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Foraging-predator avoidance trade-offs made by migrant and resident elk (Cervus elaphus) on their sympatric winter range Open Access


Other title
partial migration
foraging costs
foraging - predator avoidance trade-offs
herbivore functional response
wolf predation risk
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Robinson, Barry Glen
Supervisor and department
Merrill, Evelyn (Biological Sciences)
Examining committee member and department
Hudson, Robert (Renewable Resources)
White, Clifford (Parks Canada)
Cassady St. Clair, Colleen (Biological Sciences)
Department of Biological Sciences

Date accepted
Graduation date
Master of Science
Degree level
Migratory behaviour of the Ya Ha Tinda (YHT) elk population is diminishing while the number of residents remaining on the YHT winter range year-round is increasing. Previous research addressing the fitness consequences of each migratory strategy assumed there was no advantage to either segment when they shared the YHT winter range. In testing this assumption, I found no spatial segregation of migrant and resident home-ranges during winter. Both groups were exposed to similar forage resources and residents were exposed to higher night-time, but not day-time predation risk. Residents were better than migrants at reducing the foraging costs of vigilance and increased vigilance in areas of high wolf predation risk, but not near human activity because of habituation. Migrants were not habituated to humans and exhibited more constant vigilance regardless of spatial variations in risk. My results do not support the previous assumption. Instead, I found residents may be at an advantage on the winter range while forage is abundant and no snow is present.
License granted by Barry Robinson ( on 2009-10-02T16:38:01Z (GMT): Permission is hereby granted to the University of Alberta Libraries to reproduce single copies of this thesis and to lend or sell such copies for private, scholarly or scientific research purposes only. Where the thesis is converted to, or otherwise made available in digital form, the University of Alberta will advise potential users of the thesis of the above terms. The author reserves all other publication and other rights in association with the copyright in the thesis, and except as herein provided, neither the thesis nor any substantial portion thereof may be printed or otherwise reproduced in any material form whatsoever without the author's prior written permission.
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