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The short, dangerous lives of mammals: a study of causes of mortality in the wild
Date(s) 11/04/2013 - 4:00 p.m.
Location Donahue Auditorium, Gordon Science Center
Presenter Christopher R. Collins, Ph. D., Assistant Professor, St. John Fisher College
Description The proportion of different causes of death (cause specific mortality) is an important indicator of local ecology and local selective forces shaping behavioral and morphological adaptations, and can be easily compared between species. These mortality causes are best measured by remotely monitoring individuals with radio transmitter tags to detect their eventual demise and conducting post-mortem examinations to determine the exact cause of death. In an attempt to understand broad patterns in mammal mortality I compiled data from over 80 studies, and analyzed it to determine what factors influence the likelihood of dying from different causes, ranging from disease to roadkill. I found that humans are the largest cause of mortality for North American mammals, especially in larger mammal species. I also found that there was little or no data on small mammal mortality, so I radio collared white footed mice, and studied their behavior and survival. Our data showed that parasites and weather influenced behavior and activity, and that predators were the primary cause of death in this common rodent species.

The Asa Gray Seminar Series is sponsored by the Asa Gray Biological Society, and is the longest running seminar series at Utica College. Scientists are invited from throughout the region to present seminars on their ongoing research. All lectures are held in Donahue Auditorium, Gordon Science Center, at 4:00 p.m. An informal reception immediately follows. Call (315) 792-3028 for more information.
Cost Free

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