Daniel R Stahler

Daniel R Stahler
National Park Service | NPS · Yellowstone National Park

Ph.D.

About

117
Publications
41,885
Reads
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3,797
Citations
Additional affiliations
April 1997 - present
National Park Service
Position
  • Wildlife Biologist
Description
  • Project Biologist - Yellowstone Wolf Project Project Leader - Yellowstone Cougar Project Threatened and Endangered Species Coordinator - YNP Wildlife Biologist - Yellowstone Elk Project

Publications

Publications (117)
Preprint
Although it is well established that density dependence drives changes in organismal abundance over time, relatively little is known about how density dependence affects variation in abundance over space. We tested the hypothesis that spatial tradeoffs between food and safety can change the drivers of population distribution, caused by opposing pat...
Article
Unlike genomes, which are static throughout the lifespan of an organism, DNA methylomes are dynamic. To study these dynamics, we developed quantitative models that measure the effect of multiple factors on DNA methylomes including, age, sex, weight, and genetics. We conducted our study in canids, which prove to be an ideal species to assess epigene...
Preprint
Full-text available
A central debate in ecology has been the long running discussion on the role of apex predators in affecting the abundance and dynamics of their prey. In terrestrial systems, research has primarily relied on correlational approaches, due to the challenge of implementing robust experiments with replication and appropriate controls. A consequence of t...
Preprint
Cooperatively breeding species exhibit numerous strategies to avoid mating with close relatives, inherently reducing effective population size. For species of management concern, accurate estimates of inbreeding and trait depression are crucial for the species's future. We utilized genomic and pedigree data for Yellowstone National Park gray wolves...
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Competition between apex predators can alter the strength of top‐down forcing, yet we know little about the behavioral mechanisms that drive competition in multipredator ecosystems. Interactions between predators can be synergistic (facilitative) or antagonistic (inhibitive), both of which are widespread in nature, vary in strength between species...
Preprint
Full-text available
Unlike genomes, which are static throughout the lifespan of an organism, DNA methylomes are dynamic. To study these dynamics we developed quantitative models that measure the effect of multiple factors on DNA methylomes including, age, sex, weight and genetics. We conducted our study in canids, which prove to be an ideal species to assess epigeneti...
Article
Many species exhibit selective foraging behaviour, where consumers use a nonrandom subset of available food types. Yet little is known about how selective foraging behaviour varies with environmental conditions and the community level consequences of such selection dynamics. We examined selective foraging by wolves preying primarily on elk in Yello...
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Gray Wolves (Canis lupus) are territorial, group living carnivores that live in packs typically consisting of a dominant breeding pair and their offspring. Breeding tenures are relatively short and competitive, with vacancies usually occurring following a breeder’s death, and are often filled by unrelated immigrants or by relatives of the previous...
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The host-associated microbiome is an important player in the ecology and evolution of species. Despite growing interest in the medical, veterinary, and conservation communities, there remain numerous questions about the primary factors underlying microbiota, particularly in wildlife. We bridged this knowledge gap by leveraging microbial, genetic, a...
Article
In North American gray wolves, black coat color is dominantly inherited via a 3 base pair coding deletion in the canine beta defensin 3 (CBD103) gene. This 3 base pair deletion, called the KB allele, was introduced through hybridization with dogs and subsequently underwent a selective sweep that increased its frequency in wild wolves. Despite appar...
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The presence of many pathogens varies in a predictable manner with latitude, with infections decreasing from the equator towards the poles. We investigated the geographic trends of pathogens infecting a widely distributed carnivore: the gray wolf (Canis lupus). Specifically, we investigated which variables best explain and predict geographic trends...
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Population genetic theory posits that molecular variation buffers against disease risk. Although this “monoculture effect” is well supported in agricultural settings, its applicability to wildlife populations remains in question. In the present study, we examined the genomics underlying individual‐level disease severity and population‐level consequ...
Preprint
Full-text available
In North American gray wolves, black coat color is dominantly inherited via a three base pair coding deletion in the canine beta defensin 3 ( CBD103 ) gene. This three base pair deletion, called the K B allele, was introduced through hybridization with dogs and subsequently underwent a selective sweep that increased its frequency in wild wolves. De...
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1. The spatial organization of a population can influence the spread of information, behaviour, and pathogens. Group territory size and territory overlap, components of spatial organization, provide key information as these metrics may be indicators of habitat quality, resource dispersion, contact rates, and environmental risk (e.g., indirectly tra...
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Imperfect detection is ubiquitous among wildlife research and is therefore commonly included in abundance estimation. Yet, the factors that affect observation success are largely unknown for rare and elusive species, such as large carnivores. Here, we took advantage of intensive ground‐based monitoring effort and an extensive GPS data set (2000–201...
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Understanding the behavioral responses of large carnivores to human activity in protected areas is important for conserving top predators. Roads and associated vehicle traffic have a range of impacts on wildlife, including mortality from vehicle collisions and behavioral changes from increasing traffic levels. Roads concentrate human activities and...
