Mark Hebblewhite's research while affiliated with Princeton University and other places

Publications (287)

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The recovery of carnivore populations in North American has consequences for trophic interactions and population dynamics of prey. In addition to direct effects on prey populations through killing, predators can influence prey behavior by imposing the risk of predation. The mechanisms through which patterns of space use by predators are linked to b...
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Background Global increases in human activity threaten connectivity of animal habitat and populations. Protection and restoration of wildlife habitat and movement corridors require robust models to forecast the effects of human activity on movement behaviour, resource selection, and connectivity. Recent research suggests that animal resource select...
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Recovering endangered species is a difficult and often controversial task that challenges status‐quo land uses. Southern Mountain caribou are a threatened ecotype of caribou that historically ranged in southwestern Canada and northwestern USA and epitomize the tension between resource extraction, biodiversity conservation, and Indigenous Peoples' t...
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Indigenous Peoples around the northern hemisphere have long relied on caribou for subsistence, ceremonial, and community purposes. Unfortunately, despite recovery efforts by Federal and Provincial agencies, caribou are currently in decline in many areas across Canada. In response to recent and dramatic declines of mountain caribou populations withi...
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Wide-ranging animals, including migratory species, are significantly threatened by the effects of habitat fragmentation and habitat loss. In the case of terrestrial mammals, this results in nearly a quarter of species being at risk of extinction. Caribou are one such example of a wide-ranging, migratory, terrestrial, and endangered mammal. In popul...
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Abstract There is growing evidence that prey perceive the risk of predation and alter their behavior in response, resulting in changes in spatial distribution and potential fitness consequences. Previous approaches to mapping predation risk across a landscape quantify predator space use to estimate potential predator‐prey encounters, yet this appro...
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Genetic mechanisms determining habitat selection and specialization of individuals within species have been hypothesized, but not tested at the appropriate individual level in nature. In this work, we analyzed habitat selection for 139 GPS‐collared caribou belonging to three declining ecotypes sampled throughout Northwestern Canada. We used Resourc...
Preprint
Although global change can reshape ecosystems by triggering cascading effects on food webs, indirect interactions remain largely overlooked. Climate- and land use-induced changes on landscape cause shifts in vegetation composition, which affect entire food webs. We used simulations of forest dynamics and movements of interacting species, parameteri...
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Climate change will lead to more frequent and more severe fires in some areas of boreal forests, affecting the distribution and availability of late‐successional forest communities. These forest communities help protect globally significant carbon reserves beneath permafrost layers and provide habitat for many animal species, including forest‐dwell...
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Migration is a tactic used across taxa to access resources in temporally heterogenous landscapes. Populations that migrate can attain higher abundances because such movements allow access to higher quality resources, or reduction in predation risk resulting in increased fitness. However, most migratory species occur in partially migratory populatio...
Preprint
Background. Global increases in human activity threaten connectivity of animal habitat and populations. Protection and restoration of wildlife habitat and movement corridors require robust models to forecast the effects of human activity on movement behaviour, resource selection, and connectivity. Recent research suggests that animal resource selec...
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Ungulates groom to remove ectoparasites but grooming may interfere with foraging, vigilance, and rumination, and it is possible that these effects differ among migratory tactics due to differences in parasite infestations. We compared the effects of grooming for winter ticks (Dermacentor albipictus) on winter foraging behavior by migrating and resi...
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Summer diets are crucial for large herbivores in the subarctic and are affected by weather, harassment from insects and a variety of environmental changes linked to climate. Yet, understanding foraging behavior and diet of large herbivores is challenging in the subarctic because of their remote ranges. We used GPS video-camera collars to observe be...
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Founded in 1993, the Yellowstone to Yukon (Y2Y) vision was one of the earliest large‐landscape conservation visions. Despite growing recognition of large‐landscape conservation strategies, there have been few tests to date of conservation gains achieved through such approaches. We tested for conservation gains in the Y2Y region of North America fol...
