Christina D. Buesching

Christina D. Buesching
University of Oxford | OX · Department of Zoology

DPhil, MSc

About

207
Publications
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2,777
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Publications

Publications (207)
Article
Full-text available
Maternal immune and/or metabolic conditions relating to stress or nutritional status can affect in utero development among offspring with subsequent implications for later-life responses to infections. We used free-ranging European badgers as a host-pathogen model to investigate how prenatal weather conditions affect later-life herpesvirus genital...
Article
Quantifying abundance is often key to understanding ecological and evolutionary processes in wild populations. Despite shortcomings in producing accurate abundance estimates, minimum number alive (MNA) remains a widely used tool, due to its intuitive computation, reliable performance as an abundance indicator, and linkage to individual life-histori...
Article
Full-text available
Clostridium perfringens is an important food-borne zoonotic pathogen and a member of the commensal gut microbiome of many mammals. Predisposing factors such as coinfection with other pathogens or diet change can, however, cause overgrowth and subsequent disease development. Here we investigated the occurrence of C. perfringens in a free-ranging bad...
Article
In a precautionary response to the current coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, China’s Ministries permanently banned eating and trading in terrestrial wild (non-livestock) animals on 24 February 2020, and extensively updated the list of Fauna under Special State Protection (LFSSP) in 2020 and 2021, in which pangolins (Manidae spp.) were upgraded to th...
Preprint
Allogrooming can relate to social status in mammalian societies, and thus, be used to infer social structure. This relationship has previously been investigated by examining an individual’s dominance rank and their total amount of allogrooming. This, however, does not account for the identity of allogrooming partners. We applied a novel approach, c...
Article
Environmental change often causes decreased food availability and/or increased foraging costs, putting wild animals at risk of starvation. Body-fat reserves can enable individuals to resist (buffer) periods of weather-driven food scarcity, improving their chances of survival and subsequent reproductive success. This capacity, however, is constraine...
Article
The dispersal-syndrome hypothesis posits that fruit traits are a product of selection by frugivores. Although criticized as adaptationist, recent studies have suggested that traits such as fruit or seed size, colour and odour exhibit signatures that imply selection by animal mutualists. These traits imply nutritional rewards (e.g. lipid, carbohydra...
Article
Full-text available
Early-life environmental conditions can provide a source of individual variation in life-history strategies and senescence patterns. Conditions experienced in early life can be quantified by measuring telomere length, which can act as a biomarker of survival probability in some species. Here, we investigate whether seasonal changes, weather conditi...
Article
Full-text available
Here we document 47,381 individuals from 38 species, including 31 protected species sold between May 2017 and November 2019 in Wuhan’s markets. We note that no pangolins (or bats) were traded, supporting reformed opinion that pangolins were not likely the spillover host at the source of the current coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. While we caution...
Article
Full-text available
Gammaherpesvirus reactivation can promote diseases or impair reproduction. Understanding reactivation patterns and associated risks of different stressors is therefore important. Nevertheless, outside the laboratory or captive environment, studies on the effects of stress on gammaherpesvirus reactivation in wild mammals are lacking. Here we used Mu...
Article
Selection-pressures differ with population density, but few studies investigate how this can affect reproductive physiology. European badger (Meles meles) density varies from solitary to group-living across their range, with reported mating periods throughout the entire year to specific seasonal periods. Badger reproduction is evolutionarily distin...
Article
Understanding individual variation in fitness‐related traits requires separating the environmental and genetic determinants. Telomeres are protective caps at the ends of chromosomes that are thought to be a biomarker of senescence as their length predicts mortality risk and reflect the physiological consequences of environmental conditions. The rel...
Article
Full-text available
Wildlife crime presents a growing threat to the integrity of ecological communities. While campaigns have raised consumer awareness, little is known about the socio-demographic profile of wildlife offenders, or how to intervene. Using data from China Judgements Online (2014–2018), we documented 4,735 cases, involving 7,244 offenders who smuggled, h...
Preprint
Full-text available
Herpesvirus infections are common and mostly asymptomatic in vertebrates, but can result in impaired reproduction. It is therefore important to understand infection patterns and associated risk factors, particularly the effects of different stressors. Here we use Mustelid gammaherpesvirus 1 (MusGHV-1) infection in European badgers ( Meles meles ) a...
Article
Due to their unique reproductive physiology and behaviour, European badgers (Meles meles) are often used as a model to study mammalian reproduction. For reproductive endocrinology, circulating hormone levels are conventionally measured directly from blood samples. However, routine blood sampling is often not practical for wild animals and may induc...
