Research on Capitol Hill

Presenter and Co-Presenter(s)

Heather Shipp, Utah State UniversityFollow

Faculty Mentor

Dr. Dan MacNulty


Arctic wolves (Canis lupus arctos) play an important role in ecosystems located in the far northern regions of the world; however, little information is available about them and their impacts on prey populations due to their remote location. Recently, there has been concern about declining caribou populations, which serve as an important food source for local Inuit peoples. As a result, there is an urgent need to better understand Arctic wolves and their influence on caribou abundance.

Dr. Dan MacNulty, a professor at Utah State University, is currently conducting research on Arctic wolves in the Fosheim Peninsula of Ellesmere Island, Canada. In July 2014, four Arctic wolves, each from a different pack in the area, were captured and temporarily fitted with a global positioning system (GPS) radio-collar equipped with an accelerometer that records activity levels. Because capturing and eating prey takes time, clusters of GPS locations can be used to identify wolf predation events.

The objective of my project is to evaluate the utility of collar accelerometer data for inferring the presence of wolf-killed ungulates at GPS location clusters. Because predation is an energetically-intensive activity, I expected location clusters with high levels of activity at the onset of cluster formation to contain kills. Collar accelerometer data may provide a new tool for scientists and wildlife managers to remotely monitor the predatory impact of large carnivores.

Journal/Book Title/Conference

Research On Capitol Hill 2016

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