Graduation Year

2019

Graduation Month

May

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science

School or Department

Wildlife Biology

Major

Wildlife Biology – Terrestrial

Faculty Mentor

Dr. Mark Hebblewhite

Faculty Mentor Department

Wildlife Biology

Faculty Reader(s)

Dr. Chad Bishop, Dr. Mike Mitchell

Keywords

Canis lupus, gray wolf, pup, survival, Yellowstone National Park

Subject Categories

Biology | Other Animal Sciences

Abstract

The aim of this study was to describe gray wolf (Canis lupus) pup survival rates throughout the summer months in Yellowstone National Park. Understanding pup survival has implications for trends in pack and population age structure, cooperative breeding ecology and other breeding tendencies, social hierarchies, and population fitness, among other elements of species-specific population ecology. A general understanding of trends in pup survival is also relevant to state and federal land that allow gray wolf harvest. Understanding such trends and survival ecology gives managers and biologists the opportunity to evaluate gray wolf populations at a more comprehensive level and implement more effective management decisions. This study analyzed how pup survival rates vary temporally and spatially throughout Yellowstone’s Northern Range and some interior locations. Data was quantified using field notes from Yellowstone Wolf Project staff, focusing on the months May through September, and years 2009 and 2010. The data was originally collected and recorded from direct observation of wolves by Wolf Project staff and other diligent citizen scientists. Using this data, I quantified number of observed breeding wolf packs, and pup high counts and survival rates specific to each pack. This report includes spatial information specific to Yellowstone regarding temporal trends in pup survival in the form of visual maps. My analyses found that high counts by pack did differ throughout the observational period in both years, survival rates in 2009 varied by pack and did not vary in 2010, though survival rates between packs were not statistically significant.

Honors College Research Project

No

GLI Capstone Project

no

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© Copyright 2019 Anne Marie Jehle