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1. While the functional response of predators is commonly measured, recent work has revealed that the age and sex composition of prey killed is often a better predictor of prey population dynamics because the reproductive value of adult females is usually higher than that of males or juveniles. 2. Climate is often an important mediating factor in d...
Article
Aggression is a quantitative trait deeply entwined with individual fitness. Mapping the genomic architecture underlying such traits is complicated by complex inheritance patterns, social structure, pedigree information, and gene pleiotropy. Here, we leveraged the pedigree of a reintroduced population of gray wolves in Yellowstone National Park, Wyo...
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An amendment to this paper has been published and can be accessed via a link at the top of the paper.
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Many ecosystems contain sympatric predator species that hunt in different places and times. We tested whether this provides vacant hunting domains, places and times where and when predators are least active, that prey use to minimize threats from multiple predators simultaneously. We measured how northern Yellowstone elk (Cervus elaphus) responded...
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Pumas are the most widely distributed felid in the Western Hemisphere. Increasingly, however, human persecution and habitat loss are isolating puma populations. To explore the genomic consequences of this isolation, we assemble a draft puma genome and a geographically broad panel of resequenced individuals. We estimate that the lineage leading to p...
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Exceptionally high rates of tooth fracture in large Pleistocene carnivorans imply intensified interspecific competition, given that tooth fracture rises with increased bone consumption, a behavior that likely occurs when prey are difficult to acquire. To assess the link between prey availability and dental attrition, we documented dental fracture r...
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1 Temporal fluctuations in growth rates can arise from both variation in age‐specific vital rates and temporal fluctuations in age structure (i.e., the relative abundance of individuals in each age‐class). However, empirical assessments of temporal fluctuations in age structure and their effects on population growth rate are rare. Most research has...
Article
Knowledge of mutation rates is crucial for calibrating population genetics models of demographic history in units of years. However, mutation rates remain challenging to estimate because of the need to identify extremely rare events. We estimated the nuclear mutation rate in wolves by identifying de novo mutations in a pedigree of seven wolves. Put...
Preprint
Full-text available
Exceptionally high rates of tooth fracture in large Pleistocene carnivorans imply intensified interspecific competition, given that tooth fracture rises with increased bone consumption, a behavior that likely occurs when prey are difficult to acquire. To assess the link between prey availability and dental attrition, we documented dental fracture r...
Article
Full-text available
1.The extent to which prey space use actively minimises predation risk continues to ignite controversy. Methodological reasons that have hindered consensus include inconsistent measurements of predation risk, biased spatiotemporal scales at which responses are measured, and lack of robust null expectations. 2.We addressed all three challenges in a...
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Rediscovering species once thought to be extinct or on the edge of extinction is rare. Red wolves have been extinct along the American Gulf Coast since 1980, with their last populations found in coastal Louisiana and Texas. We report the rediscovery of red wolf ghost alleles in a canid population on Galveston Island, Texas. We analyzed over 7000 si...
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Introduction paragraph/Abstract Across the geographic range of mountain lions, which includes much of North and South America, populations have become increasingly isolated due to human persecution and habitat loss. To explore the genomic consequences of these processes, we assembled a high-quality mountain lion genome and analyzed a panel of reseq...
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Sexually selected weapons evolved to maximize the individual reproductive success of males in many polygynous breeding species. Many weapons are also retained outside of reproductive periods for secondary reasons, but the importance of these secondary functions is poorly understood. Here we leveraged a unique opportunity from the predator-prey syst...
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Top predators have cascading effects throughout the food web, but their impacts on scavenger abundance are largely unknown. Gray wolves (Canis lupus) provide carrion to a suite of scavenger species, including the common raven (Corvus corax). Ravens are wide‐ranging and intelligent omnivores that commonly take advantage of anthropogenic food resourc...
Preprint
Full-text available
The extent to which prey space use actively minimises predation risk continues to ignite controversy. Methodological reasons that have hindered consensus include inconsistent measurements of predation risk, biased spatiotemporal scales at which responses are measured, and lack of robust null expectations. We addressed all three challenges in a comp...
Article
Full-text available
Many parasites infect multiple hosts, but estimating the transmission across host species remains a key challenge in disease ecology. We investigated the within and across host species dynamics of canine distemper virus (CDV) in grizzly bears (Ursus arctos) and wolves (Canis lupus) of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem (GYE). We hypothesized that gr...
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In canines, transposon dynamics have been associated with a hyper-social behavioral syndrome, although the functional mechanism has yet to be described. We investigate the epigenetic and transcriptional consequences of these behavior-associated mobile element insertions in dogs and Yellowstone wolves. We posit that the transposons themselves may no...
