sample at every river confluence (Deiner et al. 2016) sufficient or is more needed' These questions were addressed using a case study in the headwaters of the Cound Brook, a tributary to the River Severn in Shropshire, UK.Two sub-catchments of the Cound Brook were used. One sub-catchment had a sample taken at the most downstream point before the confluence. Additionally, a sample at the upstream extent of the same sub-catchment was taken to estimate any correlation between the species found at the beginning of the river reach and at the end. Another sub-catchment also had the same up- and downstream sample design. However, in between was a systemic sampling regime every 500 m. This is to test if increasing the spatial resolution gave significantly different results to the sparser sampling regime.At each sample location, a 1 L water sample was sequentially filtered through membranes of three different mesh sizes: 5µm, 0.45µm and 0.2µm. Sequential filtering was performed because DNA resides in two forms in the environment (Civade et al. 2017), within whole cells (cellular DNA) and outside of cells (extracellular). The theory is that the coarser filters predominantly collect cellular DNA and the finer filters collect predominantly extracellular DNA of increasingly smaller fragment lengths. Consequently, sequential filtering could represent DNA degradation in the environment (Fig. 1). Also, Turner et al. 2014 suggested that the larger particles could determine very recent or local organisms. Therefore, we hypothesised that the DNA collected by the coarser filters would represent local diversity and the DNA collected by the finer filters would reflect biodiversity further upstream.Initial results suggest sequential filtering through the 5µm and 0.45µm filters caught detectable levels of eDNA where the 0.2µm did not catch enough to show up through gel electrophoresis. The relevance of the initial finding suggests that if we only used a 5µm filter the data collected at 0.45µm could have been discarded. Further investigations of any differences in species compositions between filters and the relationships to other sampling locations is still to be determined. This ongoing research is intended to determine the appropriate sampling protocol for a large-scale biodiversity assessment regime combining eDNA metabarcoding and species distribution modelling. HTML XML PDF
      PubDate: Mon, 8 Mar 2021 16:47:29 +0200
       
  • Welcome to DNAQUA2021 International Conference

    • Abstract: ARPHA Conference s 4: e65590
      DOI : 10.3897/aca.4.e65590
      Authors : Florian Leese, Agnès Bouchez, Charlotte Frie, Alexander Weigand : Dear participants of DNAQUA2021 International Conference,Undoubtedly, DNAQUA2021 is a major highlight of the EU COST Action DNAqua-Net (CA15219). Even though we cannot claim that the organisation of DNAQUA2021 was a piece of cake, it is simply wonderful to see the great interest in this event. With 1,498 registered participants from 79 nations, 204 contributed talks and posters for only two and a half days, the conference shows how timely and relevant research on DNA-based aquatic bioassessment and monitoring is. As the managing team of DNAqua-Net, we could have hardly imagined the impact of DNAqua-Net back in 2015, when we wrote the proposal (Leese et al. 2016). Yet, the more we are now delighted and thankful to see the success. Together with many experts from many different countries, taxonomists, ecologists, geneticists and bioinformaticians, we have made significant methodological progress. Above all, we have succeeded in connecting biomonitoring experts all across Europe and beyond. With more than 100 scientific publications from DNAqua-Net's five working groups, the research impact of the network is obvious. Furthermore, with "Metabarcoding and Metagenomics" (MBMG), we have established an international journal for basic and applied aspects of genetic bioassessment and monitoring. However, in many ways, the impact of DNAqua-Net goes far beyond the mere scientific progress. Capacity building e.g. via barcoding projects have been initiated in many countries, validation studies were co-designed by researchers and stakeholders from the applied sector and launched - even across several countries as for example the SCANDNAnet project shows. DNAqua-Net has supported over 50 research exchanges that fostered close cooperation among the institutions and countries. Also, DNAqua-Net accompanied the fourth Joint Danube Survey (JDS4) and conducted the (e)DNA-based surveys for fish, benthic invertebrates, phytobenthos and the sediment community. Last but not least, we have developed many essential pieces of an applied concept for future implementation of DNA-based methods together with various stakeholders at national and international level. Here, of particular importance was the establishment of a working group within the European Standardisation Organisation CEN on DNA and eDNA-based methods (CEN/TC230/WG28). We are particularly grateful also to our colleagues from 'beyond Europe' that have supported us, participated in workshops, discussions and training schools, invited us to their national meetings on DNA and eDNA-based biomonitoring on five continents. The implementation of (e)DNA-based methods into bioassessment and monitoring programs of our rivers, lakes, oceans and the groundwater, will be particularly successful if we sustainably stay connected across countries, generations, cultures and disciplines  (Fig. 1).Many of the findings from basic to applied research will be presented at DNAQUA2021. We are particularly pleased that so many early career researchers present their findings. Please take the chance and discuss with them (but not only with them) about their findings. With "Spatial.Chat" we offer you a nice and intuitive environment that allows for some 'real' conference spirit even in these COVID-19 virtual meeting times.Now enjoy two and a half days packed with fascinating insights from (e)DNA-based aquatic biomonitoring. Take the chance, foster and extend your collaborations. We hope to see and discuss with you over the next days at DNAQUA2021 and beyond.THANK YOU!Florian, Agnès, Charly & Alex (Fig. 2) HTML XML PDF
      PubDate: Mon, 8 Mar 2021 16:47:27 +0200
       
