2012 S3: Danielle Bradke
Den Site Characteristics and Kit Survival of American Marten in West Michigan
American marten (Martes americana) are small carnivorous mammals extirpated from Michigan’s Lower Peninsula in 1911. In 1986, 36 marten were reintroduced to the Manistee National Forest. Recent monitoring indicates lower than expected population growth. Six females fitted with radio collars have been tracked to 25 confirmed dens. Remotely triggered cameras captured over 28,000 photos containing marten, allowing us to document 15 kits for the five females photographed. The sixth female likely lost her litter. Litter size ranged from 2-4 kits (avg = 3). Two females have lost radio collars leaving three in the study. Of these, a minimum of 7 out of 9 kits have survived to date. All dens have been in cavities of live trees except one which was in a fallen log. Macro and micro level den site characteristics are being analyzed and compared to random sites. Results will be supplied to the US Forest Service to inform management decisions and will give insight into whether low reproductive success is a factor in slow population recovery.
Faculty Mentors: Paul Keenlance, Natural Resource Management & Joseph Jacquot, Biology