Simulation of potential habitat overlap between red deer (Cervus elaphus) and roe deer (Capreolus capreolus) in northeastern China.
ABSTRACT: Background. Understanding species distribution, especially areas of overlapping habitat between sympatric species, is essential for informing conservation through natural habitat protection. New protection strategies should simultaneously consider conservation efforts for multiple species that exist within the same landscape, which requires studies that include habitat overlap analysis. Methods. We estimated the potential habitat of cervids, which are typical ungulates in northern China, using the present locations of red deer (Cervus elaphus; N = 90) and roe deer (Capreolus capreolus; N = 106) in a Maximum Entropy (MaxEnt) model. Our study area was a human-dominated landscape in the Tieli Forestry Bureau located at the southern slope of the Lesser Xing'an Mountains. We grouped 17 environmental predictor variables into five predictor classes (terrain, habitat accessibility, land cover, vegetation feature, and interference), which were used to build habitat suitability models. Results. Habitat accessibility and human interferences were found to have the strongest influence on habitat suitability among the five variable classes. Among the environmental factors, distance to farmland (26.8%), distance to bush-grass land (14.6%), elevation (13.5%), and distance to water source (12.2%) were most important for red deer, distance to farmland (22.9%), distance to settlement (21.4%), elevation (11.6%), and coverage of shrub-grass (8%) were most important for roe deer. Model accuracy was high for both species (mean area under the curve (AUC) = 0.936 for red deer and 0.924 for roe deer). The overlapping habitat comprised 89.93 km(2) within the study area, which occupied 94% of potentially suitable habitat for red deer and 27% for roe deer. Conclusions. In terms of habitat suitability, roe deer showed greater selectivity than red deer. The overlapping habitat was mostly located in the eastern mountains. The southwestern plain was not a suitable habitat for deer because it was close to Tieli City. Regarding management measures, we suggest that priority protection should be given to the potential areas of overlapping deer habitats found in this study.
Project description:Free-range livestock grazing is a widespread human activity that not only modifies natural vegetation but also leads to interactions with wild ungulates. Most commonly, the interactions between cattle and wild ungulates have been studied with a focus on competition for high-quality forage. However, other mechanisms, such as the risk of parasite infection, might better describe this interaction. We aim to determine whether livestock affect roe deer (Capreolus capreolus Linnaeus, 1758) by reducing habitat quality and increasing the probability of infection by shared parasites. We measured noninvasive fecal cortisol metabolites as an indicator of habitat quality as well as the lung nematode larvae burden from the Dictyocaulus genus. A higher Dictyocaulus larvae load was found in the presence of livestock in pines, and feces collected in winter had a higher parasite load than feces collected in autumn. Additionally, fecal cortisol metabolite levels in the roe deer were affected by the interaction between habitat quality and livestock presence and were higher in the poorest habitat and when living in sympatry with cattle. Our results suggest that physiological stress responses in roe deer were mediated by the habitat type and the presence of competitors. The long-term implications of altered physiological responses such as those demonstrated here should be considered in management strategies for deer.
Project description:Anaplasma phagocytophilum and Babesia spp. are causative agents of tick-borne infections that are increasingly considered as a threat to animal and public health. To assess the role of cervids in the maintenance of zoonotic pathogens in Norway, we investigated the prevalence of A. phagocytophilum and Babesia spp. in free-ranging roe deer and red deer. Initial screening of spleen samples of 104 animals by multiplex real-time PCR targeting the major surface protein (msp2) gene and 18S rRNA revealed the presence of A. phagocytophilum infection in 81.1% red deer (Cervus elaphus) and 88.1% roe deer (Capreolus capreolus), and Babesia spp. parasites in 64.9% red deer and 83.6% roe deer, respectively. Co-infections were found in 62.2% red deer and 79.9% roe deer. Nested PCR and sequence analysis of partial msp4 and 18S rRNA genes were performed for molecular characterization of A. phagocytophilum strains and Babesia species. A total of eleven A. phagocytophilum msp4 gene sequence variants were identified: five different variants were 100% identical to corresponding A. phagocytophilum sequences deposited in the GenBank database, while other six sequence variants had unique nucleotide polymorphisms. Sequence analysis of the 18S rRNA gene demonstrated the presence of multiple Babesia species, including Babesia capreoli, Babesia divergens, Babesia venatorum and Babesia odocoilei/Babesia cf. odocoilei. This study is the first report demonstrating the prevalence and molecular characterization of A. phagocytophilum strains and Babesia species in roe deer and red deer in Norway. The high infection and co-infection rates with A. phagocytophilum and Babesia spp. in red deer and roe deer suggest that these cervids may play an important role in the transmission of single and multiple pathogens.
