Graduate students monitor thermoregulation habits, climate impact on moose and bison
Big game are usually adaptive mammals, but temperature increases in Alaska and the Great Plains pose a threat to moose and bison.
This comes as no surprise to Jeff Martin, Ph.D., and Dan Thompson, Ph.D., both recent graduates from the Texas A&M College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, who dedicated their doctoral research to examining the effects of warming temperatures on big game.
One component of Martin’s research measured heat flux in bison, while Thompson aimed to understand body temperature regulation in moose.
Understanding how large game respond to rising temperatures provides key insights into the future sustainability of moose and bison populations on landscapes where increased warming has become a concern.
Perry Barboza, Ph.D., a Texas A&M AgriLife Research professor in the Departments of Ecology and Conservation Biology and Rangeland, Wildlife and Fisheries Management, served as Martin and Thompson’s primary mentor for the duration of their program.
“Critical areas of bison habitat and moose habitat are getting hotter and that is affecting the productivity of moose and bison,” Barboza said. “These animals are keystones to their ecology, culturally important and vital to the livelihood of many.”