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Getting to the root of the matter: grizzly bears and alpine sweetvetch in west-central Alberta, Canada Open Access


Other title
spatial variation
Pacific Decadal Oscillation
alpine sweetvetch
crude protein
Ursus arctos
nutritional landscape
grizzly bear
functional response
sexual dimorphism
habitat segregation
temporal variation
consumer-resource dynamics
Hedysarum alpinum
resource selection
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Coogan, Sean C P
Supervisor and department
Nielsen, Scott (Renewable Resources)
Examining committee member and department
Hik, David (Biological Sciences)
Derocher, Andrew (Biological Sciences)
Department of Renewable Resources
Wildlife Ecology and Management
Date accepted
Graduation date
Master of Science
Degree level
Wildlife habitat selection is influenced by gender, offspring-dependency, resource availability, and spatiotemporal variation in resource nutrition. In consideration of these factors, this thesis examines alpine sweetvetch (Hedysarum alpinum) root and its relationship to grizzly bears (Ursus arctos) in west-central Alberta, Canada. I observed sexually segregated, offspring-dependent functional responses in selection for sweetvetch habitat that was further affected by inter-annual patterns in spring climate (i.e., Pacific Decadal Oscillation). Selection patterns suggested that habitat segregation was due to differences in nutritional requirements between sexes and offspring predation risk. Nutritional analyses of roots indicated that temporal patterns in protein content were influenced by spatial variations in temperature and soil. This spatiotemporal heterogeneity benefits grizzly bears by prolonging the availability of nutritious roots, and may explain why sweetvetch habitats in the mountains were relied upon throughout the spring and how bears could rely on a root digging (habitat) strategy.
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 these terms. The author reserves all other publication and other rights in association with the copyright in the thesis and, except as herein before 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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