JCSET | Watershed Studies Institute Research Symposium

Title

Evaluating Population-Level Variation in the Landscape of Fear

Presenter Information

Jordan TandyFollow

Academic Level at Time of Presentation

Graduate

Major

Biology

List all Project Mentors & Advisor(s)

Dr. Howard Whiteman

Presentation Format

Poster Presentation

Abstract/Description

Predator-prey interactions drive decisions of either counterpart, meaning predators and the presence of perceived dangers, such as predator scent markings or calls, are capable of altering an organism's behavior. On a spatial scale, risk and cost-benefit tradeoffs related to predation pressures create a landscape of fear (LOF), where prey avoid areas they associate with risk. Research suggests captive and/or historically captive animals tend to respond slower or less effectively to predation than wild populations that regularly experience threats of predation. I propose to study several elk herds composed of varying levels of captive history, including those that are currently captive, those that have been reintroduced with captive populations, and those that are native. I have gathered baseline behavioral data and will assess each herd's response to wolf vocalizations. I will employ predator cues in select treatment areas over one field season in order to manipulate the herd's LOF, then compare herd distributions and behavioral responses (pre- vs post-experiment). I expect that elk will avoid treatment sites for the duration of the manipulation. I plan to expand study sites to encompass several herds and suspect native herds will respond more quickly to predator cues and adapt to the LOF faster than those with more recent captive histories. Successful manipulation of herd LOF may allow management of elk with similar methods, providing conservation benefits to current and future restoration of elk and other extirpated species.

Spring Scholars Week 2022 Event

Watershed Studies Institute Symposium

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Evaluating Population-Level Variation in the Landscape of Fear

Predator-prey interactions drive decisions of either counterpart, meaning predators and the presence of perceived dangers, such as predator scent markings or calls, are capable of altering an organism's behavior. On a spatial scale, risk and cost-benefit tradeoffs related to predation pressures create a landscape of fear (LOF), where prey avoid areas they associate with risk. Research suggests captive and/or historically captive animals tend to respond slower or less effectively to predation than wild populations that regularly experience threats of predation. I propose to study several elk herds composed of varying levels of captive history, including those that are currently captive, those that have been reintroduced with captive populations, and those that are native. I have gathered baseline behavioral data and will assess each herd's response to wolf vocalizations. I will employ predator cues in select treatment areas over one field season in order to manipulate the herd's LOF, then compare herd distributions and behavioral responses (pre- vs post-experiment). I expect that elk will avoid treatment sites for the duration of the manipulation. I plan to expand study sites to encompass several herds and suspect native herds will respond more quickly to predator cues and adapt to the LOF faster than those with more recent captive histories. Successful manipulation of herd LOF may allow management of elk with similar methods, providing conservation benefits to current and future restoration of elk and other extirpated species.