The mouse bothers are back!. We have had the team from the University of Nottingham back to catch some mice on the island after their prospecting visit last year. Though the seabirds and seals recieve the most attention from researchers, the island offers all sorts of opportunities for research, having the combination of special wildlife and a field station with accommadation and a lab. And it is the island’s special mouse population that has attracted the interest of the Nottingham team. Unusually the house mice on the island don’t need a constant human population to survive but instead live wild across the whole island. Being an isolated island population they have been the focus of much research over time and the mouse team from Nottingham are looking at starting new research looking at among other things the differences in parasite resistance between the genetic types of the mice. The mice can reach plague proportions in the cottages so as far as we are concerned they can help themselves to as many as they like. But after ideal mouse breeding conditions of a mild winter and lush, long vegetation I suspect that however many they get it won’t be enough.
The mousers offered wonderful hospitality while they were on, cooking us sumptuous meals each night (a very valuable currency on the island) so they will be very welcome back next year when they look to extend their studies in April and August.