Jerrold L. Belant

Mississippi State University, استارکویل، میسیسیپی, Mississippi, United States

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Publications (138)211.39 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Wildlife incidents with aircraft are of concern in the United States as they pose a risk to human safety and economic losses for the aviation industry. Most previous research on wildlife-aircraft incidents has emphasized birds, bats, and ungulates. We queried the Federal Aviation Administration’s National Wildlife Strike Database from 1990 to 2012 to characterize carnivore incidents with U.S. civil aircraft. We found 1016 carnivore incidents with aircraft representing at least 16 species, with coyotes (n = 404) being the species most frequently struck. California and Texas had the most reported incidents and incidents were most likely to occur at night from August to November. Overall estimated damage to aircraft was US$ 7 million. Coinciding with the increase in air traffic, the rate of carnivore-aircraft incidents increased 13.1% annually from 1990 to 2012 whereas the rate of damaging incidents remained fairly constant. Due to the increase in carnivore-aircraft incidents from 1990 to 2012, we recommend further research on techniques to increase detection of carnivores and implementation and scheduled maintenance of perimeter high fences for exclusion. Additionally, we recommend increasing patrol of runways, especially during peak incident periods (July–November) and at night (2000–0600 h).
    Transportation Research Part D Transport and Environment 05/2015; 36. DOI:10.1016/j.trd.2014.12.001 · 1.29 Impact Factor
  • Transportation Research Record Journal of the Transportation Research Board 05/2015; 2471:19-25. DOI:10.3141/2471-03 · 0.44 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Capsule Interpretation of nest survival estimates may be improved by incorporating the search method used to locate nests as a covariate.
    Bird Study 04/2015; 62(2). DOI:10.1080/00063657.2015.1010140 · 1.03 Impact Factor
  • T. L. Hiller, J. L. Belant
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    ABSTRACT: The distribution of animals is influenced by numerous factors including spatial distribution and temporal availability of resources. We tested the spatial resource variability hypothesis (increasing landscape heterogeneity results in increasing amount of space use) and the temporal resource variability hypothesis (temporal variation in resources reduces amount of space use) using location data from radiomarked American black bears Ursus americanus in Missouri and Arkansas, USA. We used 95% utilization distributions (UDs) to define individual seasonal space use and constructed 22 models using covariates that described composition, spatial arrangement and diversity of land cover types (an index of heterogeneity or patchiness); seasonal hard mast production; and seasonal use of land cover to test our hypotheses using linear modeling and small-sample Akaike information criterion (AICc) model selection approaches. The AICc best performing model supported the spatial resource variability hypothesis and included Shannon diversity index [95% confidence limit (CL) of coefficient = 1.56–2.42] and sex (male; 95% CL of coefficient = 0.05–0.49) as covariates that explained variation in transformed values of UD size. Predicted and observed values during model evaluation were highly correlated (r = 0.90). As land cover heterogeneity increased, UD size increased, likely a consequence of bears responding to greater patchiness to maintain sufficient resources. Further, the Shannon diversity index was greater for males than females , suggesting larger bodied males used larger areas to meet their higher energetic costs due to landscape fragmentation. Studies of resource hypotheses in solitary species should consider intraspecific allometric relationships such as sexual size dimorphism as has been addressed using group size in social species.
    Journal of Zoology 04/2015; DOI:10.1111/jzo.12234 · 1.95 Impact Factor
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    Paula A White, Jerrold L Belant
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    ABSTRACT: Sport hunting has reportedly multiple benefits to economies and local communities; however, few of these benefits have been quantified. As part of their lease agreements with the Zambia Wildlife Authority, sport hunting operators in Zambia are required to provide annually to local communities free of charge i.e., provision a percentage of the meat obtained through sport hunting. We characterized provisioning of game meat to rural communities by the sport hunting industry in Zambia for three game management areas (GMAs) during 2004-2011. Rural communities located within GMAs where sport hunting occurred received on average > 6,000 kgs per GMA of fresh game meat annually from hunting operators. To assess hunting industry compliance, we also compared the amount of meat expected as per the lease agreements versus observed amounts of meat provisioned from three GMAs during 2007-2009. In seven of eight annual comparisons of these GMAs, provisioning of meat exceeded what was required in the lease agreements. Provisioning occurred throughout the hunting season and peaked during the end of the dry season (September-October) coincident with when rural Zambians are most likely to encounter food shortages. We extrapolated our results across all GMAs and estimated 129,771 kgs of fresh game meat provisioned annually by the sport hunting industry to rural communities in Zambia at an approximate value for the meat alone of >US$600,000 exclusive of distribution costs. During the hunting moratorium (2013-2014), this supply of meat has halted, likely adversely affecting rural communities previously reliant on this food source. Proposed alternatives to sport hunting should consider protein provisioning in addition to other benefits (e.g., employment, community pledges, anti-poaching funds) that rural Zambian communities receive from the sport hunting industry.