Project description:To provide consumers correct information on meat species, specific and sensitive detection methods are needed. Thus, we developed a capillary electrophoresis-based multiplex PCR assay to simultaneously detect red deer (Cervus elaphus), roe deer (Capreolus capreolus), and water deer (Hydropotes inermis). Specific primer sets for these three species were newly designed. Each primer set only amplified target species without any reactivity against non-target species. To identify multiple targets in a single reaction, multiplex PCR was optimized and combined with capillary electrophoresis to increase resolution and accuracy for the detection of multiple targets. The detection levels of this assay were 0.1 pg for red deer and roe deer and 1 pg for water deer. In addition, its applicability was demonstrated using various concentrations of meat DNA mixtures. Consequently, as low as 0.1% of the target species was detectable using the developed method. This capillary electrophoresis-based multiplex PCR assay for simultaneous detection of three types of deer meat could authenticate deer species labeled on products, thus protecting consumers from meat adulteration.
Project description:We investigated contemporary and historical influences on the pattern of genetic diversity of European roe deer (Capreolus capreolus). The study was conducted in northeastern Poland, a zone where vast areas of primeval forests are conserved and where the European roe deer was never driven to extinction. A total of 319 unique samples collected in three sampling areas were genotyped at 16 microsatellites and one fragment (610 bp) of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) control region. Genetic diversity was high, and a low degree of genetic differentiation among sampling areas was observed with both microsatellites and mtDNA. No evidence of genetic differentiation between roe deer inhabiting open fields and forested areas was found, indicating that the ability of the species to exploit these contrasting environments might be the result of its phenotypic plasticity. Half of the studied individuals carried an mtDNA haplotype that did not belong to C. capreolus, but to a related species that does not occur naturally in the area, the Siberian roe deer (C. pygargus). No differentiation between individuals with Siberian and European mtDNA haplotypes was detected at microsatellite loci. Introgression of mtDNA of Siberian roe deer into the genome of European roe deer has recently been detected in eastern Europe. Such introgression might be caused by human-mediated translocations of Siberian roe deer within the range of European roe deer or by natural hybridization between these species in the past.
Project description:The role of wild mammals, such as roe deer (Capreolus capreolus) and chamois (Rupicapra rupicapra), in the epidemiology of granulocytic ehrlichiae in Switzerland was investigated. We tested blood samples for Ehrlichia phagocytophila genogroup 16S rRNA gene sequences by PCR and for immunoglobulin G antibodies against granulocytic ehrlichiae by indirect fluorescent-antibody assay (IFA). Overall means of 60.9% of 133 roe deer serum samples and 28.2% of 39 chamois serum samples were seroreactive by IFA. PCR results were positive for 18.4% of 103 roe deer serum samples as well. None of the 24 chamois blood samples tested were positive by PCR. Partial 16S rRNA gene and groESL heat shock operon sequences of three roe deer samples tested showed strong degrees of homology (> or =99.7 and > or =98.6%, respectively) with the sequences of granulocytic ehrlichiae isolated from humans. These results confirm that chamois, and particularly roe deer, are commonly infected with granulocytic ehrlichiae and provide evidence that these wild mammals are potential reservoirs for granulocytic ehrlichiae in Switzerland.
Project description:The epidemiology of the zoonotic tick-transmitted parasite Babesia spp. and its occurrence in wild reservoir hosts in Sweden is unclear. In European deer, several parasite species, including Babesia capreoli and the zoonotic B. venatorum and B. divergens has been reported previously. The European roe deer, Capreolus capreolus, is an important and common part of the indigenous fauna in Europe, as well as an important host for Ixodes ricinus ticks, the vector of several Babesia spp. in Europe. Here, we aimed to investigate the occurrence of Babesia spp. in roe deer in Sweden.Roe deer (n?=?77) were caught and sampled for blood. Babesia spp. was detected with a PCR assay targeting the 18S rRNA gene. The prevalence of Babesia spp. was 52%, and two species were detected; B. capreoli and B. venatorum in 44 and 7.8% of the individuals, respectively. Infection occurred both in summer and winter.We showed that roe deer in Sweden, close to the edge of their northern inland distributional range, are infected with Babesia spp. The occurrence of B. venatorum in roe deer imply that it is established in Sweden and the zoonotic implication of this finding should be regarded to a greater extent in future.