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On 10 August 2018 we investigated reports of dead Rocky Mountain Elk (Cervus canadensis nelsoni) melting out of the snow above No Name Lake in the Three Sisters Wilderness, Oregon. We identified 15 elk partially lodged in the snow and 4 elk submerged in the lake. The elk were scattered across the slope and had suffered multiple compound fractures o...
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Recent events related to the measures taken to control the spread of the Coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) reduced human mobility (i.e. anthropause), potentially opening connectivity opportunities for wildlife populations. In the Italian Alps, brown bears have recovered after reintroduction within a complex anthropogenic matrix, but failed to establish a me...
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Arctic vegetation communities are rapidly changing with climate warming, which impacts wildlife, carbon cycling and climate feedbacks. Accurately monitoring vegetation change is thus crucial, but scale mismatches between field and satellite-based monitoring cause challenges. Remote sensing from unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) has emerged as a bridg...
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Significance Despite the growing recognition that indirect interactions within species networks can determine food web dynamics, empirical evidence remains rare. We demonstrate how the impact of insects on forest structure and composition can reverberate across trophic levels by altering apparent competition in a large-mammal food web subjected to...
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Loss of migratory behavior or shifts in migratory ranges are growing concerns to wildlife managers. How ungulates prioritize safety from predators at the expense of high‐quality foraging opportunities during calving may be key to understanding these shifts and long‐term reproductive success. We compared trade‐offs in selection for forage and predat...
Preprint
There is evidence that prey can perceive the risk of predation and alter their behaviour in response, resulting in changes in spatial distribution and potential fitness consequences. Previous approaches to mapping predation risk quantify predator space use to estimate potential predator-prey encounters, yet this approach does not account for succes...
Preprint
There is evidence that prey can perceive the risk of predation and alter their behaviour in response, resulting in changes in spatial distribution and potential fitness consequences. Previous approaches to mapping predation risk quantify predator space use to estimate potential predator-prey encounters, yet this approach does not account for succes...
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Migration of ungulates (hooved mammals) is a fundamental ecological process that promotes abundant herds, whose effects cascade up and down terrestrial food webs. Migratory ungulates provide the prey base that maintains large carnivore and scavenger populations and underpins terrestrial biodiversity (fig. S1). When ungulates move in large aggregati...
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Population monitoring can take many different forms, and monitoring elusive and endangered species frequently involves a variety of sparse data from different sources. Small populations are often hard to sample precisely and without bias, so when estimates of vital rates like survival or recruitment point to conflicting population trends, it can be...
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Human activity and land use change impact every landscape on Earth, driving declines in many animal species while benefiting others. Species ecological and life history traits may predict success in human-dominated landscapes such that only species with "winning" combinations of traits will persist in disturbed environments. However, this link betw...
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Climate warming is expected to have substantial impacts on native trout across the Rocky Mountains, but there is little understanding of how these changes affect future distributions of co-occurring native fishes within population strongholds. We used mixed-effects logistic regression to investigate the role of abiotic (e.g., temperature) and bioti...
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Habitat loss is often the ultimate cause of species endangerment and is also a leading factor inhibiting species recovery. For this reason, species‐at‐risk legislation, policies and plans typically focus on habitat conservation and restoration as mechanisms for recovery. To assess the effectiveness of these instruments in decelerating habitat loss,...
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Abstract 1. Endangered species policies and their associated recovery documents and management actions do not always sufficiently address the importance of migratory behaviour and seasonal ranges for imperilled populations. 2. Using a telemetry location dataset spanning 1981–2018, we tested for changes in prevalence of migratory tactics (resident,...
Preprint
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Global increases in human activity threaten connectivity of animal populations. Protection and restoration of animal movement corridors requires robust models to forecast the effects of human activity on connectivity. Recent advances in the field of animal movement ecology and step selection functions offer new approaches for estimating connectivit...
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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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Human‐dominated landscapes are being recolonized by large carnivores, thereby increasing conflicts worldwide via predation of livestock and harvested wildlife such as ungulates. Recent meta‐analyses have shown that predator control (hereafter, predator removal) has mixed success in reducing livestock predation. Yet, it is unknown how effective pred...