    PLoS ONE 02/2015; 10(2):e0117237. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0117237 · 3.53 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Responses of biodiversity to changes in both land cover and climate are recognized [ 1 ] but still poorly understood [ 2 ]. This poses significant challenges for spatial planning as species could shift, contract, expand, or maintain their range inside or outside protected areas [ 2–4 ]. We examine this problem in Borneo, a global biodiversity hotspot [ 5 ], using spatial prioritization analyses that maximize species conservation under multiple environmental-change forecasts. Climate projections indicate that 11%–36% of Bornean mammal species will lose ≥30% of their habitat by 2080, and suitable ecological conditions will shift upslope for 23%–46%. Deforestation exacerbates this process, increasing the proportion of species facing comparable habitat loss to 30%–49%, a 2-fold increase on historical trends. Accommodating these distributional changes will require conserving land outside existing protected areas, but this may be less than anticipated from models incorporating deforestation alone because some species will colonize high-elevation reserves. Our results demonstrate the increasing importance of upland reserves and that relatively small additions (16,000–28,000 km2) to the current conservation estate could provide substantial benefits to biodiversity facing changes to land cover and climate. On Borneo, much of this land is under forestry jurisdiction, warranting targeted conservation partnerships to safeguard biodiversity in an era of global change.
    Current Biology 02/2015; 25(3):372–378. DOI:10.1016/j.cub.2014.11.067 · 9.92 Impact Factor
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    Matthew E Gompper, Jerrold L Belant, Roland Kays
    Science 01/2015; 347(6220):382-3. DOI:10.1126/science.347.6220.382-b · 31.48 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Understanding species distributions and population responses to environmental parameters is important for addressing landscape-level species conservation. We assessed American black bear (Ursus americanus) resource selection based on spatial distribution of a recolonizing population in Mississippi, USA. Given the philopatric behavior of female bears and the risk-disturbance hypothesis, we predicted that bears recolonizing Mississippi would occupy areas close to their source population but avoid areas near roads and with greater human population density. Using location data from radio-collared black bears, landscape metrics, and spatial autoregressive modeling, we estimated annual population-level space use. Our results confirm that black bears recolonizing Mississippi occupy habitats proximate to source populations and avoid areas near roads as probability of bear use was greater in areas closer to source breeding populations and areas farther from roads. Land cover type, elevation, and human density did not influence black bear occurrence at the spatial resolution examined. The lack of avoidance to areas inhabited by humans was likely a consequence of overall low human density, legal protection afforded this species, and that proximity to source population likely has a greater effect on recolonization than avoidance of humans.
    European Journal of Wildlife Research 01/2015; DOI:10.1007/s10344-015-0933-5 · 1.21 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Large carnivores are considered a primary source of mortality for many ungulate populations, but harvest by hunters is the primary means of population management. However, research is needed to evaluate how human predation risk influences observability (a surrogate to harvest susceptibility) of ungulates. We determined how hunting intensity and duration influence observation rates of white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) and how deer behavior (i.e., movement rate and resource selection) affects observation rates. We sampled 37 adult (≥2 yr) male deer at 2 levels of risk (i.e., low-risk = 1 hunter/101 ha; and high-risk = 1 hunter/30 ha) during 3 exposure periods (i.e., first, second, and third weekend of hunting) on a 1,861-ha property in Oklahoma, USA, during the 2008 and 2009 rifle deer-seasons. Observation rates (collared deer/hunter-hr/day) were greatest during the first weekend in both the low- and high-risk treatments, but declined each weekend thereafter in both treatments. Immediately prior to hunter observation, movement rate of observed collared deer was greater than that of unobserved collared deer, but only when hunting risk was high. Greater movement rates of deer in the high-risk treatment also led to a greater probability of observation. Hunters also had a greater probability of observing collared deer at higher elevations. Overall, deer modified their behavior to avoid detection by hunters. These results can be used to explain decreased observation rates to hunters and to modify harvest rates by altering timing and intensity of human predation risk during the recreational hunting season to help achieve population management goals through harvest. © 2014 The Wildlife Society.
