Title

Using Geospatial Techniques to Assess Responses of Black Bear Populations to Anthropogenically Modified Landscapes: Conflict & Recolonization

Advisor

Cooke, William H., III

Committee Member

Belant, Jerrold L.

Committee Member

Dash, Padmanava

Committee Member

Meng, Qingmin

Date of Degree

1-1-2018

Original embargo terms

Visible to MSU only for 1 Year

Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access

Major

Earth and Atmospheric Sciences

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

College

College of Arts and Sciences

Department

Department of Geosciences

Abstract

The convergence of three young scientific disciplines (ecology, geospatial sciences, and remote sensing) has generated unique advancements in wildlife research by connecting ecological data with remote sensing data through the application of geospatial techniques. Ecological datasets may contain spatial and sampling biases. By using geospatial techniques, datasets may be useful in revealing landscape scale (e.g., statewide) trends for wildlife populations, such as population recovery and human-wildlife interactions. Specifically, black bear populations across North America vary greatly in their degree of distribution stability. The black bear population in Michigan may be considered stable or secure, whereas the population in Missouri is currently recolonizing. The focus of the research in this dissertation is to examine the ecological and anthropogenic impacts 1) on human-black bear interactions in Michigan (see Chapter 2) and 2) on black bear presence in Missouri (see Chapter 3), through the use of black bear reports provided by the public to the state wildlife agencies. By using generalized linear modeling (GLM) and maximum entropy (MaxEnt), I developed spatial distribution models of probability of occurrence/presence for the 2 study areas (Michigan and Missouri). For the Missouri study, I quantified the spatiotemporal shifts in the probability of bear presence statewide. The results from my statewide studies corroborate previous local-scale research based on rigorous data collection. Overall, human-black bear interactions (e.g., wildlife sightings, conflicts), while very dynamic, appear greatest in forested and rural areas where the preferred habitat for black bears (i.e., forest) intersects with low density anthropogenic activities. As both human and black bear populations continue to expand, it is reasonable to expect human-black bear interactions to spatiotemporally increase across both study areas. The results from my studies provide wildlife managers with information critical to management decisions such as harvest regulations and habitat conservation actions across the landscape and through time. The ability to detect and monitor ecological changes through the use of geospatial techniques can lead to insights about the stressors and drivers of population-level change, further facilitating the development of proactive causeocused management strategies.

URI

https://hdl.handle.net/11668/18570

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