Aubriana Spenski, MS3

Mechanisms of American Marten Kit Independence and Dispersal in West Michigan

We documented kit independence and dispersal of American martens in the Manistee National Forest of Michigan from July through August 2013. We had six adult females with radio transmitters, four of which produced kits based on evidence from motion-triggered cameras placed at den sites the females were tracked to. The fourth female lost her single kit soon after birth; only three females were tracked from April through July. The three remaining female marten had three, two, and one kit for a total of six kits for the field season. Daily kit activity was monitored remotely through cameras placed at each den site. Of the six kits, only three were caught, and only one was large enough for a radio transmitter. This kit was tracked from the beginning of July until August. At each site the kit was found, rest site data was collected, including but not limited to, tree species and dbh, canopy density, and basal area. The mother of the kit was also tracked during the July through August time period to better distinguish kit dispersal from the den. Preliminary results indicated that kit independence was gradual; the kit spent time both away from its mother, and with its mother at the den site. Each time the kit traveled away from a den, the distance from the den increased.

Faculty Mentors: Joseph Jacquot, Biology & Paul Keenlance, Natural Resources Mgmt

Page last modified August 2, 2013