    Wildlife Society Bulletin 12/2014; 38:797-805. DOI:10.1002/wsb.449 · 1.27 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Spatial capture-recapture (SCR) models have advanced our ability to estimate population density for wide ranging animals by explicitly incorporating individual movement. Though these models are more robust to various spatial sampling designs, few studies have empirically tested different large-scale trap configurations using SCR models. We investigated how extent of trap coverage and trap spacing affects precision and accuracy of SCR parameters, implementing models using the R package secr. We tested two trapping scenarios, one spatially extensive and one intensive, using black bear (Ursus americanus) DNA data from hair snare arrays in south-central Missouri, USA. We also examined the influence that adding a second, lower barbed-wire strand to snares had on quantity and spatial distribution of detections. We simulated trapping data to test bias in density estimates of each configuration under a range of density and detection parameter values. Field data showed that using multiple arrays with intensive snare coverage produced more detections of more individuals than extensive coverage. Consequently, density and detection parameters were more precise for the intensive design. Density was estimated as 1.7 bears per 100 km2 and was 5.5 times greater than that under extensive sampling. Abundance was 279 (95% CI = 193-406) bears in the 16,812 km2 study area. Excluding detections from the lower strand resulted in the loss of 35 detections, 14 unique bears, and the largest recorded movement between snares. All simulations showed low bias for density under both configurations. Results demonstrated that in low density populations with non-uniform distribution of population density, optimizing the tradeoff among snare spacing, coverage, and sample size is of critical importance to estimating parameters with high precision and accuracy. With limited resources, allocating available traps to multiple arrays with intensive trap spacing increased the amount of information needed to inform parameters with high precision.
    PLoS ONE 10/2014; 9(10):e111257. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0111257 · 3.53 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Individual variation and fitness are cornerstones of evolution by natural selection. The niche variation hypothesis (NVH) posits that when interspecific competition is relaxed, intraspecific competition should drive niche expansion by selection favoring use of novel resources and that among-individual variation should confer a selective advantage. Population-level niche expansion could be achieved by all individuals using all available resources, or by each individual using a unique combination of resources, thereby increasing among-individual dietary niche variation. Although individual variation can lead to species-level evolutionary and ecological change, observed variation does not ensure a beneficial outcome. We used carbon and nitrogen stable isotope analysis of claw keratin and a Bayesian stable isotope mixing model to estimate the summer (July–September) assimilated diet of individual female black Ursus americanus and brown U. arctos bears. We quantified variation in dietary niche in both populations, and assessed diet relative to percentage body fat. We hypothesized that if the NVH held, percentage body fat would be similar for individuals of the same species across much of the dietary range of observed proportional salmon contributions to individual bear diets. Although we found greater differences in dietary niches between than within species, we observed greater among-individual dietary variation in the brown bear population. Moreover, we found that within each species individual female bears achieved similar ranges of percentage body fat at various levels of salmon in the diet. Our results provide support for the NVH. Linking individual dietary niches to measures of physiological condition related to fitness can offer new insights into eco-evolutionary processes related to food resource use.
    Oikos 10/2014; 124(6). DOI:10.1111/oik.01741 · 3.56 Impact Factor
  • Population Ecology in Practice: Underused, Misused, and Abused Methods, Edited by D. Murray, G. Chapron, 09/2014: chapter 13; John Wiley & Sons.
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    ABSTRACT: Wildlife incidents with aircraft cost the United States (U.S.) civil aviation industry >US$1.4 billion in estimated damages and loss of revenue from 1990 to 2009. Although terrestrial mammals represented only 2.3 % of wildlife incidents, damage to aircraft occurred in 59 % of mammal incidents. We examined mammal incidents (excluding bats) at all airports in the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) National Wildlife Strike Database from 1990 to 2010 to characterize these incidents by airport type: Part-139 certified (certificated) and general aviation (GA). We also calculated relative hazard scores for species most frequently involved in incidents. We found certificated airports had more than twice as many incidents as GA airports. Incidents were most frequent in October (n = 215 of 1,764 total) at certificated airports and November (n = 111 of 741 total) at GA airports. Most (63.2 %) incidents at all airports (n = 1,523) occurred at night but the greatest incident rate occurred at dusk (177.3 incidents/hr). More incidents with damage (n = 1,594) occurred at GA airports (38.6 %) than certificated airports (19.0 %). Artiodactyla (even-toed ungulates) incidents incurred greatest (92.4 %) damage costs (n = 326; US$51.8 million) overall and mule deer (Odocoileus hemionus) was the most hazardous species. Overall, relative hazard score increased with increasing log body mass. Frequency of incidents was influenced by species relative seasonal abundance and behavior. We recommend airport wildlife officials evaluate the risks mammal species pose to aircraft based on the hazard information we provide and consider prioritizing management strategies that emphasize reducing their occurrence on airport property.
