Estimating diet composition for mountain hares in newly established native woodland: development and application of plant-wax faecal markers

S. J. Rao, Glenn Iason, I. A. R. Hulbert, R. W. Mayes, Paul Adrian Racey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

8 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Knowledge of the feeding ecology of mammalian herbivores is fundamental in predicting their responses to habitat change. Where native woodlands are newly established in open moorland, the extent to which trees form part of the diet of mountain hares (Lepus timidus) is unknown. This information is necessary for predicting the potential effects of mountain hare browsing on woodland establishment. The n-alkanes and a long-chain fatty alcohols found in the cuticular wax of diet plants and faeces (N=240) were used as markers to estimate the composition of the diet of mountain hares in an area of moorland with newly established Pinus sylvestris and Betula pubescens woodland. During winter, the diet of mountain hares was dominated by Calluna vulgaris, but there was a seasonal shift to a diet dominated by grasses, sedges, and rushes in summer. Pinus sylvestris and B. pubescens were minor dietary components in all seasons. A higher proportion of grasses, sedges, and rushes was found in the diet of lactating females. Results suggest that when an alternative browse species such as C. vulgaris is widely available, mountain hares may not have a large impact on the establishment of native woodland. The dietary results from this study are in broad agreement with those from previous studies using other techniques.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1047-1056
Number of pages9
JournalCanadian Journal Of Zoology/Revue Canadien De Zoologie
Volume81
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2003

Keywords

  • LEPUS-TIMIDUS
  • SNOWSHOE HARES
  • MAMMALIAN HERBIVORES
  • FUNCTIONAL-RESPONSE
  • EPICUTICULAR WAXES
  • CUTICULAR WAX
  • HABITAT USE
  • WINTER
  • ALKANES
  • SELECTION

Cite this

Estimating diet composition for mountain hares in newly established native woodland: development and application of plant-wax faecal markers. / Rao, S. J.; Iason, Glenn; Hulbert, I. A. R.; Mayes, R. W.; Racey, Paul Adrian.

In: Canadian Journal Of Zoology/Revue Canadien De Zoologie, Vol. 81, 2003, p. 1047-1056.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

@article{bf00c5b9ce694fe7afaa61aea273da8f,
title = "Estimating diet composition for mountain hares in newly established native woodland: development and application of plant-wax faecal markers",
abstract = "Knowledge of the feeding ecology of mammalian herbivores is fundamental in predicting their responses to habitat change. Where native woodlands are newly established in open moorland, the extent to which trees form part of the diet of mountain hares (Lepus timidus) is unknown. This information is necessary for predicting the potential effects of mountain hare browsing on woodland establishment. The n-alkanes and a long-chain fatty alcohols found in the cuticular wax of diet plants and faeces (N=240) were used as markers to estimate the composition of the diet of mountain hares in an area of moorland with newly established Pinus sylvestris and Betula pubescens woodland. During winter, the diet of mountain hares was dominated by Calluna vulgaris, but there was a seasonal shift to a diet dominated by grasses, sedges, and rushes in summer. Pinus sylvestris and B. pubescens were minor dietary components in all seasons. A higher proportion of grasses, sedges, and rushes was found in the diet of lactating females. Results suggest that when an alternative browse species such as C. vulgaris is widely available, mountain hares may not have a large impact on the establishment of native woodland. The dietary results from this study are in broad agreement with those from previous studies using other techniques.",
keywords = "LEPUS-TIMIDUS, SNOWSHOE HARES, MAMMALIAN HERBIVORES, FUNCTIONAL-RESPONSE, EPICUTICULAR WAXES, CUTICULAR WAX, HABITAT USE, WINTER, ALKANES, SELECTION",
author = "Rao, {S. J.} and Glenn Iason and Hulbert, {I. A. R.} and Mayes, {R. W.} and Racey, {Paul Adrian}",
year = "2003",
doi = "10.1139/z03-093",
language = "English",
volume = "81",
pages = "1047--1056",
journal = "Canadian Journal Of Zoology/Revue Canadien De Zoologie",
issn = "0008-4301",
publisher = "National Research Council of Canada",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Estimating diet composition for mountain hares in newly established native woodland: development and application of plant-wax faecal markers

AU - Rao, S. J.

AU - Iason, Glenn

AU - Hulbert, I. A. R.

AU - Mayes, R. W.

AU - Racey, Paul Adrian

PY - 2003

Y1 - 2003

N2 - Knowledge of the feeding ecology of mammalian herbivores is fundamental in predicting their responses to habitat change. Where native woodlands are newly established in open moorland, the extent to which trees form part of the diet of mountain hares (Lepus timidus) is unknown. This information is necessary for predicting the potential effects of mountain hare browsing on woodland establishment. The n-alkanes and a long-chain fatty alcohols found in the cuticular wax of diet plants and faeces (N=240) were used as markers to estimate the composition of the diet of mountain hares in an area of moorland with newly established Pinus sylvestris and Betula pubescens woodland. During winter, the diet of mountain hares was dominated by Calluna vulgaris, but there was a seasonal shift to a diet dominated by grasses, sedges, and rushes in summer. Pinus sylvestris and B. pubescens were minor dietary components in all seasons. A higher proportion of grasses, sedges, and rushes was found in the diet of lactating females. Results suggest that when an alternative browse species such as C. vulgaris is widely available, mountain hares may not have a large impact on the establishment of native woodland. The dietary results from this study are in broad agreement with those from previous studies using other techniques.

AB - Knowledge of the feeding ecology of mammalian herbivores is fundamental in predicting their responses to habitat change. Where native woodlands are newly established in open moorland, the extent to which trees form part of the diet of mountain hares (Lepus timidus) is unknown. This information is necessary for predicting the potential effects of mountain hare browsing on woodland establishment. The n-alkanes and a long-chain fatty alcohols found in the cuticular wax of diet plants and faeces (N=240) were used as markers to estimate the composition of the diet of mountain hares in an area of moorland with newly established Pinus sylvestris and Betula pubescens woodland. During winter, the diet of mountain hares was dominated by Calluna vulgaris, but there was a seasonal shift to a diet dominated by grasses, sedges, and rushes in summer. Pinus sylvestris and B. pubescens were minor dietary components in all seasons. A higher proportion of grasses, sedges, and rushes was found in the diet of lactating females. Results suggest that when an alternative browse species such as C. vulgaris is widely available, mountain hares may not have a large impact on the establishment of native woodland. The dietary results from this study are in broad agreement with those from previous studies using other techniques.

KW - LEPUS-TIMIDUS

KW - SNOWSHOE HARES

KW - MAMMALIAN HERBIVORES

KW - FUNCTIONAL-RESPONSE

KW - EPICUTICULAR WAXES

KW - CUTICULAR WAX

KW - HABITAT USE

KW - WINTER

KW - ALKANES

KW - SELECTION

U2 - 10.1139/z03-093

DO - 10.1139/z03-093

M3 - Article

VL - 81

SP - 1047

EP - 1056

JO - Canadian Journal Of Zoology/Revue Canadien De Zoologie

JF - Canadian Journal Of Zoology/Revue Canadien De Zoologie

SN - 0008-4301

ER -