Severn Rivers Trust – Changing diet and feeding habits of Otters Lutra lutra in the River Severn

Name: Severn rivers Trust
Category: Any
Location: Martley, Worcestershire, WR6 6QF
Project summary: We’re looking for a student to carry out research into changing diet and feeding habits of Otters Lutra lutra in the River Severn in response to increasing availability of marine prey species.
Detailed summary: We’re looking for a student to study the feeding habits and diet of Otters Lutra lutra in the River Severn in response to changes in prey species composition. Specifically, in response to the removal of barriers to migrating fish species which are entering the river from the marine environment. Unlocking the Severn is a major river restoration and heritage project which will carry out engineering works on 6 major barriers to fish migration in the River Severn enabling populations of migratory herring Alosa fallax and Alosa alosa, to return in significant numbers to the upper reaches of the rivers Severn and Teme. This research project will contribute to other work looking at the ecosystem effects of returning shad populations. A number of methods might be applied to help answer this question. One suggested method is to collect samples of otter spraint from a number of locations along the River Severn, nutrient analysis can be carried out to assess the prevalence of marine nutrients. With support from staff and volunteers, spraints from a large geographical location and over a long period of time can be analysed to draw conclusions about any changes in the predation strategy of otters in response.
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