Preprint
Early-life environmental conditions can provide a source of individual variation in life-history strategies and senescence patterns. Conditions experienced in early life can be quantified by measuring telomere length, which can act as a biomarker of survival probability. Here, we investigate whether seasonal changes, weather conditions, and group s...
Article
Animals living at high population densities commonly experience greater exposure to disease, leading to increased parasite burdens. However, social animals can benefit immunologically and hygienically from cooperation, and individuals may alter their socio-spatial behaviour in response to infection, both of which could counteract density-related in...
Article
Animals living at high population densities commonly experience greater exposure to disease, leading to increased parasite burdens. However, social animals can benefit immunologically and hygienically from cooperation, and individuals may alter their socio-spatial behaviour in response to infection , both of which could counteract density-related i...
Article
Full-text available
Reactivation of latent Gammaherpesvirus in the genital tract can lead to reproductive failure in domestic animals. Nevertheless, this pathophysiology has not received formal study in wild mammals. High prevalence of Mustelid gammaherpesvirus 1 (MusGHV-1) DNA detected in the genital tracts of European badgers (Meles meles) implies that this common p...
Article
Full-text available
Evidence for age-related changes in innate and adaptive immune responses is increasing in wild populations. Such changes have been linked to fitness, and knowledge of the factors driving immune response variation is important for understanding the evolution of immunity. Age-related changes in immune profiles may be owing to factors such as immune s...
Preprint
Full-text available
Animals living at high population densities are expected to experience greater exposure to disease, leading to greater parasite burdens. However, social animals can accrue immunological and hygienic benefits from group living, and individuals can often minimise exposure using avoidance behaviours, so the costs and benefits of sociality for disease...
Article
Determining the contexts of emission and information content of vocal signals can yield insights into the function of different call types, and remains an important step towards understanding the diversification of mammalian vocal repertoires. In this study, we used infra-red video cameras and remote audio recorders to document seasonal and context...
Article
The top trophic level in many terrestrial food webs is typically occupied by mammalian carnivores (Order Carnivora) that broadly affect and shape ecosystems through trophic cascades. Their inter-specific interactions can further complicate effects on community dynamics as a consequence of intra-guild competition. The capacity for competitive mammal...
Article
Among the Carnivora, there is sparse evidence for any substantive fitness benefits of post reproductive lifespan (PRLS, survival after reproductive cessation, RC). Using the European badger (Meles meles) as a model species, we analyzed sex-specific cross-sectional endocrinological and morphological data to investigate: 1) age-dependent reproductive...
Article
Life‐history and pace‐of‐life syndrome (POLS) theory predict that populations are comprised of individuals exhibiting different reproductive schedules and associated behavioural and physiological traits, optimised to prevailing social and environmental factors. Changing weather and social conditions provide in situ cues altering this life‐history o...
Article
Full-text available
The colonization of Ireland by mammals has been the subject of extensive study using genetic methods and forms a central problem in understanding the phylogeography of European mammals after the Last Glacial Maximum. Ireland exhibits a depauperate mammal fauna relative to Great Britain and continental Europe, and a range of natural and anthropogeni...
Article
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The wildlife trade threatens global biodiversity and animal welfare, where parrots are among the taxa most frequently traded, supplying exotic pets and captive breeders worldwide. Using phylogenetic path analysis, we examine how biological factors interact with price to influence online protected parrot trade volumes in China, using transactions re...
Article
Full-text available
Malayan tapirs are listed as endangered and are bred in captivity under governmental management. The success of captive breeding programs varies and the underlying causes are unclear. Here, we investigate how tapir reproduction is affected by previous breeding experience, enclosure type/size and visitor numbers so that appropriate steps can be take...
Article
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The sale of wild animals, including protected species, may relate to regional differences in socio‐politics, culture, and economic development. A better understanding of how these factors affect the illegal wildlife trade is therefore necessary to optimize the deployment of conservation resources and policing. To evaluate these factors in relation...
Preprint
Understanding individual variation in fitness-related traits requires separating the environmental and genetic determinants. Telomeres are protective caps at the ends of chromosomes that are thought to be a biomarker of senescence as their length predicts mortality risk and reflect the physiological consequences of environmental conditions. The rel...
Article
Phenotypic plasticity is crucial for how organisms respond to variation in their environment, affecting their diversity and distribution, especially in the light of rapid environmental change. Ecogeographical rules predict an association between specific adaptive morphological and physiological traits with cooler conditions due to higher latitude,...