    Environmental Management 08/2014; 54(4). DOI:10.1007/s00267-014-0345-4 · 1.65 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Radiotelemetry and unmarked occupancy modeling have been used to estimate animal population growth, but have not been compared for ungulates. We compared white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) population growth estimates from radiomarked individuals and occupancy modeling of unmarked individuals and evaluated advantages and disadvantages of each method. Estimates of population growth were obtained using remote camera (N = 54/year) detection/non-detection occupancy surveys of unmarked deer and from survival and recruitment data of radiomarked adult females (N = 87) and neonate fawns (N = 127) in a predominantly forested region of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, USA, 2009–2011. We hypothesized that occupancy models and radiotelemetry data would have similar population growth trends because both methods sampled the same temporally closed population. Percent changes in camera trap data generally reflected finite population growth (λ) of radiomarked deer which increased (λ = 1.10 ± 0.01) from 2009 to 2010, but decreased (λ = 0.87 ± 0.02) from 2010 to 2011. Also, unmarked adult female abundance and fawn:adult female ratios generally reflected trends in radiomarked deer survival and recruitment. Royle–Nichols occupancy model abundance estimates had wide confidence intervals, which may preclude using this method from accurately estimating deer population growth. Radiotelemetry provided more precise population growth estimates, while allowing collection of vital rates and location data. However, the Royle–Nichols occupancy model may be preferred to radiotelemetry because it reflected yearly variation in population growth with reduced labor and no invasive marking. Researchers should consider the objectives and logistics of their study when choosing a specific method.
    Population Ecology 07/2014; 56(3). DOI:10.1007/s10144-014-0432-7 · 1.70 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Growth of ungulate populations is typically most sensitive to survival of neonates, which in turn is influenced by maternal nutritional condition and trade-offs in resource selection and avoidance of predators. We assessed whether resource use, multi-predator risk, maternal nutritional effects, hiding cover, or interactions among these variables best explained variation in daily survival of free-ranging neonatal white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) during their post-partum period (14 May-31 Aug) in Michigan, USA. We used Cox proportional hazards mixed-effects models to assess survival related to covariates of resource use, composite predation risk of 4 mammalian predators, fawn body mass at birth, winter weather, and vegetation growth phenology. Predation, particularly from coyotes (Canis latrans), was the leading cause of mortality; however, an additive model of non-ideal resource use and maternal nutritional effects explained 71% of the variation in survival. This relationship suggested that dams selected areas where fawns had poor resources, while greater predation in these areas led to additive mortalities beyond those related to resource use alone. Also, maternal nutritional effects suggested that severe winters resulted in dams producing smaller fawns, which decreased their likelihood of survival. Fawn resource use appeared to reflect dam avoidance of lowland forests with poor forage and greater use by wolves (C. lupus), their primary predator. While this strategy led to greater fawn mortality, particularly by coyotes, it likely promoted the life-long reproductive success of dams because many reached late-age (>10 years old) and could have produced multiple generations of fawns. Studies often link resource selection and survival of ungulates, but our results suggested that multiple factors can mediate that relationship, including multi-predator risk. We emphasize the importance of identifying interactions among biological and environmental factors when assessing survival of ungulates.
    PLoS ONE 06/2014; 9(6):e100841. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0100841 · 3.53 Impact Factor
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    Hari Prasad Sharma, Jon E Swenson, Jerrold L Belant
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    ABSTRACT: We documented the seasonal food habits of the red panda Ailurus fulgens based on the analysis of 152 fecal pellet groups in Rara National Park, Nepal, using micro-histological techniques. We also reviewed previous studies documenting the degree of specialization in red panda diets throughout their range. We found that bamboo was the major food item for red pandas in Rara National Park, occurring in 100% of pellet groups in both the pre- and post-monsoon seasons. Similarly, bamboo was also reported as the dominant food item (80–100%) in the diet of red pandas in seven studies conducted throughout their range. These results confirm previous findings and suggest that red pandas may be vulnerable to bamboo loss through anthropogenic impacts, which could influence their survival.
