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Wolverine ecology and conservation in the Western United States

Inman, Robert Michael (2013). Wolverine ecology and conservation in the Western United States. Diss. (sammanfattning/summary) Uppsala : Sveriges lantbruksuniv., Acta Universitatis Agriculturae Sueciae, 1652-6880 ; 2013:4
ISBN 978-91-576-7761-7
[Doctoral thesis]

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Successful conservation of rare species requires an understanding of the niche, knowledge of the scale over which a viable population exists, and a system that provides adequate funding to take the necessary actions. I radio-marked wolverines in the Yellowstone Ecosystem and examined spatial ecology and reproductive chronology from an evolutionary perspective to better define the wolverine niche. I used a resource selection function to map habitat suitable for survival, reproduction, and dispersal; make a rough estimate of population capacity; and develop conservation priorities at the metapopulation scale. I developed an index of metapopulation dispersal potential to identify areas most valuable for connectivity and discuss the steps needed to conserve wolverines through the 21st century. Wolverines were limited to high elevations where temperatures were low, structure was abundant, and deep snow exists during winter. Persistence in these relatively unproductive habitats required large home ranges that were regularly patrolled, a social system that provided exclusive access to resources, low densities, and low reproductive rates. These characteristics are prevalent across the species range, suggesting wolverines are adapted to exploit a cold, low-productivity niche. Caching during all seasons in cold, structured microsites to inhibit competition with insects, bacteria, and other scavengers is likely a critical behavioral adaptation. Habitat features that facilitate caching/refrigeration may be crucial for reproductive success and distribution. In the western U.S., primary wolverine habitat exists in island-like fashion and is capable of holding an estimated 580 wolverines distributed across a 10 state area. I estimated current population size to be approximately half of capacity. Wolverines exist as a small, inherently vulnerable metapopulation that is dependent on successful dispersal over a vast geographic scale. Priority conservation actions include: 1) maintaining connectivity, particularly in the Central Linkage Region of western Montana; 2) restoration to areas of historical distribution that are robust to climate change, e.g., Colorado; and 3) development of a collaborative, multi-state/province monitoring program. These actions will require significant funding. The viability of the wolverine in the contiguous United States, a candidate endangered species threatened by indirect, habitat-related impacts caused by all of society, depends on a fundamental shift in the way conservation of non-game wildlife and habitat are financed.

Authors/Creators:Inman, Robert Michael
Title:Wolverine ecology and conservation in the Western United States
Series Name/Journal:Acta Universitatis Agriculturae Sueciae
Year of publishing :2013
Number of Pages:48
I.Inman, R.M., M.L. Packila, K.H. Inman, A.J. McCue, G.C. White, J. Persson, B.C. Aber, M.L. Orme, K.L. Alt, S.L. Cain, J.A. Fredrick, B.J. Oakleaf, and S.S Sartorius. 2012. Spatial ecology of wolverines at the southern periphery of distribution. Journal of Wildlife Management 76(4): 778–792.
II.Inman, R.M., A.J. Magoun, J. Persson, and J. Mattisson. 2012. The wolverine's niche: Linking reproductive chronology, caching, competition, and climate. Journal of Mammalogy 93(3):634–644.
III.Inman, R.M., B.L. Brock, K.H. Inman, S.S Sartorius, B.C. Aber, B. Giddings, S.L. Cain, M.L. Orme, J.A. Fredrick, B.J. Oakleaf, K.L. Alt, E. Odell, and G. Chapron. Developing a spatial framework and conservation priorities for a wolverine metapopulation. (Manuscript).
IV.Inman, R.M., S. Bergen, and J. Beckmann. Wildlife as public domain: Endangered status, connectivity, and critical habitat of the wolverine. (Manuscript).
Place of Publication:Uppsala
Publisher:Dept. of Ecology, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences
ISBN for printed version:978-91-576-7761-7
Publication Type:Doctoral thesis
Full Text Status:Public
Agris subject categories.:L Animal production > L20 Animal ecology
P Natural resources > P01 Nature conservation and land resources
Subjects:(A) Swedish standard research categories 2011 > 1 Natural sciences > 106 Biological Sciences (Medical to be 3 and Agricultural to be 4) > Zoology
(A) Swedish standard research categories 2011 > 1 Natural sciences > 106 Biological Sciences (Medical to be 3 and Agricultural to be 4) > Ecology
Agrovoc terms:mustelidae, endangered species, animal population, geographical distribution, population dynamics, habitats, wildlife management, western states (usa)
Keywords:wolverine, yellowstone, metapopulation
Permanent URL:
ID Code:9368
Department:(NL, NJ) > Dept. of Ecology
(S) > Dept. of Ecology
Deposited By: Robert Michael Inman
Deposited On:07 Jan 2013 09:21
Metadata Last Modified:02 Dec 2014 10:54

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