NOROCK EcoLunch Seminar Series

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NOROCK EcoLunch is a forum for students, researchers, visiting scientists and collaborators in the environmental sciences to present their current and past work. Presentations will range from brown bag discussions of ongoing projects to more formal seminar presentations. 


Kimberly Szcodronski

Kimberly Szcodronski setting up a camera trap to record scavenger activity.

(Public domain.)

Date: Tuesday, December 18

Time:  12 p.m.  Mountain Time

Presenter: Kim Szcodronski

Title: Scavengers of southwest Montana and their potential impact on brucellosis transmission

Abstract: Brucellosis, a bacterial disease caused by Brucella abortus, is a major concern in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem due to potential transmission from elk (Cervus canadensis) to livestock. B. abortus can lead to abortion in infected animals and is primarily transmitted among elk and between elk and livestock when individuals contact infected abortion materials. Therefore, the risk of transmission may be a function of how long abortion materials remain on the landscape. Previous studies suggest the rate of fetus removal by scavengers may vary spatially and that scavengers may play a vital role in the persistence of B. abortus on the landscape and the dynamics of brucellosis transmission. To investigate fetus removal in southwest Montana, we placed bovine abortion materials at 266 sites in various habitat types within suitable elk habitat during the brucellosis transmission risk period from February – June 2017 and 2018. We used remote cameras to quantify the scavenging rate of abortion materials, as well as the community of scavengers that participated in fetus removal. Preliminary estimates from 2017 suggest abortion materials were scavenged at an average of 84 hours (± 8.5 SE) by a variety of species including magpies, ravens, hawks, eagles, turkey vultures, pine martens, skunks, foxes, coyotes, wolves, mountain lions, and black bears. This research could help identify management options aimed at decreasing the risk of brucellosis transmission from elk to livestock in southwest Montana.

Location: First Floor Conference Room, "Madison Room", 2327 University Way, Suite 2.  (Click HERE for directions)

Call in: DOI locations: 703.648.4848, non-DOI: 1.855.547.8255
Meeting passcode: 59098744

Video: Join Hangout 










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