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Tuesday, February 7 • 4:00pm - 4:20pm
Technical Session. How We Hunt: Modeling the Future of Pheasant Behavior

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AUTHORS: Lyndsie S. Wszola, Nebraska Cooperative Fish & Wildlife Research Unit, University of Nebraska–Lincoln; Joseph J. Fontaine, U.S. Geological Survey, Nebraska Cooperative Fish & Wildlife Research Unit, University of Nebraska–Lincoln

ABSTRACT: Human harvest of wild populations can cause rapid morphological, behavioral, and life history evolution. Such rapid evolution is often accompanied by dramatic population declines, yet the connections between harvest, evolution, and demography are poorly understood. Intensive harvest significantly decreases genetic diversity, reducing both effective population size and individual fitness. Such a reduction in genetic and phenotypic diversity could reduce populations’ ability to cope with natural environmental stochasticity. We are using a novel combination of empirical observation and evolutionary simulation to investigate whether harvest-induced evolution drives population decline by inhibiting evolutionary responses to environmental stochasticity. From 2014 to 2016, we deployed GPS loggers on wild pheasants and pheasant hunters in Southwest Nebraska. We used the resulting location datasets in conjunction with fine-scale habitat data to assess how hunters and pheasants choose habitat at fine spatial and temporal scales. We found that hunters and pheasants both choose habitat near crop fields, and that hunters additionally choose habitat near roads and trails. We are now using these mechanistic models of hunter and pheasant movement to build agent-based models in which we investigate how strong directional selection pressure from hunters influences prey phenotypic diversity and population trends.

Tuesday February 7, 2017 4:00pm - 4:20pm CST
Grand Ballroom D