Show simple item record

dc.contributor.advisorChairperson, Graduate Committee: Robert A. Garrotten
dc.contributor.authorDunkley, Shana Lucilleen
dc.date.accessioned2013-06-25T18:38:27Z
dc.date.available2013-06-25T18:38:27Z
dc.date.issued2011en
dc.identifier.urihttps://scholarworks.montana.edu/xmlui/handle/1/1206en
dc.description.abstractVulnerability of prey to predators is heavily influenced by their respective physical and behavioral characteristics; however their interactions with landscape, and climate, collectively termed "environmental vulnerability," may also assume considerable importance. Landscape or habitat-dependent prey vulnerability is well-studied in smaller taxa systems where environmental factors primarily influence encounter rates, however the impact of environmental vulnerability in large mammal systems, where the probability of a successful attack may be more important than encounter probability, is poorly understood. This study utilized 18 years of survival and mortality data for radio-collared elk (Cervus elaphus), in concert with abundance, distribution, and habitat use data prior to and following restoration of wolves (Canis lupus) to Yellowstone National Park to evaluate the relationship between environmental vulnerability and elk mortality. Logistic regression was used to model the odds of mortality for 108 elk in 1257 animal sample intervals from 1991-2009 across a range of environmental conditions and gradients of wolf predation risk to evaluate: 1) The relationship between landscape, habitat, and environmental attributes and elk vulnerability to wolf predation and 2) Changes in the attributes related to elk mortality before and after wolf colonization. In the absence of wolf predation, mortality risk for elk was primarily associated with physical attributes of elk due to age and condition, factors that are known to influence starvation mortality. Following wolf reintroduction mortality risk was related to these elk physical characteristics, but more so to characteristics of the landscape and climate within an animal's home range. These apparent environmental influences were strong enough to result in substantial changes in distribution and abundance of elk in the study system to the extent that by the end of the study elk almost exclusively utilized areas with high probability of wolf encounter, but also a high probability of escape due to the collective characteristics of the landscape promoting predation refuges. The strong influence of environmental vulnerability is likely to affect the abundance and distribution of elk and wolves across their range, and has broad applications to large mammal predator-prey dynamics in general.en
dc.language.isoenen
dc.publisherMontana State University - Bozeman, College of Letters & Scienceen
dc.subject.lcshHabitat (Ecology)en
dc.subject.lcshPredation (Biology)en
dc.subject.lcshElken
dc.subject.lcshWolvesen
dc.titleGood animals in bad places : evaluating landscape attributes associated with elk vulnerability to wolf predationen
dc.typeThesisen
dc.rights.holderCopyright 2011 by Shana Lucille Dunkleyen
thesis.catalog.ckey1802594en
thesis.degree.committeemembersMembers, Graduate Committee: Jay J. Rotella; Megan Higgsen
thesis.degree.departmentEcology.en
thesis.degree.genreThesisen
thesis.degree.nameMSen
thesis.format.extentfirstpage1en
thesis.format.extentlastpage129en


Files in this item

Thumbnail

This item appears in the following Collection(s)

Show simple item record


MSU uses DSpace software, copyright © 2002-2017  Duraspace. For library collections that are not accessible, we are committed to providing reasonable accommodations and timely access to users with disabilities. For assistance, please submit an accessibility request for library material.