Frédérique Truchon

McGill University
M.Sc. candidate

Supervisor: Virginie Millien
Martin-Hugues St-Laurent, Université du Québec à Rimouski
Start: 2018-09-01

Project

Space-Use Patterns of White-Tailed Deer (Odocoileus virginianus) in Response to Hiker Presence and its Effects on Local Flora in a Protected Old-Growth Forest
Across most of North America, white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) populations are increasing due to anthropogenic effects such as land use changes, habitat fragmentation, and climate warming. These increased abundances often result in more frequent human-deer encounters, especially in areas where recreational activities occur. We aim to investigate the factors underlying space-use patterns of deer in relation to hiker density as well as identifying the related impacts on the flora. This study took place at the Gault Nature Reserve, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve near Montreal (QC, Canada) where deer populations are known to be above recommended densities. To answer these research questions I use methods such as camera-trapping and experimental deer exclusion. Results from this study could help inform management decisions in cases of high-density cervids, especially in protected areas with public access.

Media coverage:
https://www.ledevoir.com/societe/science/532193/grandeur-nature-cerfs-et-desert
https://www.ledevoir.com/societe/science/536812/objectif-cerfs

Keywords

white-tailed deer, forest management, animal-plant interactions, Spatial Distribution, herbivory, conservation biology, protected areas, camera-trapping