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Brushtail possum

Carlos Rouco, Kyle S Richardson, Bryce M Buddle, Nigel P French, Daniel M Tompkins
The main wildlife reservoir of bovine tuberculosis (TB) in New Zealand is the introduced brushtail possum (Trichosurus vulpecula), with spillover of infection from possums to livestock being regarded as the largest barrier to eradicating TB from the country. Past studies have experimentally challenged possums with Mycobacterium bovis (the causative agent of TB) to quantify infection parameters. However, the challenge models used are invariably non-representative of natural infection due to their resulting in much faster rates, and different clinical patterns of disease progression...
August 2016: Research in Veterinary Science
A David M Latham, M Cecilia Latham, Graham Nugent, James Smith, Bruce Warburton
European rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus) pose a major threat to agricultural production and conservation values in several countries. In New Zealand, population control via poisoning is a frontline method for limiting rabbit damage, with large areas commonly treated using the metabolic toxin sodium fluoroacetate ('1080') delivered in bait via aerial dispersal. However, this method is expensive and the high application rates of the active ingredient cause public antipathy towards it. To guide reductions in cost and toxin usage, we evaluated the economics and efficacy of rabbit control using an experimental approach of sowing 1080-bait in strips instead of the commonly-used broadcast sowing method (i...
2016: PloS One
Hannah R Windley, Hannah J Wigley, Wendy A Ruscoe, William J Foley, Karen J Marsh
Polyethylene glycol (PEG) has been used to study the intake and digestion of tannin-rich plants by mammalian herbivores because it preferentially binds to tannins. However, it is not clear whether the responses of herbivores to dietary PEG is due to increased protein availability from the release of tannin-bound protein, amelioration of tannin effects, or whether PEG also may bind to other compounds and change their activity in the gut. We used three native New Zealand tree species to measure the effect of PEG on the amount of foliage eaten by invasive common brushtail possums (Trichosurus vulpecula) and on in vitro digestible nitrogen (available N)...
June 2016: Journal of Chemical Ecology
Hannah R Windley, Mandy C Barron, E Penelope Holland, Danswell Starrs, Wendy A Ruscoe, William J Foley
Introduced herbivores frequently inflict significant, yet patchy damage on native ecosystems through selective browsing. However, there are few instances where the underlying cause of this patchy damage has been revealed. We aimed to determine if the nutritional quality of foliage could predict the browsing preferences of an invasive mammalian herbivore, the common brushtail possum (Trichosurus vulpecula), in a temperate forest in New Zealand. We quantified the spatial and temporal variation in four key aspects of the foliar chemistry (total nitrogen, available nitrogen, in vitro dry matter digestibility and tannin effect) of 275 trees representing five native tree species...
2016: PloS One
Shaun W Molloy, Robert A Davis, Eddie J B van Etten
Species distribution models (SDMs) are an effective way of predicting the potential distribution of species and their response to environmental change. Most SDMs apply presence data to a relatively generic set of predictive variables such as climate. However, this weakens the modelling process by overlooking the responses to more cryptic predictive variables. In this paper we demonstrate a means by which data gathered from an intensive animal trapping study can be used to enhance SDMs by combining field data with bioclimatic modelling techniques to determine the future potential distribution for the koomal (Trichosurus vulpecula hypoleucus)...
2016: PloS One
E Penelope Holland, Andrew M Gormley, Roger P Pech
Invasive herbivores are often managed to limit their negative impact on plant populations, but herbivore density - plant damage relationships are notoriously spatially and temporally variable. Site and species characteristics (both plant and herbivore) must be considered when assessing the potential for herbivore damage, making it difficult to set thresholds for efficient management. Using the invasive brushtail possum Trichosurus vulpecula in New Zealand as a case study, we parameterized a generic model to predict annual probability of browse-induced mortality of five tree species at 12 sites...
April 2016: Ecology and Evolution
Kristie E Cameron, Katrina H Clarke, Lewis A Bizo, Nicola J Starkey
The aim of this study was to compare the demand for food under concurrent progressive- and fixed-ratio schedules. Twelve brushtail possums participated in 16 conditions where schedule, progression and food type were varied. An incrementing schedule increased the fixed-ratio requirement within and across sessions and was arranged as either a geometric sequence (base 2), or an arithmetic sequence (step 5). Two foods were tested: a flaked barley and coco-pop(®) mix versus rolled oats. Overall, performance was similar for most possums in the within- and across-session incrementing schedules...
