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Tamara Hillman ACF Abstract FY13

"Study of a reintroduced American marten population using noninvasive hair snares"

The Wildlife Society 19th Annual Conference

Prior to European settlement, the American marten (Martes americana) ranged throughout most of northern North America. Colonization and logging led to large scale habitat loss, and in combination with over-trapping of the fur bearing species led to extirpation of marten in many areas of their native range. Years of more conservative logging and land use practices resulted in forest regeneration and made reintroductions of marten possible in several regions. Michigan's northern Lower Peninsula is an example of an area historically part of marten range that has performed marten reintroductions, and will be the focus of this study. Marten were last sighted in the Lower Peninsula in 1911, then were later reintroduced in the mid-1980s in two areas; the Pigeon River Country State Forest (n=49, sex ratio 1:1), and the Manistee National Forest (n=36, sex ratio 1.4 M :1 F). Little is known about the current status of the marten populations in these regions, and the goal of this study will be to gain insight into the Manistee National Forest (MNF) population. The objectives of this research are to use noninvasive hair snares to collect hair from marten and use population genetics techniques to assess genetic diversity, relatedness, distribution, and estimate population size. This will be accomplished by deploying 100 single sampling hair snares throughout areas of suitable marten habitat in the MNF. The results of this research should provide a view of the current marten population status in the MNF, and assess feasibility of hair snare methods for future monitoring and ongoing management of marten in other regions, as well as similar species such as fisher (M. pennanti). This study will take place beginning this summer, 2012 and continue through spring of 2014.