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A “landscape of fear” (LOF) is a map that describes continuous spatial variation in an animal's perception of predation risk. The relief on this map reflects, for example, places that an animal avoids to minimize risk. Although the LOF concept is a potentially unifying theme in ecology that is often invoked to explain the ecological and conservatio...
Article
Despite encounter rates being a key component of kill rate, few studies of large carnivore predation have quantified encounter rates with prey, the factors that influence them, and the relationship between encounter rate and kill rate. The study’s primary motivation was to determine the relationship between prey density and encounter rate in unders...
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Pigmentation is often used to understand how natural selection affects genetic variation in wild populations since it can have a simple genetic basis, and can affect a variety of fitness-related traits (e.g., camouflage, thermoregulation, and sexual display). In gray wolves, the K locus, a β-defensin gene, causes black coat color via a dominantly i...
Preprint
Full-text available
A bstract A ‘landscape of fear’ (LOF) is a map that describes continuous spatial variation in an animal’s perception of predation risk. The relief on this map reflects, for example, places that an animal avoids to minimize risk. Although the LOF concept is a potential unifying theme in ecology that is often invoked to explain the ecological and con...
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Full-text available
Although considerable progress has been made in understanding the genetic basis of morphologic traits (for example, body size and coat color) in dogs and wolves, the genetic basis of their behavioral divergence is poorly understood. An integrative approach using both behavioral and genetic data is required to understand the molecular underpinnings...
Article
Prey switching occurs when a generalist predator kills disproportionately more of an abundant prey species and correspondingly spares a rarer species. Although this behaviour is a classic stabilizing mechanism in food web models, little is known about its operation in free-living systems which often include dangerous prey species that resist predat...
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Measures of reproductive success have been recognized in many fields as essential tools to assess the status of populations, species, and communities. However, difficulties in gathering data on reproductive success often prevent researchers from taking advantage of the information offered by those measures. For example, most of habitat selection st...
Article
Variation in group composition and environment can affect helping behavior in cooperative breeders. Understanding of how group size, traits of individuals within groups, food abundance, and predation risk simultaneously influence helping behavior is limited. We evaluated pup-guarding behavior in gray wolves (Canis lupus) to assess how differences i...
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Gray wolf (Canis lupus) restoration in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem began in 1995 with a small founder population in Yellowstone National Park, USA, which increased and contributed to a fully restored population in the northern Rocky Mountains by 2003. Upon removal as a federally listed, threatened species, wolf management outside the park was...
Article
For animals that forage widely, protecting young from predation can span relatively long time periods due to the inability of young to travel with and be protected by their parents. Moving relatively immobile young to improve access to important resources, limit detection of concentrated scent by predators, and decrease infestations by ectoparasite...
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Over the past two decades, populations of Shiras moose (Alces alces shirasi) in western Wyoming have declined. Recent work on the Jackson herd in northwest Wyoming suggests that the 1988 Yellowstone fires and regional drought contributed to a considerable decline in calf recruitment, which coincided with the recovery of grizzly bears (Ursus arctos...
Article
Full-text available
Over the past two decades, populations of Shiras moose (Alces alces shirasi) in western Wyoming have declined. Recent work on the Jackson herd in northwest Wyoming suggests that the 1988 Yellowstone fires and regional drought contributed to a considerable decline in calf recruitment, which coincided with the recovery of grizzly bears (Ursus arctos...
Article
Full-text available
Prey selection by wolves has been a fundamental and long-term topic of interest for wolf-prey studies. Virtually all studies conclude the selectivity of wolf predation and typically identify what made an individual vulnerable. Vulnerability, however, varies for multiple reasons and emerging research is discovering climate induced effects on prey fo...
Article
Full-text available
Prey selection by wolves has been a fundamental and long-term topic of interest for wolf-prey studies. Virtually all studies conclude the selectivity of wolf predation and typically identify what made an individual vulnerable. Vulnerability, however, varies for multiple reasons and emerging research is discovering climate induced effects on prey fo...
Article
Full-text available
Predation is a fundamental ecological process that shapes ecosystem structure and biodiversity. For large carnivores preying on large ungulates, predation dynamics are influenced by many factors, including climatic conditions, prey abundance, and prey body size. Evaluating the factors that influence how large carnivore predation varies among differ...
Article
Full-text available
Predation is a fundamental ecological process that shapes ecosystem structure and biodiversity. For large carnivores preying on large ungulates, predation dynamics are influenced by many factors, including climatic conditions, prey abundance, and prey body size. Evaluating the factors that influence how large carnivore predation varies among differ...
Article
Gene expression levels change as an individual ages and responds to environmental conditions. With the exception of humans, such patterns have principally been studied under controlled conditions, overlooking the array of developmental and environmental influences that organisms encounter under conditions in which natural selection operates. We use...
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