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dc.contributor.advisor Christensen, Norm
dc.contributor.author Claeys, Gina
dc.date.accessioned 2010-12-07T23:05:13Z
dc.date.available 2010-12-07T23:05:13Z
dc.date.issued 2010-12-07
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/10161/2858
dc.description.abstract Gray wolf populations have been rebounding in the Great Lakes region, after being nearly extirpated from the conterminous United States. Breeding populations of wolves have established in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan but have not yet become widely established in the Lower Peninsula (LP) of Michigan, despite several sightings of wolves in the LP since 2004. The objective of this analysis was to determine the quantity of potential habitat for wolves in the LP using wolf occurrence data obtained by radio telemetry, Maxent software, and ArcGIS. The habitat model was evaluated to determine if the potential habitat could support a viable population. A species distribution model (SDM) was created in Maxent and analyzed in ArcGIS to estimate the amount of potential habitat for wolves in the LP. Connectivity of potential habitat was evaluated by looking at least cost paths, corridors, and potential dispersal land. I found that there is 2,674-3,246 km2 of potential habitat in the LP, which could support 52-63 wolves. This is below the minimum of 100 necessary to sustain a viable population. All habitat patches at least 50 km2 in size are in the northern LP, but are not connected by land suitable for dispersal. Thus, although there are habitat patches of sufficient size in lower Michigan, it is likely that packs of wolves that may inhabit these patches will remain relatively isolated and have difficulties dispersing throughout lower Michigan. It is unlikely that they will be able to inhabit or disperse through the southern LP without land management geared towards creating larger unfragmented habitat patches and suitable dispersal corridors. This analysis highlights the need for land management geared towards wolves in order to allow them to continue to recover their former range in the United States. en_US
dc.language.iso en_US en_US
dc.subject wolves en_US
dc.subject GIS en_US
dc.subject Maxent en_US
dc.subject habitat modeling en_US
dc.subject conservation planning en_US
dc.title Wolves in lower Michigan: habitat modeling and capacity estimation en_US
dc.type Masters' project
dc.department Nicholas School of the Environment and Earth Sciences

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