Michael R. Vaughan
Population ecology; predator/prey interactions
Population Dynamics, Graduate Seminar
President, Southeastern Section TWS
Vice President, International Assoc. for Bear Research and Management
Associate editor, Journal of Wildlife Manage.
TWS Outstanding Publication Award
Virginia Wildlife Professional Award
Black bears, red wolves, and the widening of US highway 64 through Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge: an ecological study.
For the past several years the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) has been engaged in a project to widen US highway 64 from 2 to 4 lanes from Raleigh to Manteo, North Carolina. Widening was completed to Columbia, North Carolina in 2005. The remaining sections to be completed are the 25.1 km (15.6 mi) section of highway from Columbia to Alligator River and the 18.9 km (11.7) section that runs through Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge. Alligator River NWR is home to a high density black bear population and a population of the endangered red wolf; the highway is surrounded by prime black bear and red wolf habitat. Widening the highway may be accompanied by increased speed limits, and likely will create a barrier to movement of wildlife from one side of the highway to the other. Impacts on wildlife may be both short term and long term. This research will be accomplished in three phases; preconstruction to determine where to place wildlife underpasses, during construction to determine the immediate impacts on the black bear and red wolf populations, and post construction to determine the effectiveness of mitigation measures.
Population abundance and genetic structure of black bears in coastal North Carolina and Virginia Using noninvasive genetic techniques
The black bear (Ursus americanus) population in the Roanoke-Tar-Neuse-Cape Fear (RTNCF) ecosystem in coastal North Carolina and Virginia is thought to be one of the largest in the southeastern United States, yet reliable estimates on the exact size of the population do not exist. Increased sightings, hunter complaints, and bear-human interactions suggest that bear numbers in this region are increasing, leaving biologists with the problem of managing these growing populations. Managing any wildlife population requires scientifically valid information regarding population size, density, structure, growth rate, and habitat requirements. The purpose of this study is to estimate the size, density and genetic structure of 3 unexploited black bear populations in the RTNCF ecosystem, Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge, Pocosin Lakes National Wildlife Refuge, and Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge, using noninvasive genetic sampling.
Managing bear/human interactions in Canyon de Chelly National Monument, AZ in partnership with the Navajo Nation.
Human/black bear interactions in Canyon de Chelly National Monument (CACH), Arizona are a long-term, unresolved problem emphasized by a recent increase in incidents. CACH has a history of negative interactions between Native Americans who reside there and black bears that depredate their crops and livestock, but no demographic information for the resident black bear population is available to help managers develop a strategy to deal with the issue. The park is undergoing extensive tamarisk and Russian olive removal, and over the last several decades, bears have migrated down from the local Chuska mountains into the park to utilize the olives as a supplemental food source. Additional supplements have included ripe orchard fruits. As Russian olive removal continues throughout the park for the next 5-6 years, NPS resource managers hypothesize that bears will continue to migrate, but target orchards and possibly sheep herds more aggressively. Thus this research is designed to collect demographic information on the bear population in CACH and develop a strategy to deal with the bear/human conflicts.
Ecology and population status of Asiatic black bears in Tangjiahe Nature Reserve, Sichuan Province, China.
The distribution of the Asiatic black bear (Ursus thibetanus) encompasses parts of Afghanistan, Pakistan, Northern India, Nepal, Bhutan, Burma, Laos, Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia, and China in South and Southeast Asia as well as the northern regions of Russia, South Korea, Japan and Taiwan. Little reliable information on the extant population and general status of the Asiatic black bear in China is available. China’s bear populations contend with threats from habitat loss, genetic isolation, human competition for forest resources, poisoning and trapping for agricultural depredation, as well as poaching for food and traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). The conservation of China’s Asiatic black bears demands an understanding of their distribution, habitat and food requirements, and human-bear interactions. This study will begin to address the paucity of information on Asiatic black bears by studying the bear population of Tangjiahe National Nature Reserve in Sichuan Providence China. The focus will be to determine distribution, feeding ecology, and habitat selection using simplified sign survey techniques. Using such simplified, but novel techniques allows for the research to be replicated, compared, and understood by under-funded Chinese reserves.
Dynamics of Virginia's Hunted Black Bear Population.
Virginia hunters harvest about 1,200-1,600 bears each year, but most of what is known about Virginia's hunted bear population comes from harvest data. We do not know birth rate or population density. In addition, we do no know how many hunters hunt bears because Virginia does not have a separate bear license. This long-term (10-years), large scale research is designed to provide demographic information on the hunted black bear population in Virginia so that wildlife managers can better manage it.
