Here is a video from Yasaman Shakeri’s research on the role that bears play in subsidizing small mammal populations. Check out how massive this weathered bear scat is compared to this red-backed vole! Voles and mice feed on the seeds in these giant bear scats for months. Like squirrels and acorns, these rodents hoard seed caches for winter. By spreading around and burying seeds, these rodents acts as gardeners for fruiting plants in the forest.
Category Archives: Lab News
The most beautiful jaguar video from Taiama, Brazil
Maanav Kamath’s MS project on the ecology of aquatic jaguars is yielding some amazing videos of jaguars. This may be the most beautiful video ever taken of wild jaguars.
When bears are curious about your rodent research
We’re doing this fun study in Alaska to test the idea that seed-filled bears scats are highly important resources for voles and mice. We tagged loads of voles and mice and constructed these RFID readers to detect them if they visit bear scats. Only thing….a curious bear decided to play with our RFID reader just a few days into our first trial of the reader! Let’s hope these things last for the full study!
Bear time lapse on Chilkoot Lake
Bears love salmon. Here they are near a sockeye spawning ground on the shores of Chilkoot Lake. Sockeye tend to spawn in lakes because they require good rearing habitat for their offspring. Other species of salmon, like pink and chum, can spawn in creeks and migrate straight out to the ocean. This year we are using genetics to determine how many bears feed at the lower Chilkoot River.
Fox feeding cubs at den near a house
During the summer of 2013 we monitored red fox dens in Dutchess County, New York. Foxes often place dens immediately adjacent to homes. We think this may be an adaptation to living with coyotes. Foxes are finding refuges near homes that coyotes are morely likely to avoid. Most of the time the adult foxes were off looking for food, but here the vixen returns to nurse her pups. We think that areas near fox dens may have lower disease risk because if foxes are able to suppress small mammals, which carry the pathogens that infect ticks.
Video near a coyote den
Time lapse video from a baited camera trap set in Dutchess County, New York. This site was apparently in close proximity to a coyote den, which is evident from the cute and tiny coyote puppies. Notably, no other carnivores, such as foxes, raccoons, skunks, or opossums (not technically carnivores), visited this site. However, deer did not seem to avoid this area at all.We hypothesize that coyote suppression of small carnivores plays a role in increasing the risk of Lyme disease. Coyotes are a new arrival to the Northeast, colonizing from the great plains only after gray wolves were extirpated near the beginning of the 20th century.
Steller Sea Lions feeding on eulachon
Watching Steller Sea Lions feed on eulachon as part of an environmental eDNA study funded by the National Geographic Society. We are testing the efficacy of environmental DNA to provide an index of abundance for eulachon (Thaleichthys pacificus). Eulachon are a small anadromous smelt with extremely high fat content of any forage fish (20% fat leading to the name “candlefish”). They are the first anadromous fish after the long winter, and are a culturally significant staple food source to Northwest Coast native people including the Chilkat and Chilkoot peoples of the Tlingit nation. Eulachon are consumed fresh, dried, or smoked, and are frequently rendered into oil. The oil was historically the most important trade item on a network of ‘grease trails’ between coastal and interior peoples, and it is still used and traded extensively.
The pulse of millions of eulachon at the end of the winter famine period also represents an important seasonal prey resource for terrestrial and marine predators including enormous congregations of seabirds, bald eagles, seals, sea lions, harbor seals and humpback whales, some of which are listed under the ESA.a biologically and socially important fish.
The primary objectives of this research are to (1) develop an affordable DNA-based method to provide an annual index of abundance of eulachon, and (2) to test DNA-based methods as a tool to monitor Steller sea lion and humpback whale relative abundances feeding at pre-spawning eulachon congregations.