Date of Award


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Applied Ecology (MS)

College, School or Department Name

School of Forest Resources and Environmental Science


John Vucetich


Herbivory requires animals to manage intake of toxic phytochemicals. Detoxification and excretion of these chemicals prevents toxicity, but is energetically expensive. I investigated the relationship between investment in detoxification and nutritional condition for moose on Isle Royale National Park (Alces alces) during winter, using urinary indices from urine samples collected in snow. The ratio of urinary urea nitrogen:creatinine is an indicator of nutritional condition, and the ratio of glucuronic acid:creatinine is an indicator of investment in detoxification. Nutritional condition declined with greater investment in detoxification. An alternative means of managing defensive chemical intake is to diversify the diet. Microhistological analysis of fecal pellets determined diet composition. Diet diversity was weakly associated with improved nutritional condition. However, the strongest predictors of nutritional condition were winter severity and proportion of balsam fir in the diet (a dominant food for moose in this ecosystem).