JCSET | Watershed Studies Institute Research Symposium

Title

Assessing mammal use of a forested watershed impacted by overbrowsing of deer in north eastern Pennsylvania

Presenter Information

Carson MadiganFollow

Academic Level at Time of Presentation

Sophomore

Major

Wildlife and Conservation Biology

Minor

Applied Statistics

List all Project Mentors & Advisor(s)

Dr. J.B. Moon

Presentation Format

Oral Presentation

Abstract/Description

Due to the loss of apex predators in the Pennsylvania region, there has been a change in the population of mesopredators and large herbivores in the area. Due to the increase in deer population, overbrowsing has led to new consequences on the ecosystem. Large herbivore overbrowsing is known to have negative effects on biodiversity of plants and animals, but the specific effects of it on other mammals are still relatively understudied.

The objective of this study is to assess mammal use of a secondary-growth hardwood forested watershed that has been impacted by overbrowsing of deer in northeastern Pennsylvania. We expected to see the highest rate of occurrences and species diversity at the edges of forested wetlands as a result of less overbrowsing than other areas.

For the collection, we used 38 cameras at 35 locations across Lake Lacawac’s watershed. The dates of picture collection ranged from June 1, 2020 to August 30, 2020.

For those cameras analyzed, over half were of people hiking in the sanctuary. The next highest percentage of animals observed were white-tailed deer with 50.9% on the abundance index. Other mammals captured included American black bears, Eastern coyotes, and bobcats.

This research will help us understand spatial patterning of watershed use in a severely degraded forest and lead to our understanding on nutrient subsidies across the watershed.

Spring Scholars Week 2021 Event

Watershed Studies Institute Symposium

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Assessing mammal use of a forested watershed impacted by overbrowsing of deer in north eastern Pennsylvania

Due to the loss of apex predators in the Pennsylvania region, there has been a change in the population of mesopredators and large herbivores in the area. Due to the increase in deer population, overbrowsing has led to new consequences on the ecosystem. Large herbivore overbrowsing is known to have negative effects on biodiversity of plants and animals, but the specific effects of it on other mammals are still relatively understudied.

The objective of this study is to assess mammal use of a secondary-growth hardwood forested watershed that has been impacted by overbrowsing of deer in northeastern Pennsylvania. We expected to see the highest rate of occurrences and species diversity at the edges of forested wetlands as a result of less overbrowsing than other areas.

For the collection, we used 38 cameras at 35 locations across Lake Lacawac’s watershed. The dates of picture collection ranged from June 1, 2020 to August 30, 2020.

For those cameras analyzed, over half were of people hiking in the sanctuary. The next highest percentage of animals observed were white-tailed deer with 50.9% on the abundance index. Other mammals captured included American black bears, Eastern coyotes, and bobcats.

This research will help us understand spatial patterning of watershed use in a severely degraded forest and lead to our understanding on nutrient subsidies across the watershed.