Trials on gastrointestinal parasite control treatments and their impact on dung beetles
2010 fieldwork season is now drawing to a close (which means it's as
busy as ever!) I currently have a number of field trials out including:
*Mesocosm trial: the impact of ivermectin on 26 species of British dung beetle: are some species more sensitive than others?
trial: the impact of alternative parasite control therapies (Verm-X,
Diatomaceous Earth and Copper) on dung beetle survival and reproduction
trial: the the impact of alternative parasite control therapies
(Verm-X, Diatomaceous Earth and Copper) on the attractiveness of dung to
early summer dung beetles
*Field / emergence trial: the the impact of alternative parasite control therapies
(Verm-X, Diatomaceous Earth and Copper) on early summer dung beetle survival and
*Field trial: the impact of alternative parasite control therapies (Verm-X, Diatomaceous Earth and Copper) on dung decomposition
*Mesocosm trial: the impact of moxidectin residues on Geotrupes spiniger and the rate of dung decomposition
Field trial: the impact of grazing chicory on attractiveness of dung to dung beetles (IBERS collaboration)
Field / emergence trial: the impact of grazing chicory on dung beetle survival and reproduction (IBERS collaboration)
Field trial: the impact of grazing chicory on dung decomposition (IBERS collaboration)
Trials on dung beetle ecosystem functioning
*Mesocosm trial: the importance of species richness in the ecosystem function of dung decomposition
*Mesocosm trial: the effect on dung decomposition of losing our rare species of dung beetle
I'm finding some really exciting results this year, which I will share when the data is analysed!
L: Cattle eating the Diatomaceous Earth supplement R: Cattle eating a chicory/rye grass mix at IBERS
Trial mesocosms - there are now over 400 out!
Transfer of Status completed
have now completed my transfer of status: the official half-way point
of my DPhil where is was decided that I could continue from PRS to
DPhil status. It was superb to be able to receive feedback from my
transfer panel: Oxford University scientists Dr Mike Bonsall and Dr Becky Morris as well as Ruth Layton (Director of Food Animal Initiative (FAI)).
Filming with the BBC for Countryfile
In September 2010, the Countryfile crew descended on Pembrokeshire and came to
film my research in St Davids. It was a great opportunity to communicate my provisional results to a large audience. Pleas follow this link to the Countryfile website for more information on the programme.
BBC Radio Wales interview with Jamie Owen
was interviewed for the 'Jamie and Louise' BBC Radio Wales breakfast
show, live from the Royal Welsh Show at Builth Wells. It was great to
be able to chat about my work with dung beetles, their importance to
farmers and my general fascination with everything with six legs!
DPhil 2010 Fieldwork Season progressing well
of the 2010 Dung Beetle Trials looking at how different species are
affected by chemical cattle wormers: does this account for their
National distribution and rarity? Is this what is causing extinctions
at a global scale? We'll have to see!
2010 fieldwork season Kicked off to a hectic start in April and I
haven't really caught my breath since! I now have a number of fieldwork
trials running looking at the impact of cattle wormers and alternative
products marketed for parasite control on dung invertebrates and dung
Other trials look at how important it is to
maintain species diversity of dung beetles in order to ensure maximum
dung decomposition. If some of our dung beetle species became extinct
(many are well on their way), would we see mounds of un-decomposed
dung, or would other more common species componsate? Please follow this
link for more information on my doctoral research.
Poster presentation at the University of Oxford Department of Zoology
Field trip with the Pembrokeshire Organic Group and FWAG
Luckily the sun was shining for the first field trip to see my trials in action. About thirty people from FWAG and POG came to St Davids to have the grand tour. It started with a trip to the trial site to see the experiments and a talk to explain the importance of keeping a healthy dung invertebrate community. Atendees were shown trials looking at the impact of worming products and feed supplements on dung invertebrates and rates of dung breakdown. It was clear that dung treated with ivermectin appeared to be breaking down more slowly than all other dung. They were also shown covered buckets containing individual species of dung inveretbrates together with a dung pat placed on soil, and were able to observe how the invertebrates go about breaking down the dung.
It was then off to the barn at Emlych Farm where the emergence traps are stored. Everyone saw the dung invertebrates that had emerged from the dung.
Finally, we all headed back to the lab to see the products that were being trialled. The FECPAK faecal egg counting system was also on display and I demonstrated the procedure to interested farmers.
Platform presentation at the Royal Entomological Society Postgraduate Forum
Talk to the Pembrokeshire Agricultural Society
The University of Oxford have awarded me the Professor Sir Richard Southwood Scholarship in Insect Ecology, starting October 2008 to study the impact of anthelmintic treatments on Dung Beetles.
I am currently planning my project, and liaising with farmers who have kindly offered to trial the different anthelmintic products on their cattle. I plan to carry out a series of preliminary experiments during the summer of 2008 in order to test my methods and generate a data set before the project begins in earnest.
I also have a large stack of papers on the subject, which I am slowly working my way through. When I go to Oxford in October, I hope to have read everything that has been published on the topic so I can begin a comprehensive literature review during the winter of 2008 before the next fieldwork season.
As well as designing my project to the best of my ability, I am
putting together a comprehensive literature review on the topic. At the
moment, I am considering what to include and what not to include in the
review, as the topic of the impact of anthelmintics on dung insects is
vast to say the least! I hope to collaborate with other experts in the
field on this in order to create a document of high quality to be
published in a renowned journal.
In November, I will be
returning to Pembrokeshire in order to individually meet all the
farmers that have provisionally agreed to take part in trials to
finalise details. I then hope to arrange a group meeting for all
interested parties in Pembrokeshire during December and present my
ideas as well as discuss any issues that individuals may have.