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dc.contributor.advisorMessier, Françoisen_US
dc.creatorHwang, Yeen Tenen_US
dc.date.accessioned2005-05-12T10:00:06Zen_US
dc.date.accessioned2013-01-04T04:30:44Z
dc.date.available2006-05-12T08:00:00Zen_US
dc.date.available2013-01-04T04:30:44Z
dc.date.created2005-05en_US
dc.date.issued2005-05-10en_US
dc.date.submittedMay 2005en_US
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/10388/etd-05122005-100006en_US
dc.description.abstractThe principle objective of this investigation was to develop an understanding of the physiological response and ecological aspects of winter torpor of small carnivores, specifically striped skunks (Mephitis mephitis) in the northern environment. An experiment was undertaken to investigate the physiological response of skunks to solitary and communal over-winter strategies. Solitary skunks were able to undergo daily torpor to conserve energy to survive the winter, whereas communal skunks were able to use social huddling to reduce energy expenditure and rarely entered torpor. Due to seasonal changes in life requirements, den selection criteria change throughout the year. I examined the landscape metrics and habitat characteristics surrounding dens to evaluate the hierarchical selection and use of dens during winter (i.e., for torpor) and summer (i.e., for parturition). Den structures commonly used for winter dens were buildings, whereas den structures used for maternity dens were rockpiles and underground burrows. Habitat surrounding den sites influenced den use; animals chose den sites closer to roads, water sources, habitat edges, and crop fields. Seasonal movements of skunks from winter dens to the following summer home ranges were examined with respect to winter grouping (i.e., solitary or communal) and winter den structure (i.e., underground burrow or building) to investigate factors that influence spatial distribution of skunks. Male and female skunks moved similar distances (~1.5 km) from winter dens to the center of home ranges established in summer, irrespective of winter grouping status and winter den structure use. Due to limited movement in spring, skunks from communal winter dens had higher spatial overlap of summer home ranges than did skunks from solitary dens, producing spatial aggregation of skunk activities surrounding winter communal den sites. Consequently, winter communal dens represent localized “hotspots” in the landscape. The effects of extrinsic variables (i.e., environment and diseases) and intrinsic characteristics (i.e., age, gender, and body condition) on cumulative winter survival rate were examined. Winter survival rates were driven mostly by winter condition (i.e., low ambient temperature and snow depth), rabies, and body condition. These results suggest that winter severity probably poses a limit on the northern distribution of the species.en_US
dc.language.isoen_USen_US
dc.subjectbody temperatureen_US
dc.subjecttorporen_US
dc.subjectmovement patternsen_US
dc.subjectrabiesen_US
dc.subjectcause-specific mortalityen_US
dc.subjectwinter severityen_US
dc.subjectbody conditionen_US
dc.subjectspatial hotspotsen_US
dc.subjectstriped skunksen_US
dc.subjectMephitis mephitisen_US
dc.subjectcommunal denen_US
dc.subjectsurvivalen_US
dc.subjectden selectionen_US
dc.subjecthabitat selectionen_US
dc.titlePhysiological and ecological aspects of winter torpor in captive and free-ranging striped skunksen_US
thesis.degree.departmentBiologyen_US
thesis.degree.disciplineBiologyen_US
thesis.degree.grantorUniversity of Saskatchewanen_US
thesis.degree.levelDoctoralen_US
thesis.degree.nameDoctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)en_US
dc.type.materialtexten_US
dc.type.genreThesisen_US
dc.contributor.committeeMemberWobeser, Gary A.en_US
dc.contributor.committeeMemberLarivière, Sergeen_US
dc.contributor.committeeMemberClark, Robert G.en_US
dc.contributor.committeeMemberChivers, Douglas P.en_US


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