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Ecology and management of white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) and mule deer (O. hemionus) of east-central Alberta in relation to chronic wasting disease Open Access


Other title
mule deer
aerial surveys
white-tailed deer
chronic wasting disease
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Habib, Thomas J
Supervisor and department
Merrill, Evelyn (Biological Sciences)
Examining committee member and department
Hudson, Robert (Renewable Resources)
Lewis, Mark (Mathematical and Statistical Sciences)
Department of Biological Sciences

Date accepted
Graduation date
Master of Science
Degree level
Chronic wasting disease (CWD) is a fatal pathogen affecting white-tailed and mule deer in east-central Alberta, and I addressed two current limitations of CWD management. First, to improve precision and accuracy of density estimates obtained from aerial surveys, I evaluated alternative survey designs and developed a model to correct for undetected deer due to low snow cover, small group sizes, and deer inactivity. Surveys stratified by resource selection functions showed the greatest improvement in precision compared to currently employed designs. Second, I addressed how density and landscape features affect contact rates among deer, a major component of CWD transmission. Contact rates increased as a saturating function of density, and were highest in regions where deer habitat was limited. My results will allow managers to better plan and evaluate management actions such as herd reductions, and underscore the need for developing spatially-explicit models to understand CWD spread in heterogeneous environments.
License granted by Thomas Habib ( on 2010-07-10T18:08:48Z (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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