Presentation Title

P-34 Seasonal Diet Variation of Thirteen-Lined Ground Squirrels (Ictidomys tridecemlineatus) in Southwestern Michigan

Presenter Information

Austin MenzmerFollow

Presenter Status

Graduate student, Biology Department

Preferred Session

Poster Session

Start Date

26-10-2018 2:00 PM

End Date

26-10-2018 3:00 PM

Presentation Abstract

The study of ground squirrel diet is almost a century old, beginning with Urocitellus columbianus of the Pacific Northwest in 1925 and California’s Citellus lateralis in the 1960’s. Ictidomys tridecemlineatus was studied in Iowa and Indiana in the 1920’s and 1970’s respectively, and investigators found that the consumption of insects - as opposed to plant matter - increased as summer turned into fall.

I am studying Ictidomys tridecemlineatus in southwest Michigan, the farthest east and northern location the diet of this squirrel species has ever been studied. All of the above studies used stomach content analysis to track squirrel diet. I am aiming to accomplish the same task but with fecal sample collection, thus keeping the creatures alive and gaining more data in the process. Prior work in the Goodwin lab has documented late season shift to C4 plants in squirrel diet, but the identification of C4 plants has not been done. I hope to identify the spring, summer, and especially fall diet choices of the squirrels through microhistological and isotopic analysis.

I began trapping and collecting data from squirrels in June 2018, and will continue to do so each month through October. Trapping involves visually locating the creature, staking a trap over the burrow, and waiting for the squirrel to enter the trap. Data collection includes procuring the weight of the squirrel, attaching an ear tag, and collecting fecal samples in a vial. At the present time I do not have any results as I am still collecting data.

Acknowledgments

Andrews University Graduate Student Grant in Aid of Research - Spring 2018


Faculty Research Grant - Dr. Tom Goodwin, Spring 2018

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Oct 26th, 2:00 PM Oct 26th, 3:00 PM

P-34 Seasonal Diet Variation of Thirteen-Lined Ground Squirrels (Ictidomys tridecemlineatus) in Southwestern Michigan

The study of ground squirrel diet is almost a century old, beginning with Urocitellus columbianus of the Pacific Northwest in 1925 and California’s Citellus lateralis in the 1960’s. Ictidomys tridecemlineatus was studied in Iowa and Indiana in the 1920’s and 1970’s respectively, and investigators found that the consumption of insects - as opposed to plant matter - increased as summer turned into fall.

I am studying Ictidomys tridecemlineatus in southwest Michigan, the farthest east and northern location the diet of this squirrel species has ever been studied. All of the above studies used stomach content analysis to track squirrel diet. I am aiming to accomplish the same task but with fecal sample collection, thus keeping the creatures alive and gaining more data in the process. Prior work in the Goodwin lab has documented late season shift to C4 plants in squirrel diet, but the identification of C4 plants has not been done. I hope to identify the spring, summer, and especially fall diet choices of the squirrels through microhistological and isotopic analysis.

I began trapping and collecting data from squirrels in June 2018, and will continue to do so each month through October. Trapping involves visually locating the creature, staking a trap over the burrow, and waiting for the squirrel to enter the trap. Data collection includes procuring the weight of the squirrel, attaching an ear tag, and collecting fecal samples in a vial. At the present time I do not have any results as I am still collecting data.