Life Sciences Seminar Series
|Name:||Kerry L. Nicholson|
|Wildlife Biologist III. Alaska Department of Fish and Game.|
|Title:||Spatial Ecology of Animals in Sweden|
|Date:||Friday, 7 November 2014|
|Location:||Murie Life Science Bldg, Murie Auditorium.|
Testing the risk of predation hypothesis: the influence of recolonizing wolves on habitat use by moose
Considered as absent throughout Scandinavia for >100 years, wolves (Canis lupus) have recently naturally recolonized south-central Sweden. This recolonization has provided an opportunity to study behavioral responses of moose (Alces alces) to wolves. We used satellite telemetry locations from collared moose and wolves to determine whether moose habitat use was affected by predation risk based on wolf use distributions. Moose habitat use was influenced by reproductive status and time of day and showed a different selection pattern between winter and summer, but there was weak evidence that moose habitat use depended on predation risk. The seemingly weak
response may have several underlying explanations that are not mutually exclusive from the long term absence of nonhuman predation pressure: intensive harvest by humans during the last century is more important than wolf predation as an influence on moose behavior; moose have not adapted to recolonizing wolves; and responses may include other behavioral adaptations or occur at finer temporal and spatial levels than investigated.
Using Circuit Theory to Rewire Roads for Wildlife
Anticipated population growth and ongoing road improvements, coupled with resounding concern for maintaining landscape connectivity for wildlife populations has generated increasing interest in developing wildlife infrastructure crossing management tools. Yet, currently there is limited technical guidance or decision-support tools on evaluating the impact of implemented wildlife mitigation measures on region wide scale. Procedures for mapping connectivity across large areas such as state wide, provinces or ecoregions are limited and are still under development. Highway E20 in southwestern Sweden is being upgraded to a higher standard, involving a widening of the road, increased vehicle speed and fencing for human safety. Our study provides a method to describe the ecological flow in the landscape and the effect of wildlife passages to increase the connectivity for ungulates and large carnivores. We evaluated connectivity using Circuitscape; a program that measures the electrical current or the theoretical ecological flow in the landscape for ungulates and large carnivores as model species groups. We evaluated the connectivity by creating an “idealized” resistance landscape one in which major infrastructure (i.e., highways like the E20) did not exist and would not impede animal movement. Next, we incorporated infrastructure with proposed wildlife friendly passages. With this tool, we were able to identify geographical boundaries along highway where it may be desirable and effective to implement mitigation measures for wildlife. The use of Circuitscape is an effective tool to visualize landscape patterns and ecological flow for a variety of different species groups. However, the method needs further evaluation before it can be used as a standard tool for mitigation or a network connectivity planning.
About the Speaker:
Kerry Nicholson began her wildlife career at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, where she worked on a variety of projects involving black brant, golden eyes, red backed voles, and as a reindeer herder. Having completed two bachelor of science degrees and deciding Alaska was not cold enough, she flew south to spend a season in Antarctica at the South Pole. Once she had her fill of the dry cold and somewhere while on a beach in Mexico she decided to pursue post-graduate work. Kerry wound up in the dry-hot panhandle of Texas working on landscape ecology and movement of swift fox and coyotes for a master's of science at Texas Tech. While there, Kerry studied lizards in the British Virgin Islands and went to South Africa to become a safari guide. She did not have the patience for tourism and pursued a Ph.D. from theh University of Arizona where she studied the spatial ecology of urban mountain lions. Immediately after completing her degree, she became a Fulbright-Nehru Fellow and spent about 1.5 years in India studying human-leopard conflict. With her belly filled with chicken tikka and dahl (i.e., lentils), she returned to the U.S. and took a postdoctoral position at the University of Idaho (near the lentil capital of the U.S.). At Idaho, she examined migration patterns and the influence of infrastructure on movement and habitat selection of the Central Arctic Caribou Herd in Alaska. Tired of lentils and yearning for the great white north, Kerry headed back to the land of the midnight sun, only this time to Sweden. Working at Grimsö Wildlife Research Station, she followed moose and wolves to find out how moose are behaving now that wolves are back in the ecosystem. Kerry returned to Alaska and is a new wildlife biologist III furbearer-carnivore research biologist in the Fairbanks office of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. She will conduct research on furbearers and carnivores ranging from marten to grizzly bears.
Browse Life Sciences SeminarsThe fall 2014 faculty coordinators for this seminar series are Tamara Harms and Robert "Trey" Coker. The staff coordinator is Marie Thoms. Beginning in 2013, many of the seminars were recorded and can be viewed online. Speakers are listed in chronological order within academic years.
**Sept-Oct 2014: Problems with the university recording system have delayed the posting of seminar recordings. We hope to have this fixed by the end of October.Beginning in 1966 and continuing today, IAB hosts a weekly seminar for faculty, students, staff and the public during the academic year. The series attracts life scientists from Alaska and around the world.
If you wish to meet with a particular speaker, please contact the IAB director's office at 907-474-7649.
- 9/5/14 (Ken Cameron)
- 9/12/14 (Perry Barboza)
- 9/17/14 (John R. Speakman)
- 9/26/14 (Michael Harris)
- 10/3/14 (Heiko U. Wittmer)
- 10/10/14 (Barbara Taylor)
- 10/17/14 (Stacy Rasmus)
- 10/24/14 (Andrea Bersamin)
- 10/31/14 (Link Olson)
- 11/7/14 (Kerry L. Nicholson)
- 11/14/14 (David J. Meltzer)
- 11/21/14 (Teresa Hollingsworth)