Welcome to the May edition of Tracks. We would like to welcome our newest researcher to Grizzly-PAW, Bethany Arndt. Bethany, a recent graduate from UNBC and an NSERC scholarship winner, joined Grizzly-PAW in May and will be researching Q3A.4 under the direction of Nicholas Coops. With Bethany joining Grizzly-PAW, we now have our full complement of researchers.
We have requested to restructure the Grizzly-PAW project due to concerns about meeting in-kind support commitments in the future. To date, most of the responses from our industrial partners have been positive. With only a couple more to approve, we hope to move ahead with the restructuring this June. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Nicholas Coops, Curtis Marr, or Gord Stenhouse
Ethan continues his snow melt data collection for his research on Q1.2. We thank West Fraser, Westmoreland and 7Generations for contributing time and effort in collecting snow data for us across the region. We are very grateful and this contribution to science could have a long-lasting effect on improving snow melt monitoring in the future. Cam McClelland (Q3A.3) and Bethany Arndt (Q3A.4) will also be in the field for much of the summer to monitor vegetation as part of Cam’s research on bear movement. West Fraser, Westmoreland and 7Generations have also contributed to this effort and will hopefully continue to do so. Their efforts are greatly appreciated and this contribution to science could have a long-lasting effect on improving snow melt monitoring in the future.
Cam McClelland and Bethany Arndt will also be in the field for much of the summer to monitor vegetation as part of Cam’s research on bear movement.
Q1.1 – Eco-Anthromes
Sean Kearney completed his Eco-Anthrome mapping and submitted a manuscript on this topic. He also began his analysis of roads and their impact on grizzly movements.
Q1.2 – Snow Melt Dynamics
Ethan Berman retrieved data from his cameras in Yellowhead and processed SNOWARP for the Yellowhead region for 2000-2017. Based on this, he submitted a manuscript and wrote an outline for the second chapter of his thesis. He also began analysis of the influence of snow on grizzly bear movement.
Q1.3 – Bears and Biodiversity
Using Audacity, Emily Cicon analyzed dawn chorus files to prove data for surrogacy analyses.She also began analyses to compare species richness/planning unit to evaluate whether location or area size are effective for bird conservation.
Q2.1 – Demographics
Sean made revisions to his paper on grizzly bear management, and resubmitted this to the Journal of Applied Ecology. He also published a paper on functional macronutritional generalism in Ecology and Evolution.
He also began preliminary modelling of grizzly bear density in BMA3 using R, and assisted in modelling and quality control of spatial grizzly bear food resource models.
Q2.2 – Food Supply
Chris Souliere completed two more of his academic requirements and continued analysis of his field data collected in 2017. He is also learning tools to implement individual-based modeling.
Q3A.1 – Grizzly Bear Movement and Health
Matthew Bourbonnais completed his thesis revisions for submission. He is expected to be done by July 1, 2018.
Q3A.2 – Bear Movement and Changing Forest Structure
Brandon Prehn completed development of a LiDAR based movement model, completed one course and began writing a manuscript.
Q3A.3 – Phenology of Grizzly Bear Foods and their Relationship to Bear Movement
Cameron McClelland completed two of his courses and created a 30m phenology map of the Yellowhead region. He also planned and installed a network of 10 time-lapse cameras to capture phenology of eight key vegetative food sources for grizzly bears.
Q3B.1 –Physiological Markers – Lucy Kapronczai has left Grizzly-PAW. We plan to restructure this position to hire a PDF to complete the rest of the research objectives.
Brandon Prehn is working on theme 3A – Behaviour at the University of British Columbia. He is investigating the way movement patterns can be related to fine scale changes in vegetation like gaps, openings, and stand structural characteristics. While multispectral remotely sensed datasets are a critical resource in habitat selection analyses – they provide extensive (often total) coverage of regions and allow for characterization of habitat types across home ranges – they are unfortunately limited in their ability to quantify forest structural attributes such as height and canopy cover. Active sensing systems like light detecting and ranging (liDAR) are able to provide spatially accurate, 3-dimensional structural information for large swaths of the landscape. This can provide information like canopy cover, heights of dominant vegetation, as well as information about the density and height of understory vegetation at a fine spatial resolution. Grizzly bears are known to utilize disturbed habitat and forest edges, and Brandon is using these data to quantify edge characteristics and their impacts on movement at a fine (hourly or sub-hourly) scale.
For the first half of his project, Brandon gathered a liDAR dataset acquired by the Government of Alberta ca. 2007 and an fRI-provided GPS telemetry dataset containing the hourly movements of 9 different grizzly bears from 2006-2014. His investigation begins with GPS collar data collected in 2006 (the year consistent, hourly data first became available) and ends in 2014 to limit the noise produced from changing forest conditions over the 7 year interval. Using a step selection function (SSF), he paired grizzly bear relocations (defined as 2 collar locations 1 hour apart) with 4 randomly generated alternative locations from a distribution of observed step lengths and step turn angles to compare used and available habitat in the context of canopy cover, dominant vegetation height, and topographic terrain metrics. Included in Figure 1 are the predictions of one candidate liDAR model, showing relative habitat suitability for daylight hours during late hyperphagia (fall).
Chris Souliere is originally from a small town in Eastern Ontario, sandwiched between Ottawa and Montreal. He attended primary and secondary school in French, but decided to pursue his tertiary studies in English, obtaining his BSc and MSc in Biology at the University of Ottawa and Carleton University, respectively. His interest in the natural world arose partly from growing up amongst the farm fields and forests that make up the Ottawa Valley but also from spending lots of time immersed in books about the natural world – sharks and dinosaurs were his thing back then!
Like many young Canadians, Chris grew up playing hockey. For several years he played competitively but eventually lost interest in favor of golf – he wasn’t that much better. As a fledgling adult, he developed more of an interest in outdoor sports, which naturally lead him to hiking, cycling, skiing, and climbing. He still pursues these activities from time to time. He also flies remote control airplanes and hasn’t learned all that much because they usually end up in the ground.
Not so long ago, Chris spent a couple of years studying birds and radars. He realized, albeit slowly, that few people studied such things, and decided that risking getting mauled by a bear was a better choice in the long run. He hopes his chosen career path eventually works out in his favor.
Engagement and Meetings
The Grizzly-PAW Resource Planning workshop and field day will be held in conjunction with the AGM. We will set the AGM date in the near future, based on the availability of the industrial partners. Expect to see a poll soon.