20 Nov Natural Resource Management Assistant
The primary project will be an analysis of snowshoe hare distribution and habitat on Isle Royale. Wolf reintroduction on Isle Royale is ongoing and the park is interested in the cascading impacts of predation throughout the ecosystem. While snowshoe hare is not a primary prey of wolves, the population and distribution are expected to be impacted. Snowshoe hare density surveys were last conducted in 2017 when the wolf population was 2, while the current wolf population is at least 14 (not counting pups born in 2020).
The fieldwork will consist of snowshoe hare density surveys (accomplished through hare pellet transects) and habitat assessment. The survey occurs early in the season and requires extensive hiking and backpacking in remote areas. Field data collection typically concludes the second week of June and after this period the intern will enter and analyze data, use GIS to make maps and perform spatial analysis, make comparisons to previous surveys relative to predator populations, prepare a summary report, and present findings to Natural Resource Management Staff.
The snowshoe hare project is one of many monitoring activities taking place at Isle Royale to better understand the effects of restoring predators on the landscape. The MIS intern will have a role in increasing the knowledge base of wolf reintroduction impacts and trophic cascades at the park. Also, the intern will participate in vegetation surveys assessing the impact of beaver and moose on Isle Royale's vegetation, assist with acoustic bat monitoring, eagle and osprey surveys, and common loon monitoring.