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Mammalian Winter Ecology
(EFB 484/684) - 3 credits

Instructors

  • Stacy A. McNulty (SAM)
    Adirondack Ecological Center
    6312 State Route 28N
    Newcomb, NY 12852
    smcnulty@esf.edu
    website
  • Dr. Joseph F. Merritt (JFM)
    Illinois Natural History Survey
    1816 S. Oak Street
    Champaign, IL 61820
    Phone: (217) 265-7301
    jmerritt@uiuc.edu
    website

Mammalian Winter Ecology
(EFB 484/684) - 3 credits

 

Course Description

Lectures will discuss identification, natural history, behavior, physiology and ecology of mammals. Adaptations enhancing over winter survivorship of mammals in northern environments will be emphasized. Laboratory will employ live-trapping-mark-recapture methods applied to small mammals. Evaluation of students is based on 1) participation in classroom and field experiences, 2) oral critique of a scientific article on winter adaptations, 3) proficiency in a written final examination and 4) maintenance of a field journal.

Course Objectives

Students will learn field techniques associated with ecology and population processes of mammals. Proficiency will be gained in observational techniques of large mammals and live capturing and identifying small mammals inhabiting the Adirondack Mountains of New York. In addition, students will become familiar with concepts in small mammal ecology, activity patterns, population processes, habitat requirements and adaptations that enhance winter survivorship of mammals residing in northern environments. Experience gained in oral presentation of a scientific article will help acquaint students with guidelines for presentations at national and international meetings of scientific "societies."

Schedule

February Weekend

Friday

  • Afternoon
    Lecture - Welcome, introduction and organization of course (SAM)
    Field Activity- Trip to a beaver lodge (SAM, NK)
  • Evening
    Lecture - Mammals of the Adirondacks - Part 1 (CLD)

Saturday

  • Morning
    Lecture - Track identification primer (CLD)
    Field Activity - Track identification at Newcomb AIC (SAM, CLD, NK)
    Lecture - Movements of white-tailed deer (SAM)
  • Afternoon
    Lecture - Protocol for trail cameras and snow morphology measurements (SAM, CLD, NK)
    Field Activity- Trail camera set up and snow morphology measurements at group study sites
  • Evening
    Lecture - Mammals of the Adirondacks - Part 2 (CLD)

Sunday

  • Morning
    QUIZ -
    Taxonomy of ADK Mammals
    Lecture - Winter ecology of white-tailed deer (SAM)
    Field Activity -  Field trip to winter deer yard (SAM, CLD, NK)
  • Afternoon
    Depart for Syracuse

March Week

Sunday

  • Afternoon
    Lecture - Welcome and organization of week (JFM  and SAM)
    Lecture - Protocol for studying activity of small mammals (JFM)
    Field Activity - Establish live-trapping sites and snow morphology measurements
    (JFM, CLD, NK)
  • Evening
    Lecture - Introduction: Adaptations to cold (thermoregulation and energy balance) (JFM)
    Field Activity - Set live traps and snow measurements

Monday

  • Morning
    Field Activity - Monitor live traps and snow measurement
    Lecture - Fun Flaky Facts (CLD)
    Lecture - Torpor and Hibernation (JFM)
  • Afternoon
    Lecture/Field Activity- American Marten in the Adirondacks (P. Jensen - DEC)
    Lecture - Body size, insulation, appendages and coloration (JFM)
  • Evening
    Lecture - Behavior (nests , social thermoregulation, caching and subnivean foraging) (JFM)
    Field Activity - Set live traps and snow measurements

Tuesday

  • Morning
    Field Activity - Monitor live traps and snow measurements
    Lecture - Moose in the ADKs (NK)
    Field Activity - Snow shelter construction
  • Afternoon
    Lecture - Bears in the ADKs (S. Tabor)
    Field Activity - Snow shelter construction continued
  • Evening 
    Grad Student Oral presentations (20 minutes each)
    Field Activity - Set live traps and snow measurements

Wednesday

  • Morning
    Field Activity - Monitor live traps and snow measurements - conclude small mammal trapping
    Lecture - Increase in thermogenic capacity (JFM)
  • Afternoon
    Field Activity - Retrieve trail cameras/snow measurements
    Lecture - Richness and diversity indices (SAM)
  • Evening
    Oral presentations (15 minutes each)

Thursday

  • Morning
    Lecture - Coyotes in Adirondacks (NK)
    Field Activity - Hot Potato Hot Potato
  • Afternoon
    Lecture - Bats of Adirondacks and the implications of white-nosed syndrome (C. Herzog DEC)
    Lecture - Social thermoregulation of least shrews (JFM)
  • Evening
    Oral presentations (15 minutes each)

Friday

  • Morning
    Lecture - Natural History of Porcupines (KA)
  • Morning/Afternoon
    Field Activity - Snowshoe to Coney Mountain and visit Wild Center
  • Evening
    TBA

Saturday

  • Morning
    Final examinations (Lecture and Laboratory)
    Students depart (noon)

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