Ecology Seminar Series
Lewis Hall, 304
Scott Creel, Professor, Conservation Biology and Ecology Program, Department of Ecology, MSU, will present "15 Is the New 30: Elk Calf Recruitment and Population Dynamics in the Yellowstone Ecosystem" at 3:30 pm in 304 Lewis Hall.
Abstract: Recently, the population dynamics of elk have changed markedly in some Montana and Wyoming regions, while population dynamics have changed little in other regions. Calf recruitment is widely held to be an important driver of elk dynamics, and in most areas with reduced population growth, pregnancy rates and recruitment have declined. These changes coincide with wolf recovery in the region, but the causes are debated. Here, we tabulated and analyzed data for 12 elk populations -- six within the region colonized by wolves, and six outside the wolf recovery area. The data span a period of 30 years before and after wolf recolonization, allowing a before-after-control-impact analysis (with some important limitations). We examined changes in population size and calf recruitment, and tested for relationships with all of the variables that have been hypothesized to affect elk dynamics. These include changes in density, winter snow accumulation, growing season conditions, human harvest, predation by bears, direct predation by wolves, and the 'risk effects' of wolf presence. Some of these variables were strongly correlated with recent changes in elk dynamics, while others were not.
To request disability accommodations or inform us of other special needs, please contact Judy Van Andel, 310 Lewis Hall, MSU, 994-2911.
The cost of this event is: Free
For more information go to:
Department of Ecology