Evaluating the Impacts of White-tail Deer Management Strategies on Spring Ephemerals in Cincinnati Parks

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Lillian Braun
Hannah Lynam
Jordan Gerda
Noah Bruce
Rhalena Seballos
Jacob Lawrence
Evan Bold
Stephen F. Matter
Stephen Matter


By Lillian Braun, Environmental Studies; Hannah Lynam, Biological Sciences; Jordan Gerda, Environmental Studies; Noah Bruce, Environmental Studies; Rhalena Seballos, Biological Sciences; Jacob Lawrence , Environmental Studies; Evan Bold, Environmental Studies; Stephen F. Matter, University of Cincinnati

Advisor: Stephen Matter

Presentation ID: 148

Abstract: An overabundance of herbivorous white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) may have a negative effect on the abundance of native spring ephemerals in urban southwestern Ohio. In some Cincinnati parks bow-hunting or sterilization is used to manage deer populations. The efficacy of this practice is difficult to assess, as deer populations are very mobile and can live in thick growth, making sampling difficult. Our study seeks to investigate whether these management techniques affect the abundance of spring ephemeral plant species. We placed one camera trap in each park in our study to estimate the intensity of usage by deer. We periodically collected information from the cameras and moved them to different locations. Using a combination of these camera traps as well as transect-quadrat sampling to estimate the abundance and diversity of spring ephemerals, we will compare bow-hunted parks, parks with a sterilization program, and parks that do not manage deer populations. We hypothesize that spring ephemeral abundance and diversity will be negatively related to the intensity of deer usage. We further hypothesize that intensity of deer will be lower in managed versus unmanaged parks. We will continue to collect data throughout the season.

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Category: The Natural World