Large-scale questions in the study of mammalian biology: limitations and opportunities

polar bear

An interesting talk from Dr Phil Stephens of the University of Durham. http://www.dur.ac.uk/philip.stephens/welcome.htm link to the university of Durham home page.

Dr Phil Stephens of the University of Durham

This afternoons talk gave an incite into mammalian population dynamics and the studies that go with them,  The question of whether decline in prey plays a bigger role in carnivore abundance and declines.

Little is known about mammalian biology, compared to other animals (birds and butterflies) (Stephens, 2013).  Improving the information on mammal species would provide important insights into their biology and physiology for conservation and management purposes.

Data collecting 

mammal data comes from short scientific studies (less than 5 years) Also from long term studies. This bit of data sets comes from hunter.   would there be a better way of collecting data rather than using data from hunters?

Long term data collecting can be expensive. Old data sets are often used, Could this lead to misleading information? Are  the data sets correct?

To quote King (1997) “Data from old. possibly unreliable studies often results in the development of inaccurate conclusions regarding the empirical world”.

To gain an increased Knowledge of mammal populations perhaps  previous studies should be carried out again, With the use of more up to date techniques?

I recently read an article addressing the impact on endangered species because of the increase in human populations

http://www.natureworldnews.com/articles/2545/20130619/birds-mammals-face-new-threats-global-population-growth.htm

Researchers determined that by the end of the next decade the average growing nation should expect 3.3 percent more threatened species, a figure that will jump to 10.8 percent by 2050.

With this information, it then opens the question of Is the rise in human populations a major impact on mammalian populations?

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5 Responses to Large-scale questions in the study of mammalian biology: limitations and opportunities

  1. jameshaden says:

    It’s great to see that this is obviously a subject area that interests you and there is outside reading around the subject!

    There is lots of information from the seminar and what data collection is currently used. t would have been nice to see what you took from the seminar. Instead of using lots of rhetorical questions I would really like to know what you think about each point Phil raised. Did you feel secure about the future for mammalian biology?

    Do you think we can rely on these data collection methods, or do things need to change for a more modern approach to secure the conservation of these animals?

    Great video to end it all with, layout and nice pictures!

    • Hi thank you for your comment 🙂
      If I’m honest, yes this subject does definitely interests me but I have a long way to go to completely understand the area. I would very much like to Pick Phil’s brain!

      I personally don’t think that we can rely on these data collecting methods, simply because they are out data and much of the data that is used is from old collections. I think that it’s possible that these data samples are or could be either incomplete, or there may be possible human area recording the dater. So I think it would be beneficial to redo studies by tagging (radio tagging) populations and where possible recording their movement. I think there needs to be more money, where possible put into mammalian population biology. So we can get a better understanding of population dynamics and then be able to raise awareness with the general population, to continue to give large mammals a better chance at survival.

      • Hi thank you for your comment 🙂
        If I’m honest, yes this subject does definitely interests me but I have a long way to go to completely understand the area. I would very much like to Pick Phil’s brain!

        I personally don’t think that we can rely on these data collecting methods, simply because they are out data and much of the data that is used is from old collections. I think that it’s possible that these data samples are or could be either incomplete, or there may be possible human error in recording the dater. So I think it would be beneficial to redo studies by tagging (radio tagging) populations and where possible recording their movement. I think there needs to be more money, where possible put into mammalian population biology. So we can get a better understanding of population dynamics and then be able to raise awareness with the general population, to continue to give large mammals a better chance at survival.

  2. Pingback: Large mammal seeks large problem: Large scale questions in the study of mammalian biology, limitations & opportunities | Bioscience in Bangor

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