Wetland Ecology and Muskrat Population Dynamics

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Description: http://www.eeob.iastate.edu/faculty/ClarkW/html/Mike_trapping.JPG

Beginning in 2008, Mike Ervin (M.S. student) and I collaborated with researchers from DucksUnlimited Canada, Institute for Wetland and Waterfowl Research, and the University of Manitoba to study the effects of altered hydrology and water level management on aquatic vegetation, water chemistry, muskrats, and water birds in the Saskatchewan River Delta. SRD is the largest inland delta in North America and one of the most productive wetland landscapes in North America, but it has also been substantially altered by hydroelectric developments. It is a complex system with slow decomposition rates, floating mats of vegetation, and a long tradition of furbearer trapping by local people. Graduate students face daily challenges keeping airboats running in these remote wetlands, while slapping mosquitoes!

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We recently completed analyses using remotely-sensed imagery that revealed the effects of the drawdown on the vegetation patterns in the SRD.

Prior to SRD I was involved in the Marsh Ecology Research Project (MERP), which was designed to understand the ecological relationships between water levels, nutrient cycles, successional dynamics of vegetation, and animal population responses in prairie wetlands. We worked on muskrat habitat selection, population dynamics, and density-dependent processes, based on recapture studies. The MERP studies were summarized in a book published by the Iowa State Press (see Publications).

Update 11/02/2012