Video of the Life MICA project

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DNA Mapping: collecting muskrat samples in research areas

One of the components of the Life MICA program is DNA mapping. The aim is to visualize the migration routes of muskrats. The presence of muskrats has been mapped from Febryary 2020 – January 2021.

The current populations of Friesland and an area of 20 km around Friesland including Noord-Holland Noord are analyzed. For this purpose, in each atlas block (5 by 5 km) an attempt was made to catch 3 muskrats: a male, a female and a juvenile. A genetic profile is made of all these muskrats. These genetic profiles are with each other. The aim is to establish the family relationships of the captured animals from which migration routes can then be distilled.

The results are expected in the last quarter of 2021. Immediately afterwards, smart camara traps are placed along the migration routes to detect migrating muskrats.

Samples will be collected again in Friesland in 2022.

Download Protocol DNA sampling muskrat tail

Field protocol camera traps

The field protocol has been drawn up for the correct set up of the wildlife cameras. The field protocol states, among other things, the settings of the camera and how to upload the photos using Agouti.

Download Protocol camera traps

Field protocol eDNA

The field protocol consists of five steps, beginning with yearly monitoring of all waterways, which are divided in 5 km routes (Step 1). In the event that a route tests positive for muskrat eDNA, more accurate localisation is performed by sampling every 1 km and every 100 m (Step 2). The eDNA results of Step 2 enable more accurate placement of the traps (Step 3). After a (successful) catching period, sequential check-ups are performed surrounding each catch/eDNA location, in order to confirm muskrats are no longer present at the catch location and no expulsion took place (Step 4 and 5).

Should a sample still test positive, Steps 3-5 are repeated until muskrat eDNA is no longer detected. The area under investigation is then declared free of muskrats, and will be tested again during regular monitoring.

Alternative starting point: In the event of civilian notification, the exterminator will investigate the location for the presence of muskrats. If traces are found, the field protocol is started at Step 2.

Download Field protocol eDNA