Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Master's Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Forest Molecular Genetics and Biotechnology (MS)

Administrative Home Department

College of Forest Resources and Environmental Science

Advisor 1

Carsten Kuelheim

Advisor 2

Kristin Brzeski

Committee Member 1

Yvette Dickinson


Mammal distribution and diversity is quickly changing as humans modify the landscape. In particular, silviculture, which is the practice of controlling the growth, structure, and quality of forests to meet the needs of society and the landowner, influences the habitat usage of mammals. Utilizing camera traps, I monitored shifts in mammal communities across different silviculture treatments in the northern hardwood forests of the Great Lakes region in North America. I assessed the community composition across six canopy treatments and three understory treatments with a total of 2,018 active camera trap nights with 3,321 detections over the course of 147 days. For canopy treatments, high canopy cover shelterwood had the largest positive influence of mammal detection while clearcut showed a negative influence of mammal detection. For understory treatments, artificial tip-up and scarification had higher mammal detection compared to control. Within areas with a history of disturbance it may be beneficial to the mammal communities to include small disturbances, such as those created by silviculture treatments, as local species are likely disturbance-adapted.

Camera traps alone may miss part of the mammal community. To monitor a full community, other techniques need to be considered, such as invertebrate derived DNA (iDNA). iDNA, is emerging as a novel tool which utilizes genomic technologies to monitor and assess mammal communities. Some invertebrates ingest their host’s DNA as they feed, which then allows researchers to extract the host’s DNA and sequence it. By doing so, the researchers can then create a more complete image of mammal community compositions. This technique has been widely used in tropical zones to monitor mammal community compositions; however, it can be adapted to be used in temperate zones by utilizing ticks and mosquitoes. To adapt this technique, one must understand the environmental influences on invertebrate collection. I investigated the environmental influences on mosquito collection success by running linear regression models. Through running the linear regression models, I found that the canopy cover and time of the month had the largest influence on the collection of female mosquitoes, while tick collection was possibly influenced by the harshness of the winter before.