Directed by Prof. David Macdonald, the WildCRU’s Badger Project began in 1987, initially to investigate the sociology of the species. With over 100 publications, our themes have expanded to embrace all aspects of ecology and ethology, often using the badger as a model with which to explore broader paradigm. We also collaborate extensively with groups researching badgers (and other mustelids) around the world.

Current Research

The Project is co-managed by Dr. Chris Newman & Dr. Christina Buesching, leading research into a range of portfolios:

Population dynamics and Climate Change

Territoriality, Movement patterns and Subterranean activity (led by current graduate student Mr. Mike Noonan).

Olfactory Communication

Foraging patterns and Energetic trade offs

Mating systems and Genetics

Immunology and Antioxidant ecology (Led by graduate student Miss. Kirstin Bilham)

Current Papers

Nouvellet, P., Newman, C., Buesching, C. D., & Macdonald, D. W. (2013). A Multi-Metric Approach to Investigate the Effects of Weather Conditions on the Demographic of a Terrestrial Mammal, the European Badger (Meles meles). PloS one, 8(7), e68116. 

Newman, C. & Macdonald, D.W. (2013). The Implications of climate change for terrestrial UK Mammals. Terrestrial biodiversity Climate change impacts report card Technical paper. Living with environmental change partnership. 

Bilham, K., Sin, Y. W., Newman, C., Buesching, C. D., & Macdonald, D. W. (2013). An example of life history antecedence in the European badger (Meles meles): rapid development of juvenile antioxidant capacity, from plasma vitamin E analogue. Ethology Ecology & Evolution, 25: 330-350

Noonan M.J., Markham, A., Newman, C. Buesching, C.D., Ellwood, S.A. & Macdonald, D.W. (2014) Climate and the Individual: Inter-Annual Variation in the Autumnal Activity of the European Badger (Meles meles). PloS one, 9(1), e83156.

Annavi, G., Newman, C., Buesching, C.D., Burke, T.,  Macdonald, D.W. & Dugdale, H.L. D.W (in press) Heterozygosity–fitness correlations in a wild mammal population: single locus, paternal and environmental effects. Ecology and Evolution.

Annavi, G., Newman, C., Dugdale, H.L. Buesching, C.D., Sin, Y.W. Burke, T &  Macdonald, D.W (in press) Neighbouring-group composition and relatedness drive extra-group paternity rate in the European badger (Meles meles). Journal of Evolutionary Biology.

Macdonald, D.W., Newman, C. & Buesching, C.D. (in press) Badgers in the rural landscape – Conservation paragon or farming pariah: Lessons from the Wytham Badger Project. Book Chapter: In: Farming and Wildlife: Conflict in the Countryside (Vol 2) OUP.

Noonan M.J., Markham, A., Newman, C. Trigoni, N., Buesching, C.D., Ellwood, S.A. & Macdonald, D.W. (Subm) Den use by a fossorial carnivore: uncovering European badger subterranean activity patterns Methods in Ecology and Evolution.

 Tinnesand, H.V., Buesching, C.D., Zedrosser, A., Rosell, F. & Macdonald, D.W. (subm). The role of anal gland secretion in mediating socio-spatial contact networks in European badgers (Meles meles): behavioural consequences of perturbation. Ecology.

For those interested in Wytham’s wildlife more broadly, also see:

Buesching, C. D., Newman, C., & Macdonald, D. W. (2014). How dear are deer volunteers: the efficiency of monitoring deer using teams of volunteers to conduct pellet group counts. Oryx, 1-9.


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