  • Using meta-barcoding tools to monitor primate meat consumption at
           dedicated establishments in Guinea-Bissau, West Africa

    • Abstract: ARPHA Conference s 4: e65575
      DOI : 10.3897/aca.4.e65575
      Authors : Maria Ferreira da Silva, Mariato Camará, Bastian Egeter, Tania Minhós, Michael Bruford, Raquel Godinho : Guinea-Bissau (GB) is a regional stronghold for primate conservation. Ten primates occur in the country, including the Western chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes verus) and two colobus monkeys (Colobus polykomos and Piliocolobus badius temminckii). Primate meat is consumed at households and bushmeat-dedicated establishments, locally named "Abafatório". Such establishments are mentioned to be common in urban areas since the 1980s and to be specialized in serving primate meat while drinking alcoholic beverages. The meat is typically cooked in a stew and eaten with bread. However, as the trade and consumption of primate meat are illegal activities, the location of Abafatório establishments and details of the trade, namely species being consumed, are usually hidden from outsiders. Here, we characterize illicit bushmeat commerce and consumption at six Abafatórios of a small town. Our team visited the establishments every week for 15 months (2015-2017) and collected data on the type and prices of meals and gathered tissue samples taken from carcasses by establishment owners. A meta-barcoding approach (cytb and 12S mitochondrial DNA regions and Illumina MiSeq next-generation sequencing technology) was used to identify tissue samples to the species level. Two types of establishments can be distinguished – “restaurants” and “snack-bars”. Restaurants are similar to the ones found by previous works in the capital city where primate meat is sold as a dish containing few pieces of stewed meat. Snack-bars are smaller and the meat is sold inexpensively and by the piece. In the present study, 249 tissue samples were identified to be from four primates (Cercopithecus campbelli, Chlorocebus sabaeus, Papio papio, and Erythrocebus patas) and four Artiodactyla (Philantomba maxwellii, Tragelaphus scriptus, Potamochoerus porcus and Phacochoerus africanus). Primates represented approximately 92% of all species consumed across establishments, and C. campbelli was the most traded species. Our work suggests that primate meat is monetarily accessible for locals in rural areas and that the trade at Abafatórios may have extensive negative consequences to primate conservation, in particular, the reduction of primates' populations in the southern part of GB. Our work quantifies and identifies the species consumed in Abafatório establishments for the first time and highlights the need to improve regulation and law enforcement in Guinea-Bissau. HTML XML PDF
      PubDate: Mon, 8 Mar 2021 16:47:05 +0200
       
  • Exploring the use of new water quality indicators based on microbial
           communities