May 2016: Behavioural Processes
Rebecca J Sargisson, Rachael A Lockhart, James S McEwan, Lewis A Bizo
Many diverse species have demonstrated interval timing, the ability to respond appropriately to time in the range of seconds to minutes, suggesting that an ability to time is adaptive. The peak procedure is a common method of studying interval time perception. In the peak procedure, animals experience a mix of fixed-interval (FI) and extinction (EXT) trials. On EXT trials, responding typically increases to a peak at the time the FI schedule would normally deliver reinforcers before decreasing. Responding on different FI schedules within the peak procedure has been found to conform to Weber's law, whereby response variability is proportional to the length of the fixed interval...
May 2016: Journal of Comparative Psychology
Julia Giles, Matthew Perrott, Wendi Roe, Magdalena Dunowska
The objective of this study was to investigate a role of a recently discovered marsupial nidovirus in the development of a neurological disease, termed wobbly possum disease (WPD), in the Australian brushtail possum (Trichosurus vulpecula). Four possums received 1 mL of a standard inoculum that had been prepared from tissues of WPD-affected possums, 4 possums received 1.8 mL (1 × 10(6) TCID50) of a cell lysate from inoculated cultures, and 4 possums received 1 mL (× 10(7) TCID50) of a purified WPD isolate...
April 2016: Virology
Carlos Rouco, Grant L Norbury, Dean P Anderson
BACKGROUND: Introduced brushtail possums are controlled in New Zealand to mitigate their spread of bovine tuberculosis in livestock. Given the low rainfall and extreme variation in seasonal temperatures in dryland areas of the South Island, the habitats of possums in these areas differ in many respects to those in the rest of New Zealand. We investigated the movements and habitat preferences of at two dryland sites to identify where possums aggregate following population control by using GPS collars and cards chewed by possums...
February 8, 2016: Pest Management Science
Andrew M Gormley, E Penelope Holland, Mandy C Barron, Dean P Anderson, Graham Nugent
Bovine tuberculosis (TB) impacts livestock farming in New Zealand, where the introduced marsupial brushtail possum (Trichosurus vulpecula) is the wildlife maintenance host for Mycobacterium bovis. New Zealand has implemented a campaign to control TB using a co-ordinated programme of livestock diagnostic testing and large-scale culling of possums, with the long-term aim of TB eradication. For management of the disease in wildlife, methods that can optimise the balance between control and surveillance effort will facilitate the objective of eradication on a fixed or limited budget...
March 1, 2016: Preventive Veterinary Medicine
Andrea E Byrom, Dean P Anderson, Morgan Coleman, Caroline Thomson, Martin L Cross, Roger P Pech
In New Zealand, managing the threat of bovine tuberculosis (TB) to livestock includes population reduction of potentially infectious wildlife, primarily the brushtail possum (Trichosurus vulpecula). Population control is often targeted on forested buffer zones adjacent to farmland, in order to limit movements of possums across the buffer and reduce the risk of disease transmission to livestock. To assess the effectiveness of buffers in protecting livestock we analysed GPS telemetry data from possums located in untreated forest adjacent to buffers, and used these data to characterise patterns of movement that could lead to possums reaching farmland during the season when most dispersal occurs...
2015: PloS One
Kentaro Hirayama, Epi Taufik, Megumi Kikuchi, Tadashi Nakamura, Kenji Fukuda, Tadao Saito, Keith Newgrain, Brian Green, Michael Messer, Tadasu Urashima
Previous structural characterizations of marsupial milk oligosaccharides have been performed in the tammar wallaby, red kangaroo, koala, common brushtail possum and the eastern quoll. To clarify the homology and heterogeneity of milk oligosaccharides among marsupial species, which could provide information on their evolution, the oligosaccharides of wombat milk carbohydrate were characterized in this study. Neutral and acidic oligosaccharides were isolated from the carbohydrate fractions of two samples of milk of the common wombat and characterized by (1) H-nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy...