Article
Full-text available
Freshwater habitats in China are potentially suitable for invasive alien turtle species and, consequently, raising turtles in aquaculture facilities and the trade in turtles this supplies pose risks to habitats and native wetland communities when exotic turtles escape or are released deliberately. Online trade (e-commerce) is making an increasing c...
Preprint
Evidence for age-related changes in innate and adaptive immune responses is increasing in wild populations. Such changes have been linked to fitness, and understanding the factors driving variation in immune responses is important for the evolution of immunity and senescence. Age-related changes in immune profiles may be due to sex-specific behavio...
Article
Full-text available
European badgers, Meles meles, are group-living in the UK, and demarcate their ranges with shared latrines. As carnivores, badgers possess paired anal glands, but olfactory information on the content of badger anal gland secretion (AGS) is largely uninvestigated. Here, we examined the volatile organic compounds (VOCs) of AGS samples from 57 free-li...
Article
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Background We present a cellular phone-enhanced GPS tracking system (GPS mobile with CTG-001G receiver triangulation) suitable for urban carnivores, in tandem with appropriate home range analysis, as an additional tracking technology option in metropolitan settings. We conduct this proof-of-concept study working with the management of introduced in...
Article
Individual variation in survival probability due to differential responses to early‐life environmental conditions is important in the evolution of life‐histories and senescence. A biomarker allowing quantification of such individual variation, and which links early‐life environmental conditions with survival by providing a measure of conditions exp...
Preprint
Mating systems largely affect individual reproductive strategies which further drives evolution. Monogamy, where males and females form exclusive pairs for more than one breeding season, is particularly intriguing in this context, as there are real and potential costs of genetic monogamy to both sexes. However, molecular studies in a variety of spe...
Preprint
Full-text available
Mating systems largely affect individual reproductive strategies which further drives evolution. Monogamy, where males and females form exclusive pairs for more than one breeding season, is particularly intriguing in this context, as there are real and potential costs of genetic monogamy to both sexes. However, molecular studies in a variety of spe...
Article
Full-text available
Malayan tapirs are highly endangered and wild populations are fast declining. Thus, captive breeding programs in zoos and governmental breeding centers are the most promising conservation strategy for this species. Despite being common, lip licking, a type of oral behavior, has received little attention in the past, and impacts on the welfare of ca...
Article
Sexual size dimorphism (SSD) is common among mammals, with males typically being larger than females, as a product of sex-specificdifferences in growth rate and growth duration. The Musteloidea, however, exhibit a hypo-allometric reduction in SSD with increasing body size (contrary to Rensch’s rule). A variety of extrinsic factors can affect juvenile...
Article
Full-text available
Puberty is a key stage in mammalian ontogeny, involving endocrinological, physiological and behavioural changes, moderated by intrinsic and extrinsic factors. Thus, not all individuals within one population achieve sexual maturity simultaneously. Here, using the European badger (Meles meles) as a model, we describe male testosterone and female oest...
Data
Testosterone and oestrone levels, subcaudal gland secretion volume, morphological measures, hormone-based groups, EGM-based groups, adult-cub size difference, and cub growth curves. (XLSX)
Book
In August 2017, the Chemical Signals in Vertebrates (CSiV) group held its 14th triennial meeting. This well established international conference brings together leaders and students in the field of olfactory communication and chemical signaling of vertebrates to present new advances in their research as well as synopses of disparate areas under new...
Article
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Safe and effective anesthesia is vital to the welfare of animals used in laboratory and field research, yet very young and very old animals may benefit from refinements to standard protocols and the therapeutic mitigation of adverse effects. Here we report rare but important instances of adverse effects across a sample of 11,645 anesthesia procedur...
Article
Although urbanization is a leading threat to wildlife conservation, some species have adapted to a synanthropic lifestyle. We used a population of raccoon dogs (Nyctereutes procyonoides) in the Akasaka Imperial Grounds in central Tokyo, Japan to investigate how latrine‐using carnivores can maintain their socio‐spatial organization with human distur...
Article
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Understanding how key parameters (e.g., density, range-size, and configuration) can affect animal movement remains a major goal of population ecology. This is particularly important for wildlife disease hosts, such as the European badger Meles meles, a reservoir of Mycobacterium bovis. Here we show how movements of 463 individuals among 223 inferre...
Preprint
Telomeres, protective caps at the end of chromosomes, maintain genomic stability and function as a biomarker of senescence in many vertebrate species. Telomere length at different ages has been related to (subsequent) lifespan, but to date only one laboratory-based study has shown a direct link between early-life telomere length and lifespan. Wheth...