    • Abstract: ARPHA Conference s 4: e65420
      DOI : 10.3897/aca.4.e65420
      Authors : Luciana Griffero, Emiliano Pereira-Flores, Belén González, Andrés Pérez, Cecilia Alonso : The growing concern for the quality of water in aquatic ecosystems makes it essential to develop new indicators that allow evaluating and predicting their state against anthropogenic impact. Microorganisms are able to reflect quickly changes in their habitat, through both its taxonomic and functional characteristics, and that is why they are in consideration as indicators of environmental quality (*1). The objective of this work was to identify attributes of the composition and functionality of microbial communities, to be evaluated as an indicator of water quality, focusing on emerging pollutants (ECs). For that, ECs and bacterial communities were analyzed along the basins of two coastal lagoons encompassing an anthropogenic gradient, looking for taxonomic and functional indicators. Taxonomic indicators were looked using Illumina sequencing of 16S RNAr gene V4 region followed by identification of amplicon secuence variants (ASVs) and taxonomic annotation. In the case of functional indicators, shotgun sequencing was used added to identification and annotation of open reading frames (ORFs). Clustering techniques were implemented to define groups of sites based on the concentration of different categories of ECs. Then, the indicator value analysis (IndVal) (*2) was performed to identify taxonomic and functional traits that could be used as indicators of those groups. Finally, each sample was assigned to the corresponding group based on the indicators.A first analysis involved the search of taxonomic indicators for all the set of samples including three groups of sites of low, medium and high impact of emerging contamination. It was possible to find indicators with a very high IndVal value for the three groups of samples. All indicators were based on the co-occurrence of three ASVs belonging to several of the most abundant bacteria phyla (Actinobacteria, Bacteroidetes, Cyanobacteria, Planctomycetes, Proteobacteria). The bacterial indicators correctly assigned 100% and 93% of the samples to their corresponding group for streams and lagoons respectively.Then, a comparison between taxonomic and functional indicators using a subset of 41 samples was made, including two groups of samples: high and low-medium impact. Both the taxonomic and functional indicators showed high IndVal values for the high and low impact groups, being the highest in the case of functional genes Table 1. The high impact group was perfectly predicted for both taxonomic and functional indicators. The low-medium impact group was perfectly predicted by the functional indicators and 85% of the samples were correctly assigned by the taxonomic indicators.In conclusion, widespread availability of NGS technology allows for deep characterization of microbial diversity, enabling the use of robust ecological tools. Taking into account the high indval and prediction values, taxonomic and functional bacterial indicators appear as promissory candidates to evaluate for aquatic systems monitoring and conservation strategies. HTML XML PDF
      PubDate: Fri, 5 Mar 2021 16:00:00 +0200
       
  • The challenges and opportunities for implementation of eDNA biomonitoring
           in riverine systems

    • Abstract: ARPHA Conference s 4: e65521
      DOI : 10.3897/aca.4.e65521
      Authors : Florian Altermatt : Current local to global threats to biodiversity and anthropogenic changes of the environment call for rapid and effective conservation and management of ecosystems and the services they provide. In this context, the use of environmental DNA to assess biodiversity and conduct biomonitoring has been established as a novel, potentially revolutionizing approach over the last decade, especially in aquatic ecosystems. Rapid initial success, broad applicability and advances in sequencing technologies have raised high expectations about its potential. However, as with any revolution, true success requires formal implementation and establishing and integration of routines. In this talk, I will exemplify challenges and opportunities for implementation of eDNA biomonitoring in riverine systems, addressing both scientists and stakeholders. I will discuss potential pitfalls and misunderstandings caused by different targets, inference, and possible conclusions when comparing traditional sampling approaches with eDNA. I postulate that the focus should be on the strengths of new approaches, and not their matching to existing techniques. Finally, I will exemplify a strategy and the necessary steps of how a new order in biomonitoring can be established. HTML XML PDF
      PubDate: Thu, 4 Mar 2021 21:09:26 +0200
       
  • Evaluating eDNA-based monitoring of fire salamander larvae under field
           conditions

    • Abstract: ARPHA Conference s 4: e65291
      DOI : 10.3897/aca.4.e65291
      Authors : Bianca Spitzl, Daniela Sint, Florian Glaser, Gerda Ludwig, Michael Traugott : Amphibians globally belong to the most threatened animal groups and monitoring their populations is of critical importance for their conservation. The fire salamander (Salamandra salamandra) is one of the European amphibian species which has been experiencing drastic regional population declines due to the spread of the invasive chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans, making it a key species for monitoring efforts. Here, we evaluated how the sampling and analysis of eDNA can aid the monitoring of larval salamander populations in small streams under field conditions. Nine small streams with known adult and larval fire salamander populations were investigated in Tirol (Austria). Per steam a stretch of 30 m downstream from its source was divided into 10 m sections where salamander larvae were counted. Water samples were taken at the end of each section and filtered on site. The DNA extracted from these filters was tested by a new PCR assay developed for the detection of mitochondrial DNA of S. salamandra. This assay combines endpoint PCR with capillary electrophoresis, allowing to relatively quantify the amount of fire salamander eDNA present in the water samples. In two of the nine streams no eDNA of S. Salamandra could be detected. The outcomes of an analysis of how larval densities, discharge and volume of filtered water affected the detection of salamander eDNA will be presented. Finally, we will conclude on the practical implications of the current findings for eDNA-based monitoring of fire salamander populations. HTML XML PDF
      PubDate: Thu, 4 Mar 2021 18:42:37 +0200
       
