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Population genetics, foraging ecology, and trophic relationships of grey wolves in central Saskatchewan

dc.contributor.advisorMessier, Françoisen_US
dc.contributor.committeeMemberShury, Todden_US
dc.contributor.committeeMemberPaquet, Paulen_US
dc.contributor.committeeMemberHobson, Keith A.en_US
dc.contributor.committeeMemberGillott, Cedricen_US
dc.creatorUrton, Erin Jaime Moiraen_US 2004en_US
dc.description.abstractHabitat fragmentation and anthropogenic development influence the level of isolation and security in and around protected habitats affecting wolf movements and the distribution and abundance of their prey. In light of recent concern about the ecology of animals in protected areas, I initiated a research project to investigate the molecular and foraging ecology of grey wolves in and around Prince Albert National Park (PANP), Saskatchewan. Estimates of genetic diversity and population structure can be used as surrogates to detect effects of habitat degradation on wolves. Genetic diversity was high in these populations relative to other North American wolf populations. My results suggest that wolves in central Saskatchewan form a panmictic population, however there is some evidence showing partial isolation of one group of wolves within PANP. I speculate that the level of human activity such as road networks, hunting, and trapping act as dispersal impediments to this isolated group. Further, the genetic homogenization, indicating high population turnover, of wolf groups that use the periphery and adjacent areas of PANP may also contribute to the observed genetic subdivision. The partially isolated NW group, characterized by slightly lower diversity indices, low migration rates, and higher levels of allele fixation, indicated this group was a more stable social unit comprised of more related individuals.Knowledge of wolf food habits and how they change over time is a fundamental component to understanding wolf ecology. Using scat analysis I evaluated wolf foraging ecology by calculating indices of occurrence/faeces (OF) and percent prey biomass contribution: white tailed deer contributed 43% and 33% respectively to wolf diet; elk (33%, 50%), moose (7%, 14%), beaver (5%, 2%), and snowshoe hare (2%,en_US
dc.subjectindividual specializationen_US
dc.subjectprey selectionen_US
dc.subjectpopulation structureen_US
dc.subjectCanis lupusen_US
dc.titlePopulation genetics, foraging ecology, and trophic relationships of grey wolves in central Saskatchewanen_US
dc.type.materialtexten_US of Saskatchewanen_US of Science (M.Sc.)en_US


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