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Monday, February 6 • 1:40pm - 2:00pm
Technical Session. Home range use and survival of southern flying squirrels in fragmented landscapes

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AUTHORS: Christopher N. Jacques, Department of Biological Sciences, Western Illinois University; James S. Zweep, Department of Biological Sciences, Western Illinois University; Will T. Rechkemmer, Department of Biological Sciences, Western Illinois University; Mary E. Scheihing, Department of Biological Sciences, Western Illinois University; Sean E. Jenkins, Department of Biological Sciences, Western Illinois University; Robert W. Klaver, U.S. Geological Survey, Iowa Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, Iowa State University


ABSTRACT: Home range size is affected by many ecological factors, including population density, climate, distribution and abundance of resources, spacing of individuals, sex, and mating system.  During 2014–2016, we captured and radio-collared 67 adult flying squirrels for use in evaluating summer and winter home range use, spatial activity patterns, and annual survival of SFS in west-central Illinois.  We calculated seasonal and composite 95% kernel-density and 50% core use area estimates for male and female flying squirrels.  Male and female home-range and core-area size were similar among males and females across summer (April–September) and winter (October–March) seasons.  Average distance traveled between consecutive locations during a season did not vary by sex.  Similarly, total distance traveled during a season did not vary by sex or year and ranged from 1189 to 1661 m between summer and winter seasons.  Mean annual composite home ranges for male and female squirrels were 10.49 ha (SE = 1.76) and 10.28 ha (SE = 1.87), respectively; estimated female home ranges are the largest documented for this species.  We documented 8 deaths, all of which were attributed to predation; annual survival was 0.71.  Our results suggest that larger home range size may have been influenced by low availability of preferred habitat (i.e., low densities of mast-producing trees and overstory snags).  Further, seasonal differences in home range overlap provide empirical evidence that despite low habitat productivity, spatial requirements of males and females may have been reflected by the distribution of females and availability of food and nest resources, respectively.  Nevertheless, future research evaluating potential effects of landscape features (e.g., forest patch size, connectivity, distance to forest edges) and interspecific competition on seasonal home range use, movement patterns, and survival across Midwestern landscapes is warranted. 
Home range size is affected by many ecological factors, including population density, climate, distribution and abundance of resources, spacing of individuals, sex, and mating system.  During 2014–2016, we captured and radio-collared 67 adult flying squirrels for use in evaluating summer and winter home range use, spatial activity patterns, and annual survival of SFS in west-central Illinois.  We calculated seasonal and composite 95% kernel-density and 50% core use area estimates for male and female flying squirrels.  Male and female home-range and core-area size were similar among males and females across summer (April–September) and winter (October–March) seasons.  Average distance traveled between consecutive locations during a season did not vary by sex.  Similarly, total distance traveled during a season did not vary by sex or year and ranged from 1189 to 1661 m between summer and winter seasons.  Mean annual composite home ranges for male and female squirrels were 10.49 ha (SE = 1.76) and 10.28 ha (SE = 1.87), respectively; estimated female home ranges are the largest documented for this species.  We documented 8 deaths, all of which were attributed to predation; annual survival was 0.71.  Our results suggest that larger home range size may have been influenced by low availability of preferred habitat (i.e., low densities of mast-producing trees and overstory snags).  Further, seasonal differences in home range overlap provide empirical evidence that despite low habitat productivity, spatial requirements of males and females may have been reflected by the distribution of females and availability of food and nest resources, respectively.  Nevertheless, future research evaluating potential effects of landscape features (e.g., forest patch size, connectivity, distance to forest edges) and interspecific competition on seasonal home range use, movement patterns, and survival across Midwestern landscapes is warranted. 

Monday February 6, 2017 1:40pm - 2:00pm
Hawthorne

Attendees (11)