The Mammals in a Sustainable Environment (MISE) project is pleased to announce an extension of project activities to June 2015, thanks to additional part-funding by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) through the Ireland Wales Programme (INTERREG 4A).
MISE was established in 2011 as a collaborative project between Waterford Institute of Technology (lead partner), Waterford County Council and the National Biodiversity Data Centre in Ireland, and The Vincent Wildlife Trust, Natural Resources Wales and Snowdonia National Park Authority in Wales.
MISE fosters the involvement of communities in Ireland and Wales in mammal conservation through public engagement in volunteer mammal survey work. This promotes stewardship of the local environment, up-skills members of the community and provides an alternative source of outdoor enjoyment. In Ireland, the survey work targets mammals such as otters, pine martens, bats and squirrels, and mammal monitoring in Wales also involves additional species such as polecats, weasels, harvest mice and dormice. Survey methods include faecal collections, hair-tube surveys and small mammal feeding stations. DNA testing is then carried out at Waterford Institute of Technology on the samples collected and this can reveal the species, the sex of the animal and can often identify a genetic fingerprint.
Through to June 2015, the MISE team in Ireland and Wales will continue to promote public awareness of mammals. The new and additional work packages will include advanced training for volunteers, mapping of habitat networks and the design of an educational resource pack. Keep up-to-date and get involved with upcoming events and activities by visiting the Upcoming Events tab, Facebook and Twitter.
The nature of the Welsh/Irish INTERREG IVA collaboration will allow the sharing of skills and expertise across the cross border regions. Monitoring and conserving biodiversity is increasingly being recognised as critical for sustainable development. Small and medium sized mammals are key components of most ecosystems but can be difficult to monitor due to small numbers, elusive and or nocturnal behaviour.
The Area Within the INTERREG IVA area, fieldwork in Ireland will largely be carried out in Waterford but will also involve Kilkenny, South Tipperary, Wexford, Dublin and Wicklow. In Wales, fieldwork will be throughout the INTERREG IVA region.
- Scat/spraint collections
- Hair-tube surveys
- Small mammal feeding stations
DNA analysis at Waterford Institute of Technology DNA techniques developed at WIT will be used to provide species identification from collected samples. Further analysis on some species (such as pine martens, otters and squirrels) will provide information such as population size and structure, gender assignment and genetic diversity of the species. Prey analysis will also be used to identify small mammals from scats. This information will subsequently be used to identify potential threats and to advise conservation strategies. Volunteers will get feedback from this analysis on samples collected during surveys.