Sample diversity adds value to non-invasive genetic assessment of a pine marten (Martes martes) population in Galloway Forest, southwest Scotland

Croose, Elizabeth and Birks, Johnny D.S. and O’Reilly, Catherine and Turner, Peter and Martin, John and MacLeod, Ewan T. (2016) Sample diversity adds value to non-invasive genetic assessment of a pine marten (Martes martes) population in Galloway Forest, southwest Scotland. Mammal Research, 61 (2). pp. 131-139. ISSN 2199-2401

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The European pine marten (Martes martes) is a species of considerable conservation interest in Britain due to its rarity and status as a recovering native carnivore. In recent years, there has been increased application of non-invasive genetic sampling methods in population studies of Martes species. We investigated the effect of sample source (hair and faeces) in the non-invasive assessment of the distribution, population size and density of pine martens in the Fleet Basin in Galloway Forest, southwest Scotland. Fifty-two hair samples and 114 scats were collected during September and October 2014. Genetic analysis was used to identify the species, gender and individual genotype of samples. There was a significant difference in the genotyping success rate for hair samples (43 %) and scat samples (24 %). In total, 15 individual pine martens were identified; 7 males and 8 females. Capture-recapture programme Capwire produced a population size estimate of 18 individuals (95 % CI 15 to 25). Of the 15 individuals sampled, 14 (93 %) were detected from scat sampling and 5 (33 %) were detected from hair sampling. The population density estimate for a post-breeding population was 0.13 to 0.15 pine martens per square kilometre which is towards the lower limit of densities reported for pine martens elsewhere in Scotland. Data from the study highlight that future non-invasive studies aiming to determine pine marten population size and density should incorporate the collection of both hair and scat samples in order to detect as many individuals within the population as possible.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Funding Information: The study was funded by Forestry Commission Scotland and the People’s Trust for Endangered Species. Logistical support and advice was provided by Andrew Jarrott and Martin Webber (Forestry Commission Scotland). Hair tubes were kindly supplied by the University of Stirling by Laura Kubasiewicz and Kirsty Park. Laura Kubasiewicz and Declan O’Mahony provided advice on abundance and population density modelling methods. Additional field and logistical support was provided by Shirley Martin, Chas Mooney and Pete Garson. We are grateful to two anonymous reviewers whose comments greatly improved the manuscript. Publisher Copyright: © 2015, Mammal Research Institute, Polish Academy of Sciences, Białowieża, Poland.
Uncontrolled Keywords: /dk/atira/pure/subjectarea/asjc/1100/1105
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Depositing User: Admin SSL
Date Deposited: 19 Oct 2022 23:08
Last Modified: 26 Jun 2023 16:05

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