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DNA genotypes reveal red fox (Vulpes vulpes) abundance, response to lethal control and limitations of contemporary survey techniques

Marks, Clive A.; Gigliotti, Frank; McPhee, Steve; Piggott, Maxine; Taylor, Andrea C.; Glen, Al S

Description

Context. Scat genotyping has not been routinely used to measure fox (Vulpes vulpes) abundance and our study sought to provide a benchmark for further technique development and assessment of field methods. Aims. This study sought to provide a comparative assessment of some common methods used to determine fox density and contrast their success with scat DNA genotyping. Methods. DNA recovered from fox scats was used to genotype individual red foxes and determine their abundance at four transects....[Show more]

dc.contributor.authorMarks, Clive A.
dc.contributor.authorGigliotti, Frank
dc.contributor.authorMcPhee, Steve
dc.contributor.authorPiggott, Maxine
dc.contributor.authorTaylor, Andrea C.
dc.contributor.authorGlen, Al S
dc.date.accessioned2015-12-13T22:48:58Z
dc.identifier.issn1035-3712
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/1885/80318
dc.description.abstractContext. Scat genotyping has not been routinely used to measure fox (Vulpes vulpes) abundance and our study sought to provide a benchmark for further technique development and assessment of field methods. Aims. This study sought to provide a comparative assessment of some common methods used to determine fox density and contrast their success with scat DNA genotyping. Methods. DNA recovered from fox scats was used to genotype individual red foxes and determine their abundance at four transects. Population indices were also developed from bait take, scat counts and sand plot tracks using index-manipulation-index (IMI) procedures on the same transects. Known samples of foxes were taken from two treatment transects using cyanide delivered in the M-44 ejector to manipulate the population and to recover foxes at the end of the trial. Key results. Replicated counts on a 41-km-spotlight transect at the field site before and after the population manipulation had low variance and good correlation (r 2≤0.79, P0.01). Scat genotypes revealed 54 foxes in eight days and, when combined with biopsy DNA from recovered foxes, a minimum known to be alive (KTBA) density of between 1.6 and 5 foxes km-1 was calculated for the transects. Overall, 15/30 (50%) of all recovered foxes had not been detected by scat genotyping, 23/53 (49%) of KTBA genotypes were detected only once and 5/54 (9.5%) of foxes were found to have moved between two transects. Conclusions. At transects where population manipulation occurred, surviving individuals contributed significantly more scats than at the control transects and some individuals were detected at bait stations at a much greater frequency. This strongly suggested that they had contributed disproportionately to some IMI density estimates that were probably influenced by a change in the activity of some individuals rather than changes in population density alone. At one transect, eight foxes were confirmed to be present by spotlight surveys and were detected by scat and KTBA genotypes, yet were undetected by scat, bait station and sand plot indices. Implications. Scat and other DNA-based survey techniques provide a great deal of information about the identification and movement of individuals and if DNA sampling methods can be made more efficient they have the potential to provide accurate abundance estimates that are independent of the control technique.
dc.publisherCSIRO Publishing
dc.sourceWildlife Research
dc.subjectKeywords: abundance; bait; canid; comparative study; cyanide; DNA; genotype; pest control; population density; survival; transect; Canidae; Vulpes; Vulpes vulpes
dc.titleDNA genotypes reveal red fox (Vulpes vulpes) abundance, response to lethal control and limitations of contemporary survey techniques
dc.typeJournal article
local.description.notesImported from ARIES
local.identifier.citationvolume36
dc.date.issued2009
local.identifier.absfor050103 - Invasive Species Ecology
local.identifier.absfor060411 - Population, Ecological and Evolutionary Genetics
local.identifier.ariespublicationf5625xPUB8592
local.type.statusPublished Version
local.contributor.affiliationMarks, Clive A., Nocturnal Wildlife Research Pty Ltd
local.contributor.affiliationGigliotti, Frank, Victorian Institute of Animal Science
local.contributor.affiliationMcPhee, Steve, Agricultural Technical Services
local.contributor.affiliationPiggott, Maxine, College of Medicine, Biology and Environment, ANU
local.contributor.affiliationTaylor, Andrea C., Monash University
local.contributor.affiliationGlen, Al S, WA Department of Environment and Conservation / Invasive Animals CRC
local.description.embargo2037-12-31
local.bibliographicCitation.issue8
local.bibliographicCitation.startpage647
local.bibliographicCitation.lastpage658
local.identifier.doi10.1071/WR08109
local.identifier.absseo960404 - Control of Animal Pests, Diseases and Exotic Species in Forest and Woodlands Environments
local.identifier.absseo960403 - Control of Animal Pests, Diseases and Exotic Species in Farmland, Arable Cropland and Permanent Cropland Environments
dc.date.updated2016-02-24T09:43:06Z
local.identifier.scopusID2-s2.0-73249148865
local.identifier.thomsonID000272742400001
CollectionsANU Research Publications

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