Marco Musiani

The University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

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Publications (59)316.61 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Shared values, public trust in an agency, and attitudes can influence support for successful conservation initiatives. To understand these relationships, this paper examines the role of social trust as a partial mediator between salient values similarity and attitudes toward wolves in south-western Alberta, Canada. Rural residents in this area face increasing wolf depredation on livestock. Data were obtained from a mail questionnaire (n = 566 respondents, response rate = 70%) sent to rural residents in three municipal districts in south-western Alberta. Attitudes were predicted to directly influence behavioural intention to support or oppose wolf management. Most respondents held slightly similar values as the management agency and minimally trusted the agency to effectively manage wolves. As predicted, social trust in the agency served as a partial mediator between salient value similarity and attitudes toward wolves. Salient value similarity was also a strong predictor of attitudes toward wolves. Attitudes toward wolves predicted behavioural support. Thus, social trust of the management agency can influence attitudes and management preferences concerning a species. When dealing with human-wildlife conflict, social trust should be examined to understand the context of the problem.
    Environmental Conservation 12/2014; 41(04):303-310. DOI:10.1017/S0376892913000593 · 2.32 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Human-caused harassment and mortality (e.g. hunting) affects many aspects of wildlife population dynamics and social structure. Little is known, however, about the social and physiological effects of hunting, which might provide valuable insights into the mechanisms by which wildlife respond to human-caused mortality.To investigate physiological consequences of hunting, we measured stress and reproductive hormones in hair, which reflect endocrine activity during hair growth. Applying this novel approach, we compared steroid hormone levels in hair of wolves (Canis lupus) living in Canada's tundra–taiga (n = 103) that experience heavy rates of hunting with those in the northern boreal forest (n = 45) where hunting pressure is substantially lower.The hair samples revealed that progesterone was higher in tundra–taiga wolves, possibly reflecting increased reproductive effort and social disruption in response to human-related mortality. Tundra–taiga wolves also had higher testosterone and cortisol levels, which may reflect social instability.To control for habitat differences, we also measured cortisol in an out-group of boreal forest wolves (n = 30) that were killed as part of a control programme. Cortisol was higher in the boreal out-group than in our study population from the northern boreal forest.Overall, our findings support the social and physiological consequences of human-caused mortality. Long-term implications of altered physiological responses should be considered in management and conservations strategies.
    Functional Ecology 10/2014; 29(3). DOI:10.1111/1365-2435.12354 · 4.86 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: In Southwest Alberta, beef cattle and wild elk (Cervus elaphus) have similar habitat preferences. Understanding their inter-species contact structure is important for assessing the risk of pathogen transmission between them. These spatio-temporal patterns of interactions are shaped, in part, by range management and environmental factors affecting elk distribution. In this study, resource selection modeling was used to identify factors influencing elk presence on cattle pasture and elk selection of foraging patches; furthermore, consequences for inter-species disease transmission were discussed.
    Preventive Veterinary Medicine 08/2014; 117(2). DOI:10.1016/j.prevetmed.2014.08.010 · 2.51 Impact Factor
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    07/2014; 2(13). DOI:10.1186/2051-3933-2-13
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    ABSTRACT: In southwestern Alberta, interactions between beef cattle and free-ranging elk (Cervus elaphus) may provide opportunities for pathogen transmission. To assess the importance of the transmission route on the potential for interspecies transmission, we conducted a cross-sectional study on four endemic livestock pathogens with three different transmission routes: Bovine Viral Diarrhea Virus and Bovine Herpesvirus 1 (predominantly direct transmission), Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis (MAP) (indirect fecal-oral transmission), Neospora caninum (indirect transmission with definitive host). We assessed the occurrence of these pathogens in 28 cow-calf operations exposed or non-exposed to elk, and in 10 elk herds exposed or not to cattle. We characterized the effect of species commingling as a risk factor of pathogen exposure and documented the perceived risk of pathogen transmission at this wildlife-livestock interface in the rural community. Herpesviruses found in elk were elk-specific gamma-herpesviruses unrelated to cattle viruses. Pestivirus exposure in elk could not be ascertained to be of livestock origin. Evidence of MAP circulation was found in both elk and cattle, but there was no statistical effect of the species commingling. Finally, N. caninum was more frequently detected in elk exposed to cattle and this association was still significant after adjustment for herd and sampling year clustering, and individual elk age and sex. Only indirectly transmitted pathogens co-occurred in cattle and elk, indicating the potential importance of the transmission route in assessing the risk of pathogen transmission in multi-species grazing systems.
