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Biology and Conservation of Musteloids$
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David W. Macdonald, Chris Newman, and Lauren A. Harrington

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780198759805

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198759805.001.0001

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Stink or swim: techniques to meet the challenges for the study and conservation of small critters that hide, swim, or climb, and may otherwise make themselves unpleasant

Stink or swim: techniques to meet the challenges for the study and conservation of small critters that hide, swim, or climb, and may otherwise make themselves unpleasant

Chapter:
(p.216) Chapter 8 Stink or swim: techniques to meet the challenges for the study and conservation of small critters that hide, swim, or climb, and may otherwise make themselves unpleasant
Source:
Biology and Conservation of Musteloids
Author(s):

Roger A. Powell

Stephen Ellwood

Roland Kays

Tiit Maran

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780198759805.003.0008

The study of musteloids requires different perspectives and techniques than those needed for most mammals. Musteloids are generally small yet travel long distances and many live or forage underground or under water, limiting the use of telemetry and direct observation. Some are arboreal and nocturnal, facilitating telemetry but limiting observation, trapping, and many non-invasive techniques. Large sexual size dimorphism arguably doubles sample sizes for many research questions. Many musteloids defend themselves by expelling noxious chemicals. This obscure group does not attract funding, even when endangered, further reducing rate of knowledge gain. Nonetheless, passive and active radio frequency identification tags, magnetic-inductance tracking, accelerometers, mini-biologgers and some GPS tags are tiny enough for use with small musteloids. Environmental DNA can document presence of animals rarely seen. These technologies, coupled with creative research design that is well-grounded on the scientific method, form a multi-dimensional approach for advancing our understanding of these charismatic minifauna.

Keywords:   field experiments, laboratory experiments, research design, research tools, scientific method, telemetry

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