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Monday, January 25 • 1:40pm - 2:00pm
Pooling Resources To Inform Management; A Case Study of an American Marten Resource Collaboration

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AUTHORS: Paul Keenlance*, Grand Valley State University Biology Dept.; Maria Spriggs, Busch Gardens; Robert Sanders, Little River Band of Ottawa Indians Natural Resources Dept.; Ari Cornman, Little River Band of Ottawa Indians Natural Resources Dept.; Joseph Jacquot, Grand Valley State University Biology Dept.

ABSTRACT: In an era of downward trending budgets and increasing management challenges, collaborations and the resulting pooling of resources to accomplish research and management goals is increasingly important. We discuss an example of a collaboration between a university, a Native American tribe, and a zoo to conduct research with a goal of informing management decisions for American martens in Michigan’s lower peninsula. American marten are a member of the family Mustelidae associated with mature and structurally diverse forested habitat. The species historically ranged throughout most of MI. They were extirpated from the Lower Peninsula of Michigan by the early 20th century due to overharvest and loss of habitat. Marten were reintroduced to the area in the mid-1980’s but little is known about the population’s current size, demographics, genetic diversity and health. The US Forest Service requested research to be conducted to help explore these aspects of marten ecology and guide management strategies in the Lower Peninsula. Through a collaborative effort, we have been able to conduct a unique multifaceted study to address these questions. We discuss the benefits of pooling resources and knowledge as well as the challenges experienced. Each organization in this collaboration has provided a different culture or perspective that ultimately strengthened the scientific merit of the project, improved the technical capabilities, and maximized safety for the individual animal. We also describe the challenges of project development and implementation, including those related to logistics, accountability, and liability. We also address how we have dealt with more complicated issues, such as publication rights, data sharing, and differing IACUC needs. Finally, we give a brief overview of project progress to date. Given the reality of finite resources, we suggest that a little can go a long way when organizations decide to work together to realize a common goal.

Monday January 25, 2016 1:40pm - 2:00pm EST