Population trends of bighorn sheep and mountain goats in the Greater Yellowstone Area

dc.contributor.advisorGarrott, Robert
dc.contributor.authorFlesch, Elizabeth P.
dc.date.accessioned2013-03-05T22:11:31Z
dc.date.available2013-03-05T22:11:31Z
dc.date.issued2013-03
dc.descriptionAbstract Onlyen_US
dc.description.abstractBighorn sheep (Ovis canadensis) and mountain goats (Oreamnos americanus) are important components of the large mammal community in the Greater Yellowstone Area (GYA). We analyzed historic bighorn sheep and mountain goat population counts collected by management biologists using ln-linear regression to estimate herd growth rates. Most mountain goat count units experienced a positive growth rate and increased their distributions over recent decades. Bighorn sheep growth rates were more variable among the 26 recognized herd units in the GYA. We used the historic count data to evaluate the hypothesis that sympatry of non-native mountain goats with bighorn sheep adversely affected bighorn sheep populations. This was accomplished by comparing the growth rates of sympatric herds with that of allopatric herds. There was no evidence that sympatric herd growth rates were significantly lower than allopatric herd growth rates. We caution, however, that many counts in consecutive years suggested larger changes in abundance than what would be reasonable to expect from biological processes. We suspect that variability in counts likely reflects varying detection probability and the overall difficulty of counting mountain ungulates. Therefore, conclusions derived from these data should be further evaluated with more detailed demographic studies in the future.en_US
dc.identifier.urihttps://scholarworks.montana.edu/handle/1/639
dc.language.isoen_USen_US
dc.titlePopulation trends of bighorn sheep and mountain goats in the Greater Yellowstone Areaen_US
dc.typePresentationen_US
mus.citation.conferenceMSU Student Research Celebration 2012
mus.relation.collegeCollege of Letters & Science
mus.relation.departmentEcology.en_US
mus.relation.universityMontana State University - Bozemanen_US

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