Project description:Animals living in anthropogenic habitats bear a multitude of costs, which are directly or indirectly associated with human activities. Among others, an elevated exposure to environmental pollution can have negative consequences for wildlife populations. We examined the differences in the concentrations of trace elements between the field and forest ecotype of the European roe deer (Capreolus capreolus). Naturally, roe deer inhabited various types of woodlands (forest ecotype), but within the last century, they adapted to life in a human-transformed agricultural areas (field ecotype), which could be associated with an increased exposure to pollution. In this study, we measured concentrations of seven trace metals (barium, copper, iron, lead, manganese, strontium, zinc) and fluoride in skull bones and permanent teeth of more than 230 roe deer from 8 study plots in East-Central Europe. We found that field roe deer had higher concentrations of four trace metals (copper, iron, lead, strontium) and fluoride compared with forest roe deer. These differences were consistent with variations in the general level of environmental contamination within the study plots, as assessed with trace element content in wild plants. Our study indicates that bone and teeth of the European roe deer can be used as a valid indicator of environmental pollution. Also, we expect that elevated exposure of field roe deer to environmental pollution can have negative consequences for wild populations of this species, as well as for the consumers of venison.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Roe deer (Capreolus capreolus) became extinct over large areas of Britain during the post mediaeval period but following re-introductions from Europe during the 1800s and early 1900s the population started to recover and in recent decades there has been a spectacular increase. Many roe deer are shot in Britain each year but despite this there is little published information on the diseases and causes of mortality of roe deer in Great Britain. CASE PRESENTATION:The lungs of two hunter-shot roe deer in Cornwall showed multiple, raised, nodular lesions associated with numerous protostrongylid-type nematode eggs and first stage larvae. There was a pronounced inflammatory cell response (mostly macrophages, eosinophils and multinucleate giant cells) and smooth muscle hypertrophy of the smaller bronchioles. The morphology of the larvae was consistent with that of a Varestrongylus species and sequencing of an internal transcribed spacer-2 fragment confirmed 100% identity with a published Norwegian Varestrongylus cf. capreoli sequence. To the best of the authors' knowledge this is the first confirmed record of V. capreoli in Great Britain. Co-infection with an adult protostrongylid, identified by DNA sequencing as Varestrongylus sagittatus, was also demonstrated in one case. CONCLUSIONS:Parasitic pneumonia is regarded as a common cause of mortality in roe deer and is typically attributed to infection with Dictyocaulus sp. This study has shown that Varestrongylus capreoli also has the capability to cause significant lung pathology in roe deer and heavy infection could be of clinical significance.
Project description:Game animals, such as the roe deer (Capreolus capreolus), have long been used as bioindicators of environmental contamination. Most ecotoxicological research on ungulates has focused on trace element content in soft tissues and antlers. Also, only fragmentary information exists about whether and how trace element concentrations vary with the age of wild-living animals and whether these age-related patterns are similar for different types of tissues. The purpose of this study was to measure concentrations of seven trace metals (barium, copper, iron, lead, manganese, strontium, zinc) and fluoride in bone and teeth of roe deer and to determine whether significant variation is evident with individual age. For this purpose, we collected permanent molars and fragments of mandible bone from more than 130 female roe deer in Central Poland. We found that concentrations of four trace elements (barium, manganese, zinc, and fluoride) in teeth of deer showed positive linear relationships with individual age. No such trends were recorded for trace element content in bone. We suggest that these striking differences in age-related patterns of trace element bioaccumulation between bone and permanent teeth of roe deer might be explained by higher turnover rate and constant remodelling of bone tissue. The results suggest that analysis of permanent teeth may be useful for assessing throughout-life intoxication by environmental pollution in the roe deer and possibly in other mammal species. Our study reinforces the need to carefully account for age-related variation in ecotoxicological research on wild-living animals.
Project description:Hepatitis E virus (HEV), a major cause of viral hepatitis worldwide, is considered an emerging foodborne zoonosis in Europe. Pigs (<i>Sus scrofa domestica</i>) and wild boars (<i>S. scrofa</i>) are recognized as important HEV reservoirs. Additionally, HEV infection and exposure have been described in cervids. In Norway, HEV has been identified in pigs and humans; however, little is known regarding its presence in wild ungulates in the country. We used a species-independent double-antigen sandwich ELISA to detect antibodies against HEV in the sera of 715 wild ungulates from Norway, including 164 moose (<i>Alces alces</i>), 186 wild Eurasian tundra reindeer (<i>Rangifer tarandus tarandus</i>), 177 red deer (<i>Cervus elaphus</i>), 86 European roe deer (<i>Capreolus capreolus</i>), and 102 muskoxen (<i>Ovibos moschatus</i>). The overall seroprevalence was 12.3% (88/715). Wild reindeer had the highest seropositivity (23.1%, 43/186), followed by moose (19.5%, 32/164), muskoxen (5.9%, 6/102), and red deer (4%, 7/177). All roe deer were negative. According to our results, HEV is circulating in wild ungulates in Norway. The high seroprevalence observed in wild reindeer and moose indicates that these species may be potential reservoirs of HEV. To the authors' knowledge, this is the first report of HEV exposure in reindeer from Europe and in muskoxen worldwide.