IMPACT OF URBAN-SUBURBAN LANDSCAPE CONVERSION ON CANID SPECIES PRESENCE IN THE SIERRA NEVADA FOOTHILLS.
Amanda E. Coen; UC Davis; One Shields Avenue, Davis, CA, 95616; (818) 324-0207; aecoen@ucdavis.edu; Andrea M. Schreier, Benjamin N. Sacks
Human-altered environments have been shown to influence how animals utilize space. Landscape conversion, especially expansion of urban and suburban settings, are known to have complex impacts on wildlife populations, particularly for mammalian carnivores. The lower Sierra Nevada Foothills region has recently experienced increased landscape conversion along with human population expansion. We investigated the distribution of gray fox (Urocyon cinereoargenteus) and coyotes (Canis latrans), two locally common species, to examine the predicted influence of human-altered landscapes on species presence. From 2014-2017, we systematically collected a total of 576 scat samples along predetermined ground transects. Using mitochondrial DNA, we were able to identify samples to species resulting in 218 samples as originating from gray fox and 139 from coyotes. We then produced a predictive Maximum Entropy (MaxEnt) habitat model to examine species presence relative to various environmental variables, including human-land use type. Here we present preliminary results regarding the impacts human-altered landscapes have on the predicted species presence of these two carnivores.
Ecology and Conservation of Mammals III   Student Paper