Forsøksdyr: Methodological experiment on voles during 2018 at Evenstad (copy)

Godkjenningsdato 18.04.2018

Our overall goal is to study the diet of cyclic vole species in relation to their population dynamics (see the previous application, FOTS ID 13908), this specific experiment will increase our understanding of the results from the main study significantly, and increase our basic knowledge of these species.

The diet will be explored analysing samples of faeces using DNA barcoding, a method with superior taxonomic resolution. However, the quality of the quantitative output is unclear. We thus want to perform an experiment to increase our understanding when interpreting these results. The method of DNA barcoding is increasingly being used by researchers in ecology and many other fields, thus the results from this study will be of interest to a large group in the scientific community. The scientific outcome of this experiment will be published in a peer-reviewed scientific journal.

Animals of the species bank vole (Myodes glareolus (klatremus), previously Clethrionomys glareolus) and tundra vole (Microtus oeconomus (fjellmarkmus, previously fjellrotte)) will be trapped using Ugglan live traps. Due to highly variable population sizes and thus variable trapping success we cannot confidently estimate the number of animals being trapped, but 10 animals of each species will be moved to and kept in appropriate cages for a maximum of 45 hours before being released again. The bait in the traps and the food in the cages will be food items known to be eaten by these species. After the experiment, they will be released at the same location as they were trapped.

3R: No less invasive methods can give quantitative information about the diet composition we aim for. A recent comparable study on ungulate feaces has used similar sample size. To avoid stressing the animals as much as possible we perform the experiment in the field, having cages next to each other to allow some social behaviour and only use food items from their local area known to be preferred by these species.