    Veterinary Research 02/2014; 45(1):18. DOI:10.1186/1297-9716-45-18 · 3.38 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Climate-driven range fluctuations during the Pleistocene have continuously reshaped species distribution leading to populations of contrasting genetic diversity. Contemporary climate change is similarly influencing species distribution and population structure, with important consequences for patterns of genetic diversity and species’ evolutionary potential. Yet few studies assess the impacts of global climatic changes on intraspecific genetic variation. Here, combining analyses of molecular data with time series of predicted species distributions and a model of diffusion through time over the past 21 kyr, we unravel caribou response to past and future climate changes across its entire Holarctic distribution. We found that genetic diversity is geographically structured with two main caribou lineages, one originating from and confined to Northeastern America, the other originating from Euro-Beringia but also currently distributed in western North America. Regions that remained climatically stable over the past 21 kyr maintained a high genetic diversity and are also predicted to experience higher climatic stability under future climate change scenarios. Our interdisciplinary approach, combining genetic data and spatial analyses of climatic stability (applicable to virtually any taxon), represents a significant advance in inferring how climate shapes genetic diversity and impacts genetic structure.
    Nature Climate Change 02/2014; 4:132-137. DOI:10.1038/nclimate2074 · 15.30 Impact Factor
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    Nature 12/2013; · 42.35 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: A central assumption underlying the study of habitat selection is that selected habitats confer enhanced fitness. Unfortunately, this assumption is rarely tested, and in some systems gradients of predation risk may more accurately characterize spatial variation in vital rates than gradients described by habitat selection studies. Here, we separately measured spatial patterns of both resource selection and predation risk and tested their relationships with a key demographic trait, adult female survival, for a threatened ungulate, woodland caribou (Rangifer tarandus caribou Gmelin). We also evaluated whether exposure to gradients in both predation risk and resource selection value were manifested temporally through instantaneous or seasonal effects on survival outcomes. We used Cox-proportional hazards spatial survival modeling to assess the relative support for 5 selection- and risk-based definitions of habitat quality, as quantified by woodland caribou adult female survival. These hypotheses included scenarios in which selection ideally mirrored survival, risk entirely drove survival, non-ideal selection correlated to survival but with additive risk effects, an ecological trap with maladaptive selection, and a non-spatial effect of annual variation in weather. Indeed we found positive relationships between the predicted values of a resource selection function (RSF) and survival, yet subsequently incorporating an additional negative effect of predation risk greatly improved models further. This revealed a positive, but non-ideal relationship between selection and survival. Gradients in these covariates were also shown to affect individual survival probability at multiple temporal scales. Exposure to increased predation risk had a relatively instantaneous effect on survival outcomes, whereas variation in habitat suitability predicted by an RSF had both instantaneous and longer-term seasonal effects on survival. Predation risk was an additive source of hazard beyond that detected through selection alone, and woodland caribou selection thus was shown to be non-ideal. Furthermore, by combining spatial adult female survival models with herd-specific estimates of recruitment in matrix population models, we estimated a spatially-explicit landscape of population growth predictions for this endangered species. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
    Journal of Animal Ecology 09/2013; 83(2). DOI:10.1111/1365-2656.12144 · 4.73 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Landscape genetics provides a framework for pinpointing environmental features that determine the important exchange of migrants among populations. These studies usually test the significance of environmental variables on gene flow, yet ignore one fundamental driver of genetic variation in small populations, effective population size, Ne. We combined both approaches in evaluating genetic connectivity of a threatened ungulate, woodland caribou. We used least-cost paths to calculate matrices of resistance distance for landscape variables (preferred habitat, anthropogenic features and predation risk) and population-pairwise harmonic means of Ne, and correlated them with genetic distances, FST and Dc. Results showed that spatial configuration of preferred habitat and Ne were the two best predictors of genetic relationships. Additionally, controlling for the effect of Ne increased the strength of correlations of environmental variables with genetic distance, highlighting the significant underlying effect of Ne in modulating genetic drift and perceived spatial connectivity. We therefore have provided empirical support to emphasize preventing increased habitat loss and promoting population growth to ensure metapopulation viability.
    Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 08/2013; 280(1769):20131756. DOI:10.1098/rspb.2013.1756 · 5.29 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Rural communities are often considered a homogeneous population in resource management. Wolf management is no exception. To understand the diversity of rural attitudes toward wolves and wolf management, data were obtained through a mail questionnaire to rural residents (n = 555; 69% response rate) of southwestern Alberta. Results indicated three distinct clusters differentiated by respondents' attitudes toward: (a) wolves and fear and (b) wolf management. Cluster 1 had negative attitudes toward wolves (n = 85) and was composed of livestock producers and hunters. Cluster 2 was neutral (n = 184), and cluster 3 was positive (n = 276) toward wolves. Cluster 2 and 3 were primarily composed of non-hunters and non-livestock producers. With movement of people into rural areas with varying backgrounds the rural community now has multiple attitudinal groups and wildlife managers will need to tailor their efforts to communicate with different groups.
    Human Dimensions of Wildlife 07/2013; 18(4). DOI:10.1080/10871209.2013.792022
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    ABSTRACT: Ongoing debate about whether food webs are primarily regulated by predators or by primary plant productivity, cast as top-down and bottom-up effects, respectively, may becoming superfluous. Given that most of the world's ecosystems are human dominated we broadened this dichotomy by considering human effects in a terrestrial food-web. We studied a multiple human-use landscape in southwest Alberta, Canada, as opposed to protected areas where previous terrestrial food-web studies have been conducted. We used structural equation models (SEMs) to assess the strength and direction of relationships between the density and distribution of: (1) humans, measured using a density index; (2) wolves (Canis lupus), elk (Cervus elpahus) and domestic cattle (Bos taurus), measured using resource selection functions, and; (3) forage quality, quantity and utilization (measured at vegetation sampling plots). Relationships were evaluated by taking advantage of temporal and spatial variation in human density, including day versus night, and two landscapes with the highest and lowest human density in the study area. Here we show that forage-mediated effects of humans had primacy over predator-mediated effects in the food web. In our parsimonious SEM, occurrence of humans was most correlated with occurrence of forage (β = 0.637, p<0.0001). Elk and cattle distribution were correlated with forage (elk day: β = 0.400, p<0.0001; elk night: β = 0.369, p<0.0001; cattle day: β = 0.403, p<0.0001; cattle, night: β = 0.436, p<0.0001), and the distribution of elk or cattle and wolves were positively correlated during daytime (elk: β = 0.293, p <0.0001, cattle: β = 0.303, p<0.0001) and nighttime (elk: β = 0.460, p<0.0001, cattle: β = 0.482, p<0.0001). Our results contrast with research conducted in protected areas that suggested human effects in the food web are primarily predator-mediated. Instead, human influence on vegetation may strengthen bottom-up predominance and weaken top-down trophic cascades in ecosystems. We suggest that human influences on ecosystems may usurp top-down and bottom-up effects.
    PLoS ONE 05/2013; 8(5):e64311. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0064311 · 3.53 Impact Factor
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  • Howard Dean Cluff, Marco Musiani
    Wild wolves we have known, 1st edited by R.P Thiel, A.C. Thiel, M. Strozewski, 01/2013: chapter 7: pages 59-67; International Wolf Center., ISBN: 978-0-615-86002-2
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    ABSTRACT: Anthropogenic disturbances contribute to an animal's perception of and responses to the predation risk of its environment. Because an animal rarely encounters threatening stimuli in isolation, multiple disturbances can act in non-independent ways to shape an animal's landscape of fear, making it challenging to isolate their effects for effective and targeted management. We present extensions to an existing behavioral agent-based model (ABM) to use as an inverse modeling approach to test, in a scenario-sensitivity analysis, whether threatened Alberta boreal caribou (Rangifer tarandus caribou) differentially respond to industrial features (linear features, forest cutblocks, wellsites) and their attributes: presence, density, harvest age, and wellsite activity status. The spatially explicit ABM encapsulates predation risk, heterogeneous resource distribution, and species-specific energetic requirements, and successfully recreates the general behavioral mechanisms driving habitat selection. To create various industry-driven, predation-risk landscape scenarios for the sensitivity analysis, we allowed caribou agents to differentially perceive and respond to industrial features and their attributes. To identify which industry had the greatest relative influence on caribou habitat use and spatial distribution, simulated caribou movement patterns from each of the scenarios were compared with those of actual caribou from the study area, using a pattern-oriented, multi-response optimization approach. Results revealed caribou have incorporated forestry- and oil and gas features into their landscape of fear that distinctly affect their spatial and energetic responses. The presence of roads, pipelines and seismic lines, and, to a minor extent, high-density cutblocks and active wellsites, all contributed to explaining caribou behavioral responses. Our findings also indicated that both industries produced interaction effects, jointly impacting caribou spatial and energetic patterns, as no one feature could adequately explain anti-predator movement responses. We demonstrate that behavior-based ABMs can be applied to understanding, assessing, and isolating non-consumptive anthropogenic impacts, in support of wildlife management.
