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Brandon M. Scurlock

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Several elk herds in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem are fed during winter to alleviate interactions with livestock, reduce damage to stored crops, and to manage for high elk numbers. The effects of supplemental feeding on ungulate population dynamics has rarely been examined, despite the fact that supplemental feeding is partially justified as necessary for maintaining or enhancing population growth rates. We used linear regression to assess how the presence of feedgrounds, snowpack, summer rainfall, indices of grizzly bear density and wolves per elk, elk population trend counts, brucellosis seroprevalence, and survey date were correlated with midwinter calf:cow ratios, a metric correlated with population growth,...
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Tracking and preventing the spillover of disease from wildlife to livestock can be difficult when rare outbreaks occur across large landscapes. In these cases, broad scale ecological studies could help identify risk factors and patterns of risk to inform management and reduce incidence of disease. Between 2002 and 2014, 21 livestock herds in the Greater Yellowstone Area (GYA) were affected by brucellosis, a bacterial disease caused by Brucella abortus, while no affected herds were detected between 1990 and 2001. Using a Bayesian analysis, we examined several ecological covariates that may be associated with affected livestock herds across the region. We showed that livestock risk has been increasing over time and...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: PLoS ONE
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High seroprevalance for Brucella abortus among elk on Wyoming feedgrounds suggests that supplemental feeding may influence parasite transmission and disease dynamics by altering the rate at which elk contact infectious materials in their environment. We used proximity loggers and video cameras to estimate rates of elk-to-fetus contact (the primary source of brucellosis transmission) during winter supplemental feeding. We compared contact rates during high-density and low-density (LD) feeding treatments that provided the same total amount of food distributed over different areas. Low-density feeding led to >70% reductions in total number of contacts and number of individuals contacting a fetus. Proximity loggers...
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Abstract. It is increasingly common for studies of animal ecology to use model-based predictions of environmental variables as explanatory or predictor variables, even though model prediction uncertainty is typically unknown. To demonstrate the potential for misleading inferences when model predictions with error are used in place of direct measurements, we compared snow water equivalent (SWE) and snow depth as predicted by the Snow Data Assimilation System (SNODAS) to field measurements of SWE and snow depth. We examined locations on elk (Cervus canadensis) winter ranges in western Wyoming, because modeled data such as SNODAS output are often used for inferences on elk ecology. Overall, SNODAS predictions tended...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Ecological Applications
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Demonstrating disease impacts on the vital rates of free‐ranging mammalian hosts typically requires intensive, long‐term study. Evidence for chronic pathogens affecting reproduction but not survival is rare, but has the potential for wide‐ranging effects. Accurately quantifying disease‐associated reductions in fecundity is important for advancing theory, generating accurate predictive models, and achieving effective management. We investigated the impacts of brucellosis (Brucella abortus) on elk (Cervus canadensis) productivity using serological data from over 6,000 captures since 1990 in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, USA. Over 1,000 of these records included known age and pregnancy status. Using Bayesian multilevel...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Ecology and Evolution
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