Response of Desert Mule Deer to Habitat Alterations in the Lower Sonoran Desert

Persistent Link:
http://hdl.handle.net/10150/195393
Title:
Response of Desert Mule Deer to Habitat Alterations in the Lower Sonoran Desert
Author:
Alcala Galvan, Carlos Hugo
Issue Date:
2005
Publisher:
The University of Arizona.
Rights:
Copyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
Abstract:
About 1,600,000 ha of desert mule deer range in Mexico are currently altered with vegetation clear-cutting and establishment of buffelgrass pastures. Consequently, the availability of resources as cover and forage from scrub vegetation has been reduced for mule deer. No previous research has been conducted to investigate how desert mule deer respond to those alterations. Therefore, the purpose of this research was to examine movements of mule deer, evaluate their home range sizes and determine habitat use, and analyze their diets in areas of central and western Sonora, Mexico. The approach involved the use of radiotelemetry techniques and GIS programs to calculate home range sizes, examine selection of vegetation associations, and identify the specific components of habitat that distinguished the characteristics of selected sites by desert mule deer. I used the microhistological technique to determine botanical components of desert mule deer diets, and compare diets of desert mule deer and cattle in habitat with buffelgrass pastures. Diet analyses included spatial and temporal comparisons of diversity and similarity indices. Sizes of home ranges were larger in the more arid environments of western Sonora (27.3 km2) than in central Sonora (14.5 km2). Desert mule deer used altered habitat differently than use areas without buffelgrass, however, there was no difference in the size of home ranges of mule deer from inside buffelgrass areas and the size of home ranges of deer in native scrub vegetation. Thermal cover, ground cover, and percent of gravel in the ground were the variables that distinguished locations selected by desert mule deer. Desert mule deer selected xeroriparian vegetation and sites closer to water sources. Water sources may have influenced mule deer to stay in buffelgrass areas despite the lack of cover and forage from shrubs and trees. For diets of mule deer, I identified 96 plant species, 69 of which have not previously been reported as forage for this herbivore. Desert mule deer and cattle shared 45 forage species from central Sonora. However, biological overlap of diets occurred only for spring. Results from these studies provide information to understand ecological relationships of desert mule deer on altered habitats.
Type:
text; Electronic Dissertation
Keywords:
desert mule deer; diets; habitat use; home range; Sonora Mexico; Sonoran Desert
Degree Name:
PhD
Degree Level:
doctoral
Degree Program:
Natural Resources; Graduate College
Degree Grantor:
University of Arizona
Advisor:
Krausman, Paul R.
Committee Chair:
Krausman, Paul R.

Full metadata record

DC FieldValue Language
dc.language.isoENen_US
dc.titleResponse of Desert Mule Deer to Habitat Alterations in the Lower Sonoran Deserten_US
dc.creatorAlcala Galvan, Carlos Hugoen_US
dc.contributor.authorAlcala Galvan, Carlos Hugoen_US
dc.date.issued2005en_US
dc.publisherThe University of Arizona.en_US
dc.rightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.en_US
dc.description.abstractAbout 1,600,000 ha of desert mule deer range in Mexico are currently altered with vegetation clear-cutting and establishment of buffelgrass pastures. Consequently, the availability of resources as cover and forage from scrub vegetation has been reduced for mule deer. No previous research has been conducted to investigate how desert mule deer respond to those alterations. Therefore, the purpose of this research was to examine movements of mule deer, evaluate their home range sizes and determine habitat use, and analyze their diets in areas of central and western Sonora, Mexico. The approach involved the use of radiotelemetry techniques and GIS programs to calculate home range sizes, examine selection of vegetation associations, and identify the specific components of habitat that distinguished the characteristics of selected sites by desert mule deer. I used the microhistological technique to determine botanical components of desert mule deer diets, and compare diets of desert mule deer and cattle in habitat with buffelgrass pastures. Diet analyses included spatial and temporal comparisons of diversity and similarity indices. Sizes of home ranges were larger in the more arid environments of western Sonora (27.3 km2) than in central Sonora (14.5 km2). Desert mule deer used altered habitat differently than use areas without buffelgrass, however, there was no difference in the size of home ranges of mule deer from inside buffelgrass areas and the size of home ranges of deer in native scrub vegetation. Thermal cover, ground cover, and percent of gravel in the ground were the variables that distinguished locations selected by desert mule deer. Desert mule deer selected xeroriparian vegetation and sites closer to water sources. Water sources may have influenced mule deer to stay in buffelgrass areas despite the lack of cover and forage from shrubs and trees. For diets of mule deer, I identified 96 plant species, 69 of which have not previously been reported as forage for this herbivore. Desert mule deer and cattle shared 45 forage species from central Sonora. However, biological overlap of diets occurred only for spring. Results from these studies provide information to understand ecological relationships of desert mule deer on altered habitats.en_US
dc.typetexten_US
dc.typeElectronic Dissertationen_US
dc.subjectdesert mule deeren_US
dc.subjectdietsen_US
dc.subjecthabitat useen_US
dc.subjecthome rangeen_US
dc.subjectSonora Mexicoen_US
dc.subjectSonoran Deserten_US
thesis.degree.namePhDen_US
thesis.degree.leveldoctoralen_US
thesis.degree.disciplineNatural Resourcesen_US
thesis.degree.disciplineGraduate Collegeen_US
thesis.degree.grantorUniversity of Arizonaen_US
dc.contributor.advisorKrausman, Paul R.en_US
dc.contributor.chairKrausman, Paul R.en_US
dc.contributor.committeememberShaw, William W.en_US
dc.contributor.committeememberMannan, R. Williamen_US
dc.contributor.committeememberRuyle, Georgeen_US
dc.identifier.proquest1424en_US
dc.identifier.oclc137355588en_US
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