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Saturday 3 March 2012
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Habitat use and food preferences of a large herbivore: the moose, Alces alces in Poland revealed by radio-tracking and molecular diet analysis

RATKIEWICZ Miroslaw

The project aims to reveal food preferences and the seasonal diet plasticy of moose, the large herbivore that considerably affects managed forests. We plan to use metabarcoding approach based on the analysis of moose stools collected during winter throughout the species range in Poland as well as in different seasons at Biebrza valley during two consecutive years - samples will be collected every month form 20 radio-collared moose.

The moose, Alces alces is a large herbivore and it affects considerably managed forests. The species is a browser and it needs shrubs and small trees in its diet, especially in winter. As the number od moose in NE Poland is relatively high, this raises conflicts between the species and timber production. In our project, we aim to assess the food plasticilty and food preferences of the species. The project is divided into two parts: molecular diet analysis of moose during winter throughout Poland and seasonal diet changes of the moose at the Biebrza river valley, NE Poland. We radio-collared 20 moose and we started to collect stools every month for two years in order to asses changes in the food composition, to find out which plant species is the most preferrred one and when. Preliminary results showed that at least several plant species are eaten by moose as amplified fragments of trnL intron differed in size after PCR reaction using g and h primers. Metabarcoding approach gives promise to accurately reveal food preferences of the moose and this will allow some recommendation for forest managment how to keep the species without challenging timber production (eg Pinus trees). Some ecological aspects will also be analyzed, for example the seasonal moose migrations from wetelands to forests.

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Editorial board
  • BRANDNER Melissa
    • University of Nordland
    • Bodø (Norway)
  • BROCHMANN Christian
    • National Centre for Biosystematics
    • Oslo (Norway)
  • CHARITON Anthony
    • CSIRO Land and Water
    • Lucas Heights NA (Australia)
  • DEAGLE Bruce
    • University of Victoria
    • Victoria (Canada)
  • Eric Coissac
    • LECA
    • Grenoble (France)
  • KASAPIDIS Panagiotis
    • Hellenic Center for Marine Research
    • Irakleion, Crete (Greece)
  • PAWLOWSKI Jan
    • Université de Genève
    • Genève 4 (Switzerland)
  • TABERLET Pierre
    • LECA,
    • Grenoble (France)
  • WILLERSLEV Eske
    • Centre for GeoGenetics
    • Copenhagen (Denmark)
  • ZINGER Lucie
    • IBENS
    • Paris (France)
Editorial
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    The scientists at the Mammal Research Institute PAS in Białowieża National Park hosted this year’s workshop. And our hats go off to them for the organizational skills, warmth and hospitality. During the week, experienced metabarcoders gave lectures on their trials and tribulations in the field of metabarcoding, sparking conversations between the attendees. The end of the first day saw flash talks from all participants of the event, creating an icebreaker and showing the wide variety of applications for metabarcoding, including, dietary studies, environmental health, fundamental ecology and exploration of rare and ancient habitats.
    Pierre Taberlet (who is rumoured to run 8000 PCR a day!) taught technical aspects such as DNA extraction in (...)

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