Answering questions about hare habitat use

– read about James Goerz’ undergraduate Honors Research Project

 My research is focused on snowshoe hare behavior in habitats with varying levels of predation risk. Specifically, I am interested in vegetation differences between survival and mortality micro-habitats as well as predator avoidance and foraging decisions made by hares in heterogeneous landscapes.

I use digital imagery to record canopy closure and horizontal cover data at specific survival and mortality sites and analyze the images in ArcGIS 10 for highly accurate pixel count ratios. I also collect data on plant species richness and percent cover in order to understand snowshoe hare foraging decisions and risk assessment at each site. By characterizing each micro-habitat by canopy closure, horizontal cover and plant species diversity I hope to increase our understanding of snowshoe hare habitat use on a more specific scale than previous research.

 

James Goerz