Non-invasive multi-species monitoring: Real-time PCR detection of small mammal and squirrel prey DNA in pine marten (Martes martes) scats

Denise B. O'Meara, Emma Sheehy, Peter D. Turner, Declan O'Mahony, Andrew P. Harrington, Huw Denman, Colin Lawton, Jenny MacPherson, Catherine O'Reilly

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

DNA identification of mammal species occurring in the diet of a predator is potentially a useful approach to remotely monitor the distribution of multiple species. This is important in Ireland, where it has been shown that the combined presence of the introduced bank vole and greater white-toothed shrew impact the distribution of the indigenous small mammals, the wood mouse and pygmy shrew. Direct monitoring of these species and their interactions requires trapping, a labour-intensive and costly approach. In this study, we applied an indirect method by genetically testing the presence of small mammals in pine marten scats collected during the National Pine Marten Survey (2005-2007) to map their distribution. We also included additional scats to investigate if less common prey items, the red squirrel and grey squirrel, could also be detected. This study demonstrates that all target species were genetically detected from pine marten scats. This strategy could be implemented as a monitoring programme for indigenous and introduced mammal species.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)111-117
Number of pages7
JournalActa Theriologica
Volume59
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2014

Keywords

  • Apodemus sylvaticus
  • Crocidura russula
  • Invasional meltdown
  • Ireland
  • Mammals
  • Molecular scatology
  • Myodes glareolus
  • Sciurus carolinensis
  • Sciurus vulgaris
  • Sorex minutus

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