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Trent University Awarded Funding to Conduct Groundbreaking Study on Declining Moose Populations in the Southern Range



Innovative Research Project to be Conducted by Trent-led Team Over the Next Three Years


Monday, February 20, 2006, Peterborough


Trent University is pleased to announce the receipt of significant funding from the Strategic Project fund of the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) to undertake a leading-edge three year research project exploring the factors affecting the decline in distribution and abundance of moose in their southern range, with emphasis on southcentral Ontario.


The project, which is already underway, will be conducted on three separate spatial scales to provide robust insight on moose population determinants including: the study of moose population dynamics in Algonquin Park through the use of GPS radio collars; a larger-scale landscape genetics approach involving tissue samples collected from hunter-killed moose; and finally, the analysis of survey and harvest time series data from populations across North America. Overall, the project will examine the role of habitat fragmentation, harvest, predation, disease, and even climate change on southern moose populations.


“This is groundbreaking research,” said Professor Dennis Murray, the Canada Research Chair in Terrestrial Ecology at Trent and the lead member of the project’s research team. “No one has undertaken such a comprehensive approach in the study of large mammal population ecology.”


Ultimately, the project’s aim is to design appropriate population monitoring and management protocols in areas where moose numbers are currently depressed or declining. This research is of high priority because moose population declines have already been reported in several southern jurisdictions and there is concern that this phenomenon is regional or perhaps continental in scale.


Led by Trent faculty members, Professors Dennis Murray and Paul Wilson, and Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources scientists Brent Patterson and Martyn Obbard, the research team also consists of faculty from the University of Toronto and the University of Massachusetts. Up to six doctorate and Masters-level students will also be recruited to undertake various aspects of the research.


The project is funded primarily by NSERC although additional assistance from regional Ministry of Natural Resources offices also plays a key role.




For more information, please contact:

Professor Dennis Murray at 748.1011 x5215




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Last Updated February 20, 2006