Progress 07/01/09 to 06/30/11
OUTPUTS: This project provided supplemental funding to support contributions of volunteers to the primary project: eastern gray squirrel ecology and interactions with western gray squirrels in the South Puget Sound Region. The final report for the primary project (WNZ-1287) is given below: Fieldwork on this project has concluded. Analyses and writing of a doctoral dissertation is underway. The dissertation defense is scheduled for January 2013. Resource managers at the Ft. Lewis military reservation in south Puget Sound were regularly apprised of study progress. Reports of work "in progress" for this project were given at several scientific meetings as detailed below. Results of this study were also given at seminars and public presentations at the University of Washington. PARTICIPANTS: Collaborators at the University of Washington included: Dr. John Marzluff: UW faculty colleague and graduate committee member. Dr. Joshua Lawler: UW faculty colleague and graduate committee member. Dr. Christian Grue: UW faculty colleague and Director of the Washington Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit. Aaron Johnston, Ph.C.: graduate student supported by the project. Collaborating individuals outside the University of Washington included: Dr. Mathew Vander Haegen, Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife: graduate committee member. Collaborating organizations included: Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife. Washington Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit. School of Environmental and Forest Sciences, University of Washington. Pacific Northwest Cooperative Ecosystem Studies Unit. The Wildlife Society, Washington Chapter. TARGET AUDIENCES: Because this study dealt with a threatened (western gray squirrel) and a highly invasive species (eastern gray squirrel), forest landowners, forest resource managers, agency biologists, and wildlife managers will be interested in the results of the study. Also, the general public will benefit from the information this study provided in helping maintain our native biodiversity. PROJECT MODIFICATIONS: We added an investigation of the competitive relationship between the eastern gray squirrel and the native Douglas's squirrel. Incidental observations indicated that the eastern gray squirrels might have been excluding Douglas's squirrels from useable habitat, so we radio-tagged several Douglas's squirrels to document their movements into eastern gray squirrel territories after we removed the eastern gray squirrels as part of the primary investigation into competitive relations between the western and eastern gray squirrels.
The western gray squirrel (Sciurus griseus) is a threatened species in Washington State. The reasons for its decline are not understood fully, although habitat modification, illegal hunting, and competition with introduced eastern gray squirrels (Sciurus carolinensis) in suburban areas are implicated factors. We experimentally removed eastern gray squirrels from selected sites on the Ft. Lewis-McChord military base to evaluate competitive effects on western gray squirrels based on subsequent behavioral interactions, resource use, spatial partitioning, and differences in reproduction, survival, and mass. Fieldwork over the past year has increased the sample size of radio-collared squirrels and the power of statistical contrasts. Work describing fungi in the diets of western and eastern gray squirrels continued. Preliminary analyses indicated low spatial overlap of the two squirrel species with eastern gray squirrels using riparian areas almost exclusively and western gray squirrels predominantly using uplands. Upon completion of the doctoral dissertation, chapters will be submitted for publication in appropriate journals.
- Johnston, A.N., S.D. West, and W.M. Vander Haegen. 2012. Competition between eastern and western gray squirrels in the Puget Lowlands, WA. Program abstracts, The International Colloquium for Arboreal Squirrels. February 2012, Kyoto, Japan.
- Johnston, A.N., S.D. West, and W.M. Vander Haegen. 2012. Competition between eastern and western gray squirrels in the Puget Lowlands, WA. Program abstracts, annual meeting of the American Society of Mammalogists, June 2012, Reno, NV.
- Johnston, A.N. 2011. Competition between eastern and western gray squirrels in the Puget Lowlands. Program abstracts, annual meeting of the American Society of Mammalogists, 24-28 June, Portland, OR.
- Johnston, A.N. 2011. Competition between eastern and western gray squirrels in the Puget Lowlands. Program abstracts, annual meeting of the Washington Chapter of The Wildlife Society and the Society for Northwestern Vertebrate Biology, 23-25 March, Gig Harbor, Washington.
- Johnston, A.N. 2010. Eastern gray squirrel interactions with western gray squirrels. Program abstracts, annual meeting of the Washington Chapter of The Wildlife Society, 16-19 February, Marysville, Washington.
Progress 10/01/07 to 10/01/08
OUTPUTS: This project augments the travel, equipment, and supplies budgets of the project, "Eastern gray squirrel ecology and interactions with western gray squirrels in the South Puget Sound region (WNZ-1287)." The western gray squirrel is a threatened species in Washington State. Introduced eastern gray squirrels have displaced native tree squirrels elsewhere and may be a serious threat to western gray squirrels in the Puget Trough. The objective of this study is to describe the ecology of the eastern gray squirrel and its interactions with western gray squirrels on Fort Lewis, WA. We will employ an experimental design to describe the ecology of eastern and western gray squirrels by comparing population parameters, habitat use, and other ecological metrics between areas where eastern and western gray squirrels coexist and areas where eastern gray squirrels have been removed. A graduate student was selected to conduct the fieldwork and the first cohort of eastern gray squirrels was radio-collared and records of their use of habitat initiated. PARTICIPANTS: Aaron Johnston, University of Washington graduate student; Stephen West, Professor, University of Washington, Mathew Vander Haegen, Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife TARGET AUDIENCES: Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife biologists and managers, land managers at Ft. Lewis, Washington PROJECT MODIFICATIONS: Nothing significant to report during this reporting period.
This project will help assess the potential negative effects of introduced eastern gray squirrels on western gray squirrels. Results will be incorporated in management plans for the enhancement of western gray squirrel populations where eastern gray squirrels co-occur.
- No publications reported this period