Article
Field biologists often rely on examination of external genitalia as a proxy for mammalian reproductive condition. In seasonally breeding European badgers, scrotal testes are used as an indicator of spermatogenesis, while a pink and swollen vulva with mucosal secretion is assumed to indicate oestrus. Systematic validation of these assumptions is lac...
Preprint
Full-text available
Puberty is a key stage in mammalian ontogeny, involving endocrinological, physiological and behavioural changes, moderated by intrinsic and extrinsic factors. Thus, not all individuals within one population achieve sexual maturity simultaneously. Here, using the European badger (Meles meles) as a model, we describe male testosterone and female oest...
Article
Full-text available
While climatic effects on species biogeographic distributions are well documented, less mobile species must compensate for climate change in situ via behavioral plasticity. Despite this being a critical mechanism, behavioral plasticity is rarely modeled explicitly. Here, we use novel accelerometer and active-RFID transponder technology to quantify...
Article
Currently, 43% of the world's terrestrial surface is within five kilometres of a road, and therefore understanding how road networks impact species and ecosystem processes is highly relevant to applied conservation ecology. Among various effects on wildlife, roads can disrupt the interaction between plants and their animal-mediated seed dispersers,...
Article
Wild-living animals are subject to weather variability that may cause the generation of reactive oxygen species, resulting in oxidative stress and tissue damage, potentially driving demographic responses. Our 3-yr field study investigated the effects of seasonal weather conditions on biomarkers for oxidative stress, oxidative damage, and antioxidan...
Article
We demonstrate how different normalization techniques in GC‐MS analysis impart unique properties to the data, influencing any biological inference. Using simulations, and empirical data, we compare the most commonly used techniques (Total Sum Normalization ‘TSN’; Median Normalization ‘MN’; Probabilistic Quotient Normalization ‘PQN’; Internal Standa...
Article
Den use can be crucial in buffering environmental conditions and especially to provide an insulated environment for raising altricial young. Through Sept-Dec 2016 we monitored temperature and humidity at 11 badger setts (burrow systems), using thermal probes inserted over 4–13 sett entrances to a depth of ca. 2 m, supplemented by continuous daily l...
Chapter
Most intentional communication is intra-specific and benefits both sender and receiver. Typically, the more complex a species’ social system, the more complex is its communication. Because only ca. 10% of musteloid species are truly social, their communication is generally quite basic, while their solitary, nocturnal lifestyle is reflected in a pre...
Chapter
Adaptation to climatic conditions is a major ecological and evolutionary driver. Long-term study of European badger population dynamics in Oxfordshire reveals that rainfall and temperature patterns affect food (principally earthworm) availability, energy expended in thermoregulation, and activity patterns, with badgers able to seek refuge in their...
Chapter
Of thirteen extant species of true badger, eleven have a distribution in Asia, as do the more loosely affiliated stink- and honey-badgers. Even though these badgers show superficial similarities, they exhibit very different societies, even within same species under different circumstances, and provide an informative model to advance understanding o...
Article
Full-text available
Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) can be important drivers of population dynamics because of their negative effects on reproduction. However, screening for STDs, especially in wildlife populations, is widely neglected. Using the promiscuous, polygynandrous European badger (Meles meles) as a model, we investigated the presence and prevalence of h...
Article
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Behavioural events that are important for understanding sociobiology and movement ecology are often rare, transient and localised, but can occur at spatially distant sites e.g. territorial incursions and co-locating individuals. Existing animal tracking technologies, capable of detecting such events, are limited by one or more of: battery life; dat...
Article
Discrimination, the ability to distinguish sensory stimuli and respond accordingly, is a critical factor underscoring optimal foraging decisions. Nevertheless, little is known about how mammals discriminate between apparently similar foods of different quality. Here, we compared the foraging behavior of Chinese white-bellied rats, Niviventer confuc...
Article
Full-text available
The European badger is recognised as a wildlife reservoir for bovine tuberculosis (bTB); the control of which is complex, costly and controversial. Despite the importance of badgers in bTB and the well-documented role for macrophages as anti-mycobacterial effector cells, badger macrophage (bdMφ) responses remain uncharacterised. Here, we demonstrat...
Chapter
The involvement of non-professionals in scientific research and environmental monitoring, termed Citizen Science (CS), has now become a mainstream approach for collecting data on earth processes, ecosystems and biodiversity. This chapter examines how CS might contribute to ongoing efforts in biodiversity monitoring, enhancing observation and record...