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Research Spending & Results

Award Detail

Awardee:MONTANA STATE UNIVERSITY, INC
Doing Business As Name:Montana State University
PD/PI:
  • Scott R Creel
  • (406) 994-7033
  • screel@montana.edu
Award Date:03/12/2007
Estimated Total Award Amount: $ NaN
Funds Obligated to Date: $ 359,888
  • FY 2009=$47,316
  • FY 2007=$312,572
Start Date:03/15/2007
End Date:02/28/2011
Transaction Type:Grant
Agency:NSF
Awarding Agency Code:4900
Funding Agency Code:4900
CFDA Number:47.074
Primary Program Source:490100 NSF RESEARCH & RELATED ACTIVIT
Award Title or Description:Behavioral Responses of Elk to Wolves: Proximate Triggers, Response Strategies, Physiological Costs and Demographic Consequences.
Federal Award ID Number:0642393
DUNS ID:625447982
Parent DUNS ID:079602596
Program:Animal Behavior
Program Officer:
  • Michelle Elekonich
  • (703) 292-7202
  • melekoni@nsf.gov

Awardee Location

Street:309 MONTANA HALL
City:BOZEMAN
State:MT
ZIP:59717-2470
County:Bozeman
Country:US
Awardee Cong. District:00

Primary Place of Performance

Organization Name:Montana State University
Street:309 MONTANA HALL
City:BOZEMAN
State:MT
ZIP:59717-2470
County:Bozeman
Country:US
Cong. District:00

Abstract at Time of Award

Abstract Creel IOB-0642393 Behavioral responses of elk to wolves: proximate triggers, response strategies, physiological costs and demographic consequences. The direct effect of predation on prey populations can be measured by recording the rate at which prey animals are killed. In addition to this direct effect, recent research indicates that predators can have strong indirect effects on prey populations. These indirect effects are caused by the costs of antipredator responses. When prey alter patterns of grouping, habitat selection, and behavior, they often incur energetic or physiological costs. The PI will collect data to: (a) identify and understand the behavioral responses of elk to spatial and temporal variation in the risk of predation by wolves, (b) measure the costs of these responses using energetic, physiological and demographic data, and (c) relate these costs to changes in elk reproduction, survival and population growth. The specific goals are to: 1. Test several hypotheses about the ways that antipredator behavior responds to variation in risk, considering variation in both time and space. 2. Test how elk assess risk, beyond the simple presence/absence of wolves, considering characteristics of predators, characteristics of prey, and characteristics of the environment in which they meet. 3. Quantify the consequences of antipredator responses for feeding behavior, diet, and nutrition and condition. 4. Quantify the impacts of predation and antipredator behavior on survival and reproduction, including likely effects on elk pregnancy rates. The research project will provide integrative graduate training, research opportunities for undergraduates, educational activities at the local public schools, as well as internship opportunities to students in the MSU American Indian Research Opportunities program (undergraduates and high school interns). Maintaining populations of large mammals in areas affected by humans is a challenge to management and conservation in developed landscapes, and this project has clear and immediate relevance to conservation and management issues. Elk have great ecological, economic and sociological importance in the Yellowstone Ecosystem. The wolf is an endangered species, and this project will generate considerable data on wolf-elk dynamics on federal, state and private land.

Publications Produced as a Result of this Research

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Creel, S; Winnie, JA; Christianson, D "Glucocorticoid stress hormones and the effect of predation risk on elk reproduction" PROCEEDINGS OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, v.106, 2009, p.12388. doi:10.1073/pnas.090223510  View record at Web of Science

Creel S & Christianson D "Relationships between direct predation and risk effects." Trends in Ecology and Evolution, v.23, 2008, p.19.

Christianson, DA; Creel, S "A review of environmental factors affecting elk winter diets" JOURNAL OF WILDLIFE MANAGEMENT, v.71, 2007, p.164. doi:10.2193/2005-57  View record at Web of Science

Winnie, J; Creel, S "Sex-specific behavioural responses of elk to spatial and temporal variation in the threat of wolf predation" ANIMAL BEHAVIOUR, v.73, 2007, p.215. doi:10.1016/j.anbehav.2006.07.00  View record at Web of Science

Creel, S; Rotella, JJ "Meta-Analysis of Relationships between Human Offtake, Total Mortality and Population Dynamics of Gray Wolves (Canis lupus)" PLOS ONE, v.5, 2010, p.. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.001291  View record at Web of Science

Liley S & Creel S "What best explains vigilance in elk: characteristics of prey, predators, or the environment?" Behavioral Ecology, v., 2007, p..

Christianson, D; Creel, S "A nutritionally mediated risk effect of wolves on elk" ECOLOGY, v.91, 2010, p.1184. View record at Web of Science

Creel, S; Christianson, D "Wolf presence and increased willow consumption by Yellowstone elk: implications for trophic cascades" ECOLOGY, v.90, 2009, p.2454. View record at Web of Science

Liley S & Creel S "What best explains vigilance in elk: characteristics of prey, predators, or the environment?" Behavioral Ecology, v.19, 2008, p.245.

Christianson, D; Creel, S "Fecal chlorophyll describes the link between primary production and consumption in a terrestrial herbivore" ECOLOGICAL APPLICATIONS, v.19, 2009, p.1323. View record at Web of Science

Winnie, J; Christianson, D; Creel, S; Maxwell, B "Elk decision-making rules are simplified in the presence of wolves" BEHAVIORAL ECOLOGY AND SOCIOBIOLOGY, v.61, 2006, p.277. doi:10.1007/s00265-006-0258-  View record at Web of Science

Creel, S; Christianson, D; Liley, S; Winnie, JA "Predation risk affects reproductive physiology and demography of elk" SCIENCE, v.315, 2007, p.960. doi:10.1126/science.113591  View record at Web of Science

Creel, S; Creel, M "Density dependence and climate effects in Rocky Mountain elk: an application of regression with instrumental variables for population time series with sampling error" JOURNAL OF ANIMAL ECOLOGY, v.78, 2009, p.1291. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2656.2009.01581.  View record at Web of Science

Christianson, D; Creel, S "Effects of grass and browse consumption on the winter mass dynamics of elk" OECOLOGIA, v.158, 2009, p.603. doi:10.1007/s00442-008-1200-  View record at Web of Science

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