Biodiversity • Three levels • Genetic, species, & community/ecosystem • All connected, all important • Important for ecological reasons: food, waste decomp., oxygen, cleans enviro • Economically important: forestry, hunting, fishing, hiking, biking, boating
Biodiversity • What’s here now isn’t exactly what has always been here • 1600s marked change from natives to nonnatives • Vertes & plants are only 17% of PA species
Ecosystem Diversity • Forests • Young & old are rare • Grassland & Herbaceous Openings • Only 26% of PA • Mostly human created • Barrens • Gravel/rock outcrops • Subterrain • Wetlands • Aquatic • Urban & Suburban
Habitat • Where animal lives • Four components: food, water, shelter, space • Limiting factors- regulates a population size and prevents a population from growing • Carrying capacity- the number of animals of one or more species a habitat can support at a given time.
Succession • gradual, progressive, natural “aging” of an ecosystem • Fields forest edge deciduous forest
Foundations for Life • Soil • Climate & Weather • Sunlight & Heat • Water • Air • Biotic Zones • Food • Space • Shelter • Water
Why Populations Change • Natality- production of new individuals • Mortality- loss of individuals • Immigration- moving in • Emigration- moving out
Population Characteristics • High producers, short lives- birds, rabbits, mice; high repro rate, low space; high mortality • Medium producers, medium lives- ducks & geese; medium repro, more space, mid-level mortality • Low producers, long lives- deer, bear, large mammals; low repro, lots of space, low mortality
Harvesting • Tool for managing populations near carrying capacity • Works well if all factors are monitored • If mortality suddenly increases, harvesting can be problematic
Steps to Management • Determine distribution & habitats • Determine quality of animals in habitat • Manage population, habitat, or both • Help threatened and endangered species • Establish management areas/refuges
Skulls • Teeth and eyes give clues to niche • Teeth • Incisors- sharp, but flat; cut and snip • Canines- pointed and conical; pierce, hold, tear • Pre-molars- crush or slice • Molars- flat to grind, or serrated to cut • Milk teeth= deciduous because they fall out
More Teeth • Carnivores- incisors are small & sharp, well-developed canines • Herbivores- flat premolars and molars • Rodents (and cottontails)- incisors continuously grow on upper and lower jaw; gap behind incisors called diastema • Ruminants- multiple stomachs, chew cud; incisors only on one jaw • Perissodactyls or odd-toed ungulates- incisors and canines • Onmivores- variety of teeth
Eyes • Prey- eyes on side of head, gives good view to sides to spot predators • Predators- eyes face forward to give good depth perception & visual acuity
Aging Deer Jaws • http://www.envirothonpa.org/documents/Agingdeerjawbones.pdf
Deer Management • Not just about big deer, hunting, out hunting last year • Health of heard is important, balance in ecosystem • Adaptive management starts by establishing clear and measurable objectives, then implementing management actions, monitoring those management actions and whether they achieved the objectives, and adaptingpolicy and management actions as necessary.
Deer Management Goals • Healthy heard • Human/deer conflicts • Habitat impacts • Provide recreational opportunity • Promote public knowledge
Deer Info • Food needs depend on sex, season, & age • Northern hardwood, mixed oak support most deer • Pole timber support no deer • For sustainable hunting, population must be 50-60% below carrying capacity • Healthy deer can fast for weeks • Cover is most important in bad winters
Chronic Wasting Disease • affects the brain and nervous system of infected cervids • 2012 a captive deer; Fall 2013 three free range from 2012 harvest were identified, and 1 road killed buck in 2013 • Management- targeted sampling, don’t group feed, don’t transport carcasses, don’t shoot sick deer, cleanliness • Spread direct and indirect • Symptoms- emaciation, drooling • Spread began in midwest
Hunter Safety • Do not shoot, handle or consume any animal that is acting abnormally or appears to be sick. Contact your state game and fish department if you see or harvest an animal that appears sick. Wear latex or rubber gloves when field dressing your deer or elk.Bone out the meat from your animal. Don't saw through bone, and avoid cutting through the brain or spinal cord (backbone). Minimize the handling of brain and spinal tissues. Wash hands and instruments thoroughly after field dressing is completed. Avoid consuming brain, spinal cord, eyes, spleen, tonsils and lymph nodes of harvested animals. (Normal field dressing coupled with boningout a carcass will remove most, if not all, of these body parts. Cuttingaway all fatty tissue will remove remaining lymph nodes.) Avoid consuming the meat from any animal that tests positive for the disease. If you have your deer or elk commercially processed, request that your animal is processed individually, without meat from other animals being added to meat from your animal.
White Nose Syndrome • White fungus on nose, wakes bats, sapping energy, hibernation ceases early • Found 2006-07 in New York, now spread to Oklahoma • 90-100% of bats dead in hibernacula • Still working to ID spread, source, and cause • Report bats
Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease (EHD) • A virus • Most common deer disease • Transmitted by biting midges • More likely in warm weather • Lethargic, lame, unresponsive, blue tongues, stop drinking, bloody discharge • Not harmful to humans, but increases chance of secondary infections that may be • Frequent exposure allows immunity to develop • Frost kills midges, ending outbreaks, and increases chance of outbreaks in warm places • Affects other hoofed mammals, but not as severely