Project properties

Title Internship at the Unie van Waterschappen, the Netherlands:
Estimating Muskrat population size
Group Wildlife Ecology and Conservation group
Project type internship
Credits 24
Supervisor(s) Ignas Heitkonig
Examiner(s) Prof.dr.ir. F. van Langevelde
Contact info Ignas.Heitkonig@wur.nl
Begin date 2016/02/01
End date 2022/12/01
Description The muskrat (Ondatra zibethicus) is an exotic species, known to damage dams, dykes, and other infrastructures created to protect land from inundation. REG students have supported the "Unie van Waterschappen" in the past years to assess population estimates of the muskrat in the Netherlands, based on the analysis of historical and current capture data. Recently, the "Unie van Waterschappen" has embarked on a capture-mark-release-recapture (CMRR) program to assess the population development in selected areas in the country. One of its divisions, the "Waterschap Rivierenland" caught, marked, and released musk rats on the border with Germany. Available data (20 locations, 42 individually musk rats, 73 re-captures of 24 marked individuals, sex) need to be analysed using the MARK software, designed for estimating population sizes based on recaptures. The data analyses is expected to yield results wich help answer the following questions:
1) How does the Dutch/German muskrat population near Nijmegen/Kleve populate the eastern riverine area in the Netherlands?
2) How long are the migration distances in these animals?
3) Are the results comparable to the sub-populations in Lelystad / Oostvaardersplassen, where 2 years worth of data from individually tracked animals are available too?
4) To what extent is the population (increase) countered by the regular Dutch muskrat capture/elimination program?

"Waterschap Rivierenland" considers a re-capture session in March 2016, and those data would be available for analysis too.

[Population dynamics, Resource-consumer interactions]
Used skills Analysis of capture-mark-release-recapture (CMRR) data using the MARK software
Requirements Ecological Methods 1; Animal Ecology (or similar)