Adam S. Mohr; Humboldt State University ; 1 Harpst St., Arcata, CA, 95521; (608) 769-5980; asm107@humboldt.edu; Tim W. Bean

Tule elk are an iconic elk subspecies endemic to the warm, dry climates of the Central Valley and Coastal Range in California. The state's tule elk populations have steadily grown since reintroduction efforts began in the 1970s, yet managers are still missing crucial information regarding how these elk select habitat on their historical range and how they respond to the drastic seasonal variations and periodic droughts that characterize a Mediterranean climate.  I used location data collected between 2005-2017 from GPS-collared tule elk living in and around the Carrizo Plain National Monument to model the way elk respond to different environmental factors at the home range and larger population-range scale. I related elk use locations to a variety of covariates including: vegetation type, topography, distance to roads and distance to water. Additionally, I used annual time series of MODIS satellite imagery to determine how tule elk habitat selection changes in relation to fine-scale temporal variations in forage quantity and quality. These results will help managers address long-standing questions regarding how tule elk are able to thrive in their highly dynamic and unpredictable environments.

Ecology and Conservation of Mammals II   Student Paper