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We studied the habitat selection of pronghorn ( Antilocapra americana ) during seasonal migration; an important period in an animal’s annual cycle associated with broad-scale movements. We further decompose our understanding of migration habitat itself as the product of both broad- and fine-scale behavioral decisions and take a multi-scale approach...
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Arctic and boreal ecosystems are experiencing rapid changes in temperature and precipitation regimes. Subsequent shifts in seasonality can lead to a mismatch between the timing of resource availability and species' life-history events, known as phenological or trophic mismatch. Although mismatch has been shown to negatively affect some northern ani...
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Understanding how predators affect prey populations is a fundamental goal for ecologists and wildlife managers. A well‐known example of regulation by predators is the predator pit, where two alternative stable states exist and prey can be held at a low density equilibrium by predation if they are unable to pass the threshold needed to attain a high...
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Cases of true and pseudo-hermaphroditism, in which animals possess both ovaries and testes or have a single chromosomal and gonadal sex but secondary features of the other sex, have been documented in several cervids, including Odocoileus (deer) and Capreolus (roe deer) species. Another form of intersexuality that has been well documented in Domest...
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The Arctic is entering a new ecological state, with alarming consequences for humanity. Animal-borne sensors offer a window into these changes. Although substantial animal tracking data from the Arctic and subarctic exist, most are difficult to discover and access. Here, we present the new Arctic Animal Movement Archive (AAMA), a growing collection...
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The Arctic is entering a new ecological state, with alarming consequences for humanity. Animal-borne sensors offer a window into these changes. Although substantial animal tracking data from the Arctic and subarctic exist, most are difficult to discover and access. Here, we present the new Arctic Animal Movement Archive (AAMA), a growing collection...
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Understanding the effectiveness of harvest regulations to manipulate population abundances is a priority for wildlife managers, and reliable methods are needed to monitor populations. This is particularly true in controversial situations such as integrated carnivore‐ungulate management. We used an observational before‐after‐control‐treatment approa...
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Large carnivores are important ecological drivers of ecosystem dynamics when they occur at ecologically effective densities. They are also challenging to conserve, especially in transboundary settings such as along borders of parks and protected areas. Here, we tested for effects of transboundary movements on survival of 72 radiocollared gray wolve...
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Background Temperatures in arctic-boreal regions are increasing rapidly and pose significant challenges to moose ( Alces alces ), a heat-sensitive large-bodied mammal. Moose act as ecosystem engineers, by regulating forest carbon and structure, below ground nitrogen cycling processes, and predator-prey dynamics. Previous studies showed that during...
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Many large herbivore populations are partially migratory, in which the population is comprised of both non-migratory (resident) and migratory individuals. Density-dependence contributes to regulating the dynamics of partially migratory populations by altering habitat selection, vital rates, or rates of behavioral switching between migratory tactics...
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Anthropogenic linear features facilitate access and travel efficiency for predators, and can influence predator distribution and encounter rates with prey. We used GPS collar data from eight wolf packs and characteristics of seismic lines to investigate whether ease-of-travel or access to areas presumed to be preferred by prey best explained season...
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Animals exhibit a diversity of movement tactics [1]. Tracking resources that change across space and time is predicted to be a fundamental driver of animal movement [2]. For example, some migratory ungulates (i.e., hooved mammals) closely track the progression of highly nutritious plant green-up, a phenomenon called “green-wave surfing” [3, 4, 5]....
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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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Density‐dependent competition for food reduces vital rates, with juvenile survival often the first to decline. A clear prediction of food‐based, density‐dependent competition for large herbivores is decreasing juvenile survival with increasing density. However, competition for enemy‐free space could also be a significant mechanism for density depen...
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The importance of conserving migratory populations is recognized across a variety of ungulate taxa, yet the demographic benefits of migration remain uncertain for ungulate populations that exhibit partial migration. We hypothesized that migratory pronghorn (Antilocapra americana) would experience greater survival compared to residents by moving lon...
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Identifying habitat that is essential to the recovery of species at risk, known as critical habitat, is a major focus of species at risk legislation, yet there has been little research on the degree to which these areas are protected. Here, we first review the provisions for protecting critical habitat on non-federal lands within Canada's Species a...
