Presentation Title

Grey skies means grey squirrels: How temperature influences the ground activity of California native arboreal tree species

Faculty Mentor

Peter Nonacs

Start Date

23-11-2019 8:00 AM

End Date

23-11-2019 8:45 AM

Location

85

Session

poster 1

Type of Presentation

Poster

Subject Area

biological_agricultural_sciences

Abstract

The western grey squirrel (Sciurus griseus) is heavily reliant on mixed conifer and oak woodlands with high canopy connectivity. Canopy connectivity describes the level at which the trees in the habitat are interconnected within a network over a large area. S.griseus uses these above-ground pathways created by these networks for extensive arboreal travel. In California, S.griseus populations have been pushed from human dense cities to more rural areas at higher elevations. This shift may be due in part to a rise in extensive habitat fragmentation associated with urbanization minimizing canopy connectivity. Gaining a better understanding of how this species utilizes its ground and arboreal habitat is critical for the development of comprehensive management plans to conserve the remaining populations. From April through September 2019 we trapped a population of S.griseus living in a remote part of the San Bernardino National Forest and measured the extent to which temperature influenced the number of individuals captured. We had or 39 captures over 29 trapping days. The results of this work demonstrated that temperature did play a significant role in trapping success, such that, as the temperature increased the number of captured squirrels decreased (p-value = 0.00818). With every increase in degree in temperature, the likelihood of capture decreased by 21.2%. The time of year may be closely associated with temperature patterns thus it may be the case that increased temperature is not the cause of decreased trapping success, but a proxy for a larger behavioral cycle (i.e. breeding) associated with particular months. This work illuminates the possible importance of time of year in the canopy versus ground activity patterns of western grey squirrels. Future work should now focus on quantifying breeding and food-storing patterns that may be closely correlated with time of year.

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Nov 23rd, 8:00 AM Nov 23rd, 8:45 AM

Grey skies means grey squirrels: How temperature influences the ground activity of California native arboreal tree species

85

The western grey squirrel (Sciurus griseus) is heavily reliant on mixed conifer and oak woodlands with high canopy connectivity. Canopy connectivity describes the level at which the trees in the habitat are interconnected within a network over a large area. S.griseus uses these above-ground pathways created by these networks for extensive arboreal travel. In California, S.griseus populations have been pushed from human dense cities to more rural areas at higher elevations. This shift may be due in part to a rise in extensive habitat fragmentation associated with urbanization minimizing canopy connectivity. Gaining a better understanding of how this species utilizes its ground and arboreal habitat is critical for the development of comprehensive management plans to conserve the remaining populations. From April through September 2019 we trapped a population of S.griseus living in a remote part of the San Bernardino National Forest and measured the extent to which temperature influenced the number of individuals captured. We had or 39 captures over 29 trapping days. The results of this work demonstrated that temperature did play a significant role in trapping success, such that, as the temperature increased the number of captured squirrels decreased (p-value = 0.00818). With every increase in degree in temperature, the likelihood of capture decreased by 21.2%. The time of year may be closely associated with temperature patterns thus it may be the case that increased temperature is not the cause of decreased trapping success, but a proxy for a larger behavioral cycle (i.e. breeding) associated with particular months. This work illuminates the possible importance of time of year in the canopy versus ground activity patterns of western grey squirrels. Future work should now focus on quantifying breeding and food-storing patterns that may be closely correlated with time of year.