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Title: Stress, energetics and disease in the Eurasian badger (Meles meles)
Author: George, S. C.
Awarding Body: Queen's University Belfast
Current Institution: Queen's University Belfast
Date of Award: 2012
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Abstract:
The Eurasian badger is a wildlife reservoir of bovine tubersculosis (bTB) in the UK and Ireland. Many aspects of badger behaviour, ecology and disease dynamics are well understood. However, data for Northern Ireland are scarce and knowledge of their physiology is almost non-existent. This thesis aimed to determine the prevalence of bTB in badger groups in Northern Ireland and use a multi-disciplinary approach to investigate badger physiology, epidemiology and ecology, as well as how these factors interact with each other. A 75% increase in group size of grassland groups was recorded in the current study. Group composition changed, with a greater number of animals under three years of age than in previous studies in Northern Ireland. Significant differences were recorded between woodland and grassland groups with regard to body mass and there was a strong seasonal pattern in body mass and body condition in both habitat types. 88% of badgers tested showed no signs of prior exposure to bTB, 7% had been exposed, 5% were excreting and 2% were super excreters. 3 of culture positive badgers were infected with the most common strain found in cattle in the same area. The remaining culture positive badger was infected with a rare strain, confirmed in only six cattle herds and geographically isolated to an area within approximately 10km of the badger sett. Badger faecal cortisol levels were related to body mass and body condition in both males and females and displayed seasonal variation. Faecal cortisol levels were not significantly different between sero-positive and sero-negative \ animals but culture positive animals had elevated faecal cortisol. Badger RMR was 1234kJ/day. Activity is, on average, 30% lower on the first day post-release. Acceleration data offer the meansto calculate a correction factor for doubly lebelled water data. '. 'f,'~'.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID: uk.bl.ethos.557418  DOI: Not available
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