• Assessing grey squirrel dispersal patterns within the landscape using sequence variation

      Stevenson, Claire D.; Ramsey, Andrew; Nevin, Owen T.; Sinclair, William; University of Cumbria (2012)
      The grey squirrel Sciurus carolinensis is thought to have contributed to the decline of red squirrel S. vulgaris populations in the UK through resource competition and disease spread. This study used mtDNA sequencing to assess patterns of grey squirrel dispersal in the UK. Patterns of genetic variation within the dloop sequence were characterised for seven grey squirrel populations. Infiltration directions and potential barriers to dispersal are identified and discussed, with a focus on Cumbria, a county at the forefront of grey squirrel expansion. Understanding the dynamics of grey squirrel dispersal will aid their management at a landscape scale and enhance the conservation of red squirrels.
    • Changing place: palm oil and sense of place in Borneo

      Lindsay, Ellie; Convery, Ian; Ramsey, Andrew; Simmons, Eunice; University of Cumbria (2012)
      The conservation of tropical ecosystems is complex and contested, not least in terms of cultural and political perspectives between developed and developing nations (Bawa & Seidler, 1998; Colchester, 2000; Brosius & Hitchner, 2010). In Sabah, on the island of Borneo, Malaysia much of the forest has recently been converted to oil palm plantations. The plantations cover vast areas and leave relatively little space for native flora and fauna. Whilst efforts are underway to enhance biodiversity within the plantations, there is no clear consensus as to how this might best be achieved and this has led in part to divisions opening up amongst stakeholders (Othman & Ameer, 2009). A range of Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) working within Sabah endeavour to conserve threatened biodiversity; at the Governmental level there are significant drivers for development and economic stability; while the plantation owners are trying to improve their yields and increase their global market. There is also increasing consumer pressure in Europe and North America linked to concerns about the survival of iconic rainforest species such as orang-utans. This paper considers these issues within a context of globalisation and profound economic and social change within Malaysia.
    • Conserving natural heritage: shifting perceptions of culture and nature.

      Smith, Darrell; Convery, Ian; Ramsey, Andrew; Kouloumpis, Viktor; University of Cumbria; University of Derby; University of Manchester (Boydell Press, 2016)
    • The function of strategic tree selectivity in the chemical signalling of brown bears

      Clapham, Melanie; Nevin, Owen T.; Ramsey, Andrew; Rosell, Frank; University of Cumbria (2013)
    • A hypothetico-deductive approach to assessing the social function of chemical signalling in a non-territorial solitary carnivore

      Clapham, Melanie; Nevin, Owen T.; Ramsey, Andrew; Rosell, Frank; Renou, Michel; University of Cumbria (2012)
      The function of chemical signalling in non-territorial solitary carnivores is still relatively unclear. Studies on territorial solitary and social carnivores have highlighted odour capability and utility, however the social function of chemical signalling in wild carnivore populations operating dominance hierarchy social systems has received little attention. We monitored scent marking and investigatory behaviour of wild brown bears Ursus arctos, to test multiple hypotheses relating to the social function of chemical signalling. Camera traps were stationed facing bear ‘marking trees’ to document behaviour by different age sex classes in different seasons. We found evidence to support the hypothesis that adult males utilise chemical signalling to communicate dominance to other males throughout the non-denning period. Adult females did not appear to utilise marking trees to advertise oestrous state during the breeding season. The function of marking by subadult bears is somewhat unclear, but may be related to the behaviour of adult males. Subadults investigated trees more often than they scent marked during the breeding season, which could be a result of an increased risk from adult males. Females with young showed an increase in marking and investigation of trees outside of the breeding season. We propose the hypothesis that females engage their dependent young with marking trees from a young age, at a relatively ‘safe’ time of year. Memory, experience, and learning at a young age, may all contribute towards odour capabilities in adult bears.
    • The impacts of commercial woodland management on butterfly biodiversity.