Population estimation and development of a land-based classification protocol for bighorn sheep in Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona.
Grand Canyon National Park (GCNP) is one of the premier parks in the National Park system, yet virtually no information is available on desert bighorn sheep there, one of the most important species in the park. While aerial survey is the preferred technique for censusing wild sheep populations, over flights of GCNP are restricted; land-based surveys would be less expensive and avoid conflicts with some user groups. The objective of this research is to test the feasibility of using double sampling and a genetic-based technique (hair sampling) to estimate population size, and to develop a land-based protocol, with known accuracy and precision, for determining sex and age structure of the population.
Selected Recent Publications:
Ryan, C.W., M.R. Vaughan, J.B. Meldrum, R.B. Duncan, and J.W. Edwards. Retention time of Telazol in black bears. 2008. Journal of Wildlife Management: in press
Gilbert, E.R., E.A. Wong, M.R. Vaughan, K.E. Webb, Jr. 2007. Distribution and abundance of nutrient transporter mRNA in the intestinal tract of the black bear, Ursus americanus. Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology 146:35-41.
Tredick, C.A., M.R. Vaughan, D. Stauffer, S. Simek, and T. Eason. 2007. Sub-sampling genetic data to estimate black bear population size: a case study. Ursus 18(2): 178-187.
Batts, G.K., N.W. Lafon, M.J. Kelly, and M.R. Vaughan. 2006. A modified approach to rocket netting white-tailed deer using a remote video system. Proceedings of the Annual Conference of the Southeastern Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies. 60:77-82
Conroy, M.J., P. Beier, H. Quigley, and M.R. Vaughan. 2006. Improving the use of science in conservation: Lessons from the Florida panther. Journal of Wildlife Management 70(1): 1-7.
Beier, P., M.R. Vaughan, M.J. Conroy, and H. Quigley. 2006. Evaluating scientific inferences about the Florida panther. Journal of Wildlife Management 70(1): 236-245.
Donahue, S.W., S.A. Galley, M.R. Vaughan, P. Patterson-Buckendahl, L.M. Demers, J.L. Vance, and M. E. McGee. 2006. Parathyroid hormone may maintain bone formation in hibernating black bears (Ursus americanus) to prevent disuse osteoporosis. The Journal of Experimental Biology 209: 1630-1638.
Lee, D.J., and M.R. Vaughan. 2005. Yearling and subadult black bear survival in a hunted Virginia Population. Journal of Wildlife Management 69(4): 1641-1651.
Bridges, A.S., M.R. Vaughan, and S.A. Klenzendorf. 2004. Seasonal variation in American black bear activity patterns: quantification via remote photography. Wildlife Biology 10:277-284.
Donahue, S.W., M.R. Vaughan, L.M. Demers, and H.J. Donahue. 2003 Serum markers of bone metabolism show bone loss in hibernating bears. Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research 408:295-301.
Vashon, J.H., M.R. Vaughan, A.D. Vashon, D.D. Martin, and K.N. Echols. 2003. An expandable radiocollar for black bear cubs. Wildlife Society Bulletin 31:380-386.
Bridges, A., C. Olfenbuttel, and M. Vaughan. 2003. A mixed-regression model to estimate neonatal black bear cub age. Wildlife Society Bulletin 30:1253-1258.
Inman, K.H., and M.R. Vaughan 2002. Hunter effort and success rates of hunting bears with hounds in Virginia. Ursus 13:223-230.
Klenzendorf, S.A., M.R. Vaughan, and D.D. Martin. 2002. Den-type use and fidelity of American black bears in Virginia. Ursus 13:39-44.
Warrillow, J., M. Culver, E. Hallerman, and M. R. Vaughan. 2001. Subspecific affinity of black bears in the White River National Wildlife Refuge. Journal of Heredity 92:226-233.
Godfrey, C.L., K. Needham, M.R. Vaughan, J.H. Vashon, D.D. Martin, and G.T Blank, Jr.. 2000. A Technique for and risks associated with entering tree dens used by black bears. Wildlife Society Bulletin 28:131-140.
Klenzendorf, S.A., and M.R. Vaughan. 1999. An overview of brown bear management in six European countries. Ursus 11:163-178.
Kasbohm, J.W., M.R. Vaughan, and J.G. Kraus. 1998. Black bear home range dynamics and movement patterns during a gypsy moth infestation. Ursus 10:259-268
Last updated September 9, 2008