September 2016: Animal Science Journal, Nihon Chikusan Gakkaihō
David Morgan, Bruce Warburton, Graham Nugent
Introduced brushtail possums (Trichosurus vulpecula) and rat species (Rattus spp.) are major vertebrate pests in New Zealand, with impacts on conservation and agriculture being managed largely through poisoning operations. Aerial distribution of baits containing sodium fluoroacetate (1080) has been refined to maximise cost effectiveness and minimise environmental impact, but this method is strongly opposed by some as it is perceived as being indiscriminate. Although ground based control enables precise placement of baits, operations are often more than twice as costly as aerial control, mainly due to the high labour costs...
2015: PloS One
C R Sangster
A single free-ranging common brushtail possum (Trichosurus vulpecula) and 2 captive sibling common ringtail possums (Pseudocheirus peregrinus)from a zoological facility in Sydney, Australia, were diagnosed with multisystemic listeriosis. The brushtail was found dead in an animal enclosure while the ringtails presented with signs of cardiovascular collapse and died shortly thereafter. All 3 animals were culture positive forListeria monocytogenesand demonstrated focal suppurative lesions within the brainstem in addition to fulminant disease in other areas of the thorax and/or abdomen...
May 2016: Veterinary Pathology
Sam C Banks, Thibault Lorin, Robyn E Shaw, Lachlan McBurney, David Blair, Michaela D J Blyton, Annabel L Smith, Jennifer C Pierson, David B Lindenmayer
Ecological disturbance and climate are key drivers of temporal dynamics in the demography and genetic diversity of natural populations. Microscale refuges are known to buffer species' persistence against environmental change, but the effects of such refuges on demographic and genetic patterns in response to short-term environmental variation are poorly understood. We quantified demographic and genetic responses of mountain brushtail possums (Trichosurus cunninghami) to rainfall variability (1992-2013) and to a major wildfire...
August 2015: Molecular Ecology
Tracey Hollings, Hamish McCallum, Kaely Kreger, Nick Mooney, Menna Jones
Apex predators structure ecosystems through lethal and non-lethal interactions with prey, and their global decline is causing loss of ecological function. Behavioural changes of prey are some of the most rapid responses to predator decline and may act as an early indicator of cascading effects. The Tasmanian devil (Sarcophilus harrisii), an apex predator, is undergoing progressive and extensive population decline, of more than 90% in long-diseased areas, caused by a novel disease. Time since local disease outbreak correlates with devil population declines and thus predation risk...
July 7, 2015: Proceedings. Biological Sciences
Tadasu Urashima, Yiliang Sun, Kenji Fukuda, Kentaro Hirayama, Epi Taufik, Tadashi Nakamura, Tadao Saito, Jim Merchant, Brian Green, Michael Messer
Structural characterizations of marsupial milk oligosaccharides have been performed in four species to date: the tammar wallaby (Macropus eugenii), the red kangaroo (Macropus rufus), the koala (Phascolarctos cinereus) and the common brushtail possum (Trichosurus vulpecula). To clarify the homology and heterogeneity of milk oligosaccharides among marsupials, the oligosaccharides in the carbohydrate fraction of eastern quoll milk were characterized in this study. Neutral and acidic oligosaccharides were separated and characterized by (1)H-nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy and matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry...
August 2015: Glycoconjugate Journal
Andrew M Gormley, David M Forsyth, Elaine F Wright, John Lyall, Mike Elliott, Mark Martini, Benno Kappers, Mike Perry, Meredith McKay
There is interest in large-scale and unbiased monitoring of biodiversity status and trend, but there are few published examples of such monitoring being implemented. The New Zealand Department of Conservation is implementing a monitoring program that involves sampling selected biota at the vertices of an 8-km grid superimposed over the 8.6 million hectares of public conservation land that it manages. The introduced brushtail possum (Trichosurus Vulpecula) is a major threat to some biota and is one taxon that they wish to monitor and report on...
2015: PloS One
Julia C Giles, Matthew R Perrott, Magdalena Dunowska
The objective of the study was to establish a system for isolation of a recently described, thus far uncultured, marsupial nidovirus associated with a neurological disease of possums, termed wobbly possum disease (WPD). Primary cultures of possum macrophages were established from livers of adult Australian brushtail possums (Trichosurus vulpecula). High viral copy numbers (up to 6.9×10(8)/mL of cell lysate) were detected in infected cell culture lysates from up to the 5th passage of the virus, indicating that the putative WPD virus (WPDV) was replicating in cultured cells...
September 15, 2015: Journal of Virological Methods
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