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What is the reason to study food?

Food is one of the most important resources that is crucial for the presence of an animal species. Various research has suggested that the decline in the garden dormouse may result in changes to its food availability. As early as the 1980s, the insect decline was pointed out in this context.

Garden dormice colonize very different habitats. It can be assumed that they also feed differently in these different habitats.

What do we want to find out?

  • What do garden dormice feed on?
  • What food resources do they use in different habitats and seasons?

  • Are there crucial food components that are used at certain times (e.g. are they particularly important for raising juveniles or in preparation for the hibernation)?

Photo © Pröhl _ foc-natur.de

How do we get the research material?

The food analyses are carried out using faeces collected during the control of nest boxes occupied by garden dormice.

Tooth marks of the garden dormouse (© Thomas Wey)
How does food analysis work?

Our specialists recognize tiny food residues in the faeces under the microscope and can assign them. We do not know how much the garden dormouse had eaten from the respective food (e.g. just a piece or the whole cherry). But at least we see how often a particular food item was on the menu.