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Previous research indicates that the effects of climate warming, including shrub expansion and increased fire frequency may lead to declining lichen abundance in arctic tundra and northern alpine areas. Lichens are important forage for caribou (Rangifer tarandus), whose populations are declining throughout most of North America. To clarify how lich...
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Migration is typically thought to be an evolved trait driven by responses to forage or predation, but recent studies have demonstrated avoidance of parasitism can also affect success of migratory tactics within a population. We evaluated hypotheses of how migration alters parasite exposure in a partially migratory elk (Cervus canadensis) population...
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Migratory birds have the capacity to shift their migration phenology in response to climatic change. Yet the mechanistic underpinning of changes in migratory timing remain poorly understood. We employed newly developed global positioning system (GPS) tracking devices and long-term dataset of migration passage timing to investigate how behavioral re...
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A significant challenge of conservation biology is to preserve species in places where their critical habitat also attracts significant economic interest. The problem is compounded when species distributions occur across large spatial extents. Threatened boreal caribou (Rangifer tarandus caribou) epitomize this problem: their critical habitat encom...
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Subspecies designations within temperate species' ranges often reflect populations that were isolated by past continental glaciation, and glacial vicariance is believed to be a primary mechanism behind the diversification of several subspecies of North American cervids. We used genetics and the fossil record to study the phylogeography of three moo...
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Across North America, incentive programs have assisted landholders with the construction of fences, often considered “wildlife friendly,” to assist in grazing management, which has resulted in a proliferation of fencing on the landscape. Many suggested “wildlife‐friendly” fence modifications have not been evaluated for their effectiveness on the ta...
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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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1) The resource hierarchy hypothesis predicts that the most important factors limiting a species' distribution act at the coarsest spatial scales. However, resource selection behavior affords mobile organisms the opportunity to adopt a range of tactics for navigating spatial trade-offs between competing biotic and abiotic constraints. Throughout th...
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Forestry practices such as prescribed fire and wildfire management can modify the nutritional resources of ungulates across broad landscapes. To evaluate the influences of fire and forest management on ungulate nutrition, we measured and compared forage quality and abundance among a range of land cover types and fire histories within 3 elk ranges i...
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The Arctic has been warming rapidly, affecting ecological processes across the region. Caribou and reindeer (Rangifer tarandus) is a keystone Arctic species undergoing declines in many parts of its range, but definitive links between climate and populations remain elusive. The conspicuous and dramatic mass migration of many caribou populations, dur...
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Newly emerging plants provide the best forage for herbivores. To exploit this fleeting resource, migrating herbivores align their movements to surf the wave of spring green-up. With new technology to track migrating animals, the Green Wave Hypothesis has steadily gained empirical support across a diversity of migratory taxa. This hypothesis assumes...
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Long-distance terrestrial migrations are imperiled globally. We determined both round-trip migration distances (straight-line measurements between migratory end points) and total annual movement (sum of the distances between successive relocations over a year) for a suite of large mammals that had potential for long-distance movements to test which...
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Outdoor recreationists are important advocates for wildlife on public lands. However, balancing potential impacts associated with increased human disturbance with the conservation of sensitive species is a central issue facing ecologists and land managers alike, especially for dispersed winter recreation due to its disproportionate impact to wildli...
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Habitat loss, prey depletion, and direct poaching for the illegal wildlife trade are endangering large carnivores across the globe. Tigers (Panthera tigris) have lost 93% of their historical range and are experiencing rapid population declines. A dominant paradigm of current tiger conservation focuses on conservation of 6% of the presently occupied...
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Partial migration, a phenomenon wherein only some individuals within a population migrate, is taxonomically widespread. While well-studied in birds and fish, partial migration in large herbivores has come into the spotlight only recently due to the decline of migratory behavior in ungulate species around the world. We explored whether partial migra...
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Aim: The influence of humans on large carnivores, including wolves, is a worldwide conservation concern. In addition, human-caused changes in carnivore density and distribution might have impacts on prey and, indirectly, on vegetation. We therefore tested wolf responses to infrastructure related to natural resource development (i.e., human footpri...