    Hystrix 06/2014; 25(1):47-50. DOI:10.4404/hystrix-25.1-9033 · 0.59 Impact Factor
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    S. D. LaPoint, J. L. Belant, R. W. Kays
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    ABSTRACT: Some central and eastern populations of fisher Pekania [Martes] pennanti are expanding their ranges following historic range contractions, while many western populations have yet to do so. We investigated whether expanding fisher populations are benefiting from a mesopredator release following reductions in their carnivore predator communities. This hypothesis posits that local extinctions of the largest predators ‘release’ mesopredator populations from direct predation and competition, leading to an increase in their abundance, expansion of their range and potentially to shifts in their morphology and ecological niche. Our comparison of the conservation status and predator communities of fishers across four geographic regions of their range supports the mesopredator release hypothesis, especially in their eastern range. Our meta-analysis of fisher diet also suggests that released fisher populations may benefit by complementing their diverse diets with more large-bodied prey species, whereas those with more specialized diets (e.g. northwestern populations) or diverse diets with small amounts of large-bodied prey (e.g. populations within California) have experienced little range expansion. Further, measurements of museum specimens suggest that individuals within released populations have evolved a larger body size since the time of their most contracted range, which may help them hunt larger prey species that are expected to be more available in the absence of larger carnivores. Collectively, these data support the hypothesis that a reduced predator community is contributing to the geographic variation in modern fishers' range expansion. In addition to harvest restrictions, habitat protection and translocations, future conservation plans should consider the potential effects of the predator community, emphasizing the need to quantify fisher mortality sources and fisher–predator interactions.
    Animal Conservation 06/2014; 18(1). DOI:10.1111/acv.12138 · 2.52 Impact Factor
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    06/2014; 67(2):143-148. DOI:10.14430/arctic4382
  • Mammal Study 06/2014; 39(2):115-119. DOI:10.3106/041.039.0207 · 0.43 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Understanding factors that influence recruitment can improve wildlife conservation. Endangered black-footed ferrets (Mustela nigripes) rely on prairie dogs (Cynomys spp.) for food and on prairie dog burrows for shelter. We hypothesized that younger female ferrets with greater densities of prairie dogs in their core use area and fewer adult ferrets in their respective prairie dog colony, would produce more kits due to age-dependent productivity, increased food resources, and decreased competition. We used generalized linear mixed-effects regression and Akaike’s information criterion adjusted for sample size (AICc) to rank models relating adult female black-footed ferret litter size (range 1–7 kits, n = 24 litters) to female age, core area density of prairie dogs, and adult ferret densities from 3 sites in the USA, 2005–2008. We included year and site as random effects in all models. We observed great model uncertainty; the null model was most supported and received 44% of model weight (w). The next best-supported model included ferret density only (ΔAICc = 1.55, w = 0.20). Ferret density may not have been great enough to negatively affect prey acquisition and litter sizes. Mean litter size did not vary among female ages, but inference was limited because only one individual was >3 years old (x– = 2.13 years, SD = 0.99). All adult females produced kits, suggesting that the observed minimum prairie dog density in ferret core use areas (12.3 individuals ⋅ ha–1) was above a threshold of minimal prey abundance for reproduction. Our findings support previous selections of reintroduction sites as those meeting minimum resource needs of individual ferrets for reproduction. Future selections of reintroduction sites may become more difficult if the number of areas with the minimum necessary prairie dog density decreases due to disease and reductions in habitat availability.
    Western North American Naturalist 05/2014; 74:108-115. DOI:10.3398/064.074.0111 · 0.37 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

612 Citations
211.39 Total Impact Points


  • 2008–2015
    • Mississippi State University
      • • Forest & Wildlife Research Center
      • • Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Aquaculture
      استارکویل، میسیسیپی, Mississippi, United States
  • 2013
    • University of Maryland, Baltimore
      Baltimore, Maryland, United States
  • 2004–2007
    • National Park Service
      Washington, Washington, D.C., United States
  • 2002–2007
    • University of Alaska Fairbanks
      • Institute of Arctic Biology
      Fairbanks, Alaska, United States
  • 1997–1999
    • Ohio Department of Agriculture
      Reynoldsburg, Ohio, United States