Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Bigger Isn't Always Better--Especially If You're A Rodent

Date:
March 16, 2004
Source:
University Of Alberta
Summary:
Voles are pedestrians, too, and need just as much help crossing the road as the big animals, says new research from the University of Alberta.

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

Related Articles


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

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

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

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

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

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


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University Of Alberta. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University Of Alberta. "Bigger Isn't Always Better--Especially If You're A Rodent." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 16 March 2004. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/03/040316071901.htm>.
University Of Alberta. (2004, March 16). Bigger Isn't Always Better--Especially If You're A Rodent. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 29, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/03/040316071901.htm
University Of Alberta. "Bigger Isn't Always Better--Especially If You're A Rodent." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/03/040316071901.htm (accessed November 29, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Research on Bats Could Help Develop Drugs Against Ebola

Research on Bats Could Help Develop Drugs Against Ebola

AFP (Nov. 28, 2014) In Africa's only biosafety level 4 laboratory, scientists have been carrying out experiments on bats to understand how virus like Ebola are being transmitted, and how some of them resist to it. Duration: 01:18 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
New Dinosaur Species Found in Museum Collection

New Dinosaur Species Found in Museum Collection

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Nov. 27, 2014) A British palaeontologist has discovered a new species of dinosaur while studying fossils in a Canadian museum. Pentaceratops aquilonius was related to Triceratops and lived at the end of the Cretaceous Period, around 75 million years ago. Jim Drury has more. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Tryptophan Isn't Making You Sleepy On Thanksgiving

Tryptophan Isn't Making You Sleepy On Thanksgiving

Newsy (Nov. 27, 2014) Tryptophan, a chemical found naturally in turkey meat, gets blamed for sleepiness after Thanksgiving meals. But science points to other culprits. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Classic Hollywood Memorabilia Goes Under the Hammer

Classic Hollywood Memorabilia Goes Under the Hammer

Reuters - Entertainment Video Online (Nov. 26, 2014) The iconic piano from "Casablanca" and the Cowardly Lion suit from "The Wizard of Oz" fetch millions at auction. Sara Hemrajani reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins