Microhistological faecal analysis is a non-destructive method of assessing botanical diet composition of wild herbivores. During faecal analysis, epidermis and/or cuticle fragments of ingested plants are identified and quantified. This is possible as the plant cuticle, an indigestible layer covering the epidermis, bears a specific pattern of underlying epidermal cells and hairs along with structures of its own. This pattern is best developed in mature leaves and can be identified down to genus or species level, even after passage through the gut of a herbivore.
The Resource Ecology Group performs research and education in community ecology of large herbivores, with particular emphasis on the interactions between herbivores and the vegetation. We have a lot of experience with faecal analysis as samples have been collected all around the globe, with the majority from Africa. All available reference material has recently been digitalized and can be accessed through this website.
The interactive map below can be used to navigate to the species which were collected in a certain region (Europe, Africa or Western Asia, incl. Mongolia). Besides, it is possible to browse through the different taxa found in the reference collection on this page. Each taxon provides a sample image and the possibility to browse to the underlying taxa. Finally, a list with all possible taxa is provided on this page.
The identification key can be downloaded here.
For more information, we can be reached through the REG website.
Regions where the species where collected: