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Scott Creel

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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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Understanding how animal density is related to pathogen transmission is important to develop effective disease control strategies, but requires measuring density at a scale relevant to transmission. However, this is not straightforward or well-studied among large mammals with group sizes that range several orders of magnitude or aggregation patterns that vary across space and time. To address this issue, we examined spatial variation in elk (Cervus canadensis) aggregation patterns and brucellosis across 10 regions in the Greater Yellowstone Area where previous studies suggest the disease may be increasing. We hypothesized that rates of increasing brucellosis would be better related to the frequency of large groups...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Ecosphere
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Recent technological advances, such as proximity loggers, allow researchers to collect complete interaction histories, day and night, among sampled individuals over several months to years. Social network analyses are an obvious approach to analyzing interaction data because of their flexibility for fitting many different social structures as well as the ability to assess both direct contacts and indirect associations via intermediaries. For many network properties, however, it is not clear whether estimates based upon a sample of the network are reflective of the entire network. In wildlife applications, networks may be poorly sampled and boundary effects will be common. We present an alternative approach that...
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Habitat modifications and supplemental feeding artificially aggregate some wildlife populations, with potential impacts upon contact and parasite transmission rates. Less well recognized, however, is how increased aggregation may affect wildlife physiology. Crowding has been shown to induce stress responses, and increased glucocorticoid (GC) concentrations can reduce immune function and increase disease susceptibility. We investigated the effects of supplemental feeding and the aggregation that it induces on behavior and fecal glucocorticoid metabolite concentrations (fGCM) in elk (Cervus elaphus) using observational and experimental approaches. We first compared fGCM levels of elk on supplemental feedgrounds to...
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