      Taylor, Donna L.; Ramsey, Andrew; Convery, Ian; Lawrence, Anna; Weatheral, Andrew; University of Cumbria; Forestry Research (2013)
      Although the effects on biodiversity in woodland managed for conservation have been studied for a range of species, there is very little empirical data on the potential impacts of commercial woodland management on biodiversity in the UK. This study measured species richness and abundance of diurnal butterflies as a proxy for the habitat quality of three different woodland management techniques in the Morecambe Bay limestone woodland region. Butterflies were sampled at two sites; Gait Barrows and Witherslack, where three woodland management techniques were carried out: low management woodland (woodland with no recent intervention); traditional coppice management for conservation; and commercial woodland management. Both coppice management for conservation and commercial management had significantly higher butterfly species richness and abundance when compared to low management woodland; neither butterfly species richness nor abundance were significantly different between the traditional coppice management for conservation and commercial woodland management. UK Biodiversity Action Plan fritillary species (high brown fritillary Argynnis adippe; pearl bordered fritillary Boloria euphrosyne; and small pearl bordered fritillary Boloria selene) were not significantly different between the traditional coppice management for conservation and commercial management.
    • Ontogeny of juvenile freshwater pearl mussels, Margaritifera margaritifera (Bivalvia: Margaritiferidae).

      Lavictoire, Louise; Ramsey, Andrew; Moorkens, Evelyn; Souch, Graham; Barnhart, M. Christopher; University of Cumbria; University of Derby; Trinity College Dublin; Missouri State University (Public Library of Science (PLOS), 2018-03-28)
      The gills of juvenile freshwater bivalves undergo a complex morphogenesis that may correlate with changes in feeding ecology, but ontogenic studies on juvenile mussels are rare. Scanning electron microscopy was used to examine the ultrastructure and ontogeny of 117 juvenile freshwater pearl mussels (Margaritifera margaritifera) ranging in age from 1–44 months and length from 0.49–8.90 mm. Three stages of gill development are described. In Stage 1 (5–9 inner demibranch filaments), only unreflected inner demibranch filaments were present. In Stage 2 (9–17 inner demibranch filaments), inner demibranch filaments began to reflect when shell length exceeded 1.13 mm, at 13–16 months old. Reflection began in medial filaments and then proceeded anterior and posterior. In Stage 3 (28–94 inner demibranch filaments), outer demibranch filaments began developing at shell length > 3.1 mm and about 34 months of age. The oral groove on the inner demibranch was first observed in 34 month old specimens > 2.66 mm but was never observed on the outer demibranch. Shell length (R2 = 0.99) was a better predictor of developmental stage compared to age (R2 = 0.84). The full suite of gill ciliation was present on filaments in all stages. Interfilamentary distance averaged 31.3 μm and did not change with age (4–44 months) or with size (0.75–8.9 mm). Distance between laterofrontal cirri couplets averaged 1.54 μm and did not change significantly with size or age. Labial palp primordia were present in even the youngest individuals but ciliature became more diverse in more developed individuals. Information presented here is valuable to captive rearing programmes as it provides insight in to when juveniles may be particularly vulnerable to stressors due to specific ontogenic changes. The data are compared with two other recent studies of Margaritifera development.
    • Using GPS telemetry to validate least-cost modeling of gray squirrel ( Sciurus carolinensis) movement within a fragmented landscape

      Stevenson, Claire D.; Ferryman, Mark; Nevin, Owen T.; Ramsey, Andrew; Bailey, Sallie; Watts, Kevin; University of Cumbria; Forest Research UK (Wiley, 2013)
      In Britain, the population of native red squirrels Sciurus vulgaris has suffered population declines and local extinctions. Interspecific resource competition and disease spread by the invasive gray squirrel Sciurus carolinensis are the main factors behind the decline. Gray squirrels have adapted to the British landscape so efficiently that they are widely distributed. Knowledge on how gray squirrels are using the landscape matrix and being able to predict their movements will aid management. This study is the first to use global positioning system (GPS) collars on wild gray squirrels to accurately record movements and land cover use within the landscape matrix. This data were used to validate Geographical Information System (GIS) least-cost model predictions of movements and provided much needed information on gray squirrel movement pathways and network use. Buffered least-cost paths and least-cost corridors provide predictions of the most probable movements through the landscape and are seen to perform better than the more expansive least-cost networks which include all possible movements. Applying the knowledge and methodologies gained to current gray squirrel expansion areas, such as Scotland and in Italy, will aid in the prediction of potential movement areas and therefore management of the invasive gray squirrel. The methodologies presented in this study could potentially be used in any landscape and on numerous species.