    Ecological Complexity 01/2013; 17. DOI:10.1016/j.ecocom.2013.09.004 · 2.00 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Human disturbance can influence wildlife behaviour, which can have implications for wildlife populations. For example, wildlife may be more vigilant near human disturbance, resulting in decreased forage intake and reduced reproductive success. We measured the effects of human activities compared to predator and other environmental factors on the behaviour of elk (Cervus elaphus Linnaeus 1758) in a human-dominated landscape in Alberta, Canada. We collected year-round behavioural data of elk across a range of human disturbances. We estimated linear mixed models of elk behaviour and found that human factors (land-use type, traffic and distance from roads) and elk herd size accounted for more than 80% of variability in elk vigilance. Elk decreased their feeding time when closer to roads, and road traffic volumes of at least 1 vehicle every 2 hours induced elk to switch into a more vigilant behavioural mode with a subsequent loss in feeding time. Other environmental factors, thought crucial in shaping vigilance behaviour in elk (natural predators, reproductive status of females), were not important. The highest levels of vigilance were recorded on public lands where hunting and motorized recreational activities were cumulative compared to the national park during summer, which had the lowest levels of vigilance. In a human-dominated landscape, effects of human disturbance on elk behaviour exceed those of habitat and natural predators. Humans trigger increased vigilance and decreased foraging in elk. However, it is not just the number of people but also the type of human activity that influences elk behaviour (e.g. hiking vs. hunting). Quantifying the actual fitness costs of human disturbance remains a challenge in field studies but should be a primary focus for future researches. Some species are much more likely to be disturbed by humans than by non-human predators: for these species, quantifying human disturbance may be the highest priority for conservation.
    PLoS ONE 11/2012; 7(11):e50611. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0050611 · 3.53 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: 1. Roads cause functional habitat loss, alter movement patterns and can become ecological traps for wildlife. Many of the negative effects of roads are likely to be a function of the human use of roads, not the road itself. However, few studies have examined the effect of temporally and spatially varying traffic patterns on large mammals, which could lead to mis-interpretations about the impact of roads on wildlife. 2. We developed models of traffic volume for an entire road network in south-western Alber-ta, Canada, and documented for the first time the response of grizzly bears Ursus arctos L to a wide range of traffic levels. 3. Traffic patterns caused a clear behavioural shift in grizzly bears, with increased use of areas near roads and movement across roads during the night when traffic was low. Bears selected areas near roads travelled by fewer than 20 vehicles per day and were more likely to cross these roads. Bears avoided roads receiving moderate traffic (20–100 vehicles per day) and strongly avoided high-use roads (>100 vehicles per day) at all times. 4. Synthesis and applications. Grizzly bear responses to traffic caused a departure from typical behavioural patterns, with bears in our study being largely nocturnal. In addition, bears selected private agricultural land, which had lower traffic levels, but higher road density, over multi-use public land. These results improve our understanding of bear responses to roads and can be used to refine management practices. Future management plans should employ a multi-pronged approach aimed at limiting both road density and traffic in core habitats. Access management will be critical in such plans and is an important tool for conserving threatened wildlife populations.
    Journal of Applied Ecology 10/2012; DOI:10.1111/j.1365-2664.2012.02180.x · 4.75 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

1k Citations
316.61 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 2003–2014
    • The University of Calgary
      • Faculty of Environmental Design
      Calgary, Alberta, Canada
  • 2012
    • University of Montana
      • Wildlife Biology Program
      Missoula, MT, United States