ARU to lead study into beavers’ northward march to Arctic
Anglia Ruskin University (ARU) has received funding of more than half a million pounds to lead a major new study to investigate the impact of beavers as they spread northwards into the Arctic.
The North American beaver (Castor canadensis) has been expanding its range in recent decades and this research aims to understand the effects that beavers are having on the Arctic landscape, on other animals, and on indigenous communities.
The UK part of the three-year project is being led by principal investigator Dr Helen Wheeler and will build on research being carried out by ARU in the Gwich’in settlement region in Canada’s Northwest Territories, examining how beavers are changing local ecosystems.
In collaboration with the Inuvialuit Fisheries Joint Management Committee, this new project will examine precisely how the presence of beavers affects stream and lake characteristics, fish populations, and local communities.
Dr Helen Wheeler, senior lecturer in zoology at ARU, said: “We are delighted to receive this funding from UK Research and Innovation as this project will allow us to work closely with the Inuvialuit Fisheries Joint Management Committee and members of the Inuvialuit community to address an important environmental change that is causing a great deal of concern in the area.
“Thanks to the scale of the project and the funding we have received, we will be able to investigate the complex effects of rapid environmental change in a truly interdisciplinary way, bringing together experts in wildlife change, hydrology, biogeochemistry, ecosystem and fish ecology, and human wellbeing, and I’m really looking forward to carrying out fieldwork in the region this summer.”
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