Since 2001, Evelyn Merrill (University of Alberta) and Mark Hebblewhite have collaborated on a long-term project on the population dynamics of the Ya Ha Tinda elk herd in Banff National Park. This research was awarded an NSF LTREB grant from the Division of Environmental Biology in 2015, and will continue for 5-10 more years. Graduate students have included Scott Eggeman (UM), Holger Bohm (UofA), Eric Spilker (UofA), Lindsey Glines (UofA), Leslie McInenely (UofA), Barry Robinson (UofA) and the current graduate students are Jodi Berg (PhD, UofA) and Hans Martin (PhD, UM). Find out more on the YHT web site.
Animals on the move: Remotely based determination of key drivers influencing movements and habitat selection of highly mobile fauna throughout the ABoVE study domain
This project is part of the ambitious NASA ABoVE program, and is lead by Dr. Natalie Boelman at Colubmia University together with 5 other Co-Investigators - find out more here on our NASA ABoVE web site. Our overarching science goal is to understand how highly mobile terrestrial fauna navigate and select habitat in the rapidly changing ABoVE Study Domain. Facilitated by many data-sharing collaborations with US and Canadian government agencies, we will use space-based wildlife tracking technology to build an integrated dataset of regional-scale and near-continuous descriptions of passerine (American robins), raptor (Golden Eagles), ungulate (caribou, moose), and predator (wolf and brown bear) locations with both static and dynamic remote sensing products and other regional-scale geospatial datasets (Obj.1). We will use this data to build empiricallybased statistical movement and habitat selection models for multiple groups of animals across the ABoVE Study Domain (Obj.2). The geospatial tools and products will be made accessible to natural resource agencies, wildlife managers, First Nations, Alaskan natives, and other stakeholders to aid them in management and adaptation decisions (Obj.3). Further, our novel models and geospatial tools will be available for Phase 2 and 3 ABoVE studies in which future projections of animal movement and habitat selection will be made, and subsequently used to determine societal consequences and develop decision support products. http://www.umt.edu/above-caribou/default.php
The Fortymile caribou (Rangifer tarandus) herd in Alaska and the Yukon Territory is one of North America’s most important migratory caribou herds, straddling the border of the US and Canada. It has been the focus of study for the past 60+ years in Canada and Alaska. In this NASA ABoVE affiliated project, our lab will be collaborating with BLM, Alaska Department of Game and Fish, Yukon Fish and Wildlife and the National Park Service to understand habitat and population dynamics for this important caribou herd. Check out our NASA ABoVE web site.
Woodland caribou populations are classified as threatened in Canada under the Species at Risk Act (SARA), due to anthropogenic activities that are altering predator-prey dynamics. We have conducted research since 2007 across the souther mountain ecotype of woodland caribou in Alberta and BC and the Boreal woodland ecotype across Alberta to contribute to caribou recovery efforts. By working cooperatively with industry and governments, we examined the links between human activities and caribou conservation to promote sustainable development and species recovery. This research has been an ongoing interagency project between government agencies and the Universities of Montana, Calgary, and Alberta. Learn more on our NASA ABoVE project web site. Find out more about two previous research components here:Modeling relationships between wolves, elk, caribou, and fire to aid caribou recovery in the Canadian Rockies National Parks
Yellowstone wolf-prey ecology
Since 2010, Hebblewhite has collaborated with the Yellowstone wolf project in Yellowstone National Park. He and his students are conducting research on wolf-prey dynamics,
spatial ecology of predation, and survival and reproduction of wolves using long-term data collected by the National Park Service.