Biology

Student Name: Mark S. Enders

Major Professor and Institutional Affiliation: Dr. Stephen B. Vander Wall, Department of Biology, University of Nevada, Reno

Graduate Program: Master of Science, Biology

Graduation Date: Expected May 2009

Title of Research Project: Determining the fate of seeds found in black bear (Ursus americanus) scat

Key Findings of Research Project: Deer mice (Peromyscus maniculatus) removed seeds from black bear scat and scatter-hoarded them in the forest floor. Some seed types experienced better germination if removed from bear scat in this manner, indicating that secondary seed dispersal by rodents is more beneficial to some plants than primary seed dispersal by black bears alone.

Student Name: Elaine Legras 

Major Professor and Institutional Affiliation: Dr. Stephen Vander Wall, Department of Biology, University of Nevada, Reno

Graduate Program: Master of Science Degree in Biology

Graduation Date: Spring 2008

Title of Research Project: Microhabitat is Critical for Sugar Pine Seedling Emergence and Survival in a Xeric Jeffrey Pine Dominated Forest

Key Findings of Research Project: More Jeffrey pine seedlings survived on the xeric east slope of the Carson Range than sugar pine seedlings and the presence of litter on the soil surface slightly hindered emergence of seedlings of both species. Sugar pine seedling survival can be increased with the addition of water and/or by planting seedlings or seeds on the north side of a manzanita shrub. Jeffrey pine seedling survival can be increased, also with the addition of water, but by planting on the north side of a bitterbrush shrub. Nurse plants are critical for pine seedling survival. Without shrubs, seedling survival drops to below 1 percent. Therefore, microhabitat is a significant factor in determining success or failure in rehabilitation efforts after disturbance.

Publications from Graduate Research:
VanderWall, Stephen B., Elaine C.H. Hager, Kellie M. Kuhn. 2005. Pilfering of stored seeds and the relative costs of scatter-hoarding versus larder-hoarding in yellow pine chipmunks. Western North American Naturalist 65(2): 248.