EVALUATION OF RANGE-WIDE OCCUPANCY AND SURVEY METHODS FOR THE GIANT KANGAROO RAT (DIPODOMYS INGENS).
Alyssa E. Semerdjian; Humboldt State University; 3050 L K Wood Blvd Apt A, Arcata, CA, 95521; (858) 342-7474; aes495@humboldt.edu; Robert Stafford, Michael F. Westphal, H. Scott Butterfield, W. Tim Bean
A solid understanding of habitat suitability and occupancy is essential to effectively manage species. Suitability maps help managers identify areas that meet the needs of wildlife, locate potential movement corridors, and predict how species' ranges might shift with changing climate. Occupancy maps are critical tools to ensure that a species of interest is found in prospective management areas. Though recent studies have analyzed habitat suitability for giant kangaroo rats (Dipodomys ingens; GKRs), occupancy data is lacking in parts of its range. Satellite imagery was used to detect recent GKR sign across their known range, along with non-invasive methods including manned flights, UAV surveys, sign surveys, and track plates. Satellite surveys returned a range-wide map of GKR occupancy that largely matched habitat suitability estimates, though more area was found to be suitable than is occupied. Manned flights matched trapping and satellite survey data in the areas where the surveys occurred and sign surveys proved to be predictive of giant kangaroo rat occupancy on a site level. Track plates and drone surveys were not successful, though with protocol modifications they likely could be. Findings of this study are designed to assist managers as they make conservation decisions for the GKR.
Ecology and Conservation of Mammals IV   Student Paper