  • Amplicon Sequencing in the Era of Highly-Accurate Long Reads

    • Abstract: ARPHA Conference s 4: e65405
      DOI : 10.3897/aca.4.e65405
      Authors : Benjamin Callahan : An important advance in DNA sequencing has been the development of long-read sequencing technologies that produce sequencing reads of tens to hundreds of kilobases in length. However, these technologies typically have high (~8%) per-base error rates. Recently, an effectively new technology I call highly-accurate long-read sequencing has been developed, that allows for the generation of multi-kilobase reads with extremely high per-base accuracies (>99.9%). I will present and evaluate two such technologies, PacBio HiFi and LoopSeq SLR sequencing, and discuss potential metabarcoding applications of highly-accurate long-read amplicon sequencing in general. HTML XML PDF
      PubDate: Thu, 4 Mar 2021 16:00:00 +0200
       
  • The challenges we've overcome and the new opportunities for using
           environmental DNA in biomonitoring aquatic resources

    • Abstract: ARPHA Conference s 4: e65502
      DOI : 10.3897/aca.4.e65502
      Authors : Kristy Deiner : Since the first kick-off meeting of the DNAqua-Net until now, the interest and use of environmental DNA in scientific studies, management and even the start of companies has exponentially grown. It is often said that this is how we will monitor biodiversity in the future. Together, with over 400 members from 39 countries making up the COST Action, we have honed our DNA detection methods, determined the many trade-offs, identified and filled gaps in our knowledge, and made steps towards standardization. In my seminar, I will highlight some of the major challenges we’ve overcome and propose the opportunities and research directions I see for the future of using eDNA in biodiversity monitoring. We are poised at the start of the UN’s Decade on Ecosystem Restoration and there is no better time to cease DNA-based monitoring technology for making the best informed decisions for the future of life on our planet. HTML XML PDF
      PubDate: Thu, 4 Mar 2021 16:00:00 +0200
       
  • 101 lakes - lentic fish community monitoring using eDNA metabarcoding

    • Abstract: ARPHA Conference s 4: e65438
      DOI : 10.3897/aca.4.e65438
      Authors : Bernd Hänfling, Nigel Willby, Lori Lawson-Handley, Graham Sellers : We have recently developed and deployed methods for environmental DNA (eDNA) based monitoring of lake fish communities in the UK. This approach combines eDNA with modern High-Throughput-Sequencing technology, so-called eDNA metabarcoding. This non-invasive method has proven to be more effective at detecting elusive species than established invasive surveying techniques such as electro fishing or fyke netting and can provide meaningful semi-quantitative abundance estimates. The UK Environment Agencies have funded the collection of an eDNA meta-barcoding data set of vertebrates from 101 UK lakes covering a broad spectrum of environmental conditions Fig. 1. This dataset is based on analysing 20 water samples per lake and has successfully been used to develop a WFD compatible water quality assessment tool. In its current form this tool is suitable for reporting the status of fish in water bodies where eutrophication is the dominant pressure.DNA is not homogeneously distributed in lentic environments and hence the detection of species relies on the collection of an adequate number of samples from a water body to capture the eDNA signal. Previous analyses on a subset of lakes have indicated that the number of samples used for the 101 lake fish data set is more than sufficient to reliably estimate species richness of lakes, but it is unclear how exactly reduced sampling effort affects other biodiversity estimates and inferences made about water quality. As the number of samples determines the cost of monitoring programmes it is essential that the sampling effort is optimised for a specific monitoring objective. The objective of this study was to explore the effect a reduced sampling effort would have on various biological inferences using algorithmic and statistical resampling techniques. with a much lower number of samples. For example, almost 90% of lakes achieved a sample coverage of 95% with only 10 samples. However, rare species are more often missed with fewer samples, with implications for monitoring programs of invasive or endangered species. Estimates of community composition and the ecological quality ratio (EQR) responded slowly to decreasing sampling effort. For example, subsets of 10 samples were in most cases much more closely related to each other than to sample sets from other lakes and showed very similar Ecological Quality Ratios. These results are able to inform the design of eDNA sampling strategies, so that these can be optimised to achieve specific monitoring goals. HTML XML PDF
      PubDate: Thu, 4 Mar 2021 16:00:00 +0200
       
