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Monday, April 9 • 4:30pm - 4:45pm
SYMPOSIA-04: When It’s Too Hot to Eat: Moose Alter Movement Behavior and Diet in Response to Changing Landscapes and Climate

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AUTHORS: James D. Forester*, John Berini – University of Minnesota

ABSTRACT: Wildlife species are increasingly exposed to novel combinations of climate and resource heterogeneity. Understanding how animal populations at the edge of their bioclimatic ranges behaviorally mitigate extreme temperatures while also efficiently extracting resources and avoiding predators will provide insights into how landscapes can be managed for species of conservation concern. Here, we explored the impact of land cover and ambient temperature on the movement behavior and diet of individual moose in northeastern Minnesota. We analyzed the stable isotope composition of common forage plants and hair of 150 radio-collared moose to estimate how the animals’ diets changed in response to the landscape-level distribution and abundance of land-cover types across a 6° C mean summer temperature gradient. Stable isotopic compositions of moose hair showed strong spatial gradients that were not explained by changes in forage availability. These patterns were linked to differences in land-cover compositions within animal home ranges as well as strong patterns of resource selection that changed in response to ambient temperature. Our results suggest that manipulating the size and arrangement of different land-cover types and forest stand ages can have important population-level effects on moose populations at the edge of their bioclimatic range.

Monday April 9, 2018 4:30pm - 4:45pm CDT
Adams Room