Usage
  • 13 views
  • 575 downloads

Fecal Pellet Counts as a Technique for Monitoring an Alpine-Dwelling Social Rodent, the Hoary Marmot (Marmota caligata)

  • Author(s) / Creator(s)
  • We evaluated fecal pellet counts as an index of hoary marmot (Marmota caligata) social group size in order to develop a simple, inexpensive method for monitoring population change of a widely distributed, but poorly studied alpine mammal. Fecal pellet counts were conducted in three separate seasons along several 2 in X 100 in transects located parallel to and 10, 20, and 30 in from the edge of alpine boulderfields (talus) occupied by marmots. Marmot activity and location relative to talus was also determined to assess the proportion of time spent foraging as a function of distance from refuge. Marmots spent 74% of their activities in meadows at a mean distance of 11.6 in from talus, and activity in meadows declined with increasing distance from talus, as did fecal pellet counts. Fecal counts at 10 in from the edge of talus were strongly and linearly related (r(2) = 0.89) to marmot abundance. The functional equation of marmot abundance predicted marmot abundance in five independent social groups within 17% of the observed group size. Fecal pellet counts appear to provide a precise index of marmot group size suitable for long-term monitoring of population change.

  • Date created
    2004
  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Type of Item
    Article (Published)
  • DOI
    https://doi.org/10.7939/R3ZC7RX06
  • License
    © 2004 Regents of the University of Colorado. This version of this article is open access and can be downloaded and shared. The original author(s) and source must be cited.
  • Language
  • Citation for previous publication
    • Karels, T.J., Koppel, L. & Hik, D.S. (2004). Fecal Pellet Counts as a Technique for Monitoring an Alpine-Dwelling Social Rodent, the Hoary Marmot (Marmota caligata). Arctic, Antarctic, and Alpine Research, 36(4), 490-494.