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Tuesday, January 30 • 6:00pm - 9:00pm
Student Research-in-Progress Poster Display. Habitat Modeling for River Otters in Wisconsin

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AUTHOR: Janelle Taylor, University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point

ABSTRACT: River otters are a widespread aquatic carnivore that are harvested for their value as a furbearer. Aside from their monetary value as a furbearer, river otters are also important components of aquatic systems as they often serve as top predators and have the capacity to alter trophic systems. However, monitoring otters is difficult due to their cryptic nature and the inaccessibility of the habitats that they often inhabit. Survey efforts often rely on accessibility of sampling locations rather than a targeted focus on areas of likely otter occurrence. Because of this, there have been a paucity of formal modeling efforts to quantify habitat selection by river otters compared to other harvested species. Using four years of aerial survey data (N > 2,000 sampling locations) from regular population monitoring conducted by Wisconsin DNR, we will quantify habitat factors associated with river otter occurrence during the winter in both central and northern Wisconsin using a series of mixed-effects regression models. We will explore the relationship between river otter occurrence and both natural and anthropogenic habitat factors such as various land cover metrics, fragmentation, water body characteristics, and human disturbance. The results from this study will be used to identify priority sampling areas for future monitoring programs and will provide unique insights into river otter ecology.

Tuesday January 30, 2018 6:00pm - 9:00pm CST
Ballroom C & Foyer
  Poster Display