How can we assess deer impacts on species, communities, and ecosystems? This poster will explore a range of different monitoring methods, and will discuss the challenges addressing indirect effects and interactions. I will consider deer impacts beyond direct damage to plants that are browsed—such as the ways in which deer browsing may decrease flower availability, leading to declines in pollinators—and outline how existing methods address “trophic cascades” and other ecological processes. Examples from research in southeast Michigan over the past 20 years will be used to illustrate different approaches.
Methods for Monitoring Deer Impacts on Natural Areas
Jacqueline Courteau is President and Senior Ecologist of NatureWrite, LLC. She earned her M.S. and Ph.D. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Michigan. She has monitored and assessed deer impacts in 20+ parks and natural areas in southeast Michigan, which continues to be her focus. She has also worked with the Huron River Watershed Council to develop their rapid ecological assessment; taught at University of Michigan and Eastern Michigan University, including restoration ecology and field ecology; written plant species overviews for the Smithsonian Encyclopedia of life; contracted for Michigan Natural Features Inventory; and is working with private land-owners to develop forest stewardship plans. Her side gig is collecting acorns and growing oak trees, with the goals of growing all 13 of Michigan’s native oak species and preserving the genetics of big trees.