Browsing by Subject "CASTOR-CANADENSIS"

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  • Nummi, Petri; Liao, Wenfei; van der Schoor, Juliette; Loehr, John (2021)
    Beavers (Castor spp.) are ecosystem engineers that induce local disturbance and ecological succession, which turns terrestrial into aquatic ecosystems and creates habitat heterogeneity in a landscape. Beavers have been proposed as a tool for biodiversity conservation and ecosystem restoration. So far, most research has compared biodiversity in beaver wetlands and non-beaver wetlands, but few studies have explored how beaver-created succession affects specific taxa. In this study, we investigated how water beetles responded to different successional stages of wetlands in a beaver-disturbed landscape at Evo in southern Finland. We sampled water beetles with 1-L activity traps in 20 ponds, including: 5 new beaver ponds, 5 old beaver ponds, 5 former beaver ponds, and 5 never engineered ponds. We found that beaver wetlands had higher species richness and abundance than non-beaver wetlands, and that new beaver wetlands could support higher species richness (321%) and abundance (671%) of water beetles compared to old beaver wetlands. We think that higher water beetle diversity in new beaver ponds has resulted from habitat amelioration (available lentic water, shallow shores, aquatic vegetation, and low fish abundance) and food source enhancement (an increase of both dead and live prey) created by beaver dams and floods. We conclude that using beavers as a tool, or imitating their way of flooding, can be beneficial in wetland restoration if beaver population densities are monitored to ensure the availability of newly colonizable sites.
  • Vehkaoja, Mia; Nummi, Petri; Rikkinen, Jouko (2017)
    Beavers are ecosystem engineers that modify and maintain a range of special habitat types in boreal forests. They also produce large quantities of deadwood that provide substrate for many lignicolous organisms such as calicioid fungi (Ascomycota). We studied how calicioid diversity differed between boreal riparian forests with and without beaver activity. The results show that calicioid diversity were significantly higher at beaver sites compared to the other two forest site types studied. The large quantity and diverse forms of deadwood produced by beavers clearly promotes calicioid diversity in the boreal landscape. The specific lighting and humidity conditions within beaver wetlands could be the reason why they promote the success of certain calicioid species.
  • Nummi, Petri; Arzel, Celine; Sauramo, Virva (2021)
    Stability of breeding habitat use and population variability was studied in two common wader species: green sandpiper Tringa ochropus and common sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos in a boreal lake area in southern Finland. The main natural driver of habitat disturbance in the area is an ecosystem engineer, the North American beaver Castor canadensis. We also studied the presence and abundance of green sandpipers before, during and after beaver-induced floods. In the studied landscape, the variable habitat created by beaver flooding appeared to have carrying capacity for a larger green sandpiper population than the more stable habitat for that of the common sandpiper. Common sandpipers made much use of the same lakes from year to year whereas the occupation of wetlands by the green sandpiper was more variable. The population of common sandpipers fluctuated more, although they inhabited the more stable environment. Green sandpiper pair numbers increased during beaver flooding, which suggests that they adapt rapidly to changes in breeding site availability. Some of the facilitating effects of the beaver appeared to remain 1-2 years after the flooding.
  • Rosell, Frank; Cross, Hannah B.; Johnsen, Christin B.; Sundell, Janne; Zedrosser, Andreas (2019)
    The invasion of a species can cause population reduction or extinction of a similar native species due to replacement competition. There is a potential risk that the native Eurasian beaver (Castor fiber) may eventually be competitively excluded by the invasive North American beaver (C. canadensis) from areas where they overlap in Eurasia. Yet currently available methods of census and population estimates are costly and time-consuming. In a laboratory environment, we investigated the potential of using dogs (Canis lupus familiaris) as a conservation tool to determine whether the Eurasian or the North American beaver is present in a specific beaver colony. We hypothesized that dogs can discriminate between the two beaver species, via the odorant signal of castoreum from males and females, in two floor platform experiments. We show that dogs detect scent differences between the two species, both from dead beaver samples and from scent marks collected in the field. Our results suggest that dogs can be used as an "animal biosensor" to discriminate olfactory signals of beaver species, however more tests are needed. Next step should be to test if dogs discern between beaver species in the field under a range of weather conditions and habitat types and use beaver samples collected from areas where the two species share the same habitat. So far, our results show that dogs can be used as a promising tool in the future to promote conservation of the native beaver species and eradication of the invasive one. We therefore conclude that dogs may be an efficient non-invasive tool to help conservationist to manage invasive species in Europe, and advocate for European wildlife agencies to invest in this new tool.
  • Nummi, Petri; Liao, Wenfei; Huet, Ophélie; Scarpulla, Erminia; Sundell, Janne (2019)
    Beavers are ecosystem engineers which are capable to facilitate many groups of organisms. However, their facilitation of mammals has been little studied. We applied two methods, camera trapping and snow track survey to investigate the facilitation of a mammalian community by the ecosystem engineering of the American beaver (Castor canadensis) in a boreal setting. We found that both mammalian species richness (83% increase) and occurrence (12% increase) were significantly higher in beaver patches than in the controls. Of individual species, the moose (Alces alces) used beaver patches more during both the ice-free season and winter. The Eurasian otter (Lutra lutra), the pine marten (Martes martes) and the least weasel (Mustela nivalis) made more use of beaver sites during the winter. Our study highlights the role of ecosystem engineers in promoting species richness and abundance, especially in areas of relatively low productivity. Wetlands and their species have been in drastic decline during the past century, and promoting facilitative ecosystem engineering by beaver is feasible in habitat conservation or restoration. Beaver engineering may be especially valuable in landscapes artificially deficient in wetlands. (c) 2019 The Authors. Published by Elsevier B.V. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license (
  • Nummi, Petri; Suontakanen, Eeva-Maria; Holopainen, Sari; Väänänen, Veli-Matti (2019)
    Avian species respond to ecological variability at a range of spatial scales and according to life history stage. Beaver dams create wetland systems for waterbirds that are utilized throughout different stages of the breeding season. We studied how beaver?induced variability affected mobile pairs and more sedentary broods along with the production of Common Teal Anas crecca at the patch and landscape scale on their breeding grounds. Beavers Castor spp. are ecosystem engineers that enhance waterfowl habitats by impeding water flow and creating temporary flooding. Two landscapes in southern Finland with (Evo) and without (Nuuksio) American Beavers Castor canadensis were used in this study. To investigate the patch?scale effect, pair and brood densities along with brood production were first compared at beaver?occupied lakes and non?beaver lakes in the beaver landscape. Annual pair and brood densities/km shoreline and brood production were compared between beaver and non?beaver landscapes. Facilitative effects of beaver activity were manifest on brood density at both patch and landscape scales: these were over 90 and 60 percent higher in beaver patches and landscapes, respectively. An effect of beaver presence on pair density was only seen at the landscape level. Pair density did not strongly affect brood production, as shown earlier for relatively mildly density?dependent Teal populations. Because the extent of beaver flooding was a crucial factor affecting annual Teal production in the study area, we infer beaver activity has consequences for the local Teal population. Ecosystem engineering by the beaver could therefore be considered as a restoration tool in areas where waterfowl are in need of high?quality habitats. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.