  • Towards a simple way to collect eDNA using a 3D-printed passive sampler

    • Abstract: ARPHA Conference s 4: e65499
      DOI : 10.3897/aca.4.e65499
      Authors : Héloïse Verdier, Lara Konecny, Christophe Marquette, Tristan Lefebure : Environmental DNA has emerged as a revolutionary approach to monitor aquatic biodiversity. The study of the DNA released by macro-organisms in their habitat offers a fast, non-invasive and sensitive approach to monitor their presence. Despite its many advantages, methodological challenges limit the widespread use of eDNA. Among them, eDNA sampling represents one of the most challenging step. Often based on the filtration of a large volume of water, this process can be long and tedious, requiring human intervention and special care, and which is not applicable to a wide range of habitats. As an alternative to filtration, passive eDNA sampling using natural substrates appears to be a promising solution. This approach uses the natural properties of some minerals (eg. silica), organisms (eg. sponges) or even communities (e.g. biofilms) to collect and preserved eDNA. Yet, such approaches are difficult to standardize and may not be applicable in many habitats. To circumvent that problem, we have designed 3D-printed samplers made of hydroxyapatite (HAp samplers), a mineral known for its high binding affinity with DNA. The shape of the samplers has been designed to facilitate their handling in laboratory and field experiments. Here we describe and test the ability of HAp samplers to recover freshwater eDNA. We show that HAp samplers recover DNA with high efficiency and are effective even on small amounts of waterlouse eDNA. However, the eDNA recovery is also highly variable across experiments. We show that by understanding the physico-chemical interactions between DNA and the HAp sampler surface, we could improve the replicability of the process and provide a robust alternative to filtration. HTML XML PDF
      PubDate: Thu, 4 Mar 2021 16:00:00 +0200
       
  • DNA barcoding reveals an unknown Chironomidae diversity from the
           freshwater biodiversity hot-spot: comparison between local and the
           European datasets

    • Abstract: ARPHA Conference s 4: e65498
      DOI : 10.3897/aca.4.e65498
      Authors : Piotr Gadawski, Matteo Montagna, Bruno Rossaro, Wojciech Giłka, Vladimir Pesic, Michal Grabowski, Giulia Magoga : In the present study, we developed and evaluated the first reference barcode library for non-biting midges (Diptera: Chironomidae) as flagship taxa of freshwater ecology from Skadar Lake system (Montenegro and Albania), a well-known hotspot of freshwater biodiversity composed by the young lake Skadar (originated 1200 before present) and by its old system of springs (originated during Pliocene). Using an expanded reference library and records deposited in Barcode of Life Database (BOLD), we estimated DNA barcoding efficiency for the European Chironomidae. Study provides COI barcodes for 770 Chironomidae individuals assigned, based on morphology, to 77 species collected in the Skadar Lake basin. Molecular analyses assigned sequences to 100 BINs and 104 OTUs (all records from this area are new for online repositories) and confirms the usefulness of DNA barcoding for the identification of non-biting midges. Additionally, we explored chironomid species distribution patterns in Europe using universal Barcode Index Number (BIN) with a discussion of problematic species groups, both for traditional taxonomy and DNA barcoding. The results of our study provide the first insight into the factual chironomid species diversity of the Lake Skadar basin, in comparison with chironomid fauna at the European scale. The results fill a significant gap in knowledge of biodiversity in the Balkan region. Based on the results of Chironomidae fauna investigation, we conclude that the Skadar Lake basin is now well sampled and such a high representation of species from various sampling sites provides reliable estimation of the non-biting midges fauna. HTML XML PDF
      PubDate: Thu, 4 Mar 2021 16:00:00 +0200
       
 
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