Advisor: Dr. Clayton Nielsen
Title: Occupancy of Semi-aquatic Mammals on LCFPD Lands: Implications for Restoration
"Semi-aquatic mammals (e.g. muskrat, mink, river otter, and beaver) serve important roles in freshwater aquatic systems, both as ecosystem engineers and apex predators. Collectively, semi-aquatic mammals play a disproportionate role in ecosystems by creating habitat, structuring the environment, and functioning as keystone species. They also serve as important bioindicators of pollution in aquatic systems and may serve as indicators of overall environmental health. Unfortunately, the Lake County (IL) Forest Preserve District (District) has little information on the status of these semi-aquatic mammal species or, as indicator species, how they may be useful to guide District restoration of wetlands and riparian areas. My goal is to conduct surveys of semi-aquatic mammal species on District preserves and analyze those data using occupancy modeling techniques to provide information to guide restoration activities."