Life Science Hour Seminar Series

Name:Stan Boutin
Affiliation:Department of Biological Sciences, University of Alberta
Title:The resource pulse game: Figuring out winners and losers
Date:Friday, 10 March 2017
Location:Murie Life Science Bldg, Murie Auditorium.


Resource pulses come in many forms including mast seeding by conifers in northern systems. Masting is thought to be an adaptation by trees to increase seed escapement by swamping seed predators. Red squirrels are the dominant seed predator for spruce but they have developed their own adaptation whereby they are able to anticipate mast years. The anticipation by squirrels and changes in their density lead to some very interesting patterns of selection that lead to various life history traits and behaviours being favoured at different points in the masting cycle. I will outline how we have followed individual red squirrels over 25 years to try to sort out the winners and losers in this highly dynamic system.

About the Speaker:

Stan Boutin has chased red squirrels for over 30 years. During that time he has climbed over 5000 trees looking for nests, fallen only once, and lived to tell the tale. When not chasing squirrels Stan works on snowshoe-hare lynx cycles and woodland caribou conservation. Much of this work is done in the southwestern Yukon at Kluane Lake and in the Oil Sands area of northern Alberta.

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