Holarctic Marmots as a factor of Biodiversity.
Rumiantsev V.Yu;, Nikol'skii A.A. & Brandler O.V. eds.,
Abstracts, 3d Conference on Marmots (Cheboksary, Russia, 25-30 August 1997),
Moscow ABF 1997, 216p., 58 (Russian), 162-163 (English).


M. Le Berre, R. Ramousse

Laboratoire de Socioécologie et Conservation Bâtiment 403, UCBL1, Villeurbanne Cedex, France

From 1994 to 1996, a program on conservation of biodiversity in eurasiatic marmots has been supported by the European Union (INTAS program). Six research teams had joined together to work on that project (French: 15, Spanish: 8, Italian: 3, Russian: 39, Kazakh: 11, Ukraine: 5, that is to say, 83 persons).

The main objectives were: 1- the drawing up of the inventory of marmots in the different countries. 2- analyzing the dynamics of the resource from field stations. 3- preserving the genetic diversity of Eurasian marmots in situ and ex situ.
Six species of marmots were studied (Marmota bobac, M. baibacina, M. camtschatica, M. caudata, M. marmota and M. menzbieri). Two of them are considered as locally endangered in areas having harsh conditions (tundra and mountains of Yakutie; M. camtschatica, Red Book of Yakutia) and in areas where low number of marmots are found (M. menzbieri, Red Book of Kazakhstan).

To set long-term monitoring, 11 field stations were created: two in forest-meadow-steppe zone (M. baibacina); five in steppe zone (M. bobac); one in tundra (M. camtschatica) and three in the Alps (M. marmota). Capture-Marking-Recapture programmes were initiated and in progress.

Six expeditions were carried out for collecting marmot tissue and ecological, behavioural and abundance data: three in bobac range (Orenburg region and Bakortostan Republic), one in Kazahstan (M. baibacina), and one in Yakutia (Ust-lenky reserve). Distribution maps were actualized in Kazakhstan and in Russia. M. bobac population increased when M. camtschatica and M. menzbieri decreased steeply. M. caudata needed protection. Data bases were developed.

The results obtained in two industrial husbandry (Moscow and Leningrad regions) were analyzed. Three experimental farm were maintained (Kamchatka, Yakutia, Ukraine) and a new researvch one is in development in the Moscow region. Re-introductions were realized in Russia (M. bobac, Volga region; M. camtschatica, Kamchatka), in Ukraine (M. bobac), in Kazakhstan (M. baibacina). The colonization process of M. marmota was monitored in three late re-introductions (Apennines, Italy; Spanish and French Pyrenees) and in a recent one (Drôme, France).

Behavioural ecology data were collected on spatial and social organization. Ecophysiologic and flea data were analyzed in the maintenance of plague foci. Species and geographical variability in marmots were studied through morphometric, caryotypic, DNA and electro-acoustical analysis of alarm call. The existence of two subspecies of M. bobac and three subspecies of M. camtschatica was confirmed.

The research has produced, between 1994 and 1996, 174 scientific and technical publications.Results were exposed in two International conference on marmots and three national seminars. Overall, the program reached its goals, despite some difficulties of setting and coordination.

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