Utah Chapter: Grants-in-Aid

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Grant Information:

The Utah Chapter of The Wildlife Society (TWS) offers Grants-in-Aid for graduate and undergraduate research. Over $4,000 was awarded last year!

To apply send a completed proposal to blairstringham@utah.gov by March 4, 2016. Grant recipients will be announced at the UTTWS Annual Meeting Banquet Thursday March 24, 2016 at 6pm in Red Lion Hotel St. George, UT.

Research and Mentoring Grants:

The purpose of Utah Chapter TWS research grants is to assist marginally funded research projects, not add to already well-funded efforts. These funds can be used for supplies, travel, wages or publications associated with existing wildlife projects.

Utah Chapter TWS mentoring grants reimburse students for their time, supplies, and/or other expenses involved with conducting a wildlife research project. Students may either design their own project or work on a professor’s ongoing research, but all students must work with a faculty mentor. Some students may approach faculty with their own ideas, while others may propose to assist wildlife research that is already ongoing. Students should initiate the mentoring relationship by asking a faculty member to advise them on a project.

Application Guidelines:

Proposal Format must follow these guidelines:

  • The proposal should be 2 pages single spaced, 1 inch margins, 12 point times new roman.
  • Header: Proposal Title, Applicant’s name and Applicant’s email.
  • Goal/Purpose: write a succinct statement summarizing the goal of the project.
  • Importance of project: explain why this project is important. It may, for example, fill a research need, attempt to provide a practical solution to a vexing problem, or create an aesthetic work of art.
  • Main Proposal Body: This section is the main body of your proposal. Include your research plans, methods and expectations for this project based on the unique skills you and your mentor possess to conduct this project. If you need to include images or symbols with your proposal, please be sure to optimize the images so the entire document is not more than 2 MB.
  • Anticipated Outcome: describe any presentations, displays, publications, or other tangible outcomes you anticipate. This may be a paper, a formal presentation, a performance, an invention, or even a lecture in a public forum such as a class presentation.
  • Qualifications: explain why you are qualified to pursue this project.
  • Project Timetable: summarize the major milestones in your project.

Eligibility for Grants

  • Must be currently enrolled as a fulltime student.
  • Must be in good academic standing.
  • Must have a research project in need of financial support for research grant OR Must have faculty member who is willing to serve as a mentor for mentoring grant
  • Must be willing to make a brief oral or poster presentation at the 2016 Utah Chapter of the TWS meeting.

Congratulations to the 2015 student grant recipients:

Jacob Hall: $1,200.00 scholarship to assist in his work on: Impacts of Coyote Removal on the Survival of Mule Deer Fawns

Austin Green:  $1,200.00 scholarship to assist in his work on: Estimating density of large mammals with camera traps in Red Butte Canyon

Brandon Flack: $800.00 scholarship to assist in his work on:  Morgan-Summit Sage-grouse Management Area Greater Sage-grouse Population: Habitat Use Patterns and Vital Rates of the Conservation Implications for Managers

Charles Sandford: $800.00 scholarship to assist in his work on: Effects of Pinyon and Juniper Removal on Greater Sage-grouse Habitat Use and Vital Rates in Northwestern Utah.

2015 Grant Recipients Report

Austin Green: We used camera traps to gather data on mammals throughout the Red Butte Canyon Research Natural Area, located only 6 km east of Salt Lake City.  Measures of relative abundance such as trapping rate and total number of independent events were gathered, and species-specific occupancy modeling was applied to gather occupancy values for each species present in the study area. Furthermore, the sampling effort needed to ensure accurate detection records was assessed as a reference for any future studies along the Wasatch Front. This baseline data will provide an extensive dataset for other researchers interested in monitoring the ecology of the Wasatch Front, as well as provide valuable information on the variability of mammal distribution through a number of different variable conditions. As of right now, our lab has taken photos of the following mammalian species: mule deer, coyote, raccoon, moose, elk, porcupine, mountain lion, black bear, striped skunk, mountain cottontail, bobcat, roack squirrel, and mink (not confirmed).


Charles Sanford: In Box Elder County in northwestern Utah,  land managers have identified PJ encroachment as a threat to  sage-grouse populations.  Although PJ removal treatments were initiated, little information was available regarding sage-grouse responses.  We observed a juvenile sage-grouse female that followed masticating equipment into a PJ removal site, and nested in a remnant patch of sagebrush.  The female incubated her nest as the equipment continued to work in the area, and hatched her nest in May. We also  determine that probability of nest and brood success increased when sage-grouse selected sites near PJ treatment areas and that probability of brood success declined when sage-grouse selected sites near existing PJ canopy cover.  In addition, my data suggested that when PJ encroachment was removed, there was a slight, but non-significant increase in pellet density.  Pellet density in PJ encroachment and treatment areas was significantly lower than undisturbed sagebrush.  I am grateful to the Utah chapter of The Wildlife Society for financial assistance provided through its Grants-In-Aid Program.

Brandon Flack: In March 2015 I started trapping sage-grouse in Morgan and Summit Counties, UT.  We were able to radio collar 38 birds before hens started nesting.  We observed some very cool behaviors including males strutting on the frozen ice of a pond, males strutting on state highway 65 at the Henefer Divide, and females drinking water from ephemeral roadside ponds and eating gravel and dirt from the borrow pits on either side of highway 65. We also observed sage-grouse hens incubating their nests while surrounded by hundreds of sheep. We performed a flush count to determine the number of surviving chicks per hen which gave us a metric of brood success. Brood hopping can occur in sage-grouse populations and I am sure it happened in our population. The concentration of birds near mesic areas seemed to increase throughout the summer and it was common for us to see several of our marked hens with chicks in the same general area (within 500 m2). The birds confined themselves to the habitat within 2 km of lek locations for nesting and brood rearing. It was strange to see so many birds using the same habitat instead of dispersing farther to find other suitable habitat and space. A preliminary 95% Kernel Density Estimate showed a very small home range for this population of only about 7 km2.

 Jacob Hall: 

We captured mule deer fawns and fitted them with radio transmitters to monitor their survival using radio telemetry. We attempted to locate animals immediately following detection of a transmitter in mortality mode and determined a probable cause of death based on evidence found at that location.  The number of fawns killed by coyotes was significantly lower in the areas where coyotes were removed than in non-removal areas in 2013, but we did not observe this difference during the other years. Additionally, survival of fawns to six months was significantly higher in areas where coyotes were removed than in non-removal areas in 2013, but not in other years.  Our data support the idea that targeted predator control where deer densities are relatively low (as in the North Study Site) may enhance survival of fawns. However, when deer densities are high, removal of coyotes in fawning areas is difficult, alternate prey are available, and/or density of other predators is high (as in the South Study Site), targeted predator control may have little impact.

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