Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Wildland Resources

Committee Chair(s)

Erica Stuber


Erica Stuber


Dwayne Elmore


Simona Picardi


Susannah French


Mary Conner


Dusky Grouse are a mountainous forest grouse found throughout the western, inland mountain ranges of the United States and Canada. While a few studies have looked at Dusky Grouse in the Rocky Mountain Ecosystem of their range, there have been no prior studies of the Dusky Grouse in the Great Basin Ecosystem aside from a brief survey by Zwickel and Bendell in 2004 in the Duck Creek Range of Nevada. With the available habitats differing in both species diversity and availability on the landscape between the two Ecosystems, I wanted to assess characteristics about the Dusky Grouse populations at the southwestern edge of their range in the Great Basin Ecosystem. Thus, I estimated the abundance of Dusky Grouse in the Schell Creek, Duck Creek, and Egan Ranges of White Pine County, Nevada, as well as created a monitoring protocol for continued monitoring of abundance in these areas. I estimated a density of 5 males/km2. I also assessed the seasonal habitat selection of Dusky Grouse in the White Pine County study areas during breeding, nesting, brooding, and over winter. Dusky Grouse used aspen, conifers, and mountain shrubland habitat types the most across the seasons. Finally, I determined the varying temperatures of the study area’s landscape during peak summer and identified possible thermal refuge, or areas that protect species from extreme heat, for an array of wildlife taxa on the landscape. Aspen and conifer stands offered the coolest thermal refuge during peak hours of the summer compared to mountain mahogany, pinyon-juniper, and mountain shrublands. This research is new for the Great Basin Ecosystem, as well as for Dusky Grouse literature as a whole.