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Monday, April 9 • 5:30pm - 7:00pm
POSTER: A Guide to Campus Squirrels

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AUTHORS: Joy Peplinski*, Joel S. Brown – University of Illinois at Chicago

ABSTRACT: Squirrels, adored or resented, are a noteworthy part of the campus landscape for most colleges and universities in North America. Faculty experts from 500 institutions of higher learning across the continental United States and Canada contributed data on the presence of species in Family Sciuridae -- tree squirrels, ground squirrels, chipmunks, prairie dogs, flying squirrels, and marmots. Campuses do have squirrels! Thus far only 18 campuses have reported no squirrels; at the other extreme, one university reported up to 14 species. Certain combinations of species are more common than others. Of 76 possible sciurid species, 43 occur on campuses. All 13 genera have at least one representative species on at least one campus. Eastern gray squirrels, Sciurus carolinensis, and Eastern fox squirrels, S. niger, are the most common campus species. The Eastern chipmunk (Tamias striatus) is a close 3rd, with the American red squirrel (Tamaisciurus hudsonicus) and woodchuck (Marmota monax) rounding out the top five most common campus species. In general, most sciurid species are under-represented on campuses compared to their general range and therefore potential occurrence. Species absence is on occasion attributable to active (human) control, while in most cases it appears that squirrels are an incidental emergent property of a campus’s habitats, hazards, and opportunities. We consider which landscape and community characteristics of campuses typically accommodate some species while deterring or excluding others. Competitive exclusion between sciurid species is probable in many cases. Species profiles between campuses are analyzed in regards to geographic location, institution funding model, campus size, student body size, elevation, surrounding land use/ecosystem, and historical land use/ecosystem.

Monday April 9, 2018 5:30pm - 7:00pm CDT
Monroe Room

Attendees (2)