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Bedson, CPE, Wheeler, P.M., Reid, N., Harris, W.E., Mallon, D, Caporn, S. & Preziosi R. (2022). Highest densities of mountain hares (Lepus timidus) associated with ecologically restored bog but not grouse moorland management. Ecology and Evolution. https://doi.org/10.1002/ece3.8744
The world’s first report of statistically significant differences of mountain hare densities, as affected by habitat and land use over time. Field data based on 830 km of distance sampling surveys on 252 km2 remote uplands, recording 2,253 observations over 5 years. Habitat data from UK Landcover Map (UK Centre for Ecology and Hydrology) were combined with classified aerial photographs (Ordnance Survey). Stratified analysis showed highest densities of hares on restored blanket bog consisting of Eriophorum, Calluna and Sphagnum spp., suggesting the EU funded € (euros) 35m program of vegetation restoration was conducive to wildlife recovery. Hare density was much lower on grouse estates which manage pure Calluna heath landscapes (£32m industry), stimulating debate regarding those environmental practices.
Bedson, CPE, Metcalf, O., Symeonakis, E, Mallon, D. & Reid, N. (2022). A response to Hesford & MacLeod (2022): rejection of a model estimating high densities of mountain hares in the Peak District, England. Mammal Communications Volume 8 ISSN 2056-872X (online) https://www.mammal.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2022/04/MC2203_Response_To_Hesford_And_MacLeod.pdf
Review of statistical method for estimating abundance. Statistical analysis of linear regression model and outliers showed the method published by GWCT was entirely biased and had no predictive capability.
Bedson, CPE, Devenish, C., Symeonakis, E., Mallon, D., Reid, N., Harris, W.E. & Preziosi, R. (2021). Splitting hares: Current and future ecological niches predicted as distinctly different for two congeneric lagomorphs. Acta Oecologica. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.actao.2021.103742
Describing the exceptional situation in the English uplands, where the mountain hare successfully defends its ecological niche from competition, hybridisation and replacement by the European brown hare (L. europaeus). However climate warming scenarios predict substantial range reductions for mountain hare. Data sources: 16,000 species records from local and national biological record centres; remote sensed data: WorldClim, LandSat, Ordnance Survey topography and hydrology, supervised classification of aerial images. Modelling with biomod2 following methods of Guisan et al. 2017.
Bedson, CPE, Thomas, L., Wheeler, P., Reid, N., Harris, W.E., Lloyd, H., Mallon, D. & Preziosi, R. (2021). Estimating density of mountain hares using distance sampling: a comparison of daylight visual surveys, night-time thermal imaging and camera traps. Wildlife Biology (Oikos). https://doi.org/10.2981/wlb.00802
The world’s first survey of mountain hares using three observation methods deployed simultaneously. Analysis with distance sampling and kernel density methods in ArcGIS and R. The findings considered density estimates and variation (cv), and compared these with survey effort to determine ideal survey requirements for reliable monitoring of cryptic or nocturnal animals. Camera trap analysis exposed five analytical assumptions as being subjectively determined in other studies.